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