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TIG welding gas...Argon vs. Argon/Co2 mix?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by kustomfordman, May 10, 2008.

  1. kustomfordman
    Joined: Feb 28, 2006
    Posts: 439

    kustomfordman
    Member

    I just got a Miller Synchrowave 200. I know this will take some practice, but after 3 days of getting to know this machine I have some concerns.

    I am using argon/co2 mix...is this a problem? Should I be using straight argon? What are the results of each shielding gas?

    I am getting alot of slag for lack of a better term building up on my cup and electrode. My tip on the electrode doesn't last much more than a few inches even though it has not been touched into the weld puddle.

    Right out of the box, I thought my first few welds were not too bad, but the more I weld, the faster it seems that the electrode will degrade and the worse looking the welds are becoming.

    Any suggestions?
    thanks,
    Kurt
     
  2. ratman
    Joined: Jun 15, 2006
    Posts: 423

    ratman
    Member

    I use straight argon and have no problems. Have you got your earth lead on the positive terminal and your torch on the negative. Most people get this wrong when starting out. Its opposite to what you do for tig or arc.
     
  3. Bass
    Joined: Jul 9, 2001
    Posts: 3,348

    Bass
    Member
    from Dallas, TX

    Switch to straight argon. The sooner you do it, the sooner your weld quality will improve. You should not be getting any 'build-up' on your tungsten or cup.

    Mixed gas is for MIG.


    Also, try to use 2% thoriated tungsten for mild steel, and save the pure tungsten for aluminum.
     
  4. I am fixing to buy a bottle for pure argon, but what are you guys normally paying, and how often do you go through it? I know it depends on the size of the bottle you get, and mine wont be small, but at $300 just for the bottle I dont want to be running out fast. I'll edit this in a little bit when I figure out how big the bottle is I have of mixed right now..

    Will
     

  5. krylon32
    Joined: Jan 29, 2006
    Posts: 6,539

    krylon32
    Alliance Vendor
    from Nebraska

    Straight Argon only. In our shop we use the big bottle and keep 2 of them but we use a lot of gas. Once you get past the bottle price the gas isn't that expensive.
     
  6. gary terhaar
    Joined: Jul 23, 2007
    Posts: 655

    gary terhaar
    Member
    from oakdale ny

    I own my bottles,but most welding supplies allow you to rent or lease a bottle for about 12-18 bucks a month.I go through a bit of argon and i pay 43 bucks to fill a big bottle but i here some say as high as 70 to fill.Shop around and the prices do vary a bit.
     
  7. again: STRAIGHT argon.

    FYI: Co2 has a very real chilling effect and will lead to many problems as you have found out. when you think Co2, remember that if you spray out a Co2 fire extinguisher a heavy frost layer forms....
     
  8. Cad La Dave
    Joined: Apr 15, 2008
    Posts: 225

    Cad La Dave
    Member
    from CA

    straight argon.
     
  9. I use Argon/Helium on everything........MIG and TIG, steel and aluminum. Very clean welds.............................
     
  10. Straight argon for flat, horizontal and vertical positions, and you can switch to helium for overhead if start getting into that and vert. too if prefered. The idea is: Argon is heavy, helium is light and shields the arc. Yup, 2% thoriated tungsten (with the red tip) for mild steel.

    Those little Miller inverter machines are not a bad rig. I use one at work periodically for small tig jobs and it works great on aluminum, for me.
     
  11. bulletproof1
    Joined: Feb 23, 2004
    Posts: 2,080

    bulletproof1
    Member
    from tulsa okla

    straight argon.whats your presure set at.
     
  12. kustomfordman
    Joined: Feb 28, 2006
    Posts: 439

    kustomfordman
    Member

    I suspected it was my shielding gas. I am running about 15-20 CFH depending on what I am practicing on, tank pressure is at 1700psi right now. My electrode is a 2% thoriated tungsten...I think...the electrode has a red marker on the end. All the "build-up" on my electrode reminds me of the crap you get when you MIG with flux-core wire...Spatter.

    As far as welding techniques, I think I may be missing something. I am a lefty, I am holding the torch in my left hand "pushing" towards my right. I am feeding filler with my right. I find that my right hand gets into my sight of the weld pool when the filler gets shorter. I also feel like I am over running the weld pool but if I slow down my push, then I experience burn thru.

