Register now to get rid of these ads!

Aluminum TIG guys a question on cups/"gas lense"

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Ken Carvalho, Dec 2, 2008.

  1. Ken Carvalho
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,607

    Ken Carvalho
    Member

    Hello,
    some of you "may be aware, some may not?!?!? I got a welding position at my job (GOD I FRIGGEN LOVE WELDING) on aluminum!! I have wire fed steel for YEARS, but this was the icing on the cake!! Anyways, I was taught "my position" by an old timer, who was SET IN HIS WAYS!!!! He tought me the basics in about a week, and then I was on my own!!! Well last week I was having some problems with the TIG,( A Lincoln 375) and It turns out it was nothing, BUT the sales / supplies guy came and met me. SO WE GET TALKING!!! Turns out a lot of my "teachers practices" were VERY wrong and I have learned a lot from the "sales guy"!!! First I was running the argon (per my teacher) at 45 psi!!!, I was running 2 percent Thoriated tungsten and he was having me use "windex" to clean the aluminum stock!!!! Here is where I am at now!!! PURE Tungsten on Aluminum (green) only using 2 percent (red) on steel, 20-25 MAX psi on the argon, acetone for a cleaner AFTER stainless steel wire brushing the part first, and here is the clencher (at least for ME) he has me using this BIG ASS torch insert and large cup called a ---gas lense---!!!!! Just changing these few items made my welds look like I have been TIG'ing aluminum for the past 20 years!!!! I think the biggest benefit was that gas lense!!!
    GEEEZ this is friggen a rambling on isn't it SORRY but I want you to have ALL the info!!!
    My question is... do most of you use this gas lense, OR the normal Tungsten insert & #8 cup with a 1/8 Tungsten???? Yes I was getting a good weld BEFORE I changed all those items, but I'll be honest I was struggling, and often pissed & discouraged at my results!!!!
    Oh yeah I also learned about the optional --PULSER-- on the unit (altough I don't really like it)
    And also NEVER, NEVER use grinding wheels/disks to clean/prep the part before welding, (didn't know that either) Man I love welding EVEN MORE after all this USEFULL knowledge.....Ken
     
  2. the shadow
    Joined: Mar 5, 2005
    Posts: 1,104

    the shadow
    Member

    good knowledge, I am the back up welder at my job (mainly structural frame migging) but the code welder is cool and helps me alot with projects. he has a kanniption when people borrow or use his stuff in his area like the grinders, brush's and such for those reasons. the wheels that were used on steel can contaminate the welds of other materials. he has seperate wheels and brushs for each material and never uses' them on different metals, always uses acetone, always pruges tubing or sealed box's ect before welding with argon, always keeps the torch cup over the weld after releasing the pedal for a few seconds to shield it while it cools.
     
  3. Ken,

    I too weld for a living and I welded all my alu. with a regular cup but with pure tungsten. I was at the welding supply shop one day talking with a sales guy and he talked me into buying a gas lens which I had read about in a welding journal and thought that it was a good "Idea". Well when I got back to work I was amazed at how much better my weld bead looked then with out the gas lens. I have stuck with the gas lens even when welding steel and stainless I like the fact that I can run a smaller cup with the lens and have a better view of what I am doing.

    Jaysin
     
  4. AcadianKid
    Joined: Dec 5, 2005
    Posts: 202

    AcadianKid
    Member

    Got a picture of the glass lens he suggested???
    Thanks
    Cory
     

  5. hemi coupe
    Joined: Dec 25, 2001
    Posts: 1,162

    hemi coupe
    Member
    from so-cal

    I use the gas lense for everything. Metal, aluminum, it really helps! You can also stick the tungsten out a little bit further with the gas lense.
    Jimmy White
     
  6. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 34,448

    Tman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Yes, Pics please?

    Hi Jimmy:)
     
  7. hemi coupe
    Joined: Dec 25, 2001
    Posts: 1,162

    hemi coupe
    Member
    from so-cal

    Hi Tman!!
     
  8. I learned to tig weld, bought a nice Miller machine. I tig alum almost exclusively. Mainly cylinder heads. I also prefer using a gas lens. I also use the pure 'green marked' tungsten for alum. This is what I was taught and I have tried using the 2% and also not using a gas lens. The green pure and a gas lens is best in my experience.

    Steve Barcak
    www.pontiacheaven.org

    <DIR>Hosting 11th annual Pontiac Heaven, show, swap, drags, party and all around good time. Saturday April 4, 2009 at Speedworld near Phoenix, Az
    Also hosting- 7th annual Nostalgia drags, show and swap coming Sunday April 5, 2009 to Speedworld. Phoenix, Az
    </DIR>
     
  9. Wyle E Coyote
    Joined: May 24, 2006
    Posts: 442

    Wyle E Coyote
    Member

    I use one whenever I need to reach into a tight area. I can weld about the same with a normal cup when I don't need to extend the tungsten too far. As far as the 2% or pure tungsten is concerned, it all depends on your welder. I have a Lincoln 255 and it's a square wave machine and doesn't like pure tungsens on aluminum, or it may just be me...
     
