Argon/CO2 mix is just for MIG welding and not for TIG welding Aluminum, steel or stainless. Pure argon is needed for even MIG welding aluminum.
Any other gas than pure argon or helium is not recommended for aluminum.
I need to get into tight quarters with my torch and need to the tungsten shorter in order to use a shorter back cap. What do I use to cut the tungsten? Can I simply use wire cutters without contamination, or do I need to use a cut off wheel for that purpose only?
to shorten a tungsten, grind a groove in it and snap it into. then sharpen it on your grinding wheel, works good if you spin it in your cordless drill too. try to keep the scratches going towards the tip rather than around the shaft. good ole common sense goes along way in all your shop welding.
^ already covered, but don't even start to use any kind of co2/o2 mix with gtaw. The o2 present in the shielding gas will cause contamination of the weld, and a massive amount of tungsten being consumed in the process.
AFA grinding the tungsten. Grind it however you want aslong as you finish it going towards the tip & do not contaminate it by using a grinding wheel that has been used on other metals.
You'll also want to somewhat ball the tungsten before you start.
AFA tight quarters, you can buy shorter replacement torch backs, and you can buy pencil torches. Both work, but pencil torch FTW.
To sharpen the tungsten there is a small container of gel or powder, I don't remember which, that you can use and no grinding is needed. It will sharpen it to a needle point with a long taper or shorter taper. You just heat up the tungsten red and dip it in this stuff and it will melt the tungsten on a taper, a little each time. You can do this in 5 min. or less, according to what you want. We use to do several about 3" long and sharpen both ends. It works great, most welding supplies stores should be familiar with the produce, if not I can ask some guys about it at work. You normally don't want a needle point on aluminum. Also there different grades of tungsten for metals and aluminum. They are color coded. Ask the supply store which one you need. I have forgotten a lot of this stuff, been retired from welding for 7yrs. Memory going fast.
When you heat the tungsten, only heat about 1", then dip it. Keep doing this until you get what you want.
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