Welding is a dynamic skilled trade that requires welders to master a variety of different welding techniques. Professionals who can join metals in a wide range of applications have an advantage over the competition and provide additional value to their employees.
A common question among aspiring welders is, “What is the hardest weld to learn?” Although it all boils down to subjective experience, there are some welding techniques that seem to give welders a harder time than others.
Let’s dive into them!
What is the most difficult weld?
Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding is widely considered the most challenging welding process to learn. The sheer complexity of the technique requires more practice and focus to master than other less-technical welding methods.
TIG welding also results in some of the strongest and sturdiest welds in the industry. In fact, it’s the preferred welding technique in the aerospace industry where welds have to withstand tough conditions.
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Still, TIG welding has various applications in fields such as medical, military, energy, and technology.
What makes TIG welding so difficult?
TIG welding is a complex technique that requires high attention to detail, steady hands, and patience. There are a number of factors that make it more challenging than other welding processes.
There are more variables.
TIG welding is much more involved than other welding styles. You have to master, manage, and maintain more pieces of hardware to perfect the TIG weld. On top of that, you need to actively worry about more variables than normal such as current, gas cooling, and heating.
The sheer number of components to keep in mind can make TIG welding a bit intimidating for new welders.
The foot pedal is tricky.
One of the toughest aspects of TIG welding is getting used to the foot pedal.
Unlike other welding techniques, the TIG process requires welders to control the amperage with their feet.
Although the pedal makes for a more dynamic weld, it’s tough for beginners to keep their feet still for extended periods of time. Even a little bit of imbalance can lead to imperfections in the weld.
Contamination is easier.
Contamination is harder to avoid when performing a TIG weld. The tungsten electrode doesn’t disintegrate throughout the weld like with stick welding.
This makes it essential to keep the tungsten away from steel, aluminum, and the filler rod. The smallest bit of contact can result in contamination which prevents the tungsten from holding a solid arc, effectively compromising it.
The replacement doesn’t take a lot of time, but it’s a hassle when you’re in the middle of a weld.
All the intricacies of TIG welding make it a slower process when compared to MIG, stick, and other welding techniques.
Welders who are only used to these quicker processes will be challenged to maintain their steadiness, concentration, and coordination throughout the whole weld.
Of course, going too slow during a TIG weld has its negative effects as well. Welders really have to take their time to master the tempo of this highly intricate and sensitive type of welding.
How long does it take to learn TIG welding?
Everyone develops welding techniques at different paces, so it’s difficult to give an accurate estimation.
In general, welders need a minimum of 40 hours to learn the basics of this welding process. The key to mastering TIG welding, like any technique, is to practice regularly.
Tips for learning TIG welding.
Clear away debris.
As mentioned before, tungsten is more susceptible to contamination than other welding materials, making it essential for welders to clean the metals before beginning. All you need is a few minutes to clear any debris to decrease the chances of ruining a weld.
TIG welding requires welders to remain concentrated and controlled for extended periods of time as even the slightest offset can ruin the quality of the weld. Before striking an arc, it’s important to get as comfortable as possible. This can help improve the quality of the weld overall.
Find the best angle.
As with any welding technique, there’s a precise angle you need to maintain between the base metal and the torch for optimized results. For TIG welding, that sweet spot is between 15 and 45 degrees. This gives you enough visibility of the weld without compromising shielding gas coverage.
Now that you have a better understanding of TIG welding’s complexity, learn about 3 TIG welding projects beginners can use to perfect their skills. Interested in learning more about Welding training at Tulsa Welding School? Contact us now.