Last updated on June 21st, 2023
A foot pedal is one of the most essential tools of TIG welding that plays a significant role in its functionality and productivity.
If you are new to TIG welding then you might not be familiar with the crucial role this component plays and the exceptional control it provides over the welding process.
So, if you are also wondering “What is a foot pedal or what does it do on a TIG welder?” then this post is just for you.
I will be discussing every detail about the foot pedal, its function, use, and benefits that can help you enhance your welding technique and become a master TIG welder.
So, let’s begin.
What Does The Foot Pedal Do On A TIG Welder?
Want to know the exact purpose the foot pedal on a TIG welder serves?
The basic function of a foot pedal is to provide you control of the welding current (amperage) and sometimes shield gas flow during the welding process. The foot pedal enables you to use both hands to focus on the welding task.
So, with precise control of the foot pedal, you will be able to control the amperage without using your hands.
This will help you retain focus while working on complex projects and delicate materials.
Once you master the control of the foot pedal, you will be able to increase productivity.
Although TIG welding is a slow process, with perfect control of the foot pedal, you can increase your productivity significantly.
Some foot pedals also provide you control of the shielding gas, which further enhances the welding process and increases productivity.
Let’s dive into the details of the foot pedal in a TIG Welder.
Understanding Foot Pedal’s Functionality
A foot pedal services two functions, but most of them are used for just the first one.
1. Welding Current or Amperage Control
The primary function of a foot pedal in a TIG welder is to control the amperage. When you press down the pedal, it will increase the amperage and in turn generate more heat which will increase the temperature of the weld pool.
On the other hand, when you release the pressure from the pedal it will decrease the current and cool the weld pool.
This precise control of the amperage allows the welders to quickly adapt to the changing thickness and welding positions without any downtime during work.
2. Shielding Gas Control
Some foot pedals also have built-in functionality that allows you to control the shielding gas flow. The shielding gas protects the weld pool from contamination and you may need to increase or decrease it during welding.
With precise control of the gas from the foot pedal, your hands will be left free to focus on the task and there will be no downtime.
3. Responsiveness and Sensitivity of a Foot Pedal
The effectiveness of a foot pedal depends on its responsiveness and sensitivity. Good quality foot pedals come with high responsiveness and sensitivity which plays a crucial role in enhancing the welding process.
This functionality provides a smooth transition between different current levels and ensures that you have better control of the welding process.
Related:How to Use a TIG Welder?
Benefits of Using a Foot Pedal in TIG Welding
Using a foot pedal in TIG welding has many advantages. Let’s take a look at some of them:
- First of all, you will have better control of the welding process. So, you will be able to create more precise and consistent beads.
- Working with delicate materials and thin sheets requires the highest level of precision, which is ensured by a foot pedal.
- The precise control also ensures that you get better weld quality and adjust the current precisely based on welding conditions. Hence, once you master control of the foot pedal you will get strong and visually appealing welds.
- The foot pedal allows you to make quick adjustments to the welding current without losing focus on the task at hand. Flexibility is essential for diverse welding situations. You will be able to adapt to any situation.
- Adding to this, the use of a foot pedal will reduce overall fatigue and enhance your comfort while using a TIG welder. You won’t have to manually adjust the welding machine again and again.
How to Select the Right Foot Pedal?
When purchasing a foot pedal, you will have to take some things into consideration:
- The very first thing you need to check is compatibility. You need to ensure that the foot pedal is compatible with your TIG welding machine. Check the manufacturer specifications to know about compatibility.
- The size and design will depend on your personal preferences. You should select a foot pedal that suits your welding needs and ensures smooth foot placement.
- Some foot pedals also come with additional features and adjustability options. These foot pedals may offer adjustable pedal tension or independent gas flow control. You can invest in an expensive one for additional features.
Related: What Gas Does TIG Welder Use?
Tips to Master Control of Foot Pedal
Here are some of the expert tips that can help you control the foot pedal in a better way:
1. Proper Foot Positioning and Posture
First of all, you must ensure that your foot is positioned correctly on a foot pedal. Place the ball of the foot on the pedal and maintain a relaxed posture.
You should not sit in a tensed-up or hunched-over position. Doing this can lead to discomfort in the long term and cause you to lose control.
2. Developing Foot Control and Coordination
There is no denying that practice makes you perfect. To develop precise control of your foot and enhance coordination of foot movement with hand technique you will have to spend much time practicing your foot pedal.
As you gain experience, you will be able to become more adept and smoothly adjust the welding current and amperage without losing coordination.
