If you are already a seasoned TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) or (Gas Tungsten Arc Welding) GTAW welder, or if you want to be a TIG welder and it’s as your welding career choice, I’m going to give you a few things to think about. It is about GTAW process, benefits-drawbacks, and welder salary. A good GTAW welder can command a very good living.
The GTAW (Gas Tungsten Arc Welding) process of welding requires a high degree of skill, that’s one of the reasons why it pays so well. Not only do you have to manipulate the torch and maintain a tight arc length, but when using filler metal, you also have to feed the filler rod into the puddle with your non-dominant hand. On top of that, if you’re using water-cooled equipment, you’ll have to use a rheostat to start the arc and gas flow. Usually, this would be a foot pedal or switches on the TIG torch. Plus, you have to read the puddle and follow the 5 essentials of welding, which are: electrode size: current: arc length: travel speed: and: electrode angles. This must be done in order to produce a quality weld.
So, there is a lot going on when you are welding with the TIG process as a GTAW welder. You must have a very high degree of concentration, similar to meditation. Then, if you are welding pipe, using the free-hand technique or walking the cup, (which are 2 techniques I will talk about in a future article), then for most people it becomes even harder. I say for most people because, welding is a skill, and just like athletes, some are naturals, and some have to work a little harder to hone that skill. You can read several explanations about the technical ins and outs of this amazing process in GTAW non-consumable electrode and preheat on GTAW process.
GTAW Benefits and Drawbacks
For now, I just want to give an overview of the process. Then talk a bit about the many benefits and rewards associated with this process for you. You should know about it if you choose GTAW Welder as your welding career choice. There are very few drawbacks to GTAW. The most important one to think about is: It’s not very portable. Another one to consider is: It’s a slower process. And wind and drafts could affect the welding. This may be true, but the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages. TIG is super-strong, it makes use of argon or helium or a mixture of the two as shielding to protect the weld zone. There is no slag, so a properly deposited weld bead has a lot less chance of having discontinuities or defects. Filler metal is not always required, without filler metal is called Autogenously welding. The arc and weld pool are clearly visible to the welder. There is no filler metal carried across the arc, so there is very little spatter or none at all. Pulsing may be used to reduce the heat input and give the welder more control, especially useful on thin metals or exotic metals like stainless steel, Inconel, Monel, Hastelloy, etc. And of course, welding can be performed in all positions. It is very aesthetically pleasing to look at. Another thing about TIG is its very versatile and you can weld just about any metal, in fact, it was first developed for the Aerospace industry for welding of magnesium. When done right, it is a very pretty, attractive weld.
GTAW Welder Salary
So if you have considered GTAW welder as welding career choice for you, and think you have what it takes, then I suggest getting some quality training. There’s only a handful of quality welding schools in the world, and in my opinion, The Hobart Institute of Welding Technology in Troy, Ohio is without a doubt the best. Great training, and a lot of hands-on practice, that’s what it will take to get you to an employable skill level where you can earn an above average wage right out of school. Add a few solid years of experience to that and you could be earning $25 – $45 an hour or more, depending on your skill level, location, type of application and whether you show up to work on time. Therefore, become a GTAW welder is the best welding career choice for you.
by Jennifer L. Jenkins