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Practical TIG Welding: Welder Settings

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Welder Settings


00:00 - When you first take a look at your new welder, the sheer number of buttons, dials and settings to trawl through can be a little overwhelming but once you understand what everything does and how it can help you, it'll all start to make sense.
00:14 We're going to get into how to make the most out of all of these features soon but for now, let's start with a simple understanding of what they are and what they do.
00:22 First off, if you have a DC only TIG welder, then you're limited to welding ferrous metals like mild steel, chromoly, stainless and titanium.
00:31 If you have an AC/DC welder as we've already learned, the AC mode can expand your welding capabilities to aluminium as well.
00:39 Switching between modes on AC/DC welders is simple and AC mode will open up a few more settings that relate to the adjustment of the alternating current.
00:48 AC balance and frequency settings for example help optimise the aluminium welding process.
00:54 High frequency TIG welders give you the option of using high frequency start, scratch start or lift start.
01:01 Scratch and lift start require contact of the tungsten on the job to initiate the arc whereas high frequency start doesn't which is why it's recommended for all our motorsport use and should be always switched on to allow contact free starting of the arc.
01:16 Some machines will also have a 2T and 4T mode that dictates how we initiate and finish the welding process which we'll cover in more detail in its own separate section.
01:27 Now it's time to step through the different parts of the TIG welding cycle and take a look at what's happening at each point.
01:35 Let's start with the pre flow.
01:37 This is simply the amount of time that the gas solenoid allows the gas through the torch before the arc begins.
01:43 This allows a nice gas shield to be set up around the tungsten and floods the workpiece before welding begins.
01:50 Keep in mind that different materials require different amounts of pre flow which we'll detail further in the material specific welding skills section.
01:58 At the beginning of the cycle, we also have the start amps and upslope which allows us to ease into the welding cycle once the button or foot pedal is depressed.
02:08 Start amps are a percentage of our set amperage and the upslope is the amount of time that it takes for this percentage to transition into our set amperage.
02:18 This initiates the arc softly and can allow you to get in position and see exactly where you're working before the weld amps rise and creates the molten weld pool.
02:29 Next, we have the pulse setting which defines the switching of the machine between a set peak amperage and a base or background amperage as it's sometimes known.
02:38 This can be extremely useful when welding thinner materials as it reduces the amount of heat applied to the part.
02:45 This is due to the weld current being pulsed rather than consistent.
02:49 As the amperage increases and the weld pool is created, the filler rod is then added into the pool.
02:55 As the amperage drops to your base amps, the torch can then be moved forwards slightly and the process is repeated when the amps rise again.
03:03 The pulse frequency and pulse balance can be set to your personal preference and the speed that you're moving the torch at.
03:10 This can also be used to keep a consistent rhythm to your weld and the addition of the filler rod which can help keep your weld beads looking tidy and consistent.
03:20 The pulse frequency determines how many times per second the amperage will switch from the peak to base setting and this is measured in hertz.
03:28 A frequency setting of 1 hertz means that the machine will travel to peak amperage and back to base amperage in one second while a setting of two hertz would mean the machine does this twice per second.
03:40 As you can imagine, this is quite a large change so you'll find that machines have a much finer adjustment on the frequency scale, allowing an adjustment of perhaps 0.1 hertz.
03:50 It will take time to find the settings that work for you, the material you're working on and mostly the speed you're able to weld at.
03:58 As a beginner, you'll probably find that you're better to start at a lower frequency and as you progress your skills and start to move faster, you can increase the frequency to suit.
04:08 Pulse balance is measured as a percentage of time spent at the peak amperage with relation to the pulse frequency.
04:15 For example, a 50% pulse balance setting means that the machine will spend the same amount of time at the peak and base amps.
04:23 A lower pulse balance would input less heat into the material but also means there's less time for a weld pool to be established.
04:30 Down slope and end amps complete the cycle and can assist with weld craters that can happen when shutting off the arc too early.
04:39 Running a downslope cycle can help blend and assist with the finishing of the weld, especially on aluminium where it can suffer from a drop in bead profile near the end of the weld.
04:50 Once the weld has been completed, we need to protect it as it cools.
04:54 Post flow refers to the continuation of gas flow after the arc has ceased.
04:58 It helps us cool the workpiece under the shield of argon gas.
05:03 Aluminium and mild steel don't require much post flow but for more reactive metals like chromoly, stainless steel and titanium, the higher the heat, the longer the post flow we'll need.
05:15 For AC welding of aluminium, we have a couple of additional settings such as AC frequency and balance but there's a bit to understand with these settings so they warrant their own section and will be covered next.

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