Can You Walk The Cup?

Can You Walk The Cup?


What’s the point? It’s a serious question. Is walking the cup like a suit tie, a fancy-looking piece of fabric that serves no function other than to embarrassingly attract stains? Is it all just for show, or is there a real purpose? You’ll find welders from experts to enthusiasts arguing both sides of the spectrum when it comes to walking the cup. In reality, the answer is surprisingly less black and white then you might expect.
First Off, What’s the Real Meaning of “Walking the Cup?”

Already we run into trouble. We focused on 3 different welders with decades of experience walking the cup. All 3 gave us different answers. Welcome to welding, am I right? Essentially walking the cup is anytime a welder places the cup of their torch against their material. It’s almost exclusive to TIG welding and largely for welding pipe or tee joints.


How Do You Walk the Cup?


Explaining the method for walking the cup is actually quite simple. It’s the application that takes years of practice to perfect. To begin walking the cup, you’ll place the cup of your torch against your material. Usually walking the cup is done in a groove which helps to direct your weld in the right direction. However, the same process can be done by resting the cup on the inside of a tee joint. Just note that walking the cup without a groove is like driving a car while wearing a strait jacket. It’s definitely possible, just more difficult.
Resting your cup on your workpiece allows you to pivot your torch in a lazy figure 8 pattern. Often beginners will push down hard on their cup. In reality you only need to rotate the cup against the material with a little bit of pressure. Below is a computer rendered example showing the pattern most welders use to walk the cup:


Should You Walk the Cup?


There’s no point in arguing whether walking the cup has some serious cool factor involved. But beyond its sleek look, is there any functional reason for walking the cup? Yeah, for sure. Because you’re resting your cup against the workpiece, you don’t need to prop your hands or fingers against it. This means you can safely keep all your digits and limbs away from any molten material. Beyond the safety benefits, walking the cup also allows for a high-quality, consistent weld without having to do multiple passes.

But walking the cup is not the answer to all of life’s questions like some welders might have you believe. In the right situation, it’s incredibly useful. In the wrong situation, it can be a huge waste of time and effort. If you’re just beginning walking the cup, the first thing you should ask yourself is, “Is there a groove to guide my weld?” If not, you might as well try riding a horse backwards with your pants over your eyes. Save walking the cup without a groove for another time when you have more experience. The second thing to ask is “What quality of weld does this need to be?” Sometimes the extra quality of walking the cup isn’t worth the increased time it takes.

It’s not a cakewalk, but with a little practice, anyone can achieve some high-quality welds by walking the cup. It also helps to have a variety of different size cups to fit into different sized grooves. We have no problem shamelessly plugging our online welding store because we’re only saving you money on cups you’d be paying double for at a big box store. So if cups and other consumables is what you need, make sure you’re getting the best prices around by clicking the button below.