Learn How to Tig Weld – Aluminum is Your Teacher

The Accepted methods for a TIG welding training curriculum go kind of like this:

  • Begin tig welding on Mild Steel running beads without filler metal.
  • Run Weld beads on mild steel with filler metal.
  • Then weld corner joints, edge welds, lap joints, tee joints, butt joints in all different positions.

After all joints are welded successfully in all positions, the welding student moves on to stainless steel.

In conventional welding curriculum, Tig Welding Aluminum is only attempted after mastering steel because it is considered much harder to weld than either mild steel or stainless steel.

But what if we think outside the box a little bit? What if a new trainee is introduced to aluminum after having just one day of mild steel welding under his belt and is then required to alternate between tig welding steel and aluminum from day to day? Would he learn slower? Would he or she become frustrated and quit?

Here is my experience with this unconventional method: (And I am not guessing here because I have had the opportunity to test this theory) What happens is this:

  • The new Tig welding trainee learns to feed the filler rod faster (because you just plain have to when you tig weld aluminum.)
  • The trainee learners to adapt different metal and weld puddle characteristics and understands the common denominators between the two.
  • The new trainee is never bored and learning plateaus are fewer than with old conventional curriculum.
  • The trainees knowledge of the effects of equipment adjustments on the arc are reinforced daily
  • The trainee develops more heat control and an understanding of the thermal conductivity of metals.

So why is this training method not used more?

Because on the front end, it is very labor intensive on the part of the instructor. There is no hanging out in the office surfing the net. The instructor has to be completely available for the first week to make sure things get started out right.

The other side of the coin is that the benefits to the Tig welding student can be huge.