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Old 06-24-2018, 11:09 PM
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Default Tig filler rods to get?

Now that I have a tig welder at home, I am looking to get some filler rods on hand. My old boss would just order what he thought was best, so that is what I had to work with. I would not necessarily pick out the filler metal due to what it was, just pick out the size to what I was welding on. Had different grades of stainless and alum in different diameters, but not all grades in all sizes.

Anyways, I don’t want to drop a $1000 to have everything covered, but would like to be able to weld stainless and aluminum, and possibly cast iron repairs. My welder is only 175 amps, do I can probably stay with 1/16- 3/32” size due to amperage available, and maybe only .045 in stainless. I expect to do light gauge, 16-18 gauge most likely the most. Have a lot of stainless from restaurant kitchen to work with, and might make new pans for sugar shack, (if I get to that this year)

I am leaning towards 4043 for alum,
309 for stainless, mostly because it is supposed to be better for disimilar metals, like stainless to steel,
And maybe some alum bronze for cast repairs.

Also, any decent welding supply places to look into? I have an air gas store in town, but I can’t get there during their business hours unless I take time off of work to do so, so it is not very convenient for me. I will have make that work when I need gas, but I am looking into getting an account set up and have gas deliveries to my work place with a LWS that nearest store is 70 miles away
but has been slowly taking air gas business away.

Anyways, what recommendations do you guys have.


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Old 06-24-2018, 11:31 PM
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LKeithR LKeithR is offline
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Any ER70S rod will be fine. Unless you're really good you're unlikely to notice much difference between brands--1/16 and 3/32 for size. Even with a Dynasty 350 we seldom use either .045 or 1/8 rods. Remember that in addition to changing amperage you can also regulate output with the size of tungsten you use.

For aluminum 4043 and 5356 are all we use--1/16 and 3/32 although the latter might be more than you can run with 175 amps. If you want to start with just one go with 4043--slightly less strength but better ductility for more dissimilar alloys. Your choice of 309 for SS will be fine. Stainless is the nicest of all to weld so I don't see the need for .045; I'd start with 1/16.

There are so many specialty rods for cast iron and other "difficult" metals it's hard to know where to start. Basic aluminum bronze and silicon bronze will cover a pretty wide range. And remember that if you have a cast iron stick rod that you like there's a good chance it will work just as well or better if you knock the coating off and use it with tig. We've done that many times.

And if you don't want to break the bank buying rods try finding someone you can share with. We have a friend we do that with. We'll buy 10 lbs. of 4043 and 10 lbs. of 5356 and split it. We get 5 lbs. of each for the price of one ten pounder...
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Old 06-25-2018, 03:32 AM
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After a few years of having a machine such as this you will end up very close to your amt of $1,000. I started out for mild steel and have now ended up with two for Al, two for s/s, a few for gun work(one suggested) and bought as a group from/with Walker, etc etc.

I have bought in 3/32, but for 99% of what I do, 1/16 is the go to. I shy away from the thick work with TIG as I can use the spool gun or the MIGs for what my TIG won't cover.
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Old 06-25-2018, 07:55 AM
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Some of the suppliers will also sell in one pound amounts. My local Praxair will generally have an open box on hand and will weigh out a pound if that’s all one wants.

Most of my aluminum is done with 4043, and I use 5356 for stuff that’s getting chromed, or sometimes on cracks in cast aluminum.

I do have some .045, I use it for very thin or fine work. However I’m used to using it, and smaller, for a lot of the mold repair work I do.


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Old 12-07-2018, 07:18 AM
bunkclimber bunkclimber is offline
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Default filler rod

dont be afraid of box lots of stick rods at auctions-at lot of times I see high-alloy nickle maintenance rods mixed in with other stuff-the stick rods can be used with a tig welder if you scrape the outer flux coating off first..slightly bend the rod and the flux sometimes will fracture and peel right off,it doesnt matter for tig use,the center of the rod is what you're after..then scrape the rod with a razor knife and bingo you have a high alloy filler rod..works in a pinch
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Old 12-07-2018, 05:44 PM
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I have a crap load of stainless coat hangers that I had picked up for free had planned on using them for TIG filler rod only problem is not sure of how well it would work... So I haven't tried them yet...
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Old 12-11-2018, 10:03 AM
bunkclimber bunkclimber is offline
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Default tig filler rods

well if its truly STAINLESS coat hangers, they won't rust or go bad in storage,thats for sure..grab some scrap steel and lay down some beads and see how it performs as filler..can't be all bad..probably 304 stainless,can't imagine 316.
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Old 12-11-2018, 10:14 PM
Don_S Don_S is offline
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One thing you need to be careful of using your coat hangers in any critical applications. If they are 304, 304 is typically not used for a filler metal. They recommend 308 or 316 and 309L for dissimilar matchups.

They may be great for practice though as I'm sure the price was right.
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Old 12-11-2018, 11:48 PM
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I always look for the wet rods cheaper that way and they dry fast in the plasma arc. I have two tig set ups here but admit that it has been 30 years since I last used one. I should get one up and running but I seldom see a weld that mig or stick will not handle.
When I moved here there was a good tig welder a few blocks away.
I fixed a problem for him and he took care of my tig needs. He has since moved on but I have not needed Tig since he moved. This area is a heavy iron environment.











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Old 12-12-2018, 12:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bunkclimber View Post
well if its truly STAINLESS coat hangers, they won't rust or go bad in storage,thats for sure..grab some scrap steel and lay down some beads and see how it performs as filler..can't be all bad..probably 304 stainless,can't imagine 316.
I'm pretty sure they are SS they been hanging in the shop for quite a spell and prior to that out side for awhile and have no rust...
so you think they'd be most likely be 304

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don_S View Post
One thing you need to be careful of using your coat hangers in any critical applications. If they are 304, 304 is typically not used for a filler metal. They recommend 308 or 316 and 309L for dissimilar matchups.

They may be great for practice though as I'm sure the price was right.
If they are not good for filler although ill try at least one just to see how it welds on some SS tubing I have
price was rite "Basically Free" but if all else fails they will make nice hangers that wont leave a rust mark on my T-shirts
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Last edited by MetalWolf; 12-12-2018 at 12:21 AM.
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