Walking the cup doesn't sound much like a welding technique, in fact it sounds like a very strange phrase, but it is in fact a very important welding technique for Tig welding.
So before we begin I'm sure your wondering what a cup has to do with welding. Well a Tig welder is made up of many components, including a welding torch that carries the electrode, current, filler material, shielding gas and many other important features. One of the important features of the welding torch is a nozzle that is generally made from ceramics, this nozzle is also known as a cup.
Now in Tig welding you are using very hot temperatures and as puddles form from the metal, you start moving so you can keep up with the puddles being formed from the material being worked. One of the beauties of walking the cup is that it makes this process more comfortable and easier to carry out, yet many welders never walk the cup because they do not understand the process.
Walking the cup has two methods that allow the process to happen, one is wobbling the cup and the other is ratcheting the cup as we are about to explain.
Now this could not be a simpler process. Walking the cup using the wobbling process works by leaning one side of the cup on the metal to be worked and then strike up an arc, after this you lay the filler wire in front of the cup where you want to weld. Now you can start wobbling your cup in a side ways motion, from left to right, as you move it forward and walk it along the filler wire you have laid down. In essence your walking the cup on the wire, hence the name.
This method is not quite as easy as the wobbling method, yet still yields better results. The cup process through the ratcheting method takes more practice to achieve.
The ratcheting method works in the same manner as the wobbling method by leaning one side of the cup on the metal being worked, striking an arc and laying your filler wire on the work.
After laying the filler wire and striking an arc you start wobbling your cup from side to side, but in a motion reminiscent of using a ratchet rather than a more steady and fluid motion. As well as altering your wobble slightly, you will also change what you do between the wobble. As you are carrying out the reverse wobble, this means where you are wobbling away from yourself, you need to twitch your wrist slightly to move the cup forward rather than simply wobbling it forward as you move like in the wobbling process.