Both stick welding and tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding are sub-techniques of arc welding. Both of them have their pros and cons. Typically, stick welding is ideal for novice welders or hobbyists because they can produce quick, effortless, but at the same time rough welds.
On the other hand, TIG is a complicated arc welding technique. It demands the welder to apply both hands and feet simultaneously, and it’s also a cumbersome procedure. However, the welds resulting from this procedure are neat, smooth, and solid.
A significant difference between both procedures is that metal electrodes are consumable in stick welding, which melts continuously to be a part of the weld, unlike TIG welding. We can learn stick welding in a short time period, so newbies begin their welding journey with a stick welder.
But after a certain period of time, when they gain practical experience in stick welding, they think they have to switch to TIG welding, which is an avant-garde procedure. This article will describe how to convert stick welder to TIG, which lets you save money on the purchase of a TIG welder if you are short of money, so keep reading.
What things do you need to start off?
As you are going to convert your stick welder into a TIG welder, that’s why you need a DC connection stick welder. But if you don’t have a stick welder and are planning to buy for TIG welder conversion, then that’s silly. You can directly purchase a TIG welder without doing the conversion adventure.
However, if you are thinking about buying a second-hand stick welder for that operation, then it’s not a bad idea. All you need in addition to the stick welder for TIG welder conversion is the following:
The size of the project on which you are going to work, the thickness of the material, and the type of joints will determine how TIG cup size and tungsten diameter you should get. Besides, always try to get a TIG torch with a regulator or valve on the handle. The reason is it will help you in gas regulation and increase its usability.
Also, use air or water-cooled torch as they are meant to handle heat accurately during the process. Moreover, suppose you are a complete beginner. In that case, it’s better to start off with Miller Dialarc 250 TIG Conversion Kit. Because it is easy to operate and allows excellent command over weld formation.
Converting stick welder to TIG welder
After getting all the things we have mentioned above, you are ready for the next step. Now, connect the cylinder of shielding gas which is of pure argon, with a gas hose which is further joined with the connector of the TIG torch. Note that you don’t need to start the flow of shielding gas at that moment.
After that, connect the group with the positive plug of your welding machine. Similarly, connect the metal electrode cable with a negative plug of the stick welder. Lastly, join the metal electrode pin with the TIG torch’s lead end. Now it’s time to check that everything you connected with each other is correctly done or not before going to the next part.
Also, ensure that the TIG torch’s valve is closed. In addition to this, again check if all the connections you have made are okay or not. If not, then you will end up fixing the error. After this complete process, if you experience an arc not functioning, then check whether the torch is connected to the negative plug.
TIG welding with a stick welder
You are now ready to TIG weld with a stick welder after acquiring the necessary apparatus and then going through the conversion procedure. TIG welder has various welding applications, and each type of metal, metal thickness, and shielding gas demands different amperage settings. So, firstly you have to set the ampere according to the type of metal you are welding.
Let’s say if you are welding a thick or dense metal, then more amperage should be given. Because more amperage means more heat which is necessary for deeper penetration of the arc. That’s why it’s very important to set amperage because it directly impacts the quality of joints.
After that, turn up the shielding (argon) gas but also note the meter pressure to ensure that the pressure would be in between 15 to 20 CFH. The exact pressure depends upon the type of weld you have to accomplish. Don’t open the valve if you aren’t working and if you hear any gas sound, then close the valve.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of converting a stick welder to a TIG welder?
TIG welding with a stick welder may seem weird, but it has some benefits and merits as well. It will save you from buying another welding machine if you have a stick welder in your workshop. Moreover, TIG welding enables you to make precise and durable welds on thinner metals, unlike stick welding.
It is impossible to get all the benefits of a dedicated TIG welder. But you can still get most of the TIG welder privileges by conversion. Another exciting aspect of converting a stick welder into a TIG welder is that you will get a larger electric lead than a TIG welding machine.
Like lots of advantages, the conversion operation has various drawbacks than native TIG welders. Initially, it doesn’t have a foot pedal; that’s why you have to adjust gas pressure by using the valve only, which is very frustrating oftentimes—limited control over start and end.
In my opinion, the significant setback of TIG welding through a stick welder machine is that you can’t adjust amperage like the original TIG welder. Therefore, it results in less clear welds, which is not ideal for professional tasks. Moreover, you can hardly weld thin metals using converted machines which is a significant advantage of TIG welders.
After putting light on every step of the procedure, I would like to add some tips to wrap up the post. The most complex thing in TIG welding is the amperage setting because most welders find it challenging to acquire. Moreover, you can’t do everything like an aboriginal TIG welder, but as a hobbyist or a starter welder, it’s an excellent option to grasp how a TIG welder works.