If your looking for the best tig welder for aluminum, you’ve come to the right place! Keep reading to learn all about these tools and how to go about selecting the one that suits you best.
What to look for when buying a tig welder
There is a wide variety of TIG welders available on the current market, which makes picking one out a bit cumbersome. You can find portable units that are on the cheaper end of the spectrum which can handle welding thin metal. At the other end of the spectrum, you can find more robust and even industrial machines that cost three times as much but will handle nearly any application you need them for. Consider a stick welding buzz box if you just want an affordable way of doing basic metal joining. On the other hand, if you’re hoping to do TIG welding along with occasional stick welding, then you can find TIG welders that have stick welding capacity as one of their features.
TIG welding is definitely a specialised process, particularly if you contrast it with MIG welders and their point-and-shoot abilities. Still, the right machine produces wonderful results. Compared to MIG welding, TIG welding handles a much wider variety of metals. It’s even effective in making artwork. You can use TIG welding for materials such as steel and stainless steel, as well as nickel alloys, aluminum, and chromalloy. You can even use it on magnesium, brass, bronze, copper, and gold.
When appearance matters, TIG welding is useful for clean and high-calibre welds. This is why it’s useful in residential applications, building and repairing things, and even doing automotive welding. Splatter and sparks aren’t concerns, since you only have to utilise the required amount of filler metal necessary for the welding puddle. Another advantage is how most TIG welders use argon gas, since it can be used for all TIG applications, sparing you having to change gas sources for harder jobs.
TIG welding shouldn’t result in any smoke or harmful fumes, so long as the metal involved is free of lead, zinc, paint, oil, or grease. Of course, all metals need thorough cleaning before welding to get a good weld. TIG welding is something you can do in any position you choose, and most of the time, it’s safer than MIG welding. Still, welding always carries a risk of injury, so you need to wear proper safety gear as recommended by the manufacturer.
How much power do you need?
The very first factor you should consider when looking for the best TIG welder for aluminum are the ratings for pulsed welding. TIG welding is really just a matter of managing how much heat gets applied to any metal that you’re working with. If you’re used to older TIG machines, you might be used to 20 pulses per second. Cutting-edge TIG inverters might be somewhat shocking to you, considering the drastically higher number of pulses they provide each second. Some new models rate as high as 5,000 pulses every second! TIG pulsing is very useful when you work with difficult joints, thin metal that might get burned through, or stainless steel that might rust from excess heat.
When you have this level of control over your weld puddle, your higher pulsing rate lets you get stronger welds. High pulse rates constrict the arc and focus it, which limits how heat is applied to any weld you’re working on. You can move up the metal faster than before, and you won’t have to remove so much material, resulting in a much cleaner weld. If you frequently weld high quantities of thin metal or you need a weld that has a nice appearance, then high pulsing rates save you materials and time.
Decide how much portability you need.
There are small TIG welders that a strong person can pick up on their own and move around. Then again, bigger units weigh as much as people do and need to be wheeled around on a cart. The smaller models still have quite a bit of versatility, and you can use them for narrow tasks which don’t need a long duty cycle. The power output and duty cycle requirements you have need to be balanced with how much weight you’re okay lugging around.
Reliability of your foot pedal
The reliability of your foot pedal is crucial when TIG welding aluminum . You likely have learned already that some TIG projects put you into strange physical positions. Of course, TIG welding needs both of your hands. You use one for your torch, and the other is for your filler rod. Pedals can let you manage how much heat is used to you can keep your weld puddle from getting too large.
Effective foot peddles don’t slope at high angles, as that can mean foot fatigue. Also, good foot pedals are highly responsive, which helps you make adjustments to the heat input using your foot. Keep in mind that you don’t have to get a machine with a great foot pedal. You can buy a great foot pedal separately and then add it to your ideal machine.
High-frequency settings are a useful feature to have access to. When a TIG welder operates in this range, your arc control is a lot simpler.
Keep an eye out for anything with simple controls. You want controls that snap securely into their positions, so that they don’t get accidentally bumped in your shop. If this happens during an active project, it can wreck it.
Two features you might want with your TIG welder are plasma cutting and stick welding. Fortunately, you can find TIG welders that come with both capabilities. Having both of these at your disposal means you can save time on most metal-cutting projects. Also, the projects that are possible will be much broader.
One decision you have to make is whether you want your torch to be air- or water-cooled. Using an air-cooled torch is usually sufficient, but a water-cooled model does offer advantages. Torches get warmer with higher-powered outputs, and if you’re like most welders, you’re okay with that. If you use a water-cooled torch, you get to use something with a smaller head. This lets you do fine work even in tight spots. Water-cooling spares you extra heat in particular applications, which means you can possibly work better and longer than if you only had air-cooling available to you.
The last thing you want to make sure you find in a TIG welder is a high-calibre arc. Some of the lowest-priced models are prone to arc stability concerns. When you have an unsteady arc, it’s going to result in issues with how your weld looks. This can be a big problem, given that most welders opt for TIG welders if they need a neatly done and strong arc.
Now that you’ve read this guide on finding the best tig welder for aluminum , you should have a better understanding of what all is involved in finding the right tool that can work well for your and the applications you need one for.
Buying the best TIG welder for aluminum can open up a whole new world of possible applications that you can do. It can also let you do your current projects safer and simpler. Whichever model you choose is going to represent a serious investment of money, and it will be something that you spend quite a bit of time with. This is why it is so important to do your research in advance and choose something you know will suit your style of work and produce wonderful welds for years to come. Hopefully, this TIG welder buyers guide helps you do just that.