TIG Welding Tips: Find the Right Electrode on Sale

Choosing the right TIG welding electrode can be overwhelming when you learn
that there are six different types of tungsten electrodes to choose from. There are even rare
earth electrodes that you can toss into the mix at the Baker’s online
store. Even if you know which electrode to pick up, you may want to stock up on
a few other varieties just in case—and that’s where price becomes a factor.

Image: Weldcraft
Tungsten Grinder at Baker’s Gas and Welding

Baker’s Gas and Welding is currently offering Weldcraft’s line of tungsten
electrodes on sale with an additional special offer. You can save an
extra 10%
during the month of November on Weldcraft
consummables
with the promotion code: weldcraft10. Not sure
where to start with your TIG welding tungsten electrode purchase? Here are some
tips about choosing the best tungsten for your next welding project.

How to Select the Right Tungsten

Selecting the right Tungsten is essential for getting the highest quality
weld possible. Some things to consider before selecting your Tungsten are the
following:

  • How thick is the material you are welding?
  • What kind of metal (Stainless Steel, Aluminum, or Steel) are you welding?
  • What kind of power source (Transformer or Inverter) are you using?

Pure Tungsten (EWP / Color Code: Green)

Pure
Tungsten
electrodes are 99.5% tungsten and have the highest consumption rate
of the 5 kinds of tungsten. Pure tungsten is also the least expensive of the 5
kinds of electrodes. Because of its weaker arc starts, pure tungsten is mainly
used for AC welding.

2% Thoriated (EWTh-2 / Color Code: Red )

2% Thoriated
tungsten
is the most commonly used tungsten today. It contains 97.3%
Tungsten and 1.7 – 2.2% Thorium. Thorium is radioactive, so always use with
caution and follow all manufacturing warnings and instructions, such as working
in a ventilated location with a respirator. Most people use 2% Thoriated
tungsten because of its ease of use and low consumption rate. 2% Thoriated
tungsten is only used on specific AC welding such as thin gauge aluminum and
other materials .060″ or less, but is great for DC welding on stainless steel,
titanium, and nickel.

2% Ceriated (EWCe-2 / Color Code: Orange )

2% Ceriated
tungsten
is made up of 97.3% Tungsten and 1.8 – 2.2% Cerium. It is most
commonly used with DC welding, because 2% Ceriated tungsten performs best at low
current settings. Some common applications are pipe manufacturing, thin sheet
metal, orbital tube or any other projects where tiny parts need to be welded.
Like the 2% Thoriated tungsten, it is best used on stainless steels, titanium,
nickel, and carbon which makes it a nice alternative to the radioactive
Thoriated tungsten.

1.5% Lanthanated (EWLa-1.5 / Color Code:
Gold )

1.5% Lanthanated
tungsten
contains at least 97.80% Tungsten and 1.3 – 1.7% Lanthanum, or
Lanthana. In many cases it can take the place on 2% Thoriated because they have
almost the same conductivity characteristics, like good arc stability, good
re-ignition, slow burn-off rate, and great arc starting capabilities. Another
plus of using 1.5% Lanthanated tungsten is that it works well with both AC and
DC welding along with both sharpened or balled points. If you’re just starting
out with TIG welding, this may be a good, versatile choice.

2% Lanthanated (EWLa-2 / Color Code: Blue )

2% Lanthanated
contains 97.3% Tungsten, 1.8 –2.2% Lanthanum and 0.5% Other. 2% Lanthanated is a
substitute for 2% Thoriated. Similar characteristics to 1.5% Lanthanated with
better arc starting, arc stability and less tip erosion.

 

Rare Earth (EWG / Color Code: Gray )

Rare
Earth tungsten
contains an unspecified amount of rare earth oxides, or
different combinations of oxides. Manufacturers are required to identify these
oxides and their percentages on each package. Depending on the oxides added, Rare
Earth tungsten can give you a variety of characteristics such as longer life
than Thoriated, higher current with same sized tungsten and stable arc in both
AC and DC welding.

Zirconiated (EWZr-1 / Color Code: Brown )

Zirconiated
tungsten
contains 98.6% Tungsten, 0.7 – 0.9% Zirconium and 0.5% Other. It
balls up easily in AC applications. Handles higher current with less splitting.
Improved arc starts and arc stability. Offers minimal tungsten
contamination.

Preparing Your Electrode for Welding

When it’s time to grind your tungsten electrode for your next TIG welding
project, you have two options. The first is you can purchase a traditional grinding wheel where
you’ll hold the electrode so that it’s facing the wheel when you grind it
down.

The other option is to pick up a Weldcraft Tungsten
Grinder
that is light, portable, and precise, taking the hassle out of
electrode preparation. Whichever you end up purchasing, if you stock up on
Weldcraft supplies, don’t forget to take advantage of Baker’s promotion in
November, offering free shipping on Weldcraft orders of $175 or more.


Find out
What TIG
Welders Need
in the Baker’s Buying Guide.

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