Just starting off, what do I need?

  1. Right, as some of you may know I have just purchased an ac/dc Parweld XTT202P and will assume at some point I’ll be welding mild steel 2-3mm thick, stainless 1-3mm and Ally 1-3mm thick. I have 1.6 and 2.4 grey tungstens which I’ve been told will do all the materials I’ll need. Can someone give me an idea which rod I will need including sizes to carry out the above?
    I’ll be looking at small packs of filler rods from eBay at about a fiver for 20 (ish). What should I be looking for? Haven’t a clue when it comes to numbers 316/309/4034 or whatever?
  2. barking mat

    barking mat Member

    316 stainless, can't remember the standard alu' flavour I got, I just use mig wire for steel, twisted together.

    I found it easier to start on 2.4 Tungstens, to learn technique, and then as I got a bit better smaller Tungstens.

    And obviously a bottle of argon, welcome to the tig adventure / journey.

    Different kettle of fish to arc / mig.

    I found the pool, dab, move basic principle took time....

    And learning to feed filler wire through your hand...

    I use green pure Tungstens on alu', red on mild and stainless, can't get on so well with gray, probably me.
    Retired and Exuptoy like this.
  3. Richard.

    Richard. Member

    Not these.
    Total rubbish consumables and a waste of money. 20 rods on eBay doesn’t go anywhere.
    Spend a bit of money on decent consumables in proper packs from a welding supplies. Start off just with steel and get your hand in and work from there.
  4. A mate in a local engineering company is gonna put a tube together for me with a selection labelled up what they are and what they’re for. I’ll see how that goes first.
    Thanks for the heads up on eBay though @Richard.
    Ashley Burton likes this.
  5. My dad was saying he uses pieces of 0.8mm mig wire for tigging his steel. What sort of thickness would that work with?
  6. Richard.

    Richard. Member

    You can do that. It’s the equivalent of A18 tig rod. 0.8 is very thin and you’ll probably find at over 40-50 amps your struggling with filling. Simple answer though just nip two lengths side by side in the vice and twist them together to make it thicker.
    1.2mm A15 tig rod is a common nice size that covers a lot.
    Same with the stainless 1.2mm 316 will be ok for 40-100 amps 1-3mm plate.
    For aluminium go 2.4mm 5356 covers you for most popular sheet and extrusion grades. for cast repairs (avoid for now) it’s often AlSiMg and 4043 often works best.
    to start out and get you nicely covered stick with the top 3 and definitely get decent stuff (esab, bohlar, Lincoln, etc)
    1.2 a15
    1.2 316
    2.4 5356
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  7. Cheers @Richard.
    Another quick question, when Mig welding my bike subframe, the wire feed on my porta was playing up (now sorted) so it got ground back and welded more than once as I wasn’t happy with the outcome. Could I now just use the current weld and rework it with the Tig and pretty it up a little without any filler?

    Is there a downside to this other than putting yet more heat into it once again? If I did that would that suffice or should that get treated as the Tig root with yet another cap with the mig?
    Sorry for the schoolboy questions.
  8. Got a little time this afternoon to stick a plug on the unit and have a shot of it.

    Took 30-45 mins to get the hang of the post flow, slope up and down and not just pulling away like you would with a mig torch!

    Got it doing this to mild steel. I notice it’s undercut at the tube side but my endeavour to add filler wasn’t the best. More practice needed. Stuck 2 bits of 0.8 mig wire in the vice and spun it with a drill until I get some wire.


    AA3A523E-6CF2-4A94-A3D7-2C93415FA1D6.jpeg B7362849-3EA3-4070-BE80-37F96FCE8788.jpeg
  9. So, I tried Ali today and didn’t fare too well. Struggling to do anything acceptable when welding in pulse mode, never had my phone on me to check the on line manual so never realised the pulse section recommendation should have been around 100%.....I had it around 3-5!!!!

    without pulse it looked like this....


    Doesn’t look too bad until you see the rest of the dross!!!


    and again, not THAT bad


    until you see this


    more practice needed meet thinks!
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  10. barking mat

    barking mat Member

    Fair play, that's your first attempt !

    Better than mine.

    Must make some time....
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  11. F.J.

    F.J. Member

    As Richard says, don’t buy cheap filler. Honestly it can frustrate the hell out of you and will make you want to give up. Buy decent materials and you’ll get the hang of it quicker.

    some good first attempts there too mate, I’ve never used the pulse function on any tig I’ve used so can’t comment on that but all I’ll say is take your time and when doing round pieces or out of position prices don’t try and do too much in one run. You’ll either slip and make a mess, stick your tungsten into the puddle or the filler to the tungsten and grinding your tungsten every other weld get very tedious very quickly, ask me how I know!!
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  12. Cheers for the advice here lads.
    F.J. likes this.
  13. Wallace

