How to use a TIG welder?

TIG welding remains one of the best choices from a few options like a stick, MIG, Oxyacetylene, among others. It would help if you had a comprehensive guide to take you through how to use a TIG welder. 

You can use a TIG welder in welding titanium, copper, and two different metals. TIG welding is appropriate in producing tricky welds like s-curves on welding on round materials.

TIG produces heat through an electric arc, jumping from a tungsten metal electrode to your workpiece, usually steel or aluminum. TIG is an abbreviation of Tungsten Inert Gas. Let us see how we can use a TIG welder for welding.

How to use a TIG welder step by steps guide

Step 1: Select a suitable electrode

Before using a TIG welder kick-off, you need to make sure that your TIG has the correct elect rod. Tungsten rod is the best choice for aluminum. Alternatively, you can still choose from various tungsten; involving thoriated tungsten that is radioactive. They are designed explicitly to welder specific metallic alloys.

Step 2: Grinding the electrode

After choosing a suitable electrode rod, the next thing will be to grind it to acceptable grounds. Doing so is necessary, especially when the tungsten rod is brand-new without a rounded or pointed tip yet. Here, welding will make the tip of the rod round as a result of heat.

However, it is advisable to use a balled tip when AC welding. On the other hand, for Direct Current, use a pointed edge. This sharp tip will produce a more directed and smaller arc. So, the angle will dance around from the rounded end.

Step3: Inserting the electrode onto its collet

Under this step, you will have to open the electrode holder and the fix in the rod. Make sure the electrode’s tip is about ¼-inch from the protective sheath. However, make sure the length of the electrode from the sheath isn’t that more.

You can skip this step if your electrode is already in place. 

Step 4: choosing the settings

The standard TIG rig should have three major electricity options, i.e., DCEP, AC, and DCEN.  If you are handling aluminum, choose the AC option. Adjust the “Cleaning/Penetrating” to “penetrating” setting ranging from 1-10 on a scale of 7.

If you have the “Air on” option, set it to about 6 seconds. This is the exact time that the gas will stay after stopping the arc. Doing so will prevent the weld from rusting or oxidizing. The Max Amps should be about 250. 

DCEP stands for DC Electrode Positive. This setting is always ideal for balling tungsten sticks or tips. 

DCEN is the abbreviation for DC, Electrode Negative suitable for welding steel. The electricity flow direction is the only difference between these two DC settings. 

Step 5: Switch ON the gas

Here, you will have to be careful not to confuse gas selection. If you plan to work on aluminum, it is advisable to utilize pure argon. On the other hand, argon/carbon dioxide is suitable for steel. 

Choosing the right gas is essential to prevent your weld from corrosion. Metals quickly rust when brought to high temperatures. 

Step 6: Preparing the Welding table and metal

After turning ON  the gas, it is now time to arrange and set your welding table. You can use a purchased welding table or any flat sheet of metal. A little trick: it is recommendable to use wire brushes for scrubbing metallic surfaces. Don’t interchange brushes; use the aluminum brush for aluminum and not for steel. 

More so, you can wipe down welding rods using acetone to produce professional and good-looking welds. Doing so will also make metals with a nice finish and strong. 

You need to clamp the metallic pieces to hold them in one place while welding under this step. Sometimes you can apply anti-spatter on the welding table to prevent your workpiece from sticking in the welding table. 

Step 7: Dressing up

Your safety comes first; otherwise, TIG may leave with sunburns. Sometimes you may go blind. It is advisable to put on some safety clothing like leather welding gloves, closed-toe shoes, and a welding helmet. 

To keep yourself from sunburns, put on a long-sleeved jacket or shirt or any welding coat. Make sure the helmet is clean to give you a clear view of the workpiece. Some people are in love with auto-darkening helmets, while others don’t consider it the best. 

Sometimes you may need a bright flashlight to light the workpiece if you don’t wish to lift your head while welding. 

Step 8: Welding

This is step will lack meaning without the above ones. In short, if you are through with the above steps, let us now begin to weld. Take the electrode 1 inch from your workpiece. Avoid touching the metal holding the electrode. If you do so, it will make the aluminum to leap into the electrode. 

If such a mistake happens, don’t worry; empty the rod holder after switching off the welder. It would be best if you started welding on edge after heating the metal. The metal will turn to fluid, forming a weld pool. Hold in the rod and avoid heating your metal for a long time. It may warp. 

Easing the pedal should come after the weld pool is started. Doing so will control the production of current and heat on your workpiece. Keep on changing the metal sides to obtain uniform weld shrinks.

Step 9: Drawing a Bead

After tackling, you need to disconnect any clamps. Jamming the pedal down will enable you to begin a weld pool. 

Frequently asked questions

What is the meaning of DCEP in TIG welding?

DCEP stands for DC Electrode Positive

Can I use thoriated tungsten as an electrode?

Yes, it can make an excellent substitute for any tungsten rod.


There you have an ultimate guide on how to use a TIG welder. This article is handy and can smoothly take you through the entire process. TIG welding can cause more harm when you don’t consider safety measures. Please, put on some safety welding gloves, helmets, a welding jacket, and closed-toe shoes. 

All these safety measures will prevent you from sunburns, hand burns, and prevent you from blindness. Make use of the above guide to obtain a nice-looking finish and professional results.