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Discussion Starter #1
I'm trying to tig weld a Stainless Steel park tank. The SS is just a hair smaller than a 1/16 inch thick. I'm using a 1/16 inch 2% Throated Tungsten Electrode. My stainless filler rod is about as thick as the stainless sheet steel. I start the arc and it burns through very easily before it melts the filler rod. I turn the amps down and I can't start an arc. My work bench has a Galvanized steel top, and I'm using a harbor freight tig welder. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I'm in the phoenix area and would travel for some help. Thanks
 

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BeltFed GURU
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URAR1004
old trick hammer your filler rod in to a flat ribbon so it will melt with less heat also if you can form the corners of the tank into an edge weld instead of a fillet weld and run down hill with the weld after tacking every 1/2"

the other trick is to lay the filler rod on to the piece (full length of the weld )and heat it first and wash the arc out on to the sheet to get fusion

my final in TIG was welding a beer can to 1/2" plate :eek: :eek: :eek: :D
 

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Be sure to have as little as possible gap between your two pieces, also as belt fed frog said be sure to put plenty of tacks or it will look like a wash board. You didn't specify if you was running a dry rig or a wet rig. If you are using a dry rig especially be sure your tungston is very sharp and the grind marks on the tungston is pointing towards the tip. If it was me I would get a perfect fit and fuse it all up and you couldnt even tell there was a weld there. I hope that helped alittle and Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #4
joshgar8, if you are asking if I have dry rig/air cooled that's what I have. And the arc does seem to jump, I think I don't have the piece grounded as good as it should be. Can I attach the ground directly to the piece that I'm working on?

Is this the correct way to grind the Tungsten Electrode?




I have about an 1/8 inch over hang to help me weld (is this a fillet weld)




Thanks for the Advice! Keep it comming.
 

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in addition to all the other advice you could clamp a copper bar behind the joint to act as a heat sinkand a backing in casse you burn though.
 

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With that overlap it should be no problem to weld up. I would suspect the welder. How low can you get the amps? Do you have good gas flow? Are you using Argon? CO2 won't do it. Do you have a foot control , or are you just running off the panel? Keep as short a gap as you can between the part ,and the tungsten. ( you meant 2% thoriated not throated-right?) What grade of stainless is it? Some stainless is non weldable by normal methods. With a foot control you should be able to establish an arc with very low amperage, then bring it up until it starts to puddle. Stainless really wants to warp when heat is applied. Keep the welds short after tacking it every inch ,or less. Stitch the seams, don't do it as a continuous weld IE; skip back and forth over the seam letting the last weld cool down. For clean welds inside the tank (no cauliflower) you will need to seal ,and purge the inside with argon.

Yes , always ground directly to the part when possible. This is very important when welding aluminum,and magnesium.

I did a lot of welding on thinner sheet stainless at my last job. It isn't that bad once you get some practice in. Try just welding some scrap parts before diving into your tank. Do you have a community college nearby? They usually have a welding course, you could hit them up for help too. Practice ,practice ,practice.
 

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URAR1004, You have the right idea about the tungston, I use a 4 inch hand sander to sharpen mine, but you have the right idea. You do need to ground directly to the part and as Biggundoctor said and you do need to be running straight Argon. It would also help if you was running a small cup, that helps pinpoint the arc. With the dry rig you have I am assuming it is a 110 buzz box that I have seen at harbor frieght. I have used them in the past and find it very difficult to do what you are doing with a welder of that nature. That looks like 18 or 20 gauge and with that thin material and that much weld you might have some warping issues, they sell a clay type substance that you spread on the metal on either side of the seem and it takes any unwanted heat away to stop the warping, it works really well. The tungston I usually run for 16-20 gauge 304-309 stainless is 1/16 2% (red tip) made by radon, the same thing as airco. You want that seam to be a really tight fit or it WILL continue to open up, no matter what kinda equipment you have. Also be patient with your puddle, throwing alot of heat really fast can make it sugar like that and with stainless once its has sugered the nickel has already been burned out of the stainless, and its hard to make the seam look nice again..............Josh
 

