How to Setup a TIG Welder for Aluminum & Stainless Steel

How to Setup a TIG Welder for Aluminum & Stainless Steel

If you have just bought your first TIG welder and want to know how to set it up, then you are in the right place. To set up a TIG welding machine is not an easy task as it requires several settings to be taken care of. But don’t worry, my step by step guide will help you in setting up your welder. This article can be your complete guide for accommodating a TIG welder in your shop or back garage.

Furthermore, this article is also a treat for beginners as it will clear many concepts regarding the TIG welding procedure and help them a lot at the start of their career.

What is TIG Welding?

TIG Welding

TIG stands for Tungsten Inert Gas Welding. This welding technique uses a tungsten electrode to weld the materials. A tungsten electrode has the benefit of being inconsumable. So, a TIG welding machine lasts long enough in your shop and helps you imparting welds. 

A TIG welding process requires filler metal for proper working. A filler metal creates the filling area between different metals, which can be used to create strong joints. Usually, the filler metals are in the form of wires, which melt during the process and create the welds. 

How does TIG welding work?

TIG welding process is a combination of three things: heat, shielding, and filler metals. A TIG welding process requires the worker to operate with both hands. The gas is supplied from the compressor and protects the weld from the harsh effects of the environment. 

First of all, the compressor supplies the air to the weld. After the metals are completely covered with air, then we can start our welding machine. The torch of the welding machine is held over the workpiece such that it is just over the metal and does not touch. The metal will gradually start melting and create a puddle. Then, the filler metal is supplied to the metal from the second hand. The filler metal will create strongness and rigidity in the joint.

 The TIG welds are some of the strongest welds you will ever get in the welding job. Also, imparting tig welds over different metals requires a lot of practice. So, the beginners should pay proper heed to this process, and you should practice a lot before going on the field.

How to Set Up a TIG Welding machine?

There are several TIG welders available in the market. You can consult my article “Best TIG Welders for Money” to see the best tig welding machines available in the market. If you buy any machine, you will require to assemble its parts and set up the whole device. A machine that is assembled perfectly can give the best outcomes. To set up any TIG welding machine, perform the following steps. 

1. Prepare the Workplace

Prepare the Workspace

The most important step in any welding process to choose an area that is perfect for welding. Using a welding table is a good option if you are welding at home or a shop. You can read my article on “Best Welding Tables” to choose one for yourself. But it would be best if you pay special heed to your environmental conditions. There should not be too much dust or moisture in your environment; if there is some, then you should take certain steps to reduce these hazardous aspects of the environment.

2. Connect the Torch

You first need to connect the gas hose and regulator with the torch. Then, connect your torch in front of your machine. Before connecting your torch with the machine, you will need to connect the adapter from the accessory package. 

3. Connect the Remote Controls

After connecting your torch with the machine, the next step is to connect your device’s control options. The most used controls with TIG machines are foot pedal controls. Foot pedals are easy to use and have greater productivity on the job. However, fingertip controllers are also used in devices where precision is required. 

4. Connect the Work Clamp

Ground Clamp

You will need to connect your work clamp (Also referred to as Ground Clamp) with the device. The ground clamp is used for safety purposes. It provides a virtual ground for the stray currents saving the worker from an electric shock.

5. Select the Polarity

TIG Welding Settings

Now, you will need to select the polarity of your work job. There are two types of polarity options for the machine. DC TIG welding is carried by torch negative and workpiece positive. This is usually referred to as positive polarity TIG welding.

This is usually used for most of the welding process taken with the help of TIG welding. You can operate both the E6010 and E6011 electrodes with this polarity. The DC- polarity might give you a high melt-off rate of the electrode and lower penetration. But this is the DC polarity used for welding thinner metal to avoid burn-through.

On the other hand, the negative polarity is the opposite of DC polarity. You can now use a positive electrode and a negative base plate. For this kind of job, usually, AC rated power source is used. 

So, long story short, you will need to select a polarity for the job you are going to do. 

6. Prepare tungsten for the work.

Grind the Electrode

The next step is for you is to prepare (in other words, sharpen) your tungsten. Tungsten sharpening is more important if you are going to weld aluminum, as aluminum spatter will create a ball over the tungsten, and you will need to sharpen the tungsten for more work. 

For sharpening, you will need to grind the tungsten in the long direction such that the point becomes as small as ½” of the full diameter. You should use a 200 grit or finer grinding wheel. It is important not to use the grinding wheel for any other cause, doing so will contaminate your tungsten. 

7. Assemble Torch

For assembling your torch properly, loosen the back cap and remove about 3/32″ of the diameter of the tungsten from your torch. Then you will need to remove the nozzle and copper collet piece of your torch. 