    I appreciate the advice so far, and will get my shielding gas changed over to straight argon.

    Kurt
     
  13. weemark
    Joined: Sep 1, 2002
    Posts: 814

    weemark
    Member
    from scotland

    if you cant see the weld pool move your head or your hand.

    also sounds like you dont have the amps right for the thickness of metal you are welding. if your metal is butted together with no gaps then theoretically you dont need a filler rod. if your using a filler rod then the gap between your metal should be the same as your filler rod, so if your filler rod is 1.6 your gap should be 1.6.
     
  14. Wyle E Coyote
    Joined: May 24, 2006
    Posts: 442

    Wyle E Coyote
    Member

    Are you using the right thickness tungstons? If your too thin then the heat it takes to start the pool will burn the tungston back. It's safer to use too large of a tungston then too small. For steel be sure to grind a long, sharp point on it. For aluminum you will have to learn to make a ball on the end.
     
  15. dirt t
    Joined: Mar 20, 2007
    Posts: 4,664

    dirt t
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Kingman,AZ
    1. HAMB Old Farts' Club

    Argon/Co2 is good for welding steel it will give better penatration than straight Argon. If you are having lots of slag and you are eating tungston you are touching your tungston in the weld pool or with your filler rod. also you should not use welding rod that you use for gas welding. Your machiene has a setting for polarity your ground should be + and tungston - polarty.
    Go to millerwelds.com they have a great help area. also order TIG Handbook for GTAW Gas Tungsten Arc Welding.
    I took a class at the collage it was a great help. They start you with gas welding to teach how to chase the puddle.
     
  16. 392_hemi
    Joined: Jun 16, 2004
    Posts: 1,737

    392_hemi
    Member

    Don't mean to be a jerk, but this is pretty basic stuff. You should look into taking a TiG course at your local community college, or at least get a decent book. Miller has an excellent TiG welding handbook with lots of useful info.
     
  17. kustomfordman
    Joined: Feb 28, 2006
    Posts: 439

    kustomfordman
    Member

    I appreciate the advice. No luck on welding courses here...I live in Santa Fe, NM...the world functions quite differently here. I have downloaded the pdf versions of the Miller handbook. Yes its a good sorce, but I think it lacks in areas...IMO. I'm not really much of a book guy anyways, hands-on and fucking things up is the best way to learn for me.

    Dirt t is the only one that suggest using the mixed shielding gas. Don't confuse me now, I plan on getting some straight argon and save the other stuff for the MIG.

    Anyways, I will check the polarity.
     
  18. Make sure you learn how to push the filler rod with you fingers so that the distance between your hand and the work area does not close up as you use more filler rod. I have heard of guys taking a piece of filler rod and practicing feeding it through their finger while they watch t.v. to practice. That way you can feed rod without having to move your hand infornt of you field of view.
     
  19. theunforguven
    Joined: Mar 24, 2008
    Posts: 22

    theunforguven
    Member
    from U.K.

    use co2 mix for thick materials and stainless steel welding. there is no need for thin sheet metal welding.
     
  20. lostn51
    Joined: Jan 24, 2008
    Posts: 1,667

    lostn51
    Member

    that is what i use for Aluminum, Magnisium, and Titanium. anytime you add Helium to the mix you get a deeper penetration. if your welding 3/8 plate and up Argon/Helium mix is the way to go. the CO2 mix is what you use with a Mig and if you Tig with it it will fall apart and look like ass, the molecules will crystallize and it will crack and break.
     
  21. toddc
    Joined: Nov 25, 2007
    Posts: 982

    toddc
    Member


    True, but in reality there is always a gap somewhere. Have your filler rod ready.


    When I first got my TIG I tried it with a CO2 mix gas from the MIG. Did just what you have described. Pure argon is the only way.
     
  22. kustomfordman
    Joined: Feb 28, 2006
    Posts: 439

    kustomfordman
    Member

    HOLY CRAP!!!! I just brought home a bottle of straight argon. That was the ticket for sure. All my problems from my first post are gone. Thats what you get for saying to yourself, "hey, I know, I will just swap the tank back and forth depending on which welder I am using."

    I just finished a few but welds without filler and couldn't be happier with the results. Thanks to all for your advice to a newbie tig owner.
     

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