I learn something new about TIG almost every day. the mtbr frame forum peeps have been great, thanks for all you guys who put info out there for the newbies. I am a total lurker, only one post, but most of the info i need is already up there in the archives.
Most everybody recomends getting a ‘gas lens’ for your torch. I thought i had one until I asked the guys at the welding store where they were so I could restock. The picture below shows the difference between the old and new. The one on the left is the traditional collet body and the one on the right is the gas lens. They work on any torch, use the same collets, but require different ceramic cups. These two cups are the same size (8) but they are obviously different shapes. The gas lens is said to better distribute the shielding gas (argon) to the workpiece creating a cleaner (and stronger) weld. The gas lens has a little tiny screen that the argon gets pushed through instead of a few holes in the collet body. I am sold. After one try with the new lens I already see the difference in the appearance of the bead and even in control of heat it seems.
I also picked up a new WeldTec 9F torch (smallest sized torch with a ‘flex’ head). A few months ago, I bought an imitation WeldTec on eBay for pretty cheap but haven’t been that happy with it so I decided to upgrade before welding the frame together. The new torch is lighter and has a bigger grip which is easier to twist the torch with than my last torch. The flex head is what they had in stock so I just grabbed it somewhat out of curiosity. I figured, if i don’t use it, i don’t use it, and it works the same as a non-flex head torch. But I’ve already used it multiple times in the first hour of welding. I like it when i can’t get a good angle on the joint without raising my torch hand off the table, or from something to steady my hand (i was taught to always place your hand on something steady to brace your torch hand as you’ll get a more even and steady bead). I can keep my hand in the same position and just tilt the head of the torch a bit up or down to get the best angle on the joint. It’s really easy to move back and forth but will not go out of position at random. I recommend it, but if it doesn’t hold up I’ll definitely be posting it here…
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