Is your truck just as beautiful underneath as it is on the surface? Those who have welded on their own ride can attest that to do it right, you need to know how to TIG weld. The skill is often referred to as a perfect rhythm-joining travel, speed, and position together in one constant motion to make a beautiful bead. We'll take a look at the basic and advanced-equipment skill levels and throw in a few pointers to help sharpen your tungsten.

About TIG
Technically called Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW), the term TIG-Tungsten Inert Gas-came into being because the process uses a nonconsumable tungsten electrode and a shielding gas composed of an inert element (usually argon) to protect the welding area from atmospheric contamination. TIG welding produces temperatures up to 35,000 degrees F, yet this concentrated heat can be precisely controlled and directed. If filler metal is required to make the weld, it can be added manually in the same manner as oxyacetylene welding. In fact, people who can oxyacetylene weld easily pick up TIG welding.

Some TIG machines also have Stick welding capabilities. While they cost more than MIG or Stick-only welders, a single TIG/Stick machine gives the user great flexibility.

TIG Machines
The type of TIG machine you should consider depends on three factors: the thickness of metal, the type of metal to be welded, and the primary power available. To handle the variety of jobs encountered when working on trucks and around the home, select a TIG welder with a wide amperage range and AC/DC output capabilities (you need both AC and DC output if you want to weld on steel and aluminum).

For example, the Miller Electric Syncrowave 200 has a range of 5-200 amps. A machine with this range will enable a skilled TIG welder to handle material as light as 22-gauge (0.033-inch) steel and up to 1/4-inch aluminum, making it a great entry-level machine, priced around $2,400.