Being a welder, you must know that there are many types of welding processes available. Even though welding is simply joining metals, each process varies in how it’s done. Welding processes differ depending on the kinds of pressure, equipment, and heat used. But do you know what Heliarc welding is? If you are new in the welding industry, you probably won’t hear about heliarc welding until your older fellow welder mentions it.
Let us help by telling you what you should know about Heliarc welding.
Is Heliarc welding the same as TIG?
One exciting thing about Heliarc welding is, that it is the original, or you can say an old name of Gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) or tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding. Russell Meredith of Northrop Aircraft is credited with modeling the TIG welding process in 1941.
The strategy earned the name Heliarc because it used a tungsten electrode arc and helium as a shielding gas. However, the American welding society officially names this process (GTAW) gas tungsten arc welding.
Heliarc welding is a term that is not used as much anymore, but you may have heard it from fellow experienced welders. Some people may refer to TIG welding as heliarc because it emphasizes that the process should use helium as the shielding gas. However, this can cause confusion if you’re unaware of the term.
What is TIG welding/Heliarc Welding?
Heliarc welding or TIG welding is a process that uses an arc between a tungsten electrode and the workpiece to create a weld. The electrode is fed through a hand-held welding torch, which also supplies shielding gas to protect the weld from contamination.
In heliarc welding, you can get good control over the heat due to its foot paddle or remote switch, you can control the heat needed for the weld pool. TIG welding creates a solid bond between metals and removes impurities in the process. This makes for a much stronger final product.
You probably have most of the supplies you need for this type of welding in your garage. TIG\Heliarc welding requires a few key items to get the job done. You need a consistent power source to provide the electrical current that will create the arc. Additionally, you’ll need a welding torch using a tungsten electrode, some shielding gas, and filler rods. With these items, you’ll be able to complete the welding process.
The foremost task of shielding gas is protecting the workpiece and tungsten from contamination like oxidation and nitrogen absorption and alleviating the arc. Moreover, it is used for better weld penetration.
The most common gas used in TIG welding is argon. You can also add helium to this gas mixture. It will help increase the penetration and fluidity of the weld pool. Additionally, you can use argon or argon/helium mixtures for welding all metal grades. In some cases, nitrogen and hydrogen can be added to the gas mix to achieve unique properties.
Adding hydrogen gives the same but much more powerful effect than adding helium. Likewise, the weld deposit properties of nitrogen alloyed grades can be improvised by adding nitrogen.
TIG welding torches come in different designs depending on if they will be used for automatic or manual operation. All torches have a cooling system using either air or water.
The mechanical and manual torches look pretty much the same on the outside, but the manual torch has a handle. Automatic torches come with a mounting rack and no handle. The size of the welding torch nozzle determines how much shielded area there will be. The size of the gas nozzle is based on the diameter of the electrode and the configuration of the joint being welded.
Constant heat and power sources are important for TIG welding even if the arc distance and voltage change. Since unstable arc and power can cause heat variation which can make welding more difficult so sustaining an appropriate steady arc and current flow is very crucial. You can use both AC and DC polarity depending on the metal.
The electrode used in TIG is made of tungsten or a tungsten alloy. This is because tungsten has a high melting temperature, at 3,422 degrees Celsius. The electrode doesn’t get used up during welding because of this, though erosion can still happen. Electrodes may have a clean finish or a ground finish.
Filler metals play an important role in TIG, except for welding thin materials. Filler metals come in different diameters and are made from various materials. You can choose the best option according to your welding needs.
What is Heliarc welding used for?
Many industries use TIG or Heliarc welding to weld copper, stainless steel, aluminum, titanium, and other nonferrous metals. Likewise, it is often used to join round, S-curved, and thin metal sheets. TIG is a popular welding method because it can be used on various materials, thicknesses, and sizes. It’s especially well-suited for welding space vehicles, thin-wall tubing, and root or first-pass welds for piping.
In industrial settings, you can also find heliarc or TIG applications for larger projects such as automobiles or ships. However, it can also be used for repairs on a car, or home repairs usually require a specialized machine with a lot of power which can be challenging to do without the proper equipment.
The TIG welding process is unique because it allows for welding various alloys and configurations. Some filler metals, such as aluminum and chromium, can be vaporized by an electric arc. This does not happen with heliarc welds, which results in a weld that is more resistant to corrosion and cracking. This makes TIG/ heliarc the preferred welding method for crucial operations, like sealing nuclear fuel canisters before burial.
Heliarc welding is one of the most important inventions in the world. It has made ship and plane production possible and astronauts were able to land on the moon because of it. Heliarc or TIG or GTAW has made a huge impact on the world and continues to do so. It is hard to overstate its importance, and the widespread use of materials like aluminum and stainless steel became possible with this process.
By learning this skill and making a career in TIG welding you may have so many job opportunities available be it in aircraft welding or NASCAR. The process is used in many industries that can lead to amazing career opportunities. However, as with all welding, it is extremely important to take the proper safety measures while undertaking t.