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Home > Metal Fabricating Tips & Facts > TIG Welding

TIG welding

Advantage Fabricated Metals performs a number of welding processes. The two most common welding processes we use include TIG, an acronym for Tungsten Inert Gas welding and MIG, an acronym for Metal Inert Gas welding. TIG is also referred to as GTAW (Gas Tungsten Arc Welding) and Heliarc®. MIG also is referred to as GMAW (Gas Metal Arc Welding).

TIG welding is also called Heliarc® welding. Heliarc® was the trade name given to the process by Linde's when it was introduced decades ago. The arc is started with a tungsten electrode shielded by inert gas and filler rod is fed into the weld puddle separately. The gas shielding that is required to protect the molten metal from contamination and amperage are supplied during the TIG welding operation.

TIG welding is a slower process than MIG, but it produces a more precise weld and can be used at lower amperages for thinner metal and can even be used on exotic metals. TIG welding is a commonly used high quality welding process. TIG welding has become a popular choice of welding processes when high quality, precision welding is required. The TIG welding process requires more time to learn than MIG.

Characteristics of the TIG welding process


  • Uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode during the welding process,
  • Uses a number of shielding gases including helium (He) and argon (Ar),
  • Is easily applied to thin materials,
  • Produces very high-quality, superior welds,
  • Welds can be made with or without filler metal,
  • Provides precise control of welding variables (i.e. heat),
  • Welding yields low distortion,
  • Leaves no slag or splatter.

In TIG welding, an arc is formed between a non-consumable tungsten electrode and the metal being welded. Gas is fed through the torch to shield the electrode and molten weld pool. If filler wire is used, it is added to the weld pool separately.

The illustration that follow provide a schematic showing how the TIG welding process works.

Gas Tungsten Arc Welding - illustration

The most common TIG welds are illustrated below. They include the:

  • butt joint,
  • lap joint,
  • T-joint, and
  • Fillet weld.

The following illustration shows these TIG-welded joints:

TIG welding joints - illustration

The TIG welding process utilizes a number of shielding gases including:

  • argon
  • argon/helium, and
  • helium

Argon is superior for welding metals. It operates at a higher arc voltage, makes the arc start more easily, and is commonly used to weld mild steel, aluminum and titanium.

Helium is generally added to increase heat input (increase welding speed or weld penetration) and is used for high speed welding of mild steel and titanium. Helium offers a smaller heat affected zone and therefore, penetrates metals deeply. It also can increase the welding speed up to 40%. Helium is also commonly used to weld stainless steel and copper.

The argon/helium combination gas is used for a hotter arc in welding aluminum and aluminum alloys. It is also used in automatic welding applications.

Even though TIG is a commonly used welding process, there are a number of limitations. These include:

  • TIG requires greater welder dexterity than MIG or stick welding,
  • TIG yields lower deposition rates,
  • TIG is more costly for welding thick metal sections.

View an overview of our welding services any of the metal forming processes offered by Advantage Fabricated Metals.

For more information about Advantage Fabricated Metals and the metal fabricating and welding services we provide, please fill out our contact form or call us at 1-815-323-1310.

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Advantage Fabricated Metals
a division of Corrugated Metals, Inc.
We invest in our customers.™
3575 Morreim Drive • Belvidere, Illinois 61008
Phone: 1-815-323-1310 • Fax: 1-815-323-1317