Why You Would Want to Walk The Cup

Upon my recent video submissions concerning the TIG welding, there have arisen some statements from some in the welding community with both a negative and a positive response to this matter.

I will say that there has been a more positive response than a negative reaction to the teaching on this subject. I wanted to produce this article to clear up some misconceptions about walking the cup with the TIG method I and many others teach as well as use.

You are probably familiar with TIG welding, and maybe you are not. TIG welding is made up of the electrode, current, filler material, and the electrode holder such as any other welding procedure.

The makeup of the holder for TIG is very unique. The electrode consists of some type of Tungsten. Tungsten is the means by which the electric current is carried to the metals that will be fused together.

There is also the gas lens and cup that is really what I want to focus on in this article. We can really look at this with the MIG process as well and may do so in another article in the future. So we have the electricity and the gas that is blended together in this process.

All this action is delivered to the weld area by the Cup.

The cup imparts a very important role in the way it is designed. I know what your thinking, what does this have to do with walking the cup? We are almost to that. First the cup is made of ceramic.

Ceramic construction allows the cup to sustain critical temperatures without failing in such conditions. The cup is also round for one reason and one reason specifically.

Welders that shun walking the cup do so because they either don’t understand this or they do not use this technique. Either way this is a great application that should be taken into consideration by every TIG welder.

Let me convey this truth to you as the reader of this article.

The Cup is round for a reason. It is not square. It is not elliptical. It is not rectangular or triangular. It is circular and this by design is why we can and should walk the cup when possible.

Now there are some times when you will not want to or be able to walk the cup. Certainly this is true. Then there are times when you will want to walk the cup. If you can retain what I am about to tell you and practice it you will benefit greatly in you skill and circles of influence.

Let’s look at some points.

First the pipe can get extremely hot, as I am sure you are aware, and if you as the welder are not careful you can burn your rig hand fingers. This is the hand you use to operate the welding rig.

Secondly there will be occasions when you as the welder can cover more ground by walking the cup than by manipulating the weld puddle by hand alone.

These two factors are probably the most prevalent reasons walking the cup can be a huge advantage. I personally have worked for companies that shy away from the stick welding process and rely solely on TIG.

These companies use TIG from start to finish in their procedure. Yes even on the cap of the weld. When you cap a weld with TIG, the material is usually screaming hot by that point and it almost impossible to touch the metal with your fingers or hand. Sometimes you can use what is known as the hobo or whino finger.

This is using a cup to cover your finger that rests on the pipe but it is not the easiest method but does come in handy. Walking the cup takes care of all the burns and inconvenient problems a TIG welder can face once he or she learns this method.

This is the reason the cup is circular and designed like it is.

Friend if you don’t agree with me on this that is fine but that doesn’t take away from this truth. If you don’t ever use this method that is fine too, but don’t brow beat a welder that can step into this arena and turn out some killer welds produced by this method. Well I hope this helps somebody, and it will if you can embrace this method and add it to your arsenal of welding technique you may already possess.

Thanks and God Bless!


About thewelderslens

I have been welding for over a quarter of a century(25 years). I am 43 years old and have a successful business, a beautiful family. I pastor a church as well. My hope in all this is to bring what I have learned to the forefront so others can get a huge head start. I have lived through it for you. Be thankful. Later. View all posts by thewelderslens

11 responses to “Why You Would Want to Walk The Cup

  • George

    Thanks for e-mail.
    Actually I have been welding for a couple of years now( Stick electrode/Mig ) and felt that progress will mean getting a tig pipe welding training and certification. My problem is this technique of “walking the cup”!. I would like to see a video reasonably priced; that explains this technique for the ROOT pass welding, starting from the 6 oclock to the top of the pipe in 6G position.
    I can walk the cup from 4 to 12, 8 to 12, but I just can’t seem able to repeat this for the lower portion of the pipe…..tungsten gets contaminated,little, rough or no penetration at all.
    I would appreciate it very much, if in the video the CAMERA IS NOT ROTATED( to bring the view to horizontal)so I can learn how you position the tig torch and start walking the cup for the root pass.
    Finally, I

  • George

    One finaly word, I saw your “you tube” video, and read some of the comments by other (very hot shot) welders, Please ignore these fellows, The never help you on the job to improve, and when the see other better prepared and competent welder trying to help the new guy out especially when it comes to tig pipe welding; They just grow horns as if the brought the skills from heaven when they were born.
    I honestly learnt a lot listening to your presentation, You teach welding very well, talking the novice through carefully before striking an arc to start welding.Thanks for that short free help and keep the good work up.

