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TIG Welding Settings What Are All Those Knobs?

Jody Collier

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Some manufacturers of TIG welding machines also sell little slide rule type calculators that are supposed to help the welder set the dials on a TIG welder machine. For the most part they are really handy, but there are times when I think the engineers were smoking crack. For example, if you set the slide rule for 1/4" steel, it will display that you need 250-200 amps using DCEN polarity.

250-300 amps for a fillet weld on 1/4" steel? Are you Kidding me?

These little weld calculators are very useful for newbs because they are a ready reference for all the TIG welder machine settings like polarity, high frequency, and other variables that make a big difference in not only TIG welding, but also MIG and stick welding.

I know a guy who has little labels stuck all over his Miller Syncrowave 250 TIG welding machine so that he doesn't have to look it up every time he needs to weld something. He is a machinist who does some welding. Not a full time welder . With all the CNC programs he as to think about along with feed speeds etc. , he does not care to memorize TIG welding settings. A welding calculator would really help him.

Remember these down and dirty tips for setting TIG welders and maybe you wont even need a welding calculator.

1. For Steels, stainless steels, Nickel alloys, titanium etc (everything except aluminum and magnesium)

DCEN, high frequency on start only, Argon gas flowmeter set on 20 cfh with a #7 gas lens type nozzle/cup, amperage switch on remote, contactor switch on remote

2. For Aluminum and Magnesium

A/C, high frequency set to continuous, argon, or argon/helium mix flowmeter set to 15 cfh with a #7 cup if machine is equipped with A/C balance, set it to 7, amperage switch on remote, contactor switch on.

Jody Collier's Welding tips and tricks site is full of Down and Dirty welding tips. For TIG welding info and a buttload of other welding information, visit


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