How To Make A Scratch Start Tig Welder

TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welding is a popular method for precision welding, known for its clean welds and superior quality. However, TIG welders can be expensive, making them out of reach for many DIY enthusiasts and hobbyists. But what if I told you that you could make your own TIG welder at a fraction of the cost? Yes, it’s possible!

In this article, we will guide you through the process of making a scratch start TIG welder. A scratch start TIG welder, also known as a DIY TIG welder or a homemade TIG welder, is a budget-friendly alternative to commercial TIG welders. With a few basic tools and some electrical knowledge, you can create your own TIG welder that will meet your welding needs.

Before we dive into the details, it’s important to mention that building your own TIG welder requires some level of technical expertise and knowledge of electrical systems. If you’re new to welding or electronics, we recommend seeking guidance from an experienced welder or electrician to ensure your safety and the proper functioning of the equipment.

What is a Scratch Start Tig Welder

A scratch start TIG welder, also known as a lift TIG welder, is a welding machine that uses the Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding process. It is a type of arc welding that utilizes a non-consumable tungsten electrode to create the weld. Unlike other TIG welding machines that use a foot pedal or a remote control to initiate the welding arc, a scratch start TIG welder requires the welder to manually initiate the arc by scratching the tungsten electrode against the workpiece.

The scratch start TIG welding method is commonly used for smaller welding projects and repairs, where the cost and complexity of a high-frequency start or a dedicated TIG welding machine are not necessary. It is often used in situations where portability and ease of use are important factors.

Key Features of a Scratch Start TIG Welder

  • Manual arc initiation: The operator needs to physically scratch the tungsten electrode against the workpiece to initiate the welding arc.
  • Simple design: Scratch start TIG welders have a straightforward design with minimal settings and controls, making them easy to use for beginners.
  • Portable: These welders are often compact and lightweight, allowing for easy transportation and flexibility in different work environments.
  • Lower cost: Scratch start TIG welders are generally more affordable compared to other TIG welding machines, making them a cost-effective option for hobbyists and small-scale projects.

Advantages of Using a Scratch Start TIG Welder

  • Ease of use: The simple design and manual arc initiation make scratch start TIG welders easy to operate, making them suitable for beginners.
  • Portability: The compact and lightweight nature of these welders allows for easy transportation to different job sites.
  • Cost-effective: Scratch start TIG welders are generally more affordable than other TIG welding machines, making them a budget-friendly option for individuals or small businesses.
  • Versatility: While they may not have all the advanced features of high-end TIG welders, scratch start TIG welders can still handle a wide range of welding tasks.

In conclusion, a scratch start TIG welder is a simple and portable welding machine that utilizes the TIG welding process. It is a cost-effective option for individuals and small-scale welding projects, offering ease of use and versatility.

Section 1

Before diving into the process of making a scratch start TIG welder, it’s important to understand the basics and the components involved. A scratch start TIG welder is a type of welding machine that uses a tungsten electrode to create an arc between the electrode and the workpiece. This arc generates the heat needed to melt the base material and create a weld.

The main components of a scratch start TIG welder include:

Component Description
Power Source The power source provides the necessary current and voltage to create the arc. It can be either an AC or DC power source, depending on the requirements of the welding process.
Tungsten Electrode The tungsten electrode is a non-consumable electrode that carries the current and creates the arc. It is made of tungsten, which has a high melting point and excellent conductivity.
Gas Supply A gas supply, often argon or a mixture of gases, is used to create a protective atmosphere around the weld area. This helps prevent contamination and oxidation of the weld.
Gas Valve The gas valve controls the flow of gas from the supply to the welding torch. It can be manually operated or controlled by a foot pedal or a switch.
Welding Torch The welding torch holds the tungsten electrode and directs the flow of gas to the weld area. It also allows the welder to control the positioning of the electrode and the feeding of filler material.
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Understanding these components and their functions is crucial in building a scratch start TIG welder. In the following sections, we will explore the step-by-step process of creating a scratch start TIG welder from scratch.

Materials Needed

To create a scratch start TIG welder, you will need the following materials:

1. Power Supply: You will need a suitable power supply capable of providing the necessary amperage for TIG welding. This can be a dedicated TIG welder, or a power supply that can be adapted for TIG welding.

