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Self-Taught Procedures?

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  • Self-Taught Procedures?

    OK, total newbie here but I'm having some happy results to self-teaching myself stick welding (with some advice from pros and borrowed textbooks and feedback that I get here). Or so I think (nobody is x-raying my flagpole and trailer welds...)

    So now I'm thinking I'm a big expert I guess. (Just kidding guys.)

    The problem is, I see these BEAUTIFUL welds that you TGAW boys create and I am super super super JEALOUS.

    My question is this:

    The Hobart website suggests that MIG is easiest, stick is moderate and TIG requires "high" skill. I'm wondering how big the jump is between "moderate" and "high" skill.

    I have never MIG welded so I am clueless about that. But I'm learning to stick weld, I believe. So how much harder is TIG than stick?

    I suspect part of it is that you're using two hands, feeding the filler metal into the arc with one hand while controlling the arc with the other...right?


    All right, sorry for the PWI but I'm on vacation, gentlemen...


  • #2
    Try oxy/acetelyene welding to get almost a feel for GTAW (TIG). GMAW (MIG) is about like using a caulk gun and laying caulk that doesn't need touching up.

    Once you learn this stuff you will wonder why it ever seemed hard.
    Two turn tables and a microphone.


    • #3
      The reason that TIG is more difficult than MIG is that TIG requires a lot more heat / puddle control and manual dexterity that MIG.


      • #4
        Trying TIG

        Yes, Tig needs a good right hand, a good left hand, one good foot, and really great eyes that are attentive to detail. After stick and Mig, Tig is a little like rubbing your stomach and patting your head at the same time in perfect synchronization. So many variables with Tig make it a challenge to learn but definitely not impossible.
        Jim Don


        • #5
          Practice, practice and practice. Gas welding will teach some of the same skills that are needed in TIG. Years ago that was the way they taught us heliarc welding(TIG's original brand name) helium arc welding. Now I know part of the deal back then was we had one heliarc machine and the supplies were big bucks then Late 60's. And all use big shot welding students wanted to have bragging rights to welding aluminum. After all these years, the old instructor wasn't BSen us from everything I have been told and have read on the subject of TIG. Gas welding does improve the hand, puddle, eye working together.
          Which makes me feel better as Im about the pull the trigger on buying a TIG unit.
          Don't be discouraged as I have been welding off and on for 40 years and if I lay off for months and start back they will look like crap for a couple of practice passes.
          As anybody on here will tell you, practice, practice and practice.
          Good luck, do it safely and enjoy it.
          glen, been there, done that and probably broke it!If you aren't on the edge. You'r taking up to much room


          • #6
            practice and proper equipment/setup

            I have had a stick welder for 20 years and never got very good at creating a presentable bead. I bought an HH187 with my "Uncle Sam" check and was using the .030 fluxcore wire that came with it. My welds looked fairly good but I was unhappy with the cleanup required. Last week I got my CO2 (only)bottles refilled and hooked them up. Reset the polarity, and let 'er rip.

            Good God was I impressed with myself! My welds looked actually pretty professional. A little buff before the paint and I was in business. I can only imaging what they would look like with a CO2/Argon mix.

            No more flux core for me if I can help it. Everyone on here praising "correct" MIG is right.


            • #7
              TIG is difficult to learn in terms of hand eye co-ordination. Keeping your filler close, dipping it at the right time, while moving your torch at a decent rate while keeping it close to the puddle, all the same time as operating a pedal to control the amperage. Tough to learn, but once you get over the steep curve, I actually find TIG easier than MIG because I have control of the puddle the entire weld. Since you can vary your travel speed, filler amount and amperage on the fly.

              Edit: Also watching someone experienced and getting them to coach you your first hour of TIG welding will drastically reduce your learning curve. No instructor can help with your hand eye co-ordination but they can teach you the basics and you can watch a pro doing it. It's much easier to mimic a good welder than trying to be one on your own. I learned on my own and it took quite a while, however my fiance watches me all the time and she picked up what took me a few a matter of 15-20mins, and I'm a quick learner...
              Conrad Andres
              Thermal Arc 185TSW
              Lincoln SP135T