After installing your tungsten, you will need to put back the collet and the collet body back into the torch and tighten up. Then, finally, put the nozzle back onto the torch. 

8. Installing the Tungsten

Installing the Electrode

Place the tungsten into the collet of your torch and leave about 1/8 into 1/4in. It was sticking out of the collet. Then, tighten back the cap. 

9. Check and Connect Power

The input ratings of the machines are very important. You should first check that the input ratings of the machine match with the power supply of the socket. If the sockets don’t match with the input ratings of your machine, then you will need to purchase separate adapters for the input end. 

Welding Final

 After following all the steps mentioned above, you are all set to make your arcs over the workpieces. TIG welding is a very difficult process and requires a lot of practice to be completed properly. 

However, there are some special settings that you will need to adapt for welding over steel and aluminum. They are as mention below.

 How to perform TIG welding over aluminum?

How to TIG Weld on Aluminum

Doing TIG welding over aluminum requires a different setup and configurations to adapt to. TIG welds over aluminum can be done using two types of electrodes: Tungsten and Thoriated Tungsten electrodes. Following are the steps you will need to perform to weld over aluminum.

  1. Use the button on the rear of the machine for switching on the machine.
  2. Then, push all the buttons on the bottom row of the device, labeled as AC Waveshape, Gas/ Dig, Pulser, Output, Process, and Polarity. 
  3. Now change the polarity of the machine to AC.
  4. For the processing, the option selects the TIG HF Impulse.
  5. Choose the RMT STD on the output to enable the option for the usage of a foot pedal.
  6. Choose PPS for the pulser. 
  7. For the amperage rating, select option number 4.
  8. Use PRE-FLOW for the Gas/ Dig and then adjust the amperage knob to 0.2 seconds.
  9. In front of POST-FLOW on the Gas/ Dig and adjust the amperage knob to Auto.
  10. In the options of AC waveshape, select AC frequency. There will be several labels; select A and set the maximum of the amperage rating. 
  11. Now drawing your arcs, you can select the foot pedal to choose the amperage ratings from 0 to maximum value.

How to Perform TIG welds over Stainless Steel?

Stainless Steel TIG Welding

For imparting arcs over stainless steel, there are some specific steps that you will need to perform. Following are all the important steps to perform welds over stainless steel.

  1. Switch on the machine using the button given on the machine.
  2. Push all the buttons on the bottom row name as polarity, processed, output, and Gas/ Tig. 
  3. Change the settings of the polarity to DC.
  4. Change the process to TIG HF Impulse. 
  5. Choose RMT STD on the output to enable the foot pedal.
  6. The PRE-FLOW and POST-FLOW options are the same as for aluminum. i.e., set the amperage to know to 0.02 for PRE-FLOW and Auto for the POST-FLOW.
  7. Push the A button and set the amperage ratings to the maximum. 
  8. Now, you can use your foot controls for adjusting the amperage ratings from 0 to maximum.

Safety precautions for TIG welding

Safety Precautions

The tungsten gas will burn the hands, and it can also affect the vision of the observer. So, you will need to take safety measurements in this regard. To protect your eyes, face, and neck, you will require a good welding helmet. You can read my article on “Best Welding Helmet for money” for choosing one ideal welding helmet for yourself. 

You can buy a welding jacket to save your clothes and lower body from the sparks and spatter of the welds. I have classified some of the best welding jackets available in the market in my article on “Best Welding Jackets for the money.”

Finally, for the protection of your hands against heat, you will require some good welding gloves. There can be many things for the protection of oneself against the sparks and heats out of the welds. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Pulse Welding?

Pulse welding refers to oscillating between two pre-selected amperage levels. Pulse welding offers improved controls over the welds without sacrificing penetration and speed. The high amp refers to the penetrating phase of the weld, and the low amp region is called the cooling phase. The frequency of most of these welding machines is adjustable.

How to set up a Miller TIG welder?

Miller produces some of the best TIG welding machines available in the market. The setting of most of the miller machines is similar to a standard setup. You will need to turn on the machine and select polarity, processing, and Control options. For aluminum welding, select AC polarity, and for stainless steel, select DC. You can control your welds with the help of a foot pedal.


 This article covers all the important details that you will require to start welding with a TIG welder. I have also mentioned the important safety precautions and settings needed for particular welding methods. This article is everything you will require in performing TIG welding tasks. 

Hello Everyone, I am James from Kentucky and been into this welding fiasco for 13 years in that time I have worked as a private welder and did most of the auto restoration work. In this recent, COVID-19 outbreak I decided to start a welding blog and share welding tips along with product reviews.

Leave a Comment