  • thewelderslens

    Hey George,
    Thanks for your words of encouragement.
    It is good to hear that someone is being helped by
    the blog and my efforts. I usually remove some
    of the uglier comments. People really are tore up.
    I keep pressing on. Hang in there and visit my
    web site if you haven’t already at

  • thewelderslens

    George, I have some videos on the Tig process that I sell from my website at the bottom of the last page that says Separate Packages. The Tig video is 6 DVDs that is totally content loaded. I show how to walk the cup, how to position the body in a special technique I call shooting the gap as well as a great deal more.
    I do 3 simulated tests. Go to the site and check it out. www. thewelderslens.com

  • Cesar

    I been in college for 2 years. learning welding techniques,
    but the only thing that they cant teach me is how to walk the cup. I know how the set up for aluminum, stainles and mild steel is and I can weld them. but I just want to learn as much as I can in advance tig welding. can you help me? I am not looking for any beginers videos.

  • thewelderslens

    Hey Cesar,
    Thanks for your interest in The Welders Lens. I have a 6 DVD set on the TIG process. I simulate a 6G and a 5G test.
    I start out with TIG from start to finish. I film the body position and motions. I teach how to apply the filler rod from the inside of the pipe and teach a unique method on how to make it easy on yourself using that technique. I teach the root and hotpass with voiceover technology. While the footage is rolling as you watch the puddle I am talking to you over the footage as if I was sitting next to you.
    I think these videos are what you are looking for. I teach brother in law techniques too. Stop by my sight and go to the bottom of the first page and click where it says click here. On the following page go to where it says separate pipe packages. That will take you to the link for the TIG only videos. Thanks, Michael!

  • Nathan Payne

    Hello Mike,

    I’d like to begin with a sincere thank you for this site. I’ve been a Structural Welder for 19 years. I’ve just recently begun concentrating on Pipe Welding. The information that you’ve share has been very valuable. I highly recommend this site to all Welders. Seems to me the knowledge that you’ve acquired…you’re more than happy to share. It means more to me than I can express at this time. I also learn from the comments from other posters. Guys like you make me glad I’m in this Profession.—-Sincerely Nate Payne of Fayetteville,NC

  • mike


    i’ve been welding since 80. pretty sure we’re about the same age. i’m working for a water conditioning company for about twelve years. all i really do is 2,3,4,6 in sch 40 pipe. here lately (last 2 years) we have added stainless to the mix. i THINK i only have one real shortcoming and thats start and stop with touch start. i’ve always used a foot pedal. i’m practicing pulling out without leaving porosity wihtout the foot pedal.
    I also play alot. you can see me at you tube. type in “merryoldehangman” and check it out.
    I have to compliment you on your videos. i am an older welding hand and i’m not stingy with advice to young welders. my employer is a welder and knows how valuable my experience is. i don’t worry about younger men taking my job. with that kind of comfort zone i’m very willing to teach. i like your teaching style. i do the same thing. i’m constantly talking while i’m showing them what to do. i know it won’t all sink in at once. what happens is that they come back in a day or a week or a month and tell me “i just figured out what you meant!”

  • Eddie

    Hi, just love the idea of walking the cup. Have had many issues with keeping steady when getting out of position and even in position. I have been burnt many times and sometimes end up with some undesirable weld qualities because of it. Thanxs for the great tips and advice. Eddie Mozel from vancouver, bc.

  • thewelderslens

    thanks for your comments Eddie. It can be frustrating
    when walking the cup.

  • jared

    I agree that walking the cup is the easiest way to produce top quality welds. The main reason I like this method is the consistency of the weld from joint to joint. Once mastered there is no reason not to if possible. Most that don’t like the method usually don’t give it enough time. I should know I was one who freehanded all my tig welds with smoking fingers. I’m glad I don’t need that anymore! Thanks for the blog.

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