3. Tips for Welding Thin Materials
When you are welding thinner materials and making intricate welds, you will have to decrease the current and then increase it slowly and steadily.
This will take some practice, and you should not be hasty during the process. You will have to make small adjustments until you master the control of the foot pedal for maintaining a stable and controlled weld pool.
Troubleshooting Common Foot Pedal Issues
When you are using the foot pedal for the first time, or if you are a beginner in the world of TIG welding, you might face some common issues.
Here’s how you can troubleshoot those issues and get the foot pedal back to its normal functionality.
If you are facing erratic current control or poor responsiveness, you should immediately check for any visible damage on the connecting cords or loose connections.
Ensure that the cable is securely connected to the welding machine, and there are no signs of wear and tear on the cable.
If all the connections are secure, the cord is fine and there is no visible damage, then you should contact the manufacturer or take the foot pedal for a checkup by a professional.
Foot Pedal Maintenance
You will also need to maintain and care for your foot pedal if you want it to keep running smoothly. Here are some of the things you must keep in mind to maintain it.
1. Regular Inspection and Cleaning
You must perform regular inspections on your foot pedal to look for signs of wear, damage, or debris buildup.
Welding is not only a very hot process but also is susceptible to contamination. So, you must clean the pedal surface and surrounding area to eliminate any dirt, grease, or metal shavings that could potentially hinder its performance.
2. Replacing Worn or Damaged Parts
If you do notice any worn or damaged parts on the foot pedal, you should immediately replace them or get them repaired.
There could be frayed cables or worn contact points that could hinder the
3. Ensuring Optimal Performance
Follow the instructions in the user manual for the maintenance of your foot pedal and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for all of the other aspects.
Always store the pedal in a clean and dry place when you are not using it. Avoid exposing it to excessive heat, moisture, or direct sunlight. Protect it from dust and debris.
Limitations of a Corded TIG Foot Pedal
Despite the amazing functionality and features of a foot pedal, it does come with some potential drawbacks.
One limitation that everyone has to face is the wire clutter. Foot pedal adds to the wire clutter in your workplace. It significantly restricts your movement and creates a potential tripping hazard.
Hence, you have to stay mindful of the cable at all times or you might trip or damage it.
Adding to this, welding has lots of risks for the welder as well as other items that are in the world’s place. The wire of the foot pedal is more susceptible to wear and damage.
Furthermore, to reduce the clutter in the work area, foot pedals were made more compact with slim designs and thinner wires, but that only made them more susceptible to damage.
A damaged foot pedal or cord presents you with various problems. You won’t be able to use it effectively and may lose control of the amperage. Repairing the damage or replacing the foot pedal can also be very expensive.
These limitations can make the welding process a bit cumbersome and limit your productivity. That’s why the modern world came up with the wireless foot pedal for TIG welders.
Wireless TIG Foot Pedal – A Modern Solution
So, if the cord clutter and other limitations of a corded foot pedal concern you, then you should probably consider purchasing a cordless foot pedal.
The wireless foot pedal will further increase your productivity. Yes, they do cost a bit more than corded foot pedals but are truly worth every cent of the price.
There will be no wire clutter and you won’t have to maintain or replace cords, which will probably save you a lot of money in the long run.
Wireless foot pedals work just like traditional foot pedals. You mainly use them to control the amperage as you weld. Some will come with additional features allowing you to control more aspects of the welding process.
The welding machine will have a receiver that will be connected to the transmitter in the foot pedal. The receiver will receive the signals from the transmitter and make adjustments.
Advantages of a Wireless Foot Pedal in TIG Welding
There are several benefits of investing in a wireless foot pedal. Here’s a brief look at some of them:
- You will have greater freedom of movement because there will be no cables around. So, the overall cable clutter will be significantly reduced in your workspace.
- This will also reduce the tripping hazard possibility as you won’t have to worry about tripping and falling over.
- Setting up a wireless foot pedal in a TIG welder is much easier as no cable connections are involved. You can place it at the desired location without going through much effort. Also, you will be comfortable in positioning.
- There will be no risk of cord damage which was a major limitation of corded foot pedals. So, you won’t have to worry about repairing or replacing the cords which will also save you money.
- While working with a corded foot pedal, storing it and taking it out again, and connecting it used to take a lot of time. Now you will be able to save that time and convert it into your productivity.
- Also, a wireless foot pedal comes with a much wider compatibility range and you will be able to use it with various welding machines.
