Practice makes perfect. That is a pretty good rule of thumb for just about anything we do.
A few months back, I decided to do a TIG welding article for this issue of AMT Tools and Equipment. I called the folks at Miller welding in Appleton, WI, to interview them for the article. After talking to them for a few minutes they said, “Why don’t you just come up here and get some hands- on training with our welding equipment?” After about a second or two to think about it I said, “Heck yeah!”
I arrived in Appleton early on the pre-determined morning with my work duds on, ready to do some welding. We sat in a classroom for the first half of the day learning the basics of TIG welding. After a quick lunch, we headed off to the shop for some hands-on welding.
One of my instructors was Miller product manager Jim Brook. He has a lot of welding experience. Jim got me set me up on the welding equipment and I was off and away!
At this point, I guess I should go back a step. During the classroom training, Jim mentioned that a good TIG welding bead with filler material resembles stacked dimes. He said. “Imagine a line of dimes stacked one over the next going down the table. The curves of the dime edges are consistent, and they are a similar width. That’s what your weld bead should look like.”
Well, how did I do? For those of you who read my blog on AMTonline.com on a regular basis, you already know the answer. For the rest of you, let’s just say it wasn’t pretty to begin with. I was stacking coins alright, but it was more like stacking any loose change I had in my pocket instead of stacking dimes. My beads were inconsistent and pretty ugly to be brutally honest.
But with a little practice, some familiarity with the equipment setup, and a good tap and go technique with the filler, my beads started to resemble stacked dimes toward the end of our practice session. Having a good instructor also helped greatly.
Be sure to check out my TIG welding article on page 6. It won’t make you a pro or allow you to stack dimes right away, but it will get you off to a good start.
I would like to thank Monica DeBrot, Mike Sammons, Jim Brook and all the nice folks at Miller for hosting me at their facility. Also, thanks to Monica for taking all the cool welding pictures of me in the lab that appear in the article.
Thanks for reading!