First three lines with my TIG welder (those in the center of the image - the others are FCAW mig lines). Argon bottle arrived and got it swapped yesterday. As everyone says, I ended up dipping the electrode in the puddle on the very first three attempts (not these). So it took me 15-20 minutes to get to the point of making any kind of line because I kept having to stop, grind the tungsten, reassemble, get set, start the arc, dip the tip, — lather, rinse, repeat. Once I got the positioning correct I could keep the arc going and make a line.
It looks to me that the only halfway decent one is the short one in the middle. I think the others are too tall and look cold to me. I could be wrong, if someone knows better, please chime in.
The only real problem I had was that later in the evening I was testing on some square tubing and I could not get the arc started and when it finally did, it would not stay in one place. It just wanted to dance around and so I could not get a puddle going. I had ground the steel shiny, but I guess maybe it wasn't clean enough. Anybody else have an idea?
So, I have learned that 1) tig is very relaxing to me - 2 hours went by in a flash, 2) it's going to take me a lot more practice to get it right, 3) go ahead and prepare those extra tungstens I bought yesterday because it's faster to have several ready to swap, and 4) prepare the metal really well before starting.
Looking forward to tonight's practice. I need to head to the scrapyard and buy some more steel to use for practice.