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Unlike Mig or Stick welding, Tig welding always moves in the forward or push direction, not in a reverse or pull direction. It also uses a torch as a heat source and a separate filler rod to complete the weld.

Parts of Tig Welding Torch

  • Nozzle or Cup - directs the flow of gas toward the weld. Can be made of ceramic, glass or other materials. These come in different sizes and shapes depending on the tig welding application. Numbers on the side of the cups indicate the inner diameter in 16ths of an inch. A #8 cup is 8/16" across and a #5 cup is 5/16" across.
  • Collet - spring tension sleeve that holds the tungsten electrode tight in the torch when it is clamped down by the end cap screw of the torch. Usually has a slit down the side and a tapered end. The thinner tapered end goes toward the front of the torch.
  • Tungsten Electrode - Consumable part of the torch that directs the arc for welding. Needs to be ground to a point.
  • Collet Body or Gas Lens - holds the collet and electrode to make the electrical connection

How to Sharpen Tungsten Electrode for Tig Welding

  1. Determine the angle needed for the tip of the tungsten
  2. Hold the electrode at the desired angle on the top half of the bench grinder.
  3. Spin the electrode as it is ground to avoid flat spots
  4. Grinding marks should be parallel to the electrode length

Tig Torch Assembly Sequence

  1. Screw the collet body into the torch and make sure it is tight
  2. Put the collet into the rear of the torch with the tapered end facing forward. Inspect the collet to make sure it is not damaged or over compressed.
  3. Put Electrode with ground end forward through the rear of torch and through collet
  4. Screw on the back cap of the torch
  5. Attach the front cup or nozzle
  6. Position the electrode to stick out past the end of the cup no more than the diameter of the cup as a general rule


Never allow the tungsten to touch the base metal. If it dips into the weld puddle then stop welding. Let the electrode cool, the regrind it before continuing welding. It will not work correctly if it has base metal contaminating the tip.

Don’t have inconsistent travel speed. This will make beads that have different widths and will not make good welds.

Keep the arc distance close to the material and consistent

Don’t melt the filler wire with the arc, it should melt when it is introduced to the molten weld pool

Tig Welding FAQs

How to prevent the filler rod from melting before the base metal and balling up?

The likely cause of the filler rod balling up is a torch angle that is too low. If the torch is laid down to the side so the welder can see the arc better then the arc will deflect or bounce off the base metal and hit the filler rod directly rather than going directly into the base metal. Fix this by holding the torch more vertical and moving the welder’s head to the side to more easily see the arc and weld puddle.

What should you do if you dip the tungsten into the weld pool and it is stuck to the metal?

Wait for it to cool. Do not move or jerk the torch because you will likely damage it. Loosen the rear torch cap and slide the torch off of the electrode. Then you can cut the tungsten from the metal and regrind it to begin welding again.