    Wallace Member

    Staines, Middlesex, England.
    Gas, lots of gas, then some more. Who do you get your gas from? I went through a BOC Y Argon in no time practicing so grabbed a full-size K cylinder for a short while then went back to the Y, saved a good chunk of wedge. It may not suit your work schedules though.
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  14. Gas is pure Argon from Gas Link Wales. 10L as there’s a shortage of 20’s just now. £70 rental and £30 per fill. Once its empty I’m going 50L, £7 p/m rental and £29 per fill.
    Just wanted the 10L so I could make a start at learning before going back to work next wk.
    Retired likes this.
  15. zeppelin builder

    zeppelin builder Member

    peoples republic of scotland
    stop farting around with twisted wire
    for that tube you need 2.0 or 2.4mm wire to throw enough fill in and youl find its easier and more relaxed to feed
    clean your aluminium with a stainless brush before you start and the filler wire with steel wool , forget pulse for now , time your self feeding the wire into the pool get a rythm going , a small wire tends to ball up before you get it into the pool on ally
    use 2.4 just to get the feel
    then practice with 1.6 on thinner
    weld speed should be brisk and not hanging about
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  16. Cheers @zeppelin builder
    I was using twisted wire as I had no supplies here. All sorted now.
  17. This afternoon!


    I made a lot of mess before I got this out. Even spot welding the 2 pieces together to start was a chore. I cut off the piece at the end to make this look better than it was!!!

    I think I need someone to be on hand giving advice!
    Retired, slim_boy_fat and barking mat like this.
  18. I think the piece in the post above shows tall welds as I was using 2.4 rods on the 1.5mm angle. Still plugging away but struggling. I changed to a no8 cup with the inner gas diffuser (is that a gas lense???) with a 1.6 Grey Ceriated tungsten and I can generally get it to weld (just found some 1.6mm 4043 rods) but I’m having real trouble spot welding so I can try a fillet weld. Something as easy as tacking 2 pieces of 1.5mm at 60amps straight and I’m getting nowhere. AC balance is around 30 I think with frequency at 150 (I’ve tried 50-60 hz and 120 too)

    A general weld run is ok

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  19. Retired Member

    Huddersfield. UK.

    Stick with it and keep practicing; I'm still very much a novice and find some welding sessions go pretty well whereas other welding sessions are a disaster. I tried lots of welder settings; 1.6mm & 2.4mm 2% Lanthanated tungstens are what I use with same size 4043 filler rod. The aluminium I'm practicing on I believe is 1050 grade it being very soft as used in metal spinning. I had lots of initial difficulty starting off with 1.5mm sheet but then following members excellent advice practiced on thicker sheet with more success.

    I went through three x 9L pure argon cylinders in no time at all now I'm on BOC pure argon 20L cylinders which last much longer also I tracked down three gas leaks and fine tuned gas pressure using a flow meter; it all helps and now it doesn't bother me regarding gas usage. I buy 2.5kg filler rods and gas etc from The Wakefield Welding Center; possibly dearer than buying consumables through eBay but well worth it for top quality.

    Of all the joints I've practiced welding I find lap joints the most difficult but I'm getting better. I think all novices to TIG welding follow the same pattern it being the learning curve; puddle dipping and producing soot diminishes with practice as does tungsten grinding.

    My problem isn't welding it's our dire climate; a few minutes ago the horizontal "light" rain was lashing into our bungalow front and it's another black hole of a day; I live in West Yorkshire which is wrongly named; it should be Wet Yorkshire because it seldom lets up with nine months winter and three months bad weather each year. Here's what I've just lifted from the web regarding Huddersfield;

    He said: "It was another record-breaking rainstorm with 67mm adding to the months total so far - bringing our months' total to a record breaking 222mm (8.8in)."

    I'm fed up of getting wet and being blown around each time I dare venture out; it puts me off visiting the workshop; I've got petrol tank components all ready for welding but is it worth getting wet for AGAIN.

    We've got a lot in common and here's where I'm currently at. :whistle:

    Kind regards, Colin.

    Tank components._0001.JPG

    Mower petrol tank components awaiting TIG welding assuming I can ever get into the workshop without being wet or frozen.

    TIG Sunday_0002.JPG

    After lots and lots of practice I finally got there but it's still a bit hit or miss.

    TIG Sunday_0003.JPG

    I found lap joints to be the most difficult to TIG weld but getting there with practice.

    TIG welding_0001.JPG

    Not a pretty but joint but it adds to experience.


    Just examples of my TIG welding practice.


    One of my first welds; even 4mm thick aluminium to a novice is very difficult to weld; at times I completely lost the plot with welder settings; later I successfully filled in the big hole as I gained more experience.

    You're doing fine Excuptoy in fact your first welds are much better than mine were. :clapping:
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  20. Colin, cheers for the kind words and for your support mate, I look forward to being able to weld as well as you can! Your work looks superb.
    I understand that my attempts are going to be crap for a while as that’s what learning is, but fingers crossed and I won’t let it beat me. I’m going to get some proper coupons to weld when I get home and when the 10L pure argon is empty I’m going to change my account to have a 50L bottle as the price is negligible!

    I found the answer regards tacking in Richards Alloy Tig tutorial, +50% current and turn off the slopes and hit it hard and fast!

    Cheers for the continued support on here guys, any and all advice is welcomed.

    Retired likes this.