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Tanto
08-08-2011, 06:08 PM
There seems to be quite a number of different electrodes available, each presumably best suited for different tasks. I would like to know what other people use and recommend for welding with pure argon, both AC and DC up to around 130A or so. Most material I'm welding is relatively thin.

I've been using 2% Thoriated electrodes (red) for both AC and DC but don't weld AC as often as I would like to. Is this electrode capable of good service in both AC ad DC applications?

Thanks.

Boostinjdm
08-08-2011, 06:32 PM
There seems to be quite a number of different electrodes available, each presumably best suited for different tasks. I would like to know what other people use and recommend for welding with pure argon, both AC and DC up to around 130A or so. Most material I'm welding is relatively thin.

I've been using 2% Thoriated electrodes (red) for both AC and DC but don't weld AC as often as I would like to. Is this electrode capable of good service in both AC ad DC applications?

Thanks.

Thoriated and lanthanated will pretty much do anything. I do have a little more stable arc when using pure for AC though. Don't use pure if you have an inverter.

Tanto
08-08-2011, 07:22 PM
Yes sorry, I should have mentioned I have a new Chinese 200A inverter TIG

macona
08-08-2011, 08:50 PM
In that case use 2% ceriated. It is not as bad for you as thoriated.

Tanto
08-08-2011, 10:01 PM
In that case use 2% ceriated. It is not as bad for you as thoriated.

Do you think the slight radioactivity of thoriated is really a factor for the occasional welder?

Boostinjdm
08-08-2011, 10:14 PM
Do you think the slight radioactivity of thoriated is really a factor for the occasional welder?

Only if you eat it.....I'm getting kind of attached to my third leg.:D

AiR_GuNNeR
08-09-2011, 07:41 AM
Only if you eat it.....I'm getting kind of attached to my third leg.:D

I was born with mine!:D

Tanto
08-09-2011, 08:13 PM
If thoriated (for example) will do pretty much everything, why are there so many different types available? If we rule out pure tungsten as "old technology" as far as the newer inverter welders anyway, what about all the other alloys available?

Mcostello
08-09-2011, 10:06 PM
We only need one kind of soap too! How about something as simple as a drinking straw?

Tanto
08-10-2011, 05:57 PM
We only need one kind of soap too! How about something as simple as a drinking straw?

I have no idea what that was supposed to mean. These are industrial products provided to fulfil a commercial demand, the supplier of one type sells all types. That is a long way from consumer products marketed to the mainstream public, or different manufacturers selling the same product with slight differences to differentiate themselves from the competition!

flathead4
08-10-2011, 07:23 PM
The link below from the Miller website explains the different electrodes. Scroll down to the charts. Miller recommends ceriated or lanthanated for Al and thoriated for steel. I think the differences are subtle but could make a big difference in certain situations. They make more than one style of hammer, don't they? Same sort of thing, I believe.:)

http://www.millerwelds.com/resources/tech_tips/TIG_tips/hints_tips.html

Tom

lazlo
08-10-2011, 07:38 PM
I've been using 2% Thoriated electrodes (red) for both AC and DC but don't weld AC as often as I would like to. Is this electrode capable of good service in both AC ad DC applications?

Thoriated is meant for DC applications. It's not ideal for AC.

Lanthanated electrodes are more general-purpose. Good for AC or DC. They seem to be replacing thoriated because of that, and because they're not radioactive (although every welding text and OSHA indicates that Thoriated electrodes are safe if you don't go out of your way to breath the grinding dust).

I've tried both the 1.5% and the 2% Lanthanated, and can't tell the difference. It may be that 2% has higher current carrying capacity.

http://www.plansee.com/tig-welding-electrodes.htm

http://i164.photobucket.com/albums/u15/rtgeorge_album/tigelectrodes.jpg

kf2qd
08-10-2011, 10:08 PM
If you are doing production work (used to build hardfacing systems - ran 4 to 6 hours continuous bead) you might need to pay attention. If you are doing in low production applications then buy what makes sense financially and you will probably never notice...

