Heliarc welding is another name of TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welding. This type of welding is hard to master when compared to other types of welding. Yes, I’m trying to point at Stick and MIG welding. Heliarc welding is still favored by many as it offers very clean results if done right.
In this article, we’ll be covering the origins to the very advantages and limitations of Heliarc welding. So, if you’re interested to know all the details about this fascinating welding process, you’ve come to the right place.
Hop right in; we’re just about to begin!
If you’re pondering about when the Heliarc welding process was first innovated, well, it all began in 1890 by C.L. Coffin. In the early stages, it was called electrode welding. In that phase, it used a carbon arc to produce heat.
However, the process wasn’t really perfected till 1941. That’s exactly when it came to be known as Heliarc welding.
Defining Heliarc Welding
This welding technique involves the use of inert gas and tungsten electrodes. In this process, the machine uses a high-frequency current that heats up the metal till it gets transformed into liquid form. Then the joining is made possible.
Here, electrodes are basically utilized to sustain the electric arc that’s created between the materials. The process itself is pretty similar to gas welding. That’s because it involves the melting of two metals where the two pieces meet.
The only difference is that Heliarc welding doesn’t use a filler metal. But gas welding works by using electrode wires or carbon rods as the source of the material.
So, what type of equipment would we need for Heliarc welding? Let’s make a short list.
- A power supply
- A torch
- Tungsten electrode
- Shield gas
- Filler rods
A power supply is vital in this case as it provides the electrical current that’s needed to form an arc. We can’t really forget the necessity of the torch, either. These may use consumable or non-consumable tungsten electrodes. You should know the consumable ones wear down with the use of the machine.
There are several types of welds that you can pull off with these equipment. Yes, I’m talking about butt, fillet, and lap joints.
How Does Heliarc Welding Work?
Let’s explain the process of Heliarc welding before we discuss anything further. To start things off. I should mention that the welder will use an electrical current to create an arc between the tungsten electrode and the base metal.
This then creates a weld pool. Until the weld pool looks like a shiny dot, the welders shouldn’t start welding. This is of course, in the case of aluminum. You’ll need a red-hot-looking pool in case of dealing with metals like steel.
If the metal reaches this state, it means that the oxide has been removed from the particular area. Thus, adding the filler will not pose a threat of contamination as the welding is done.
Keep in mind that the process also involves protecting the metal with the use of a gas shield. In this case, typically, argon or helium is used to create the shielding gas. Sometimes these are used in combination as helium helps to increase the heat.
The shield formed by the gas helps to protect the weld from contamination and keep oxygen at bay. The use of helium has made it known as Heliarc welding to many.
The Utility of Heliarc/ TIG Welding
Normally, Heliarc welding is used on industrial levels of work. This form of welding is applied in cases of cars and ships. It can be used to repair the car at your home. However, keep in mind that it requires a specialized machine that requires a lot of power.
What I’m trying to get at is that it’s harder to execute without the proper equipment.
TIG welding is basically a process that strengthens the bond between metal parts and, throughout the process, eliminates the impurities. Due to the precision and dexterity that it requires, it’s quite harder to pull off, especially when compared to methods like MIG welding. Plus, it’s much harder to learn.
Note: Even though you’re making the use of gas to shield items from oxygen exposure, you really have to be careful about it.
The Strengths of Heliarc Welding
Now that we’ve clarified what Heliarc welding is, let’s talk about the advantages that it has to offer.
The best part about Heliarc or TIG welding is perhaps the versatility it offers regarding metal types. You can even work with exotic metals. The options also include magnesium, stainless steel, chrome, nickel, titanium alloys, and so on.
The strong metal bond created by TIG welding bears the secret that sets itself apart from any other method of welding. Plus, it requires less energy. These factors make it more efficient overall.
As we all know, TIG welding or Heliarc welding is far more accurate and precise than the other options that are available. This makes it reliable enough to deal with critical parts and structures. The weld is strong and long-lasting as well.
The Disadvantages of Heliarc Welding
Now that we’ve talked about the benefits of Heliarc welding let’s also discuss the cons.
Longer Learning Curve
As I’ve said before, TIG welding isn’t all that easy to master and takes even longer to reach the levels of perfection. To master TIG welding, you need to have a strong understanding of angle, timing, and electricity.
Keep in mind that without proper training, there are high chances of you ending up with mistakes in alignment, uneven joints, and many other problems that could affect the strength of the weld.
Multitasking Is Crucial
TIG welding involves maintaining the arc at all times. This means you’ll need to focus on multiple things at a time. You’ll have to watch your gears and know the exact timings of moving from one position to the other.
Before we part ways, let’s answer some questions that revolve around the topic.
What types of gases are used in Heliarc welding?
Heliarc welding mostly makes use of organ and helium gas. Since these are inert, they don’t really react with the weld. They protect the weld from contamination.
What is TIG welding used for?
TIG welding is normally used for industrial-level operations. However, with a skilled set of hands, it can be used at home as well.
How long does it take to learn Heliarc welding?
It depends on the skillset and multitasking ability the user already has. Some might take months of practice to perfect the craft.
Well, now it’s safe to safe to say that I’ve laid out all the information you need to gain an extensive Idea about TIG/ Heliarc welding. I hope all the data helps you out in your future welding ventures. This method of welding might be hard to learn, but the results are just as rewarding.
So, let’s not drag this along with any further. Wrapping things up for now. Farewell!