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What is a Lift TIG Welder? How Does it Work?

Mar 06, 2024

What is a Lift TIG Welder? How Does it Work?

The world of welding is filled with various techniques and specialized equipment, each with its unique applications and advantages. Among the variety of welding methods, Lift TIG welding stands out for its precision and versatility. But what is a Lift TIG welder, and how does it work? This blog post will dive deeper into the process of Lift TIG welding which has grabbed the attention of professionals and hobbyists for its control and high-quality results.

Lift TIG welding is a subset of Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding, distinguished by its distinctive arc initiation method. Unlike traditional TIG welding, which often uses high-frequency starting, Lift TIG requires the welder to touch the tungsten electrode to the workpiece and lift it to create the arc. This technique reduces the risk of contamination and interference, making it a preferable choice in various scenarios. 

Join us as we explore the inner workings of a Lift TIG welder and understand why it might be the perfect addition to your welding arsenal.

Fundamentals of TIG Welding

TIG Welding Process

TIG welding, also known as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW), is a welding process that uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to produce the weld. The process involves the use of an electric arc between the tungsten electrode and the workpiece, which melts the metal and creates the weld. TIG welding produces high-quality welds with minimal spatter, making it ideal for welding thin materials such as aluminum, stainless steel, and copper.

One of the key advantages of TIG welding is that it allows for precise control of the heat input into the workpiece. This is achieved by adjusting the amperage and voltage of the welding machine, as well as the travel speed of the electrode. This precise control makes TIG welding suitable for welding materials of varying thicknesses, as well as for welding in tight spaces or hard-to-reach areas.

Lift TIG Welding Technique

Lift TIG welding is a variation of the TIG welding process that does not require a high-frequency start. Instead, the electrode is brought into contact with the workpiece, and then lifted a short distance to initiate the arc. This technique is often used for welding thin materials, as it reduces the risk of burn-through and distortion.

To perform a lift TIG weld, you will need a TIG welding machine with a lift start feature, a tungsten electrode, and a filler rod. Begin by preparing the workpiece, ensuring that it is clean and free of any contaminants. Next, select the appropriate tungsten electrode and insert it into the torch. Adjust the amperage and voltage settings on the welding machine to suit the thickness of the material you are welding.

To initiate the arc, bring the electrode into contact with the workpiece, and then lift it a short distance. Once the arc is established, begin welding by moving the torch along the joint, maintaining a consistent arc length and travel speed. Use the filler rod to add material to the joint as needed, ensuring that it is melted and fused with the base material.

Components of a Lift TIG Welder

A Lift TIG welder is a type of TIG welder that uses a lift arc start instead of a high-frequency arc start. This type of welder is ideal for welding thin materials, as it produces a low heat input and precise control of the weld pool. Here are the components of a Lift TIG Welder:

Power Source

The power source is the heart of the Lift TIG welder. It provides the necessary electrical power to generate the welding arc. The power source must be capable of producing a stable, consistent arc that can be adjusted to suit the material being welded. It is essential to choose a power source that can handle the amperage required for the job.

TIG Torch

The TIG torch is the tool that delivers the welding current to the workpiece. It is a precision tool that must be able to deliver a precise, stable arc. The TIG torch is typically made of high-quality materials such as tungsten, copper, and brass. It is essential to choose a TIG torch that is compatible with the power source and the material being welded.

Gas Supply

The gas supply is another critical component of the Lift TIG welder. The gas is used to shield the weld pool from the air, which can cause contamination and defects in the weld. The gas supply must be capable of delivering a consistent flow of gas to the TIG torch. The most common gas used in TIG welding is argon.

Foot Pedal

The foot pedal is used to control the amperage of the welding current. The foot pedal allows the welder to adjust the amperage while welding, which is essential for maintaining a consistent weld. The foot pedal must be compatible with the power source and TIG torch.

Advantages of Lift TIG Welding

Lift TIG welding is a popular welding technique that offers several advantages over other welding processes. In this section, we will discuss some of the key benefits of lift TIG welding.

Precision and Control

One of the primary advantages of lift TIG welding is the precision and control it offers. This welding technique allows you to precisely control the arc length and heat input, which is critical when welding thin materials or when working on intricate welds. The lift TIG welding process also produces a stable, consistent arc, which helps to minimize distortion and produce high-quality welds.


Lift TIG welding is a versatile welding process that can be used to weld a wide range of materials, including aluminum, stainless steel, and carbon steel. This makes it an ideal welding process for a variety of industries, including aerospace, automotive, and manufacturing.

Weld Quality

Another significant advantage of lift TIG welding is the high-quality welds it produces. The process produces clean, precise welds with minimal spatter, which helps to reduce the amount of post-weld cleanup required. Additionally, lift TIG welding produces welds with excellent mechanical properties, including high strength and ductility.

