How to Ball Tungsten for Aluminum Welding?

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Tungsten is a great metal for welding aluminum, but it cannot be easy to ball up. The first step is to make sure the tungsten rod you are using has been properly sized and shaped. It would help if you found out what size of rod your welder needs, or else you may damage your equipment by trying to use an incompatible material. Once you have the proper size of tungsten rod, start grinding one end until it becomes rounder than the other.

In this article, we will discuss How to Ball Tungsten for Aluminum Welding?. We will go in-depth into what to do and why it is important.

Do you need help How to Ball Tungsten for Aluminum Welding? If so, then make sure to read on!

Related Post: Aluminum TIG Welder Review

What is Tungsten Balling?

Tungsten inert gas welding aluminum is hard. You use a tungsten electrode to make the welding arc over a wide area. Let the end of your tungsten electrodes form balls; it will use less energy and make the arc wider. It may be better for you to do that when welding aluminum because it will clean off any dirt or other metal stuck on top of your weld joint.

A tungsten ball is a rounded electrode which means that it can create better arcs than sharp-pointed electrodes. When only pure tungsten was used to make electrodes, it was necessary to ball the electrodes for optimal performance. But today, people are not sure if this is true anymore for all kinds of tungsten.

Why is Tungsten Balled?

There are two types of tungsten. One is pointy and the other is round. When you use the pointy ones, you shape them into a ball before you want to use them. It depends on what you will be doing with it when it comes to choosing one or the other.

So there are many types of tungsten. All of them are approved by the American Welding Society. You don't need to ball up your tungsten for aluminum welding anymore. You can use some common types like:

  • Created Tungsten

Created Tungsten Cerium oxide can be an alloying agent. It helps make the arc more stable. It is not radioactive, which is a good thing for welders.

  • Lanthanated Tungsten

Lanthanated tungsten is a good metal for welding. It also makes the arc more stable and helps make it stronger, and it isn't radioactive either.

  • Thoriated Tungsten

Thoriated tungsten is one of the best types to use in welding. It gives off a great light when it arcs and is good for general use. However, thorium oxide (or thoria) - which this type of tungsten has in it - can be radioactive. That makes it riskier than any other type of metal you can use for welding because if you are exposed to too much radiation, it could make your body sick.

  • Zirconiated Tungsten

Zirconiated Tungsten is a type of metal that you can use for welding. It is good because it makes the arc more stable and increases the life of your electrodes for when you are welding.

This material is used for electrodes in welding. It makes the arc more stable and increases the life of your electrodes.

One type of metal that you can use for welding is called Zirconiated tungsten. This material improves the arc stability, so it makes it easier to weld. It also increases the electrode life because you don't have to replace your electrodes as often.

Do I need to ball my tungsten for aluminum?

This is typically unnecessary for most tungsten applications. The difference here is that aluminum is softer than steel, so it can't be brazed or welded with tungsten, but the hardness of the tungsten adds strength to the aluminum. So if you are using a weaker grade of new alloy for this application, balling may be necessary. And many designs have brackets built-in on corners for welding steel around them without having to ball first.

How to Ball Tungsten for Aluminum Welding?

A Tungsten Electrode for Aluminum Welding is a device that you use to weld aluminum. It has an end with a sharp point, and the other end is not sharp. You need to make sure that you do not use it on anything metal or non-conductive. That will not work!

If you are using this device, follow these steps:

  1. Sharpen one side of the tungsten electrode using a bench grinder.
  2. Sharpen the other side, too, just like before.
  3. Let the sharpened side cool down for 10 Min.
  4. Place your tungsten electrode in your welder and connect its ground side to something conductive (like metal). This will help with lots of things.
  5. Place the tip of the tungsten electrode one-eighth inch away from the scrap piece of aluminum.
  6. Startup your welder and let it run for two or three minutes until there is a ball about one-third the diameter of the tungsten electrode on top.
  7. Then rest again for ten minutes. After it has cooled down a bit, you can go ahead and use it to weld aluminum or other metals.

Why Is Tungsten Used In Welding?

Tungsten is used as welding electrodes and also as welding filler metal. People use tungsten for this process because it is an electrical conductor, highly resistant to corrosion, and melts at 3422 degrees Celsius (6192 degrees Fahrenheit).

It has a low vapor pressure, good thermal conductivity, and can withstand high temperatures.

Aluminum welding also poses problems for the other common metals used to weld aluminum, including titanium and indium.

These metals are often chosen because they form a stable oxide coating on their surface when exposed to air and won't readily react with it.

While this is advantageous when welding aluminum, it also means that the surface is covered in a non-conducting layer.

This factor makes it more challenging for these metals to bond their electrons with the aluminum atoms they are supposed to be welding together.

Is balling tungsten dangerous?

Balling tungsten is not dangerous, but it does require supervision. Radioactive tungsten has to be disposed of properly in a shielded container while not in use. The only danger while welding comes from the amount of time you are exposed to radiation through balling.

The radiation level is increased, but this can be managed by having an effective ventilation system. The only place with an elevated level of radioactivity is in the work area where you are welding.

Balling tungsten is done when the electrode has become too short of use or needs to be shaped. If it's not balled, the tip will no longer produce a good weld.

Can you weld aluminum with sharp tungsten?

It is fine to weld aluminum with a sharp tungsten electrode, as long as the arc starts right at the edge of where you want to weld.

It can be difficult to start a weld on an aluminum pipe with a traditional electrode because of the high natural resistance in most aluminum alloys, so some preliminary arc-cutting process often has to be done.

It's not enough to heat those areas without removing those oxide layers, or they'll just cause problems when welding farther down the way.

The best technique for cutting through them is pre-flow DCEN with sharp tungsten electrodes.

In any case, using modern multi mesh electrodes does away with this issue altogether – they're designed specifically for use on aluminum and have a much lower natural resistance than traditional electrodes.

One thing that you should always do, though, is to set your travel speed to zero when you start welding on aluminum.

This will prevent the weld from getting contaminated by any particles coming from the base material and make it last longer.

What are the Unique Challenges of Welding Aluminum?

It's harder to weld aluminum. It requires special settings and arrangements, so what is it that makes welding aluminum challenging?

The basic difference between steel and aluminum lies in the two materials' thermal conductivity and porosity- which are both important factors when you're looking for a good welder. As such, if these differences can be accounted for, then there shouldn't be any problems at all with undertaking an acceptable job of welding up your custom project.

Thermal Conductivity

Aluminum is a metal that conducts heat better than other metals. But when you are welding, this can be a problem. That's because the cooler parts of the metal keep pulling the heat away from the weld pool, so your welds will not be as strong or deep. To fix this, you need to use higher temperatures when welding aluminum than when welding steel.


Aluminum can absorb hydrogen. But when it starts to solidify, it cannot hold the hydrogen in the same form. When this happens, bubbles are formed in aluminum which causes porosity issues. Sometimes adding gas like argon and helium can help reduce these bubbles, so you have less porosity.


Ball tungsten for aluminum welding is a very common process when it comes to repairing and maintaining aircraft. It can also be used in alloys like brass, bronze, and nickel-silver with the help of additional flux material. The ball size needs to match the base metal; we recommend using .045" balls if you're working on copper or brass.

Ball tungsten for aluminum welding is an increasingly popular technique that can be used in various situations. We hope this article has given you some insights into the process and how it could work for your own needs.

Last Updated on December 1, 2021 by weldinghubs

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