Is TIG Welding Hard?

TIG or Tungsten Inert Gas welding is a technique that requires coordination, beading mastery, and overall clean craftsmanship. In other words, it’s not a welding practice fit for beginner’s hands.

This practice involves using a non-consumable electrode to fuse your parent metals. In some cases, you may also need to use a filler rod to fill in the gaps between your workpiece.

That being said, starting with MIG or stick welding is usually the preferable route to mastering welding. The final step usually involves TIG welding since it’s the most difficult to learn.

Stick around to learn more about why TIG welding is hard and how you can practice it. 

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Is TIG Welding Hard?

In short, TIG welding is hard to master for several reasons ranging from needing hand coordination to perfecting your beading technique. It is certainly more difficult than MIG or stick welding. It is also more difficult than brazing or soldering.

What Makes TIG Welding So Difficult?

Welding, in general, takes time to learn. You first need to begin with easier options such as stick welding before moving to TIG welding.

The prior calls for a consumable electrode which essentially melts into the base metal as you fuse the parent metals. These electrodes have coatings that emit shielding gases to protect your melting metal region from oxidization.

Having said that, here’s why TIG welding is so hard.

You Need Steady Hands

If you’ve seen someone TIG welding, chances are they’re furrowing their eyebrows in concentration under their protective mask. You’ll sometimes need to hold a filler rod metal piece along with the electrode component as you fuse your parent metals.

The hard part is trying to maintain a consistent distance between the workpiece and the electrode to create a balanced arc. Otherwise, you may get an uneven welding job.

If you’re a beginner and start TIG welding, you might end up accidentally bumping the filler rod with the electrode. Consequently, the latter will become contaminated and will need to be resharpened before the next use.

It Requires Multi-Tasking

On top of using both of your hands during welding, your foot is also on the welding machine’s pedal. This foot pedal is what triggers the arc to form.

Alternatively, you can scratch the electrode like a match and it’ll initiate the arc, but this method will need some practice to pick up.

Beading is Harder

A weld bead is a deposit created by the filler rods during the melting process. These bead lines are usually easy to create with MIG or stick welding.

You need to control the deposition rate from the welding machine and it’ll provide you with a consistent wire speed. On the other hand, TIG welding is more on the manual side.

Rather than have a wire speed, the deposition rate of TIG welding is more about the number of times you dab. The bead size you get depends on the filler rod’s diameter.

The dab frequency also affects how your work will turn out. Typically, you’ll want to find the right flow as you dab to produce sufficient results.

Common TIG Welding Mistakes

As you learn how to TIG weld, you’re bound to be met with some mistakes. Here’s what you can expect and avoid.

No Root Fusion

There are a lot of reasons why the fusion may not be working. You may not have the electrode close enough to the workpiece. The filler rod may not be feeding the fusion properly.

You may also be moving too quickly with the welding machine. To avoid this, try to keep your arc shorter and the filler rod close for a more precise welding job.

No Gas Protection

Having too much or too little gas shield around your workstation can impact your results. If there’s too much wind, then the shield will be ineffective. In turn, the melted metal will become contaminated.

To prevent this, be sure you have a gas cylinder with no leaks and set the gas flow rate to around 15 to 20 cubic feet per hour.

Crater Formation

You may notice a small hole forming in your fused metals whenever you’re done. This could be caused by decreasing the welding power. Subsequently, the melted metal pool may cool down too quickly.

You may have also removed the filler rod too quickly where you miss the last empty space. You can fix this issue by running it over once more with the TIG welder.

How to Learn TIG Welding at Home

Luckily, there’s no shortage of TIG welding videos available online. Nevertheless, I highly advise against learning TIG weld alone at home.

Unless you have a professional hand around, TIG welding by yourself is too risky. Plus, the process stipulates that you need to adhere to certain codes and requirements which may be difficult to do alone at home.

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How to Learn TIG Welding from a School/Course

To learn the right way, you can enroll in a TIG welding course at a local school. If you’re unable to find any, you can always apply for the five-day course offered by the Lincoln Welding School.

The area also has some budget-friendly on-site accommodation options as you complete the course in the Cleveland area. On the other side of the country, you can apply to Laney College located in the Bay Area.

If you want a professional certification, you can apply for the American Welding Society Certified Welder test.

Tips to Improve Your TIG Welding

  • Maintain clean work tools and filler rods.
  • Avoid melting the filler rod directly, let the molten puddle melt it instead.
  • Set your welding machine to its minimum power to prevent burning.
  • Place the torch at least 15 to 20 degrees from the workpiece.
  • Choose the right type of tungsten for better melting compatibility. 

Wrap-Up

Is TIG welding hard? In short, yes, it’s hard. It requires a lot of hand coordination and multi-tasking on your end.

Plus, you may fall into some common mistakes such as burning the filler rod directly or accidentally creating holes.

Nevertheless, you can achieve TIG welding mastery by going through professional education or asking for a professional welder’s help in training.