The first and the most important step you need to do when you want to use a TIG welder is to select 1 out of the 6 most regularly used tungsten electrodes for yourself. Furthermore, the preparation of the tip is crucial. Here is the list of those 6 types of electrodes from which you need to choose one.
- Pure Tungsten
- 2 % Thoriated
- 2 % Ceriated
- 5 % Lanthanated
- Rare Earth
This metal element is quite rare, and it is used for making electrodes for gas tungsten arc welding. This welding process mostly relies on the hardness and the strength of the tungsten. It needs to be resistant to extremely high temperatures in order to carry current all the way to the arc. The melting point of this metal is the thing that makes it so great for manufacturing electrodes for TIG welding. The Tungsten metal is the metal that as the highest melting point of any other metal.
You can find these electrodes in various sizes (length). They are made out of either raw tungsten or they are mixed with some other elements. When you are choosing the type of the electrode that you will use, you need to look out for many different things such as the type of the material that you want to weld, the thickness of that material and the type of the current (AC or DC). If you don’t choose the right one for the job, you might have to do it all over again or you can even risk the contamination of the environment. Every type of the tungsten electrode is marked by a different color, to avoid any confusion of the type. You can see the color on the tip of the actual electrode.
If you want to find an electrode that is made out of pure Tungsten, then you need to look for a green tip on the electrode that will indicate that it is made out of pure Tungsten. This type has the highest consumption rate.
The tip of this type of electrodes is colored red. Nowadays most people use this type of electrodes because they are last longer and they are very simple to use.
These electrodes are colored orange. This type has shown that it will perform best in DC welding under low current. However, it can be also used with AC. These electrodes are used for welding delicate pieces.
The Lanthanated electrodes have their tip colored gold for easier recognition. They are good because they start the arc quite easily and their burnoff rate is very low.
Their tip is colored brown. It is shown that this type can produce a very stable arc that can be very useful. This electrode is only usable for AC welding.
If you want to find a rare-earth electrode look for a tip that is colored gray. This is made out of combining Tungsten with some oxides.