BigMike782
08-11-2011, 04:19 PM
Conventional thinking is pure for non-ferrous and 2% thoriated for ferrous with transformer machines and 2% ceriated for all materials with inverters.
I have started to use 2% ceriated for everything with very good results on my Syncrowave.
There are 2 aluminum boat mfgs around me that use 2% thoriated and always have.

Ironheart
08-12-2011, 03:09 PM
I weld quite thin metal .030" to .064" 6061-T6 aluminum and 4130 steel. (Not to one another.) I use 2% lanthanum (Blue) most often.

At low current "30 amps or less" ark wonder starts to become a problem. This is where the tungsten's tip shape comes into play.
For best results the tip should be sharp like a needle.

When closely looked at the tip should have smooth sides.
Circular or spiral grinding lines disrupt the shielding gas path and you loose the nicely coned shaped arc.
I think this is called ark blow.?. By any rate the arc starts somewhere other than you expected.
To get the ark back on track you must increase the current. Sometimes this works and sometimes you blow a hole.
Parallel grinding lines are sort of ok although they can still can cause arc wander at lower currents.

Try welding razor blades (10 -15 Amps) and you will see what I'm
talking about.

If you are welding .125" steel (125 Amps) I don't think tungsten
type makes much of a difference. Except for "Green" which sucks all a round.

Hope this helped someone,

Ironheart...

BigMike782
08-12-2011, 04:41 PM
"Circular or spiral grinding lines disrupt the shielding gas path"
It does not affect gas flow but will give an erradic arc.

"I think this is called ark blow"
Arc blow happens with DC stick welding mainly and is caused by the magnetism of the weld causing the arc to wander.

lazlo
08-12-2011, 10:29 PM
I weld quite thin metal .030" to .064" 6061-T6 aluminum and 4130 steel. (Not to one another.) I use 2% lanthanum (Blue) most often.

Have you tried the 1.5% (Gold) Lanthinated? I've been buying those because they're substantially cheaper than 2%. But if you can really tell the difference...

Ironheart
08-13-2011, 12:21 AM
Have you tried the 1.5% (Gold) Lanthinated? I've been buying those because they're substantially cheaper than 2%. But if you can really tell the difference...

I don't think I have tried Gold tungsten.
I got a real good deal on both .040" and
1/16" Blue. I think I paid around
$10.00 per 10 pack of .040" and about
$12.00 per 10 pack of 1/16".

If you have good results with Gold I see no reason to change...

Ironheart...

Highpower
08-13-2011, 07:30 AM
I don't think I have tried Gold tungsten.
I got a real good deal on both .040" and
1/16" Blue. I think I paid around
$10.00 per 10 pack of .040" and about
$12.00 per 10 pack of 1/16".

If you have good results with Gold I see no reason to change...

Ironheart...If I may..... where did you find the 2% at those prices?

Ironheart
08-13-2011, 08:55 AM
If I may..... where did you find the 2% at those prices?

My local AirGas dealer. It took a little talking and I purchased
10 packs each.

Arc Zone has 2% .040" for $11.52 and 1/16" for $18.39
They really take a bite out of you starting with 3/32" @ $32.34

http://www.arc-zone.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=14_155&products_id=8660

Ironheart...

Ironheart
08-13-2011, 09:27 AM
I did a little digging around and found this article:

http://www.pro-fusiononline.com/tungsten/radioactivity.htm

IAW the article, 1.5% Lanthinated tungsten is becoming the standard.
I'm sure that is why it is less costly than the other available options.

Ironheart...

Highpower
08-13-2011, 10:15 AM
Arc Zone has 2% .040" for $11.52 and 1/16" for $18.39
They really take a bite out of you starting with 3/32" @ $32.34

Ironheart... Ok, thanks for the info. I bought some from Diamond Ground Products (http://www.diamondground.com/lanthanated_blue.html), which are a little bit cheaper than Arc-Zone - but they also seem to have a much finer finish to them as well.