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FOR URAR1004 : I have looked at getting one of those H-freight Tig units, but have some questions. First one would be what kind of tank did you get ? Is it a standard type that can be found anywhere, or is it one that only HF sells ? If it is standars I can did through the local scrap yard and find a decent one cheaper that in any store. And how much other than the welder do I have to look forward to spending ? If it is anything like my lathe, I can figure I will spend as much on tooling as for the machine itself.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Salt6 ? I didn?t even think of that, the elctroded that it came with is propably garbage, I have already purchased new 2% Thoriated Tungsten Electrodes I?ll swap it out. Salt thanks for your time on mg42.us!

Midnx ? Thanks I?ll get a copper bar, because so far I?ll I do is burn through.

Biggundoctor ? I?m using pure Argon, I don?t have a foot control it?s all off the panel. It?s a 130 amp tig. It?s a scratch start- So I touch the metal and pull back to start the arc, but some times the electrode sticks to the sheet. The welder can go so low that I can?t even start an arc.

Joshgar8 ? I?ll keep the seems tight and use a copper bar backing as a heat sink. The welder is a 220 volt 130 amp tig/90amp arc. What does it mean to sugar?

Striker754 ? Can I purchase a pedal and install it on a panel adjustable only unit?

Riss ? If you register at Harbor Freight they will e-mail you a 20% off coupon, wait until the welder goes on sale for I think $199.99, Once you get a tank $135 for a 55 cf tank, regulator, welding mask, gloves, electrodes, welding rod. You?ve spend well more than what the welder cost you., but it?s the best deal on a hobbyist TIG you can get!

Thanks!

Keep the advice coming!
 

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Sugaring, cauliflower,etc is what forms on the back side of the weld where the shielding gas cannot protect it. When overheated it will produce a billowing oxide.

If you are scratch starting and running off the panel, you will just have to keep dialing it down to get it to run right. You will also have to keep the welds short due to the fact that as the stainless keeps heating up from the weld you have no way to back off on the amperage to regulate the heat output.

You are fairly handicapped with that setup at the moment. It wouldn't be bad if it was .125" on up, but sheet is going to be tough. Especially if you don't have much practice at it. Like I mentioned earlier , get a bunch of scrap pieces to practice on. With low amperages you will need to keep a SHORT arc gap. So close that you think it may touch. You can also get some thinner rod. We had some that was .030" for small parts. You can also try putting a longer tip on the tungsten bringing it to a needle sharp point.

Just thought of another thing here. What polarity are you running? Is the torch +,or -?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The welder is very simple, just a dial for the current and the power switch.


 

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Set a small piece of copper next to the weld area, and strike the arc off of it. That way you won't contaminate the tungsten. I use Eutectic A rod for 316 stainless, and it works well. What type of stainless are you welding?
 

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You most likely know it already but have a nice sharp point on your electrode. I use tung sharp. With a needle point and a good rest for your torch hand you should be able to write your name with it. If your metal joint it tight your should be able to puddle it along with minimal filler rod used.
 

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Best thing to do is take it weld shop local ones will do for a small fee. Instead of copper you can use a chunk of alum instead. Make sure you have the polarity set right. if it's reverse it won't weld worth a ****. 220 volts is the only way to buy a welder 110 doesn't cut it for the stuff i work on. If your working on a seam that isn't welded make sure you tack the piss out it or the joint won't weld in such a thin gauge. Another little ditty you can try is tacking the seam and tapping lighty with a hammer and that should close up any gap left after tacking it up. Stainless steel hates heat it moves and bends much more then mild steel cold rolled or hot rolled. 14-18 gauge is fun to weld and you have to be watch how much heat you put to it. If you can't get it take it in.
 
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