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Practical TIG Welding: Foot Pedal Control

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Foot Pedal Control

04.01

00:00 - It's no secret that TIG welding is top of the class when it comes to heat control and that's because we can set our machine's amperage for our known material thickness and begin welding at a speed that'll suit the desired heat input.
00:13 As we've already touched on, if we're using a welding torch with amperage adjustment then we can fine tune our amps at our torch to suit our welding situation.
00:22 This gives us the ability to make changes without going back to the machine and because motorsport can require a lot of confined work inside vehicles, this can really save a lot of time.
00:33 One downside to this torch adjustment is that it can be a little tricky to concentrate on all of the vital aspects of TIG welding while also trying to decrease or increase our amperage at the torch.
00:45 Having the switch on your torch will also make it slightly larger and heavier and it's going to restrict your hand positioning to effectively operate it during a weld.
00:54 Because of all this, one of the most widely used forms of amperage control is a plug in foot pedal.
01:01 This uses a variable potentiometer that allows you to adjust the amperage just like you would the accelerator position in a car which gives us the ability to adjust our amperage control on the fly by depressing our foot pedal to 100% of our pre programmed amps then backing off if we require less amps and heat in our weld.
01:21 Working with aluminium is a great example of how useful a foot pedal's ability to control the weld can be.
01:28 Being a great conductor of heat, aluminium tends to soak up a lot of the heat initially before the molten weld pool forms.
01:36 This means that we've got to initiate the arc with more amps to start with before reducing the amps as we progress along the weld.
01:44 The foot pedal also allows us to quickly and easily modulate heat on unknown material thicknesses.
01:51 Imagine you're welding up a floor pan in a car with some sections being 3 layers thick.
01:56 In the same weld you might also come across a thin section that'll require you to back out of the pedal and lower your set amperage to just 50%.
02:04 thisThis allows you to then build up this thin section and continue the weld.
02:08 If we didn't have the foot pedal, we'd be forced to stop our weld and reduce the amperage at the torch or worse, at the machine before continuing on.
02:17 This isn't to say a foot pedal is essential if you want to become an expert at TIG welding and we find that this does come down to personal preference on the part of the welder as well as what you had available when you started learning.
02:30 You'll find experienced fabricators in the industry producing equally good welds with and without the foot pedal but it's important to understand the benefits it can offer, particularly on materials like aluminium.
02:43 An easy to overlook downside though of using a foot pedal is that they also take away the skill of learning what amps a certain thickness material is going to require.
02:54 This is because you're not going to be able to make an accurate correlation between your foot pedal position and the amps being supplied by your welder.
03:02 Building up this understanding is a valuable skill and it shouldn't be overlooked.
03:08 Using a foot pedal really is best suited to working in a seated position at a welding table where we're comfortable and easily able to manipulate the foot pedal as required.
03:19 While a lot of our welding tasks can be completed at a table like this, that's not always going to be the case and often it's just not going to be practical to utilise the foot pedal.
03:30 In this case, even if you're planning to add a foot pedal to your TIG setup, it's important to gain experience both with and without to improve your versatility.
03:40 To summarise, the foot pedal isn't an essential item but it can be an advantage particularly when welding material like aluminium.
03:48 Because it gives us very precise control over the amperage in real time, we're able to much more effectively tailor the arc to the exact needs of the material as we go.