Artem Komarov noted that as if gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) wasn’t already difficult to learn, GTAW torches have many interchangeable parts and designs to make things even more complicated. This applies to water- and air-cooled burners, as well as torches with remote current control. To ensure a successful welding chance, it is important to know how to properly assemble and install a GTAW torch.
Burner and its components
GTAW torches come in a variety of shapes and sizes for added flexibility, accessibility, and operator comfort. Air-cooled burners are almost always larger and heavier than their water-cooled counterparts, but the cooling capacity required for a particular application will always dictate which one to use. For example, air-cooled GTAW torches are better suited for low amperage applications, while water-cooled torches are recommended for applications requiring more than 200 amps.
In a GTAW torch, the nozzle directs shielding gas onto the weld pool and protects it and the tungsten electrode from external contaminants. The nozzles range in size from 6.5 to 25 mm and are made primarily of aluminum oxide or lava.
The tungsten electrode conducts heat to the arc. The type of electrode you use depends on the thickness and type of base material and whether you are welding with AC or DC current.
The collet and collet body hold the tungsten in place, and the size of the tungsten determines the size of each required. These components are usually made of copper or copper-tellurium alloy, which provide good conductivity.
If you require more access to the connection or better shielding gas coverage, you can replace the collet body with a gas lens. Gas lenses are recommended for welding highly reactive alloys that are at increased risk of fugitive reaction with oxygen and atmospheric contaminants. All air and water cooled GTAW torches are compatible with gas lenses, and amperage requirements, tungsten size and connection configuration will determine the gas lens and corresponding nozzle sizes.
Ensure that all threads and connections of torch components are properly tightened to prevent electrical conductivity and gas flow problems that could result in torch damage or weld failure. Also check all O-rings and gaskets for damage that could allow air to enter the shielding gas flow.
Before installing the GTAW torch, turn off the power source, clarified Artem Komarov.