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Tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding, sometimes called gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW), is a popular welding method in which a tungsten electrode, an inert gas and a ceramic cup are used to weld metal together. TIG welding offers advantages in terms of versatility and amperage use because it uses less energy than other welding methods. A clean weld is also achieved by making a low-profile weld bead, and there is no slag left over after the welding is complete. The largest advantage of TIG welding is control, both in terms of the electrode itself and the current.
TIG welding uses less amperage than other welding methods, which might seem like a disadvantage at first, but it really helps the TIG welder. When a torch uses a high amperage amount, it is great for large and thick metal bars but not so good for thin pieces of metal. With a low-amperage torch, the TIG welder is able to work on thin pieces of metal and other metals that cannot take high amperages.
The lower amperage and a foot mechanism that allows the welder to change amperage make TIG welding more versatile than other welding methods. A welder can go from working on thin pieces of metal to working on thick ones and can weld intricate designs together without leaving obvious welding marks. The TIG welder is small, almost like a pen, which allows welders to use it for nearly any purpose. The inert gas used in the welder allows it to work on different metals. Argon is best for steel and titanium, helium is best for stainless steel and copper, and an argon-and-helium combination is best for aluminum and alloys that include aluminum.
Some welding methods leave slag when they are finished, making the finished product look sloppy. This also wastes time, because the welder has to clean away the slag to make a presentable product or welding job. TIG welding is very clean and leaves no slag at all, so the welder can concentrate on welding instead of cleaning up the metal.
The most frequently cited advantage of a TIG welder is its control. Heat and amperage are precisely controlled and changed using a foot mechanism. The welding mechanism itself is very thin and pen-like, so although dexterity is needed, the welder has superior welding control. This helps produce high-quality welding work, especially when there are intricate curves or designs in the base metal.