A Comparison of Scratch Start TIG vs Lift Arc TIG Welding 

If you’re a welder, then you know there are many different types of welding processes to choose from. Two of the most common are Scratch Start TIG and Lift Arc TIG welding. Both processes can be used to weld thin materials, but they differ in how the arc is created and how much control you have over the weld. Let’s break down the differences between these two welding processes. 

Scratch Start TIG Welding

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Scratch start TIG welding is an advanced welding process that offers some unique benefits. It involves using a tungsten electrode to scratch or strike an arc, which creates a very hot and intense arc that’s great for welding thin materials like stainless steel, copper alloys, and aluminum. While this process requires more skill than other types of welding due to its lack of control over the length of the arc or when it starts and stops, scratch start TIG welding can be beneficial if used properly. 

How Does Scratch Start TIG Welding Work? 

Scratch start TIG welding is a type of gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW). This process uses a non-consumable electrode that is usually made from tungsten to create an electric arc between the weldment and the electrode. The heat generated by this arc melts the material being welded together in order to form a strong bond. A shielding gas such as argon or helium is used to protect the weld from contamination by atmospheric gases like oxygen. 

The Benefits of Scratch Start TIG Welding 

Scratch start TIG welding has many benefits compared to other types of welding processes. It allows you to weld thin materials with precision because it has better control over the heat input than other processes such as stick welding. Additionally, since it does not require filler material like MIG or flux core welding does, there is less risk of porosity in your welds. Finally, since it does not use any consumable electrodes, you will save money on supplies since you won’t need to keep buying new electrodes every time you need to replace them due to wear. 

Safety Precautions for Scratch Start TIG Welding 

As with any type of welding process, safety should always be your top priority when using scratch start TIG welding equipment. This process produces a lot of spatter due to its high heat levels, so make sure you are wearing appropriate protective gear including a helmet, gloves, long sleeve clothing and long pants, closed-toe shoes, and eye protection such as goggles or even a face shield if possible. Additionally, be sure that you have adequate ventilation in your work area as this process produces toxic fumes that could have adverse health effects if inhaled in large quantities over time.  

Lift Arc TIG Welding 

Lift arc TIG welding is a popular welding procedure that allows for greater control and precision when joining two pieces of metal. It’s similar to scratch start TIG in that it uses a tungsten electrode but differs in that the arc is created without having to make physical contact with the metal being welded. This method allows for greater control over the length and strength of the arc being used as well as when it starts and stops. Let’s take a closer look at this type of welding and its pros and cons. 

How it Works 

Lift arc TIG welding works by creating an electric arc between a non-consumable tungsten electrode and the base material being welded. The arc is created without having to make physical contact with the metal, which provides greater control over the length and strength of the arc. The process also produces less spatter because it’s not as hot as scratch start TIG welding, which means there is less cleanup involved afterwards. 

The Benefits 

One of the main benefits of lift arc TIG welding over other methods is its accuracy. The lack of contact between the tungsten electrode and workpiece eliminates any potential for uneven or incomplete welds, making lift arc ideal for more intricate welds that require precision. In addition, because lift arc requires less heat than other types of welding, there is less distortion in finished parts, allowing them to maintain their shape better after cooling down. Finally, lift arcs are capable of producing high-quality welds in thinner materials than other methods can achieve. 

The Drawbacks 

Unfortunately, lift arcs also have some drawbacks that need to be taken into consideration before committing to this type of welding process. One issue is that it requires additional equipment in order to create an effective weld—an inverter power source and a foot pedal switch or torch switch—adding extra setup time before beginning each job. Another problem is that although lift arcs produce cleaner looking welds than scratch start TIGs do, they can still be messy if not done properly; they must be done carefully in order to ensure a clean finish on each job. Finally, lift arcs can be more expensive than other methods due to their specialized equipment requirements and added setup time per job.  

FAQ : When should I use a Scratch Start or Lift Arc?

Scratch start TIG welding is commonly used when precise control over arcs and welds produced is desired. This method works well on thin metals since low amperage settings can be used to initiate the arc, along with providing increased visibility of pool development due to its lower heat input compared to lift arc. However, if thicker materials are needed for welds or if more stable starts are desired then lift arc welding should be used instead as higher amperage settings need to be applied in order to initiate an arc. Additionally, lift arc welds often produce less spatter than scratch start TIG welds making them ideal for use in critical applications where cleanliness and visual appearance of welds matter most.

As You Can See

In conclusion, both scratch start TIG and lift arc TIG welding are great options for those looking to weld thin materials like stainless steel, copper alloys, and aluminum quickly and efficiently. The main difference between these two processes is how they create an arc—scratch start requires physical contact with the material while lift arc does not—as well as how much control you have over when the arc starts and stops. Depending on your skill level, one may be better suited for your needs than another so take some time to consider which process will work best for what you need before making your decision!

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