Piet van der Horst

Piet van der Horst

In 1970 Piet made welding his trade en since then he never stopped learning about that trade. By now he is well past his retirement age, but not welding is still not an option for him. It is not just work, it is a passion.

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Gases for welding processes

Inert and active gases

Classification according to the standard In NEN-EN-ISO 14175 standard, gases are divided into main and subgroups. In this article we discuss four main groups of

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Grinding the top angle of tungsten electrodes

Story by Piet van der Horst

Grinding the top angle

Grinding a top angle on the tungsten electrode is a precision job. The angle can vary from 20 to 90 degrees. The grinding grooves should run in the longitudinal (axial) direction of the tungsten electrode and never around the tungsten electrode (radial). A tungsten electrode with the grinding grooves around the tip will hardly ever have a stable arc. The arc searches for the places with the lowest resistance on the grinding grooves and will therefore rotate around the tip of the tungsten electrode.

It is important that the grinding grooves are as small as possible. Deep grinding grooves cause energy loss and unstable arc behaviour. Never grind tungsten electrodes on a belt sander, flap disc, sanding disc or deburring disc. You will not be able to grind a good quality point on the tungsten electrode on these devices and adhesive residues from these products will deposit on the tungsten electrode, making the starting procedure worse. In the worst case, some of these contaminants will disappear into the puddle and that is not what you want. Now I can understand that practice is sometimes different from theory, but if you want to do good quality work, the aforementioned grinding devices are not suitable for grinding tungsten electrodes.

When sharpening, not only make sure that you have very fine grinding grooves, but also prevent discoloration during sharpening of the tungsten electrode. This discoloration indicates that the tungsten electrode has been too hot and the oxide that has formed on the surface which will cause poor ignition of the arc. Grind tungsten electrodes preferably on very fine diamond wheels. This gives a very fine surface to the tip and arc stability and tool life will increase significantly. It is important, especially with automated TIG welding, that the tip is in the middle of the tungsten electrode. It is not only annoying if after every tungsten electrode change you have to put the point again above the seam to be welded, a point that is not well in the middle can also cause arc deviations.

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