I did a little digging around and found this article:

http://www.pro-fusiononline.com/tung...ioactivity.htm (http://www.pro-fusiononline.com/tungsten/radioactivity.htm)

IAW the article, 1.5% Lanthinated tungsten is becoming the standard.
I'm sure that is why it is less costly than the other available options.

It's interesting that they only stock 3 types of electrodes, and 2% Lanthanated isn't one of them. Hmmmm...

http://www.pro-fusiononline.com/products/tungsten.htm

Ironheart
08-13-2011, 11:45 AM
Ok, thanks for the info. I bought some from Diamond Ground Products (http://www.diamondground.com/lanthanated_blue.html), which are a little bit cheaper than Arc-Zone - but they also seem to have a much finer finish to them as well.

Thanks for the URL! Their prices do look better.
They offer free sample so I have one on the way.

Ironheart...

Krunch
08-15-2011, 12:46 PM
FWIW, I get some really good prices on 2% lanthanated tungstens from China on ebay.

I'm a beginner, but they seem to work fine.

Tanto
08-15-2011, 06:37 PM
I must admit this is one area where I'd rather pay the extra and have a greater likelihood of getting what I paid for. Even though many of the "name brands" are probably just using Chinese tungsten anyway, I figure a large brand will possibly keep an eye on quality and high use welders would start noticing if there were any differences. Otherwise I've just bought from HF, where the electrodes are simply labelled "Tig electrode"!

lazlo
08-15-2011, 06:56 PM
Even though many of the "name brands" are probably just using Chinese tungsten anyway

I know the Esab and Anchor brand electrodes I've bought are made in China. I'm curious about the brand Highpower posted -- I'll give it a shot.

Highpower
08-15-2011, 10:01 PM
lazlo, FYI:


Frequently Asked Questions: Tungsten

Q: Where does Diamond Ground Products tungsten come from?
A: Diamond Ground Products has 3 major suppliers of quality tungsten:
Sylvania / GTP® - Made in the USA
Wolfram Industries® - Made in Germany
Plansee® - Made in AustriaOn some occasions, we also may import tungsten from China upon customer requests, and we have numerous companies we can work with.

rohart
08-23-2011, 06:37 PM
Do I think there is a serious risk of my contracting a cancer by using thoriated tungsten occasionally ? No.

Do I feel bad every time I grind a thoriated electrode ? Yes.

I had zirconated for ally, and I tried it on steel. No problems. So now I use zirconated all the time.

I don't know how zirconated differs from ceriated. I did hear a few years ago that there were plans to set up a large zircon mining facility on the islands of Lewis and Harris in the Scottish Hebrides, but I doubt that has anything to do with the ready availablility of zirconated this side of the pond.

Anyway, it welds fine for my purposes.

boslab
09-04-2011, 08:46 PM
With my tig [butters] half the time im using the wrong electrode, the rest i dont know which one im on cos ive forgot! i just seem to adjust to the different electrode charicter without really thinking!
as for the spiral grinding thing 'Circular or spiral grinding lines disrupt the shielding gas path and you loose the nicely coned shaped ark.
I think this is called ark blow.?. By any rate the ark starts somewhere other than you expected.
To get the ark back on track you must increase the current. Sometimes this works and sometimes you blow a hole.
Parallel grinding lines are sort of ok although they can still can cause ark wander at lower currents.'
I belive that the flow of electrons is stabalised by the addition eg thorium etc and fact that they flow along thr grinding marks, grinding should be towards the tip.