Drawbacks of a Wireless Foot Pedal in TIG Welding
Well, the wireless TIG welding foot pedal also comes with some limitations. Let’s take a brief look at some of them:
- The wireless foot pedal relies on battery power. So, you will have to monitor the battery life and ensure that the pedal is charged before use.
- There is a high potential for signal interference. So, if you are working in an area where signals can’t be transmitted properly, you will face certain issues.
- Wireless foot pedals come with a higher price point which is considered a good investment but still costs you more than a traditional foot pedal.
Technological advancements have improved these limitations but nothing is ever perfect. The power saving feature helps the battery last longer in foot pedals.
Adding to this, the 14-pin control cord extension enhances the reach and signal stability of the foot pedal in TIG welding.
Related: What Can You Weld With A TIG Welder?
Alternatives to TIG Foot Pedal
The foot pedal is not the only tool that helps you control amperage in a TIG welder. You can also use various other tools for controlling the amperage.
1. Handheld Amperage Control
You can get a control device that has a finger or thumb switch which allows you to control the welding current without using a foot pedal.
This is quite beneficial when you are TIG welding in tight spaces where you can’t use a foot pedal because it would not be possible to maintain a steady foot position.
2. Torch-Integrated Foot Pedal
Modern TIG torches also feature the built-in amperage control that allows the welder to adjust the current directly on the torch.
This feature offers much more immediate control and is also very suitable for tight spaces. However, it is not as effective as a foot pedal.
How to TIG Weld Without Foot Pedal? – Using Lift Start
If you don’t have a foot pedal or the high-frequency start feature in your welding machine, then the arc won’t start on its own.
Although you can alter the amperage and control it directly from the machine, which is a bit slower but still a viable method, you won’t be able to start the arc which presents a significant challenge.
That’s where lift starts. You can use this feature to start the arc and then the TIG welding process.
It is just as it sounds. You lift the tungsten electrode from the base material to start the arc because no matter how many times you push the button, the arc won’t start.
So, you will have to touch the base metal softly with the electrode and then lift it away slowly as the arc starts, and then you can start the welding process.
But, as we have discussed several times, TIG welding is susceptible to contamination. So, why would anyone touch the electrode to base metal?
Well, you are not touching the weld pool but the cold base metal to start the arc, which doesn’t contaminate anything.
This method is used when welding electronic devices like TV or computers. Using high-frequency features to start the arc can mess with this equipment. So, the lift start method is recommended and used.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does TIG welding require a foot pedal?
A foot pedal is not mandatory for TIG welding, but it does provide you with better control of the welding current. So, with a TIG welder, you will get much better weld quality and precision and will be able to control amperage in a better way.
How do you use a TIG welder foot pedal?
It is a very simple tool to use. All you have to do is connect the foot pedal with your TIG welder and then place the ball of the foot on the pedal. When you press the pedal, the current will increase, and when you release the pressure it will decrease.
Does the lift technique in TIG welding require a pedal?
No, the lift technique doesn’t require a pedal. The lift start method involves touching the base metal with the tungsten electrode, which will initiate the arc. You can then maintain the arc without a foot pedal. You will have to control the current manual.
What is the purpose of post flow for TIG welding?
The post flow is responsible for providing the continuous flow of shielding gas to the weld pool even after the welding arc has died. It will protect the still hot weld-pool from any oxidation or contamination, ensuring better quality results of the weld.
Should I TIG with or without a pulse?
Whether you TIG weld with or without pulse depends on the specific welding requirements of the task. Pulse TIG welding provides you better control over heat input but non-pulsed TIG welding is faster and more straightforward.
Is a wireless foot pedal better than a corded option?
Each option comes with its own pros and cons. While the wireless option does reduce the wire clutter and provides you with more space, it also suffers from signal interference and relies on a battery for performance. So, it has its own limitations.
Can you always use a foot pedal with a TIG welder?
No, using a foot pedal while TIG welding in tight spaces is not possible. That’s why professionals prefer using hand-held control or integrated amperage control in TIG torch in those circumstances. They provide better control with immediate use.
To sum it all up, the foot pedal is a very beneficial component in TIG welding that provides you precise control of the welding current or amperage.
You can control the welding current which helps you control the temperature or heat of the welding process with your foot as your hands are focused on making the weld joint.
It will require a bit of learning but once you develop the coordination between your hands and feet, you will be able to get much better welding results and might have higher productivity.
You can choose to invest in a wireless TIG welder foot pedal for better control, less clutter, and more features.
Got something on your mind? Drop it in the comments section below and I will get back to you.
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