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Tungsten Electrode Tips Sheets

Electrode material, diameter, grind angle, and tip diameter (flat) vary according to each welding application. Charts and guides are available identifying amperage ratings for a variety of grind angles and tip diameters. Where available, use your welding equipment manufacturer's recommendations as a starting point. In the absence of that, the information below offers some general rules of thumb to follow and may be modified according to the specific application.

Basic Considerations

The choice of electrode material and geometry will always be a compromise affecting the following:

  • shorter vs. longer electrode life
  • easier vs. more difficult arc starting
  • deeper vs. shallower weld penetration
  • wider vs. narrower arc and weld shape

Electrode Material

Different electrode materials offer various advantages in arc starting and electrode life. The following are the most commonly used electrode materials:

2% Cerium Pure Tungsten
2% Thorium 1½% Lanthanum

Electrode Diameter

General Formula: Diameter x 1,500 = Average amperage for acceptable electrode life (20-30 degree angle)
Example: .040" diameter x 1,500 = 60 amps maximum
Rule of Thumb: For a given amperage, larger diameters offer longer electrode life but may be more difficult to arc start at low amperages.

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Angle/Taper

Sharper Electrodes
  • less arc wander at lower amperages
  • more consistent arc starting
  • have a wider arc
Blunt Electrodes
  • longer life
  • provide better weld penetration
  • can handle higher amperage levels
Rule of Thumb: Use 20-30 angles for up to 90 amps, average. Higher currents can use larger included angles.

Flat/Tip Diameter

General Formula: Amperage/4,000 = "Rule of Thumb" Flat Diameter
Example: 120 amps/4,000 = .030" "Rule of Thumb" Flat Diameter
Rule of Thumb: Use above calculation as a starting point for tip flat dimensions. As with electrode angle/taper, smaller tip diameter (sharper electrode) offers better arc starting an a more stable arc at low amperages. Larger tip diameters offer longer electrode life.
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