Foot Pedals... Should you Upgrade?

Jul 2015 06
18 56 Mon
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It can be very difficult to buy the right equipment for your TIG welder and foot pedals are no exception. When it comes to TIG welding there are many different ways you can control your amperage, but the most precise way is to use a foot control. A foot control acts as the TIG welder’s amperage “throttle”. On most machines you can set the maximum amperage you want your pedal to put out and then you use the foot control to increase or decrease the amps. Much like in a car, when you depress the pedal, your amperage increases and when you let off the pedal, the amperage decreases. When you have it fully depressed, you will get the maximum amperage that you have selected on the machine. There are many different foot pedals available out on the market for different machines and each of them use different ways (internally) to control the welder’s amperage. So what is the difference between a high end foot pedal and an inexpensive one? Let’s take a closer look.

How is the amperage controlled? Different pedals have different qualities of manufacture. One of the determining factorProfessional Foot Pedal Internal Componentss of quality and precision in a foot pedal is how the amperage is controlled via the internal components. Some of the less expensive pedals will use a larger “gear and tooth” design that tends to make amperages jump and make the pedal less fluid.

Are the internal components covered? Another feature you might want to look at when choosing a foot control is whether or not there is an opening anywhere on the pedal where debris can enter.  Most professional foot pedals will be sealed very well so that the debris found at many job sites won’t get into the internals and destroy the pedal.

How hard to you have to push the pedal? This is particularly good to know and sometimes hard to find out. How many pounds of pressure does it take to fully depress the foot pedal? It may not sound like a big deal, but after a long day of welding, a few less pounds of pressure needed can make all the difference.

So the question remains… Should you upgrade your foot pedal or stick with the one you have? If you are doing very precise welding, a quality foot control is essential. IF you are just doing some home projects, on the other hand, your stock foot pedal might be all you need. Check out this episode of TIG Time where we tested out some common foot pedals!

Choosing a Good Foot Pedal for TIG Welding

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3 Easy Ways to Save Money on TIG Welding Consumables

Mar 2015 10
17 17 Tue
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TIG welding requires a whole lot of different equipment just to get to the point where you can strike your first arc and make that pioneering weld. In turn, it is not cheap to get into… You need a TIG welder, a torch, Tungsten, collets, hoses, cables, gas, regulator, safety gear and that’s just to name a few. As you know, all this stuff adds up, but if you do a couple things to cut down on waste, you can make your dollars go even further. In this article, we are going to talk about what you can do to save a couple bucks and get some better gear at the same time.

So the topic of this article is saving money through consumables, so we are going to skip over machines and all the “big” stuff for now. However, inexpensive items like collets, gas lenses and Tungsten can start to add up (especially for beginners).

Use a Gas Lens:Gas Lens
The first way you can save money on consumables is by investing in a gas lens. For a small cost (about $55 for a gas lens kit or about $5 for a single gas lens) you can improve your gas flow efficiency, while creating a more stable gas flow. When you weld without a gas lens, the argon tends to come out in a turbulent, swirling motion, creating bad coverage. When you introduce a gas lens you are forcing the air to come out in a uniform manor, which in turn gives much better coverage, while using less Argon.

Use a Wedge Collet:
Another way you can save money on consumables is by swapping out your conventWedge Colletional collet for a wedge collet.  You can pick up a 5 pack of wedge collets for around $6 and they will likely outlast your torch. Conventional collets tend to get crushed when welders over-tighten the back cap of the torch, at which point they are useless. Wedge collets are designed without the “slit” that conventional collets have, making them more durable and reliable than a normal collet. See this video on how wedge collets work for more information.

Use a Large Back Cap:Long Back Cap
Finally, if you are new to welding you will be going through a lot of Tungsten. Every time you accidentally contaminate your Tungsten, you will have to regrind and start again. While many advanced TIG welders prefer a shortened back cap to make the torch more manageable and lighter, they are also losing out on some of the Tungsten to waste. A long back cap is designed to accommodate an entire 7” Tungsten electrode. When you use a smaller back cap you need to break the Tungsten down, which will usually cause wasted Tungsten.

So there are a few simple ways to save some cash when TIG welding… Happy Welding!

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Gas Flow: Is your Flow Meter Lying to you?

Mar 2015 03
18 24 Tue
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We all know that gas shielding is essential when TIG welding. Many of the problems that welders encounteGas Flow Testerr when welding can be fixed, simply by getting better gas coverage. That being said, there is a lot of talk about how important it is to have a quality gas regulator / flow meter. We do not disagree, it is very important to have a regulator or flow meter that reads accurately. However, even with the best flowmeter you can’t always be sure that you are getting the displayed pressure at the torch.

So how do you know if you are getting the 15 CHF through your torch that your flow meter is telling you should be getting? A gas flow tester will show you exactly what pressure is coming through the torch head, not the bottle. So if you are getting inconsistent results and you can’t figure out why, it may be your gas flow. Pick up a gas flow tester in the store and check to see how well your flow meter is reading.

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Torch Hoses: Conventional versus Super Flex

Feb 2015 26
20 57 Thu
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TIG welding is a precision art that requires delicate manipulation of the torch and filler metal. There are many things that can contribute to causing a weld to go bad, including bad technique from welder fatigue. So what is the advantage and disadvantage of each of these types of cables? Let’s take a closer look:

Conventional Torch Hoses:Closeup of Hoses
Conventional torch cables are usually made out of a flexible plastic or vinyl material. These cables are generally heavier, less flexible and harder to manipulate than their super flex counterparts, however they do have certain advantages. The first and most obvious advantage is that they are generally much cheaper in price. Another area that these hoses can offer an advantage is when welding reactive metals, like Titanium. Sometimes rubber hoses can absorb moisture or other contaminants from the air which can transfer impurities into your weld.

In most cases, however, people prefer the super flex cables, because the disadvantages of the plastic (vinyl) hoses usually far outweigh the advantages. For instance, conventional cables are prone to melting when they come in contact with a hot part or torch. They also are not nearly as flexible, making it much more difficult to manipulate the torch.

Super Flex Torch Hoses:

Super flex torch hoses are made from a braided rubber and are built to be highly flexible and lightweight. They usually cost a little more than conventional hoses, but last longer and most will agree that they pay for themselves over the long run.

So which torch is right for you?
In most cases, we recommend going with super flex hoses. In most applications you will get the most out of your equipment with this type of cable. However, as we mentioned earlier, there are applications where conventional plastic hoses can be beneficial. So, take a look at your application and decide which type of cable is best for your needs.

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