How to "Correctly" Grind, Cut & Prepare Tungsten Welding Electrodes (11 pages)

step iii: tungsten cutting and cutting to length

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“The Tungsten Electrode Experts”

2550 Azurite Circle Newbury Park, CA 91320 PH: 805.498.3837 FX: 805.498.9347 Web:



One of the most overlooked areas of tungsten electrode preparation is the cutting operation or
contaminated tip removal. What to do with contaminated tungsten electrodes is the most frequent
problem confronting anyone doing TIG welding. A contaminated electrode produces an erratic arc and a
dirty, contaminated weld. If the contamination of the electrode is small, however, it usually can be
removed by regrinding. If contamination cannot be removed in this manner, the next step is to cut the
contaminated portion off of the electrode.

Cut tungsten electrodes .040/.062 diameter with wire cutters or used their hands.

Cut tungsten electrodes 3/32 to 1/8 diameter by using 2 pairs of pliers and a twisting

motion or notched the electrode on the grinding wheel and used two pairs of pliers.

Cut tungsten electrodes over 1/8 diameter using a sharp hammer blow to the electrode on

a sharp metal edge or notching the electrode on a grinding wheel and striking the
electrode with a sharp blow from a hammer.

Many of the problems associated with cutting tungsten electrodes is based upon the material itself.
Tungsten is a very brittle material because of its high hardness and the above methods should be
avoided because they cause many safety and weld quality problems. For example:

Splintering or shattering the electrode by use of pliers, notching or hammer blow can
cause severe eye and hand injury.

Fractured tungsten electrodes can cause arc instability and break off during welding
creating gross weld defect.

The correct way to cut tungsten electrodes or remove a contaminated tip is noted in the illustration of
DGP Model DGP-2 below. The tungsten should be rigidly secured on either side of the cut. The cutting
wheel should be diamond to provide a clean, contamination free, smooth separation. This will insure the
electrode is never fractured or splintered during the cut off operation. . The adjustable stop and scale
permits cutting electrodes to a selectable length. This is very beneficial in a variety of automatic and
manual welding applications.

NEVER use a silicone carbide type wheel which contaminates the tungsten

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