Originally Posted by mcantar
That's just because you're slow.
I have a few thoughts on this...
A good TIG welder can run around 70% the speed of a MIG welder.
But really, speed shouldn't be a huge concern for anybody here. None of us are running production shops and tracking parts-per-hour, in this space it's about quality over quantity IMO. If a weld takes 10 minutes instead of 5, but looks way better... so what?
You can usually get away with running a bit less gas flow than with MIG. The weld heat is more concentrated and the part shouldn't be getting as hot as with other welding processes, and the slower travel speed means you have direct gas coverage over the specific area for longer.
Also re. speed... you have basically zero cleanup. No spatter to scrape/grind off, nothing catching on fire, etc. so the overall time spend from prep to cleanup is pretty close.
TIG allows for things like fusion welding where you don't use filler. Not always appropriate, but sometimes a good option and will save you the cost of filler if you are worried about that.
Less consumable costs, because less consumables. TIG cups are non-consumable vs. MIG cups which do wear down from repeated spatter and clean-up. Electrodes (tungsten) don't wear unless you fuck them up by dipping them or running too hot for the size, vs. MIG electrodes which wear out from burnback and just friction. The only actual consumables you have with TIG are the filler and the gas.
Not breaking shit is pretty easy too... just make a nice littler holder to hang your torch on and itll be nice and out of the way. But yes, tungsten is a brittle metal and TIG cups are class or ceramic, so they aren't as agreeable to being used as a hammer as a MIG gun is.
The learning curve is steeper, but not insurmountable by any means. Look at all the goons that have figured it out... if we can do it so can you. The thing about it is that TIG is a proper skill, while a trained monkey can run a MIG.
TIG isn't picky about weld prep. Materials are. You can weld picky materials with TIG, which is why it gets that rep.
With mild steel specifically, quality vs. cleanliness is a product of the filler rather than the process. Most mild steel filler you'll find for TIG is ER70-S2, most wire you see for MIG is ER70-S6. The S6 has more silicon and manganese, which helps the puddle flow better and more importantly helps carry contaminants out of the weld (the silicon does this, it's the glass stuff that develops on top of your weld). Buy some S6 filler rod or just use some lengths of MIG wire and your mild steel TIG weld will be as un-picky about prep and cleaning as your MIG is.
TIG can weld:
- mild steel
- stainless steel
- cast iron & cast steel
It also opens up the world of TIG brazing. You can join any metal to any other metal this way, even if they aren't weldable alloys.
MIG can weld:
- mild steel
- stainless steel, but not very well and only IF you buy a full spool of stainless filler
- aluminum, IF you have a push-pull gun and the right machine
Can also kinda-ish weld cast iron and cast steel, but not very well and it WILL break eventually unless you have special filler wire.
Get a TIG.
All welders need special filler wires/rods for certain alloys, so that's not a plus or minus for any machine. Matching filler rod to parent metal is just part of the welding process in general.
And yes, I am slow! But there's science and physics and shit at play
I can't make metal wet/flow any faster than it's gonna just because I've decided I'm a good welder.
And you don't really need a special gun to weld aluminum with a MIG. Wire feed welders were invented because of aluminum welding. It was their main reason for existing. Since aluminum filler consumes so quickly it was a huge pain in the ass trying to weld with rods, so they developed the fed spools of wire. Keep those factory workers pumping out products.
The spool gun is just to keep the filler wire clean of other filler wire's left behind dust ( I know you know this, Mac). But not all MIG machines weld aluminum nicely- gun or not- it's just not that cut and dried. My MIG won't do aluminum worth a shit, my buddies welder lays out beautiful aluminum beads. There's so many in's and out's to welding machines...I'm not smart enough to know it all.