Tungsten Inert Gas welding is an arc welding process that uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to produce the weld. This is formally known as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding or GTAW. Easy enough, right? TIG welding is used in the industry for fine, exact welds on thinner metals. You are able to achieve the highest quality weld with TIG welding and of the entire arc welding methods; this is by far the most versatile. Another popular welding method is gas metal arc welds, or MIG welding. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages
Gas tungsten arc welding, GTAW, is slower than other welding techniques, as quality comes at the expense of time typically. With GTAW, you’re able to create clean welds because of the superior arc and weld puddle control. You’re also able to control the heat input on many GTAW welders so a premium weld bead control can be attained. When appearance matters, gas tungsten arc welding is the easy choice. For bike frames, automobiles, sculptures or linear bar grilles like we have at Coco Metals, GTAW is our number one choice.
The argon gas or argon/helium gas mixture commonly used in TIG welding creates much less smoke and fumes. Welders are left with high visibility of the working area and if working with clean, uncontaminated metal, visibility of the weld will be near perfect. Another benefit attributed to the GTAW process is that you can weld with or without filler unlike other types of welding, but if welding thicker metals, filler will need to be used to create a strong weld. The maneuverability of GTAW welding helps when working on flat, vertical and even overhead surfaces. Gas tungsten arc welding is ideal for roll cages and bike frames because of the welders unconstrained positioning. We use GTAW welding for its ability to create precise, intricate and gorgeous weld lines that are invisible to the customer or patron when our metal products are finished.
The other type of welding we’ll be comparing is gas metal arc welding, commonly referred to as MIG welding. This method is used primarily on thicker metals and in applications where long weld lines are needed. MIG welding was developed in the 1940’s and today, the principles are very much the same. An arc of electricity is used to create a short circuit between a continuously fed anode: the wire-fed welding gun, and a cathode: the metal being welded. MIG welding can be used on a larger selection of metals than TIG welding, but because of the heat produced cannot be used on anything but flat or horizontal surfaces.
At Coco Architectural Grilles and Metal Craft, we apply both welding methods when welding our pieces along with other methods. Because our work is very detail oriented, we most often use the gas tungsten arc welding to have a stronger, cleaner and more appealing finished product. Both of these ways of welding come with advantages and disadvantages but depending on the project at hand, we may use both.