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Tungsten Diameter Selection

The welding equipment supplier's recommendations and the American Welding Society recommendations are the best place to start with this variable. Equipment suppliers normally have specifications handy that they can provide you with. If they are not available or you would like to experiment with altering their guidelines, the chart at the top of the next page that is published by the American Welding Society can be of help to you.

Keep in mind that as you increase the diameter of the electrode you are able to handle more amperage. For a given amperage, larger diameter electrodes are more difficult to start than smaller ones, but they will probably erode less rapidly. If you use too large an electrode for your amperage level, you are likely to experience arc instability.

  Direct Current
(Amps)
Alternating Current
(Amps)
Electrode Diameter Straight Polarity Reverse Polarity Unbalanced Wave Balanced Wave
in. mm DCEN DCEP    

0.010 0.3 0.1 to 15 Not Applicable 0.1 to 15 0.1 to 15
0.020 0.5 5-20 Not Applicable 5-20 5-20
0.040 1.0 15-80 Not Applicable 10-80 20-60
0.060 1.6 70-150 10-20 70-150 60-120
0.093 2.4 150-250 15-30 140-235 100-180
0.125 3.2 250-400 25-40 225-325 160-250
0.156 4.0 400-500 40-55 300-400 200-320
0.187 4.8 500-750 55-80 400-500 290-390
0.250 6.4 750-1000 80-125 500-630 340-525

All values are based on the use of Thoriated, Ceriated, or Lanthanated Tungsten electrodes with argon gas.

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