2. Welding Torch: A TIG welding torch is required for precise control during the welding process. Make sure to choose a torch that is compatible with your power supply and welding setup.

3. Tungsten Electrodes: Tungsten electrodes are used in TIG welding to create the arc and transfer heat to the workpiece. Different electrode sizes and compositions are available for various welding applications.

4. Inert Gas Supply: TIG welding requires the use of an inert gas, such as argon, to shield the weld zone from atmospheric contamination. You will need a suitable gas regulator and gas supply system.

5. Electrode Holder: An electrode holder or collet is necessary to securely hold the tungsten electrode in the welding torch. It should provide proper alignment and allow for easy replacement of electrodes.

6. Filler Rods: Depending on your welding project, you may need filler rods to add material to the weld joint. Choose appropriate filler rods based on the material being welded.

7. Safety Equipment: It is essential to have the necessary safety equipment, including welding gloves, a welding helmet with a dark shade lens, and protective clothing to shield yourself from sparks and UV radiation.

Once you have gathered these materials, you can proceed with the construction and assembly of your scratch start TIG welder.

Section 2

In this section, we will discuss the materials and tools needed to build a scratch start Tig welder. It is important to gather all the necessary components before starting the project.


Here is a list of materials required:

  • Transformer
  • Capacitor
  • Rectifier
  • Diodes
  • Resistors
  • Switches
  • Connectors
  • Wires


The following tools are needed:

  • Soldering iron
  • Multimeter
  • Wire cutter
  • Wire stripper
  • Screwdriver
  • Drill
  • Clamp
  • Safety goggles

It is important to have all the materials and tools ready before starting the project to ensure a smooth and efficient construction of the scratch start Tig welder. Make sure to take necessary safety precautions while working with electricity and high voltage components.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Creating your own scratch start TIG welder may sound like a daunting task, but with the right guidance, it can be done. Follow these step-by-step instructions to build your own scratch start TIG welder:

Step 1: Gather the Necessary Materials

Before you begin building your scratch start TIG welder, make sure you have all the necessary materials. You will need:

  • A DC power supply
  • A high-frequency generator
  • An argon gas cylinder
  • A TIG torch
  • A tungsten electrode
  • A foot pedal
  • A welding table or workbench
  • Various hand tools
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Step 2: Assemble the Power Supply and High-Frequency Generator

Start by assembling the DC power supply and high-frequency generator according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This is a crucial step as it provides the necessary power and high-frequency current for TIG welding.

Step 3: Connect the TIG Torch and Ground Cable

Attach the TIG torch to the positive terminal of the power supply and connect the ground cable to the negative terminal. Make sure the connections are secure to ensure a proper flow of current during welding.

Step 4: Insert the Tungsten Electrode

Insert the tungsten electrode into the collet of the TIG torch and tighten it securely. The tungsten electrode is responsible for creating the arc and should be properly seated to ensure a stable welding process.

Step 5: Set Up the Argon Gas Cylinder

Connect the argon gas cylinder to the TIG torch by attaching the gas hose to the torch. Make sure the gas cylinder is securely fastened and the gas flow is adjusted to the appropriate level for your welding needs.

Step 6: Test the Welder

Before you start welding, it is important to test the scratch start TIG welder. Check all the connections, turn on the power supply and high-frequency generator, and make sure the gas is flowing properly. Once everything is in order, you can proceed to the next step.

Step 7: Start Welding

With everything set up and tested, you are now ready to start welding with your scratch start TIG welder. Use the foot pedal to control the amperage and carefully strike an arc between the tungsten electrode and the workpiece. Hold a steady hand and maintain proper torch and workpiece positioning to achieve high-quality welds.

Remember to practice proper safety measures, such as wearing protective gear and working in a well-ventilated area, while using a scratch start TIG welder.

By following these step-by-step instructions, you can build your own scratch start TIG welder and begin welding with confidence. Happy welding!

Section 3: Wiring and Connection

Before starting the wiring process, gather all the materials and tools required for the project. This includes the power supply, welding machine, welding cables, electrode holder, and work clamp.

1. Begin by turning off the power supply and unplugging it from the electrical outlet. Safety should always be the top priority when working with electricity.

2. Connect the welding cables to the power supply. The cables typically consist of a positive (red) and negative (black) cable. The positive cable should be connected to the positive terminal, while the negative cable should be connected to the negative terminal.

