If you’re just starting out in your welding classes, small projects can be a great way to gain experience joining metal outside of the lab.
TIG welding is the most difficult process to learn, so it’s especially important for beginner welders to get plenty of practice with this technique.
Here are 3 easy-to-intermediate TIG welding projects for you to try in your free time.
3 Simple TIG Welding Projects
1. Bronze Hammer
A bronze hammer is a great project for welding students because the materials are cheap, the process isn’t complicated and the end result is useful.
- Check the welding lab’s scrap bin for some round bar stock or pick some up at your local metal supply.
- Start with a 1” piece for the head of the hammer and then build it up to 2” with welding beads to practice your skills.
- Select a piece of 2” bar for the handle.
- Tack weld the head to the handle with ER309 stainless steel TIG welding electrodes (3/32”), then continue welding. Two passes should do the trick.
- After welding the tool in place, use silicon bronze to pad one side of the hammer head to create a soft face. This will prevent it from damaging machined surfaces.
- Pick up some 7018 (3/32”) rods to weld several beads on the handle to give it a good grip.
Want more practice? Apply the same principles to make a fireplace poker or other tools. Watch this TIG welder project video for a visual example.
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2. Welder’s Third Hand Tool
A third hand tool is a TIG welder’s best friend, but you won’t find one at your local welding supply. If you want one, you’ll have to weld it.
What exactly is a welder’s third hand? Unlike in MIG welding, you have to use both hands to TIG weld. This can be a big problem when you need to keep metal pieces in a certain position, especially standing up.
That’s when a third hand tool is helpful; it keeps pieces in place.
This project is perfect for students because the supplies typically cost around $5, and the process takes about 20 minutes. All you’ll need are 2 pieces of 12” rebar, 1 counter weight and some spray paint. The list of necessary welding tools is pretty short, too: an angle grinder, a TIG welder and a vise.
Now for the process:
- Grind a point on one side of the first piece of rebar and feet on both sides of the second piece of rebar.
- Secure the first piece of rebar in the vise and bend it into a 90-degree angle near the pointed tip.
- Place the second piece of rebar in the vice and bend it into a U shape.
- TIG weld the flat end of the first piece of rebar to the vertex of the second piece.
- Weld the counter weight to that joint. Finish off the project with a coat of spray paint.
Learn more in this video about the welder’s third hand tool.
3. Aluminum Tote Tray Project
This project is a little trickier but will definitely put your burgeoning welding skills to the test. You’ll need:
- A 16-guage diamond plate
- Grinding wheels
- Sanding discs
- A block of beeswax
Here are the steps to creating an aluminum tote tray project:
Cut the pieces of plate for the base and sides of the box.
Coat blades and discs with beeswax to prevent them from loading up.
Drill a hole at the top of the two tall sides of the box for the 1” piece of aluminum tubing that will serve as the handle.
Make sure to remove the wax with alcohol before welding.
For your TIG welder setting, use 100 amps on AC and a foot pedal. Set the AC balance to 33 percent cleaning and the frequency to 100hz. Choose a 2-percent lanthanated electrode (3/32”, 2.4mm) and a 4943 (3/32”, 2.4mm) filler metal. Lastly, select a #8 stubby gas lens with 15 cfh argon shielding gas.
Clamp the sides of the box together and secure them with several tack welds using 1.6mm filler metal.
TIG weld the sides together with the 2.4mm filler metal.
Put the aluminum tubing handle in place and weld to secure.
Once the tote is finished, you can use it to store your angle grinders or other tools.
Watch an aluminum tote tray being built here.
Sharpen Your Welding Skills with Practice
The great thing about welding school is you spend most of your time in the lab, and you learn by doing. You can take your learning to the next level by practicing welding outside of school. After you’ve mastered these 3 easy-to-intermediate projects, try these 5 challenging welding projects.