  10. beat53chevy
    Joined: Aug 1, 2003
    Posts: 161

    beat53chevy
    Member

  11. Jethro
    Joined: Mar 5, 2001
    Posts: 1,582

    Jethro
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    It's only called a gas lens, not sure why but basically it is a gas diffuser that sort of floods the weld pool rather than spraying at it. I learned that the regular cup will actually draw air in behind the puddle and contaminate the weld.It was one of the best improvements to my aluminum welds.
     
  12. Ken Carvalho
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,607

    Ken Carvalho
    Member

    F'in---- EXACTLY what my "sales guy said" I guess I just wasn't able to put THAT into words myself!! Man I am SO glad you guys are in this "with me" I honestly can not believe how much BETTER the welds are, BUT since I have NO formal training on ALUMINUM welding I DIDN'T know I was doing it WRONG!!! !!! How many Aluminum TIG jobs are there availible in SO.CAL. because I am trying to get my ass there, and THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO DO FOR A LIVING!!! Thanks again guys, you may not realize it but you "eased the waters & stress" with me.....Ken
     
  13. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 34,448

    Tman
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    That CK website is helpfull, thanks!
     
  14. Ken Carvalho
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,607

    Ken Carvalho
    Member

    CK is the TORCH I use!! A 250 and a 350 both water cooled!! and while we are on the subject....


    WHAT DOES 2 percent THORIATED MEAN???? What is a "thoriate???" EVEN the sales guy didn't know what the Thoriated aspect of the Thungsten was!?!?!??!

    Yeah that "gas lense" lets me stick the tungsten out about 1/4 inch with GREAT results!!! WOW!!!!!
    Why didn't I pay more attention in school???? This would have been like night and day for education!!!!!
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2008
  15. 31-5window
    Joined: Aug 19, 2007
    Posts: 226

    31-5window
    Member
    from Michigan

  16. rooman
    Joined: Sep 20, 2006
    Posts: 4,052

    rooman
    Member

    I run the fab shop at John Force's Indy facility and we use gas lenses on everything. We are sponsored by Lincoln so I have had to get used to the red machines--long time "blue" guy.
    We also do a lot of Ti welding and for that we have been using Wyatt Swaim's BIG gas lens with a clear Pyrex cup. Check it out at his web site, tigdepot.net. He is coming by the shop tomorrow and I will see if he has any new cool stuff and post details.

    Roo
     
  17. alteredimage
    Joined: Oct 5, 2005
    Posts: 202

    alteredimage
    Member

    For sharpening tungsten I chuck it up on my drill and run it on the belt grinder makes a super fine point.
     
  18. vendettaautofab
    Joined: Jan 9, 2006
    Posts: 1,602

    vendettaautofab
    Member Emeritus

    Gas lense 99% of the time, unless its a tight area that only a collet body will allow. I use pure tungsten on most aluminum applications, but some times, a 2% sharpened, will allow more control, at low amperage. Large diameter 2% sharpened will hold a point as the 2% is a bit more stable, but a pure tungsten will give you a bit cleaner weld.

    Play with the AC balance as well, that will control the cleaning effect and penetration... and also allow more control and concentration of the arc.

    Gas flow is something that is decided PER APPLICATION... there are alot of variables there.

    I mix a bit of pure, medical grade helium with the Argon flow for a hotter and more concentrated arc. Works well on thick aluminum, get a little more ass out of the machine, and also can help the concentration on thinner material.

    CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN...

    5356 filler material will be a bit easier to control, but is more likely to crack under high stress if not applied right. Will also anodize properly. 4043 is softer.

    Preheating aluminum to 400-650 degrees depending on tickness and amperage will definatly improve weld quality.

    Sounds backwards, but I have been running ALOT of .060" 6061 aluminum with a 1/8" 2% tungsten sharpened to a blunt point... AC Balance to complete penetration, and about 5cfh of helium in with the 35 of Argon.... 5356 filler.... and OH MY MY MY...

    I love welding aluminum and stainless....
     
  19. jmcglynn
    Joined: May 19, 2005
    Posts: 115

    jmcglynn
    Alliance Vendor

    On the electrodes, 2% thoriated and pure Tungsten is old school, especially if you have a modern welder with square wave and adjustable frequency.

    I weld a fair amount of cast aluminum, I use Lanthanated tungstons (Cereated works well too). Thoriated is mildly radioactive, and both Cereated and Lanthanated carry far more juice and hold a point better.

    I don't ball the tip (you can't with these electrodes anyway), I leave it sharp and it stays that way. On 3/16 to 1/4 thick castings I run a 1/8" Lanthanated Tungston, ground to a sharp point and then the tip dressed back so that it is maybe 1/32 across the tip. I use 1/8" 4043, which gives the best color match. Bevel the joints, wire brush, clean with acetone.

    I do the root pass at 190 amps with the frequency at 190 and the balance at 65. I make sure both sides of the bevel melt into the puddle, and that the pool is about to drop through before I dip the rod.