Applications of Lift TIG Welding

Lift TIG welding is a versatile welding technique that can be used in a wide range of applications. In this section, we will explore some of the most common applications of Lift TIG welding.

Industrial Fabrication

Lift TIG welding is commonly used in industrial fabrication for welding of various metals like stainless steel, aluminum, and copper. The process is ideal for welding thin materials as it produces a precise and clean weld without distortion. Lift TIG welding is also used in the fabrication of pressure vessels, heat exchangers, and other critical components that require high-quality welds.

Automotive Repair

Lift TIG welding is widely used in the automotive industry for repairing and fabricating various components like exhaust systems, engine components, and suspension parts. The process is ideal for welding thin gauge materials like sheet metal and produces a high-quality weld that is free of spatter and distortion. Lift TIG welding is also used in the repair of aluminum wheels, which require a precise and clean weld.

Aerospace Components

Lift TIG welding is extensively used in the aerospace industry for welding of critical components like aircraft frames, engine components, and landing gear. The process produces a high-quality weld that is free of porosity, cracks, and other defects that can compromise the safety of the aircraft. Lift TIG welding is also used in the repair of aircraft components like fuel tanks and hydraulic systems.

Safety Considerations

Personal Protective Equipment

When using a lift TIG welder, it is essential to wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). This includes a welding helmet with a filter lens shade appropriate for the welding process, safety glasses with side shields, welding gloves, and protective clothing such as a leather jacket or apron.

Welding produces intense UV radiation and infrared radiation, which can cause severe burns and eye damage. Therefore, it is crucial to protect your skin and eyes from these harmful radiations. 

For an extensive selection of PPE that includes top-of-the-line welding caps, be sure to browse our welding gear collections to find the necessary protection for all your welding needs.

Ventilation and Fume Extraction

Welding produces fumes and gases that can be hazardous to your health. These fumes can cause respiratory problems, nausea, dizziness, and other health issues.

Therefore, it is essential to ensure adequate ventilation and fume extraction when welding with a lift TIG welder. This can be achieved by working in a well-ventilated area or using an exhaust hood or ventilation system.

It is also recommended to use a respirator with a filter that is appropriate for the type of welding being performed. The respirator should fit properly and be worn at all times during welding.

Additionally, it is essential to keep the work area clean and free of clutter to prevent tripping hazards and ensure easy access to emergency equipment, such as fire extinguishers.


Understanding the Lift TIG welding process marks a significant step in refining your welding technique, opening doors to a range of applications where precision and metal integrity are paramount. This process, with its distinctive arc initiation method, offers an alternative to high-frequency starts, favoring environments sensitive to electrical interference. As we've explored the mechanics and benefits of Lift TIG welders, it's clear that this method is not only about achieving cleaner welds but also about embracing a technique that can be adapted to the most delicate of welding tasks.

Whether you're looking at intricate artistic projects or precision industrial fabrications, a Lift TIG welder could be the tool that brings your work to the next level. By combining this knowledge with the right equipment and protection, you're now better prepared to select a welder that aligns with your needs and to execute welding tasks with increased confidence and control. Remember to gear up with the appropriate safety equipment, and you'll be ready to tackle any welding challenge that comes your way.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between TIG and Lift TIG welding?

Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding and Lift TIG welding are both variations of gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW). The main difference between the two is how the arc is initiated. With TIG welding, a high-frequency starting circuit is used to establish the arc. In contrast, Lift TIG welding uses a contactor to initiate the arc.

Does lift TIG need gas?

Yes, lift TIG welding requires a shielding gas, typically argon. The gas is used to protect the weld from contamination by the surrounding air.

How does a lift TIG welder work?

A lift TIG welder works by using a contactor to initiate the arc. When the tungsten electrode comes into contact with the workpiece, the contactor closes and the arc is established. The shielding gas is then released to protect the weld from contamination. The welder controls the heat input and the speed of the welding process by adjusting the amperage and the travel speed.

Why use lift TIG welding?

Lift TIG welding is often preferred over TIG welding because it is simpler and more cost-effective. It does not require a high-frequency starting circuit, which can be expensive and complicated to maintain. Additionally, lift TIG welding can be used in situations where TIG welding is not possible, such as in areas with electromagnetic interference.

Is lift TIG the same as scratch start?

No, lift TIG welding is not the same as scratch start. Scratch start welding is a type of manual welding where the welder scratches the tungsten electrode against the workpiece to initiate the arc. In contrast, lift TIG welding uses a contactor to initiate the arc, which eliminates the need for scratching the tungsten electrode against the workpiece.

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