Last year I finally bought myself a TIG welder so that I could weld aluminum, stainless steel, roll cages, and overall, step up my welding game. I figured since I had been MIG welding for 10+ years, TIG would be a piece of cake, but boy was I wrong. TIG welding is an absolute art, but not everybody is an artist. It takes a boat load of practice and dexterity to be good at it, which is why professionals make the big bucks. As I mentioned in this blog that I wrote a few weeks ago, MIG welding can be done with 1 hand (blind folded, tango dancing, while on fire). TIG on the other hand requires holding filler rod with the left hand, a torch in the right hand (at the correct angle), and it has a foot pedal to control the heat. Once you get all three limbs to work in unison, metal begins to melt, and the learning curve really begins.
Faster than I could say “this is hard to do!“, I had burned through 2 tanks of argon, countless filler rods, several pieces of tungsten, and a few layers of skin. As I quickly learned, aluminum retains heat really well, and doesn’t look hot even when it is. Note to readers: WEAR GLOVES when TIG’n!
Here are a few “finished” pieces from my last practice session. Like I said, TIG welding is an art, and not everybody is an artist, yet.