How to spot a bad TIG Tungsten Tip

I am a wiz when it comes to MIG welding after many years of practice, and I usually can spot the cause of a poor weld, or why a machine isn’t welding correctly pretty easily. But with TIG welding, I am pretty much a total beginner in the grand scheme of things. I’ve been taking tips from the more experienced guys here and even a few local pros.The big thing I’ve recently been trying to focus on is making sure my tungsten tip is ground correctly; and while I’m welding that it is kept in the correct shape. After some practice yesterday, I took 2 shots of tungsten tips that were incorrect, and I had to regrind. I figured I’d share so that it helps other beginners learn from my mistakes and makes their learning experience that much better.

The first here is a green tungsten in which I had the TIG 200 set to put too much heat to the torch. It was making the ball far too large and hard to center when setting up a freshly ground tip. I cranked the clearance effect down from -1 to -3.5 and I was able to make a smaller ball much easier. Lesson learned there!

The second picture below is of a red tungsten I had been using. I found that my arc was wandering quite badly. It was making it very hard to focus the puddle, and then it hit me, I had every-so-briefly touched the tungsten to the work surface when I first started welding and it deformed the tip. I’ve been told time and time again, you must stop and regrind your tungsten if you touch it to the work surface while welding. It doesn’t matter even if it is for a split second, it will still deform the tungsten and cause an inconsistant arc.

I’ll add more of these tips and hints as I make mistakes and (hopefully!) get better. I hope it can give anyone that is a beginner some insight on what to look for when first starting out!

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