TIG stands for tungsten inert gas, and the welding process is often simply called TIG welding. It is one of the most versatile and popular types of welding because it can produce high-quality, clean welds across a spectrum of metals.1
You may also see TIG welding referred to as GTAW welding, or gas tungsten arc welding.2 TIG, or GTAW, welding uses inert gas and a non-consumable tungsten electrode to create arcs of up to 11,000 degrees Fahrenheit!2
TIG welding can be used with practically any type of metal, making it a top choice in many industries.1 For example, TIG welding is often used for steel, but can also be effective with gold, bronze, brass and aluminum.3
The process works for metals of nearly any thickness, including as thin as half a millimeter.1 It’s popular because it can be applied in nearly any physical position, such as overhead or at an angle.1
This list of 5 TIG welding careers outlines some of the options for TIG welders.
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1. Structural Welding
Structural welding is a big part of the construction industry. Structural welders are often tasked with constructing metal frameworks for large structures, such as buildings and bridges, as well as repairing beams, columns and girders.4
Commercial-grade steel is the most common material used in structural welding. TIG welding is an essential welding method when it comes to precision welding with stainless steel, aluminum, bronze and copper.4,5 Other types of welding commonly used in construction include MIG, SMAW and FCAW.5
Structural welding has its own set of codes, blueprints and weld joints.4 Reading blueprints in order to fabricate large metal structures is a major part of this welding career. Being organized, maintaining safety and achieving a high level of skill in welding are some of the other important traits for this career path.6
2. Pipe Welding
Pipe welding is exactly as it sounds; welders in this industry use various methods to weld pipes together, including installing, maintaining, assembling and repairing structural piping systems.7,8
TIG welding, MIG welding as well as arc welding, are commonly employed in pipe welding.7
Pipe welders may work in a variety of settings, from commercial buildings to construction sites.9
In order to be a successful pipe welder, there are a couple of key things to keep in mind:
- First, make sure to properly prepare the pipes, ensuring they are aligned.7
- Because pipe welding involves many variables, including different welds for different materials, welders must follow the Welding Procedure Specification, or WPS, which is a document outlining proper codes.7
Pipefitter training can offer an entry-level overview of many different types of welding, including TIG, that are used in a pipe welding career.
3. Aerospace Welding
TIG welding got its start in the aerospace industry in the 1940s.10 The process is still used today in aircraft welding.11
The clean, strong weld joints of TIG welding make it an appropriate application for assembling and repairing airplane components.11 Metals in the aerospace industry may include carbon steel, stainless steel and aluminum.12 TIG welding may also be needed to work on nickel, magnesium, titanium, cobalt or niobium.13
In fact, TIG welding was designed specifically for the aerospace industry because of the odd metals, extreme challenges and high stakes involved with airplane manufacturing.13 TIG welding allows for pinpoint control of the arc, creating extremely precise welds.13 Welding is an essential part of keeping aircraft safe for passengers.13
4. Automotive Welding
TIG welding is used in the auto industry and can be especially useful for auto repairs and customization. MIG and stick welding are also commonly used when welding a car’s framework, but TIG welding is more appropriate when welding other components that may need a lighter touch.14
TIG welding meets the high standards for vehicle safety in the automotive industry, both in consumer vehicles and competitive racing.14
An auto welder may use TIG welding frequently on both the heavy and thin pieces of a car, and the major benefits of TIG in all industries also apply to car manufacturing and repair: versatility and clean, quality welds.14
The main thing to be aware of when using TIG with cars is that the high frequency of TIG welding machines could damage sensitive electrical equipment if not properly anticipated and mitigated by a skilled and experienced professional.14
5. Thin Alloy Welding
Thin alloys are often found in electronics and technology.15 TIG is uniquely suited to work well with thin materials, more so than other types of welding.14
Aluminum can be less than 0.060 inches thick, meaning that the welding process is going to be more difficult.16 However, if you know how to TIG weld on thicker metals, thin alloy welding is a skill that can be learned with the same motor skills through practice.16
Thin metals may need welding in many different applications, such as radiator membranes or air conditioning components.16
When it comes to TIG welding on thin metals, an easy and inexpensive way to practice is to punch a small hole in the bottom of an aluminum can and see if you can weld it back up.16
TIG Welding Training
Practice and experience can be surefire ways to keep improving your welding skills.
While TIG welding may be one of the more difficult and specialized welding skills to master, it is used in many different industries and applications. It is a manual process that requires two hands, one to hold the TIG torch and one to add filler metal to the joint. The process may be slow, but TIG welding is perfect for welding critical weld joints, welding metals other than steel and welding small, precise welds on thin metals.2
TIG welding is one type of welding that can be learned at welding school. Tulsa Welding School offers training in TIG, MIG, SMAW and fluxcore welding, as well as structural welding, pipe welding, aircraft welding and thin alloy welding. Call (855) 806-4921 for information about upcoming enrollment periods.
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