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How to Move Your Hands When TIG Welding

Kevin is ready to use the 3 pieces of 1/8" 5051 aluminum on his workbench to show Richard, a viewer from England, and anyone else who has been wondering, "What should my hands be doing while I'm TIG welding?"

Kevin shows how he starts a butt joint by tack welding both ends of the metal. He clicks his TIG torch trigger to get the arc started. Once the puddle forms, he dabs a bit of filler rod into the puddle. Then he clicks again to stop the arc (he has his welder set on 4T). He does the same on the other end.

He goes back to where his first tack was, starts his arc and gets his puddle going. Then Kevin just starts following the joint with the torch and tungsten in his right hand, trying to keep the correct distance above the puddle. At the same time, he is feeding the filler rod into the puddle with his left hand.

Focusing just on his left hand, Kevin advances the filler rod with his first 2 fingers, holding his thumb like you handle chopsticks or a pencil, to stabilize the rod, working the filler rod forward.

You want to feed the filler rod into the middle of puddle under the tungsten, but don't touch the tungsten itself. Dab and dab and dab ....

Kevin is using his Everlast PowerMTS 221sti, which is a multiprocess machine with AC, which is why he can weld aluminum. It's set at 129 amps and a 3/32 filler rod and a 3/32 E3 tungsten.

Let's make some sparks!

Kevin tacks the 2 pieces of aluminum on each end, then follows the joint all the way, and shows the results. To get an even weld, move the hand forward at a steady rate and height, while at the same time feeding in the filler rod with the other hand.

Kevin then shows another movement for a T joint, 1 45 degree angle or something similar. For a wider fillet, you move your torch back and forth from the top of the weld down, feeding it at the top and pulling down.

You can rock your wrist as if you're walking the cup but not touching the metal, or you can slide your hand back and forth on your finger, as Kevin does. The whole time you're feeding at the top of the puddle and pulling it down. Kevin then shows the results of the weld with its ripple pattern and a nice, wide fillet.

So that's a couple of ways to do it.

Kevin is ready to go back to work, but you might want to stick around for another moment to see him battle unexpected forces ....

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