3. Attach the electrode holder to the positive cable. This holder will hold the tungsten electrode, which creates the arc during the welding process.

4. Attach the work clamp to the negative cable. The work clamp will be used to connect the workpiece to the welding machine, completing the electrical circuit.

5. Inspect all connections to ensure they are secure and tight. Loose connections can lead to poor welding performance and even electrical hazards.

6. Once all the connections are secure, plug the power supply back into the electrical outlet and turn it on.

7. Test the welder on a scrap piece of metal to ensure it is functioning correctly. Adjust the settings as needed for the specific application.

Caution: Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and safety guidelines when operating a scratch start TIG welder. Improper use can lead to serious injury or damage to the equipment.

With the wiring and connection process complete, the scratch start TIG welder is now ready to be used for various welding projects. Remember to always exercise caution and follow proper safety procedures to ensure a successful and safe welding experience.

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Safety Precautions

When working with a scratch start TIG welder, it is important to follow certain safety precautions to ensure your well-being and the well-being of those around you.

1. Wear Proper Protective Gear

Before starting any welding work, make sure you are wearing the appropriate protective gear. This includes a welding helmet with a tinted lens to protect your eyes from the intense light and sparks, welding gloves to protect your hands from heat and sparks, and long-sleeved clothing made of flame-resistant materials to protect your body from burns.

2. Ensure Proper Ventilation

Welding produces harmful fumes and gases that can be hazardous to your health if inhaled. It is essential to work in a well-ventilated area or use exhaust fans to remove the fumes and ensure fresh air circulation. If working indoors, ensure that windows and doors are open, or use a fume extraction system to remove the fumes directly at the source.

Note: It is important to be aware of the specific hazards associated with the materials you are welding and take appropriate measures to protect yourself.

3. Keep a Fire Extinguisher Nearby

Welding involves the use of heat and sparks, which can potentially start a fire. Always have a fire extinguisher handy in case of an emergency. Make sure you are familiar with how to use it properly.

4. Maintain a Clean and Organized Work Area

A cluttered and messy work area can increase the risk of accidents. Keep your work area clean and organized to prevent tripping hazards and ensure easy access to necessary tools and equipment. Remove any flammable materials from your work area to minimize the risk of fire.

By following these safety precautions, you can minimize the risk of accidents and injuries while using a scratch start TIG welder.

Questions and answers

What materials do I need to make a scratch start TIG welder?

To make a scratch start TIG welder, you will need a welding transformer, a high-frequency unit, an electrode holder, a tungsten electrode, a torch, a gas regulator, and a grounding cable.

Can I make a scratch start TIG welder at home?

Yes, you can make a scratch start TIG welder at home if you have the necessary materials and knowledge. However, it is important to note that working with electricity can be dangerous, so it is recommended to take proper safety precautions.

What is a scratch start TIG welder?

A scratch start TIG welder is a type of welding machine that uses a high-frequency unit to generate an arc between a tungsten electrode and the workpiece. This type of welder is commonly used for precise and clean welds on stainless steel, aluminum, and other non-ferrous metals.

How does a scratch start TIG welder work?

A scratch start TIG welder works by creating a high-frequency electrical discharge between the tungsten electrode and the workpiece. This discharge causes the formation of an arc, which generates intense heat that melts the workpiece and the filler material. The melted materials then fuse together to form a strong weld.

What are the advantages of using a scratch start TIG welder?

Using a scratch start TIG welder offers several advantages, such as precise control over the arc, the ability to weld various metals, and the production of high-quality welds with minimal spatter. Additionally, scratch start TIG welding allows for better heat control, which helps to prevent distortion and warping of the workpiece.

Harrison Clayton

Harrison Clayton

Meet Harrison Clayton, a distinguished author and home remodeling enthusiast whose expertise in the realm of renovation is second to none. With a passion for transforming houses into inviting homes, Harrison's writing at brings a breath of fresh inspiration to the world of home improvement. Whether you're looking to revamp a small corner of your abode or embark on a complete home transformation, Harrison's articles provide the essential expertise and creative flair to turn your visions into reality. So, dive into the captivating world of home remodeling with Harrison Clayton and unlock the full potential of your living space with every word he writes.

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