Why Use a Tungsten Grinder?
In most welding applications, it is very important that a dedicated, custom tungsten electrode grinder is used. Other grinding equipment that may be available at a typical facility either typically does not offer the means for proper longitudinal diamond grinding nor consistency of preparation from one electrode to the next. As a result, they will take up too much of a welder’s costly time to produce an electrode that may not weld or weld for very long. In addition, a non-dedicated machine will be contaminated with foreign material because it is used for grinding parts other than tungsten. This will contaminate the electrode and cause welding problems.
What to Look For in a Tungsten Grinder
|Does it grind longitudinally?||A necessity|
|Does it incorporate a diamond-grinding wheel?||A necessity|
|How many electrodes can a typical diamond grinding wheel make before requiring replacement?||The more the better. This also varies based on operator use.|
|If a cutting apparatus is needed, does it offer a diamond-cutting wheel with measurement apparatus?||Notching the electrode and hand breaking is not acceptable.|
|How short can the electrode be cut?||Match this condition to your needs.|
|What is the surface finish to the electrode after grinding?||20 RMS is fine for most uses, finer finishes are even better.|
|How quickly does it take to flat, grind, and cut a typical electrode?||A .040” diameter electrode should not take more than 60 seconds after setup.|
|What is the process for setup to flat, grind, and cut different electrode diameters, angles, flats, and lengths?||It should sound simple and direct. Otherwise, it will take too long and become cumbersome.|
|What is the process the equipment operator needs to follow to complete one electrode?||It should simple enough that all welders can repeat the process and produce the same electrode.|
|What tolerances can a typical operator expect to produce for the angle, length, and flat?||Match these to your needs.|
|Are accessories such as vacuum dust collection, on site carrying case, a wide variety of collets, etc. readily available? Is support readily available? What is the warranty?||Match these to your needs.|
|How expensive is it?||Expect to pay quite a bit more than a standard bench grinder, but a good tungsten grinder will pay for itself over time with saved welding time, saved electrode preparation time, and improved welds.|
• Proper Grinding and Cutting Techniques
Tungsten electrodes are the crucial electrical carrier in the welding process, and they must be ground and cut properly. Improperly prepared electrodes can lead to arc wander, splitting, shedding, welding inconsistencies, or expensive mistakes. Properly ground and cut electrodes can improve arc starting and stability.
• Tip/Flat Preparation - When preparing a flat from a used electrode, if the end to be ground is exceedingly contaminated, the old tip it should be cut off before preparing the flat. Simply push the electrode at exactly a 90° angle to the side of the wheel. There should be an apparatus to hold the tungsten so that the angle is maintained.
• Taper Grinding - Electrode must be ground longitudinally. Grinding electrode tips crosswise has a negative effect on the stability and formation of the arc at the electrode tip.
• Cutting to Length - Contaminated tungsten electrode tips are a common problem that confronts TIG welders. A contaminated electrode produces an erratic arc and a dirty, contaminated weld. The best way to ensure that all contamination is removed from the tip is to cut off that part of tungsten. Regrinding a contaminated tip may not remove all of the contamination, and it can deposit the contamination on the grinding wheel, only to be picked up again in future grinding. Because tungsten is a very hard material, proper cutting involves using a diamond-cutting wheel for consistent, clean cuts. Many welders cut their tungsten incorrectly using methods such a s wire cutters or simply snapping off thinner diameter electrodes. Want to learn more? Talk to a Tungsten Electrode Expert at 805-498-3837 or fill out the form to the right and we’ll contact you. Be sure download our FREE Tungsten Guidebook and you can be a Tungsten Electrode Expert.
Want to learn more? Talk to a Tungsten Electrode Expert at 805-498-3837 or fill out the form to the right and we’ll contact you. Be sure download our FREE Tungsten Guidebook and you can be a Tungsten Electrode Expert.
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