    I do one cover pass to fill the bevel and leave it about 1/16" proud. 145 amps, frequency at 145, and I weave the pass with the torch held slightly higher. This leaves a nice flat bead. It's best to go straight to the cover pass while the part is hot from the root pass.

    Argon pressure on all this is at 15 or so. Too much argon is as bad as not enough, at least on aluminum. You'll get terrible porosity -- ask me how I know :)

    I've got some more tanks to weld up next week, I'll get some pics.
     
  20. Ken Carvalho
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,607

    Ken Carvalho
    Member

     
  21. fiat128
    Joined: Jun 26, 2006
    Posts: 1,427

    fiat128
    Member
    from El Paso TX

    Thorium, it's an element. As in 2% of the electrode is Thorium.

    Thanks for the info on how the gas lense compares to a regular cup. I was wondering this. I just picked up a never used Miller Syncrowave 180 and the torch has a standard cup so I was thinking of getting a gas lense. Theres a bunch comments about it at Miller's website.
     
  22. Ken Carvalho
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,607

    Ken Carvalho
    Member

    So guys.... Is a --> GAS-LENSE <--- the WAY TO GO these days????? I have seen lots of TIG welding on TV, (IE: Monster garage, biker build off, Jesse James ----YES I REALLY LIKE HIM SO F.U. IF YOU DON'T!!!!) and I gotta say they all look like they are using a "standard cup"????? Am I just not actually seeing the "gas lense"???? I guess this all actually boils down to eventually I will be moving to SO. CAL. and will be "touting my TIG welding skills" SO should I get a "gas lense, cup, and pure tungsten" to carry in my back pocket when I go for a job interview????, Hey did I mention.....GOD, I LOVE WELDING!!!!?????
     
  23. vendettaautofab
    Joined: Jan 9, 2006
    Posts: 1,602

    vendettaautofab
    Member Emeritus

    Gas Lense will give you better gas coverage, and therefore, better weld quality. When possible, use a gas lense.
     
  24. Ken Carvalho
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,607

    Ken Carvalho
    Member

     
  25. river1
    Joined: May 12, 2001
    Posts: 855

    river1
    Member

  26. river1
    Joined: May 12, 2001
    Posts: 855

    river1
    Member

  27. Ken Carvalho
    Joined: Dec 22, 2004
    Posts: 1,607

    Ken Carvalho
    Member

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by river1
    chopperimpala read and learn

    http://tungstenelectrodesonline.com/...r-tig-welding/

    later jim

    ~~~




    ........................................Holy shit!!!!!
     
  28. jmcglynn
    Joined: May 19, 2005
    Posts: 115

    jmcglynn
    Alliance Vendor

    The short story on Thorium, Cerium ad Lanthiam -- they are alloying elements added to pure tungsten to make the electrode. It affects the stability of the arc, the heat the electrode can carry and the amperage it can carry.

    As far as frequency, the newer machines (like most industrial machines in the past 5+ years) have variable frequency -- this is the number of cycles (alternations between positive and negative) it makes in one second. In practical terms, the higher the number the more focussed the arc. When I need to weld into a tight crevice I turn it way up. I turn it way down for the cover pass because the weld lays out flatter and it tends to minimize porosity (cast aluminum can be a real pain in that regard).

    So, in practical terms:

    Root pass, high heat, pointy tungsten made with an alloying ingredient that will take the heat and high frequency) and high frequency (cycles, not "high freq" like the TIG uses to start the arc).

    Cover pass, lower heat, lower frequency, weave the pass (and go more slowly to give impurities to float out) so that the weld lays flat. Less grinding that way. Also, I have a theory that weaving the cover pass mixes the filler metal with the cast metal around the edges of the seam to give a better color match -- but I can't prove that.

    Joe
     
  29. 345WindowOregon
    Joined: Dec 1, 2006
    Posts: 60

    345WindowOregon
    Member

    Agree with jmc completely on the 'doping' of tungsten electrodes. The web address cited above got truncated in my browser, so I'll see if it works better now:
    http://tungstenelectrodesonline.com/tungsten-electrodes-for-tig-welding/

    All these tungsten elements are created using a sintering process.... ultra high pressure and heat of the alloyed element results in the finished electrode.

    Unless you grind thorium doped electrodes all day long 24/7/365, the radioactivity may not be a big issue. I use the cerium doped rods (ceriated) myself, since the old rule of thumb that only pure should be used on aluminum is now fading into mythology. I found I get much better looking welds on aluminum when I turned pulsing off, but results may vary.

    I run a Miller 250 Tigrunner. The Miller Tig Hints and Tips page is good also....
    http://www.millerwelds.com/resources/tech_tips/TIG_tips/hints_tips.html

    345WindowOregon
     
  30. lehr
    Joined: May 13, 2004
    Posts: 602

    lehr
    Member

    I use the same tungstens that jmcglynn uses I dont care to much for the green tungsten .
    Pat.
     

Share This Page

Register now to get rid of these ads!

Archive

Copyright © 1995-2021 The Jalopy Journal: Steal our stuff, we'll kick your teeth in. Terms of Service. Privacy Policy.

Atomic Industry
Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010-2014 XenForo Ltd.