The tip of a welding torch is an essential piece of the torch welding process. The small holes at the end of the tip form the flame in just the right way to keep your welds precise. When these holes become plugged due to carbon or other deposits, your job becomes a lot more difficult and a lot less controlled.
What is a tip cleaner for welding? A tip cleaner is a small tool housed in a plastic container. It is made up of many tiny circular files of all different thicknesses that are used to fit inside the holes on the tip of your welding torch. They help clean away any gunk that may be clogging your tip and preventing it from working correctly.
Keeping your welding torch clean and taken care of is essential to its ability to run smoothly. The tip is especially crucial for forming and directing the flame used for welding. Continue reading below to learn more about tip cleaning options and how to use them.
What Is a Welding Torch Tip Cleaner?
There are two standard tools that a welder might use to clean carbon and other debris from the tip of a welding torch.
A tip cleaner is explicitly made for this job, as the name suggests. A hand drill set is another option that can work in the same fashion to get the job done.
A set of torch tip cleaners is typically a small tool comprised of a plastic case and a bunch of little metal cleaners of different sizes. The thin metal files are made to fit in the orifices of a welding tip no matter what size they are, aiding in cleaning and unblocking them. They also include a small file for the end of the tip.
A hand drill set is made for using the power of your muscles to drill through materials and can be used for various hobbies. The micro drill bits included with the hand drill make excellent cleaners for welding torch tips and may even help work out tougher clogs than the regular torch tip cleaner.
While it’s not a normal part of a tip cleaning set, having a wire brush on hand helps keep your torch tips clean.
If you find yourself without your tip cleaners, you can tap the wire brush bristles down against the tip so that the wires go through the holes. It’s also useful for brushing away build-up on the outside of the tip.
These tools are handy to keep in your workshop or tool kit. When your welding torch starts to act a little crazy and doesn’t work as well as it should, it may be time for a good cleaning.
Why Is Cleaning a Welding Torch Tip Important?
Ensuring that the tip of your welding torch is clean is one way to elongate its life. When you have a bunch of build-up in the holes of your torch tip, your welds start to become inconsistent and messy.
Just as important as clearing the orifices on your welding tip of any deposits is making sure the surface of the tip is well-conditioned. If your torch tip is pitted or misshapen, you should recondition it. Y
ou can use the flat file included in your tip cleaner to smooth out the tip to its original form gently. Any conventional file or an emery cloth will do the job just as well.
Welding torch tips are subject to a lot of use and abuse on the job, so keeping them nice and clean is just one way to make sure they won’t go bad on you too quickly. It’s best to clean them as soon as you notice build-up so as not to make the problem worse.
Check out this article for welding without spatter.
How Often Should You Clean Your Welding Torch Tip?
There is no exact measurement of time or usage that can tell you exactly when to clean your torch tip.
It comes down to the signs that your tip is too dirty to function correctly. You must pay close attention to how your torch is operating to know when you should clean the tip.
Most operators will be able to tell when their torch begins acting off. The flame of the torch will be distorted because of clogs and affect the quality of the welds being made.
You may also be able to visibly see the deposits on the end of the tip that is a clear sign it is far too dirty.
A fair estimate would be to clean your welding torch tip at least between every use to prevent excessive build-up of carbon or other debris. If you think your torch could be performing better, you should give a tip a check, just in case. Keeping the tip clean will prolong its life, which is essential to someone who welds consistently.
Be sure to check out our 9 common welding mistakes article for more helpful tips to elongate the life of your gear and weld more effectively!
How Do You Clean a Welding Torch Tip?
Before you go about the cleaning process, there are a couple of things you can do. You can remove the tip of the torch completely to allow any debris to fall out the open end, ensuring it is gone.
You can also leave the tip attached and turn on a bit of air pressure to blow the debris out. It depends on your preference, but removing it completely is recommended.
To Clean a Welding Tip:
- Use a wire brush to clean any outside debris from the end of the torch tip.
- If you are going to remove the tip from the torch, do it now.
- Using the correctly sized circular file, clean each hole in the tip. Push the file into the hole and twist as you remove it. Repeat this several times until it is cleared. (You can also begin with a smaller size file and move up one size at a time, pushing each through the holes, until they no longer fit.)
- If the end of the tip is uneven or dirty, use the flat file in your tip cleaning set or emery cloth to smooth it out again.
- Brush the file along the threads where the tip connects to the torch with the wire brush to ensure a nice clean seat before replacing the tip on the torch.
Using a hand drill and drill bit to clean your torch tip can be efficient in getting out any stubborn carbon deposits stuck inside the holes.
However, it is crucial that you choose the correct size drill bit before you start. Otherwise, you could widen or deform the orifices and render your torch tip completely useless.
Keep Your Welding Torch Tips Clean
Though it may be tedious, keeping your equipment clean is essential to any job or hobby. Machinery tends to work better when it’s clean than when it is trying to push through layers of junk. Your welding torch will produce much higher quality work when it is appropriately taken care of.
Tip cleaners for welding torches are handy little tools that belong in every toolbox. They are made to be accessible all around, from storing them to using them.
The small plastic box is filled with all the equipment you need to keep your tips clean. Even if you opt for the hand drill, all the bits are easily stored to make finding them when you need them simple.
You won’t have to worry about cleaning your welding torch tips being difficult if you do it regularly. The more deposits that build upon it, the harder it will be to file.
Pay attention to your torch tips and give them a longer life by keeping them nice and shiny so that they can keep on working hard for you.