TIG welding with non-consumable electrodes is very popular. One of its greatest advantages is its versatility - it can work with almost all metals, as well as their alloys, in any position. In TIG welding, there are several types of arc ignition, and in this entry, we will focus on Lift TIG. What is it, and how does it work?
Types of arc ignition in TIG
Arc ignition is defined by how the welding arc is created between the electrode and the workpiece. There are three types of arc ignition for TIG welding machines:
- Scratch-start - probably the oldest way of initiating an arc, it involves rubbing the electrode against the welded material. It’s like lighting a match on the side of the box. The downside to this technique is that the tungsten heats up almost instantly after the arc is ignited, and its small particles often break off and end up in the weld seam. It can cause structural problems and contaminate the welded metal.
- Lift - is sometimes confused with TIG Scratch-start because the arc is also ignited by rubbing the electrode. The electrode must be quickly brought into contact with the workpiece and then lifted to strike the arc. Since the starting current is low, the tungsten electrode doesn’t stick to the workpiece, and its sharpened tip doesn’t get damaged. Lift TIG is best for welding steel (e.g. stainless steel). It isn’t good with aluminum due to a reaction between the metal and tungsten.
- HF - high-frequency ignition with a built-in ionizer. It’s considered to be the easiest way, and one of its biggest advantages is the chance of getting a clean weld right from the start. It’s a non-contact method and all you have to do is properly position the tungsten electrode and press the torch trigger to start the arc. TIG HF is available in professional welding machines.
Lift TIG - advantages
Lift TIG isn’t the ideal way to ignite a welding arc, but it has several important advantages. It’s a good compromise between Scratch and HF methods becauses it’s possible to get a good quality weld seam without any heavy contamination. On top of that, the resulting welds are thin and dense. Lift TIG is often used when welding pipes. This method also works well in various industries: pharmaceutical, food, or aviation.
Interestingly, Lift TIG arc ignition is very effective when welding near computers and other electronics because the high-frequencies involved can damage this type of equipment, which also applies to modern car systems. Importantly, Lift TIG welding machines are less expensive compared to technologically advanced machines with the TIG HF function.
Lift TIG with valve - which MIG welding machines have this option?
TIG inverter welding machines have the Lift TIG function. But semi-automatic MIG MAG and MMA inverters also offer this feature, too. Before buying, checked the model that interests you does it have Lift TIG switch. For most classic and synergic model like Spartus MIG 215 LCD. you just need a TIG torch with a gas valve in the handle. The most popular valve handle in our shop is the Spartus SR 17V/4 ŁW 35-50, which fits most welding machines from Polish brands like Magnum, Ideal, Sherman, Spartus, Trafilux, and Paton. There are Synergic models with pulse such as the Sherman Digimig 200 Double Pulse which also work with TIG Lift Arc and gives Pulse TIG settings. You can easily use the TIG method in a MIG MAG and MMA welder, but you should pay attention to the correct plug connection. Most common standard is dinse 35-50 with 13 mm diameter.
It’s vital to connect it properly to the welding machine. For TIG welding, negative polarity is used in most cases, meaning the holder is connected to the negative pole socket, and the cable with the mass holder is connected to the positive pole.
When looking at the design of a TIG valve handle, you will notice a manual gas valve. It lets you regulate the gas outflow. The gas hose is longer and connected directly to the gas cylinder. Before that, the pressure regulator should be screwed into the cylinder valve, and then the gas supply line should be connected to the regulator. The 2-pin control connector on the Spartus 17V valve holder for MIG MAG and MMA welding machines is inactive.
There are also models that do not require a TIG torch with a valve. They have a built-in gas control, models such as Spartus MIG 200 PFC or Weldman Mistral MIG 200. In such welding machines, by pressing a button, gas flows.
When can Lift TIG be useful?
TIG is a versatile method that lets you weld many different materials. It’s particularly useful in situations where there’s a risk of high-frequency current damaging electronics. So this feature is used when welding near devices such as computers (including in cars). The most important thing is to use the correct arc ignition technique, so gently bring the electrode close to the material to be welded, hold for a second and then lift the handle.
A Lift TIG welding machine is a good solution for those who want a good-quality weld and precise work. Allweld offers a wide range of machines equipped with this option, from MMA welding machines through MIG MAG sources to AC and DC TIG welders. Select welding machines are also available with the necessary accessories included, such as a welding visor, magnetic angle, and even a gas cylinder and regulator. In our store, everyone can find equipment that is tailored to their individual needs.