3 Tricks to Learn How to Walk the Cup

In honor of #weavewednesday we are going to do our best to help the newbies in our audience learn how to walk their cups to Instagram glory. If you’re just getting into welding and want to master one of the coolest techniques out there; this is for you. If you’re an experienced TIG welder and already know the ins and outs of walking the cup, read it anyway and add your two cents in comments!

Before we start, whip out your phone and check out Tho Nguyen (@gac1980) on Instagram. Tho can run some seriously slick weaves with a TIG torch, which is exactly what we will be attempting to learn today. 

As it is with any skill, you need to walk before you can run (no pun intended). So grab your TIG torch and a scrap piece of steel and follow these simple steps:Walk the Cup Practice

1.       Draw Two Lines on a Piece of Steel 
If you don't have a piece of scrap steel, go get one. You can attempt to learn the motion by doing this on another surface, but you won't get a true feel for it until you know how the friction feels between the cup and steel. Now, draw two lines the length of the steel. The lines should be parallel to each other and about ½” apart. This is going to act as your guide. The goal is to “walk” the cup between the two lines, keeping the tungsten at a consistent distance from the work piece, but you'll get to that in a second.

2.       Hold the Torch like a Fork
Now that your guide is on the work piece, you need to know how to hold the torch. This is all about comfort, so experiement a few ways to see what works best for you. You'll notice in the video, we show a method that is similar to holding a fork. Okay, the lines are drawn, the torch is comfortably in your hand and now it's time to take that cup for a walk. Relax, take a breath and keep the torch loose in your hand.
Walk the Cup Torch Grip
3.       Don’t Push the Cup
Put the cup to the work piece and get ready to attempt your first pass. It feels natural that you should push the cup to move forward, right? WRONG! This is by far the biggest mistake made by welders learning how to walk the cup. If you’re trying to advance the cup by pushing it forward, you’re doing it all wrong. Rest the cup in between the two lines that you just drew and rock the cup back and forth in a “figure eight” motion. Rock the cup to Line 1, twist the cup forward about 30 degrees, rock the cup to line 2 and repeat. This motion will advance the cup for you as you rock it back and forth.
Be sure to stay between those lines and watch your cup advance.
There you have it. Those are the basics of walking the cup. Practice that until you’re confident that you can move on to adding some filler, because that’s the next step. 
If you’re interested in learning more, be sure to subscribe to the Weld.com YouTube Channel. We release videos twice a week on Mondays and Fridays that help new and experienced welders hone their skills.

Until next time … Have fun, stay safe and weld on!