Taper Grinding: The most important element of proper taper grinding is that the
electrode must be ground longitudinally (lengthwise). Grinding electrode tips crosswise
has a negative effect on the stability and formation of the arc at the electrode tip.
Tungsten electrodes are manufactured with the molecular structure of the grain running
lengthwise and thus grinding crosswise is “grinding against the grain.” More importantly,
electrons flow at a greater density on the surface of the electrode. If electrodes are
ground or polished crosswise, the electrons have to jump across the grinding marks.
The arc begins before the tip, spreads out, and usually wanders. The tungsten electrode
becomes overheated and wears out more quickly. By grinding longitudinally with the
grain, the electrons are led steadily and with less difficulty to the extreme tip of the
tungsten electrode. The arc starts straight and remains narrow, concentrated, and
stable. The electrode is subjected to less Thermal shock, and therefore lasts longer.
Figure 4 provides an example of correct and incorrect grinding.
the above was copied from biamondgrounds manual of electrodes, you can find it on;
http://www.diamondground.com/downloads.html
mark

Farndurk
09-09-2011, 09:50 PM
Been tigging since 1982 with this beasty ....

http://i278.photobucket.com/albums/kk101/SiloScience/General%20Shop/DialarcHF-001.jpg

I was a warranty tech for Miller for nearly 17 years, and even so I still love my old Dialarc HF. Something about that old boat anchor. I know every single part of that machine inside and out. I must have repaired two hundred of those things in my time. Great old heavy ass rectifier weldor. Diodes as big as golf balls. All copper windings, that were hand wound and initialed with the winder's signature. Only one single PC board that controls post flow .. all else is 100% electro-mechanical. Weighs an easy 450 or so. 100% air cooled torch as well. Total old school. The cooling fan is as loud as a small jet engine (well, not really .. bit it is pretty loud!). Back before noise polution in shops was even thought about. I know the local schools all had these ... it was really loud in the labs when all of the kids were going at it at once. I used to service all of the high schools and the local college here as well.

Tungsten choices? General fab, motorcycles, dune buggies, everwhat. I've used almost nothing but 2% Thoriated all along. Well, good old trxfrmr machine calls for old ideas I suppose. Sold welding supplies for 20 years up to 1999 and never even heard of lanthium or the other exotics until I read this thread!. Living in this cave of mine in Yuma Arizona. :)

Anyhow. When I use it on AC I first put my machine in DC REVERSE (stick position) ... yup ... electrode positive. Very low current, makes a KILLER ball shape on the end with like 30 or 40 amps. Be careful, you can roast a tungsten in seconds if you mash on the pedal too hard here. DCR is not something that your little 3/32 tung is gonna like too much if you mash the gas! When done with creating a new ball tip, put your machine back to AC and tear it up. I've always found this method to make a superior ball. You can shape it to your liking quite easily by allowing the ball to "droop" a bit under current.

Shielding gas can make an enormous difference in good starts. Helium is a horrible conductor of electricity, but a great conductor of heat. So it's lousy for arc (arc .. with a "c") starts but great for doing heavy aluminum et al. So if you're doing really light stuff make sure your local gas supplier hasn't sold you some "wonder gas" (Like Blue Shield or the like). It will only get in your way for light stuff. I mix all my own gases. It's not hard nor critical.

On tungsten grinding. Dedicate a wheel to that end. If you use a grinder that is used for other stuff it can embed junk in the striations that the stone leaves in the tip.

Jsyk, we sold Blue Shield for nearly 15 years. Meh ... so/so. GrrrEAT markup and profit margins on those mixtures though! Standard 75/25 (for mig) sold all day for about $40 per 280 cf cylinder. Blue Shield #8 sold for $96 bux for the same quantity! So those high profit margins alone should be a red flag for you of "Buyer Beware!". Straight Ar for light stuff, add Helium as needed for heavier stuff (any types, ferrite or not). Straight He for really heavy stuff like tranmission housings and such.

That's all I got. Later from the isolated idiot! :) Haahaa!

:)

Ironheart
09-09-2011, 10:14 PM
Hi Farndurk!

It's great to receive comments from an expert!
I'm very glad you pointed out 75/25 (Argon/CO2) is used with MIG not
TIG. There has been some confusion about that in the past.

Once again thanks...

Ironheart...