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Thread: Holder for sharpening TIG tungsten electrodes

  1. #1
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    Don42's Tools

    Holder for sharpening TIG tungsten electrodes

    It is desirable to spin a tungsten when regrinding it, to get a nice symmetrical point. But that's hard to do with bare fingers because it get hot, and hard with gloved fingers because they're clumsy. I was trying to think of a good holder -- when I realized DUH I have a little tacklebox full of collet bodies and collets that the torch itself uses!

    So I made a holder that uses these.
    Holder for sharpening TIG tungsten electrodes-tung-collet1.jpg

    Holder for sharpening TIG tungsten electrodes-tung-collet2.jpg

    The collet body has a standard 5/16 x 24 thread so I drilled and tapped a piece of 3/8" OD brass tube. I drilled it to a depth of about 0.4", tapped it as far as the tap would go. Then I put a 1/4" 4-flute end mill in the tailstock chuck and ran that in for 0.5 inch to make a flat bottomed hole. I drilled it out the rest of the way to .187 because I had a piece of .187 OD brass tube on hand. That is the "handle", silver brazed into the hole. The ID of the tube is large enough to pass a 1/8" tungsten, the largest I ever use.

    That's all there is to it! Select a collet and collet body of the size appropriate for the tungsten to be ground, insert the tungsten like I would when putting it in the torch, grind a nice symmetrical sharp point.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Holder for sharpening TIG tungsten electrodes-tung-collet2.jpg  
    Last edited by Don42; 11-19-2020 at 09:03 PM. Reason: one photo appears backwards

  2. The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to Don42 For This Useful Post:

    desbromilow (11-21-2020), ibdennyak (11-23-2020), Jon (11-25-2020), nova_robotics (11-22-2020), Scotty1 (11-22-2020), Sleykin (11-27-2020), sossol (11-20-2020)

  3. #2
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    Thanks Don42! We've added your Electrode Sharpening Holder to our Sharpening category,
    as well as to your builder page: Don42's Homemade Tools. Your receipt:




  4. #3
    Supporting Member IntheGroove's Avatar
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    IntheGroove's Tools
    I was taught to grind the tungsten electrodes lengthwise and to use different stones for the material being welded as to not contaminate the electrode...

  5. #4
    Supporting Member Crusty's Avatar
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    I rotate mine in a hand drill while holding them at the periphery on the side of a diamond honing disc, at the desired angle.
    If you can't make it precise make it adjustable.

  6. The Following User Says Thank You to Crusty For This Useful Post:

    ibdennyak (11-23-2020)

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    nova_robotics's Tools
    Oh that's nice. Good idea. I usually just hold them in my hand and burn myself.

    I want a sealed/vacuum widget for grinding these. Apparently tungsten dust inhalation is not the best. I don't use them very often, but thoriated rod dust is absolutely to be avoided. Thorium is an alpha emitter, which is about 10x worse than asbestos on the scale of junk I don't want in my lungs.

  8. #6
    Supporting Member IntheGroove's Avatar
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    I still have an old jar of this stuff...
    Holder for sharpening TIG tungsten electrodes-4amqscuuq0wzzswebyh0gg.jpg

  9. #7
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    Don42's Tools
    I don't use thoriated tungstens, partly because the dust is toxic but mostly because zirconiated and lanthanated tungstens work better for me.

  10. #8
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    nova_robotics's Tools
    Quote Originally Posted by IntheGroove View Post
    I still have an old jar of this stuff...
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	4amQSCuuQ0WzZSwEBYH0Gg.jpg 
Views:	3 
Size:	118.3 KB 
ID:	37311
    I had to do a search for that. That's just amazing.


  11. #9
    Supporting Member Crusty's Avatar
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    I've just about settled on the Lanthanum (blue) tips too - they're pretty easy to weld with and the dust is much less toxic.

    It takes me about a minute to go from a square end to a nice sharp tip using the drill.

    FWIW, Harbor Freight sells a circular saw blade sharpener with diamond sharpening discs and those replacement discs are a cheap source of diamond discs. I made a special bushing to mount one outboard of the wheel on my bench grinder and it's dedicated to tip sharpening.
    Last edited by Crusty; 11-23-2020 at 10:07 AM.
    If you can't make it precise make it adjustable.

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    nova_robotics's Tools
    I have every combination of pure tungsten, lanthanated, ceriated, and thorriated rods. I suck too bad at tig welding and can't tell much of a difference. I normally just run pure tungsten.

    But in all honesty the only reason I have thoriated rods at all is because I was messing around with some homemade geiger counters a few years ago and wanted something to test them with. Too bad I'm dumb and the alpha emitting thorium don't cause many counts on geiger tubes that are only sensitive to beta and gamma.

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