What is Scratch Start TIG Welding? Applications & Equipment

Updated: 27 Feb 2024


In every TIG welding process, almost half of the welders use scratch start for the initiation of the arc. It’s simple, effective, and easy to learn, even for beginners.

Scratch start welding was one the first methods of initiation arc of TIG welding. In this process, you must hold and position the tungsten electrode at the proper angle and then strike the workpiece with it. As a result, it creates an arc, which is then used for welding, fixing, and joining the workpiece.

Anyone new to TIG welding should know the process of Scratch Start Welding because this is where they can begin the welding journey. It’s not only recommended for newcomers but also well-suited for experts and intermediate-level welders because it is efficient, cost-effective, and precise.

What is Scratch Start TIG Welding? Explained in Detail:

TIG scratch start welding, also known as manual TIG start, is a method of starting the TIG welding process. There are also other initiation methods, like lift arc and high-frequency start, but the scratch start is pretty simple and easily doable.

what do you mean bu stratch start tig welding process
Source: https://weldingpros.net/scratch-start-tig/

In the Scratch Start welding technique, the welder physically scratches the tungsten electrode against the workpiece to start an arc, called striking in welding language.

This strategy is frequently used and preferred by almost all welders for its straightforwardness, making it easy even for beginners and appropriate for applications where exceptional hardware isn’t promptly accessible.

How Does Scratch Start TIG Welding?

Its working process is pretty simple. We define its process step by step, so let’s hop in.

Equipment Setup:

The process of Scratch Start TIG welding begins by arranging its tools, including a welding machine, gas supply, tungsten electrode, and safety equipment.

Tungsten Electrode:

Tungsten Electrode used in TIG Scratch Start Welding Process

Sharpen and shape the tungsten electrode into a proper shape with the help of a grinder. The sharpness of the TIG welding electrode is very important for the overall progress of the Scratch Start technique.

Making Contact:

Position the tungsten electrode, also known as the Scratch start tig torch, near the workpiece without contacting it. The welder then physically scratches, taps, or strikes the electrode against the workpiece to create and start contact.

Starting off the Arc:

A short out happens as the tungsten electrode connects with the workpiece, making a bridge flashlight. This flashlight is the arc the welder used to weld the workpiece. The welder then quickly pulls out the electrode to keep up the required and needed arc length.

Welding Cycle:

After the arc is created, the welding process continues as with basic TIG welding. The welder controls the length and intensity of the arc and then introduces filler material, if necessary, to make the ideal weld joint.

Completion of Weld:

All through the welding process, the welder physically keeps up the electrode to keep the arc according to the needs of the weld. After finishing the weld, the welder let the arc off, let the weld joint cool down, and checked it.

Advantages and Disadvantages:

Scratch start tig welding has benefits and drawbacks like every other welding process. We define some of them in the article below.


  • Simplicity: Scratch start TIG welding is a simple process requiring less possible gear for welding. That’s why almost every other beginner starts with this process at the start of their career.
  • Cost-Effective: The straightforwardness of this process makes it one of the lowest hardware costs. It also makes the overall TIG welding an economical choice, particularly for those beginning with TIG welding.
  • Versatility: Scratch Start is adaptable and can be utilized in different circumstances, particularly where precision and sophistication are required.


  • Contamination of Tungsten: There is a risk of getting contamination while welding with the manual scratching welding process, which can influence the nature of the weld. That’s why normal maintenance is important to keep the electrode intact.
  • Restricted Accuracy: By comparing with the new and advanced alternatives of initiation, Scratch Start might offer limited accuracy by its arc control, which ultimately affects the overall and general quality of the weld.

Application of Scratch Start TIG welding:

There are a lot of applications of the Scratch start process in our manufacturing domain. It is used for its simplicity and easy-to-use approach. It can be used in almost every project, some of which are given below.

Field Fixes:

In circumstances where the Advance TIG welding system and gear aren’t accessible, only scratch Start welding gives a speedy and compelling answer for any field fixes and repairs.

DIY Activities:

There are a lot of people who like to do DIY projects in their homes. Those DIY tig welders are enthusiastic and frequently use Scratch Start for its effortlessness, making it reasonable and simpler without the requirement for complex hardware.

Emergency Welding:

During emergency welding, Scratch Start can be an essential procedure because of its simple process and speedy arrangement of the entire process.

Equipment of Scratch TIG Welding

The hardware expected for Scratch Start TIG welding is simple yet very essential that are given below:

TIG Welding Machine: A standard TIG welding machine fit for manual ignition of welding arc for scratch start.

TIG Welding Machine for stratch start welding technique

Tungsten Cathode: A tungsten electrode is fundamental for making the arc by scratching and striking against the workpiece. Protective Gear: Basic welding security gear is critical for scratch start welding, including gloves, helmets, proper glasses, and suitable dress. It is essential to guarantee the welder’s safety.

Gas Supply: A proper gas supply, commonly argon, is required to safeguard the welding from possible atmospheric contamination.

Can you scratch-start aluminum?

No, you can’t scratch aluminum on scratch start because of higher thermal conductivity. Instead of a scratch start, you must use other TIG welding initiation methods.

What is the definition of Scratch Start?

Scratch start is one of the simplest methods of starting TIG welding. In this method, you have to take the electrode and strike it with proper motion to create the arc. After initiating the scratch start method, you can then use it to fix or weld your workpiece.

What are the three ways to start a TIG arc?

There are three ways to start your TIG arc welding.

  • The first one is scratch start welding, which is simple and used a lot even by beginners.
  • The second one is the Lift arc, similar to scratch start but a little more advanced.
  • The third and last one is High frequency, known as HF arc start, which is the very advanced and latest method of starting a TIG arc.
What is the Scratching method in Welding?

The method of scratch start is different from other welding types. In this method, you must start sticking the electrode on the workpiece and then moving across properly to start the arc. Once the arc is created, you can start your welding.


Scratch start TIG welding remains one of the simple, flexible, cost-effective, strong, and effective in almost every possible situation. It is also suitable for anyone, especially for those entering the universe of welding. While it may not offer the accuracy of an advanced initiation process, it is way better in its ease of use and approach.

I hope you understand the topic; for more info about welding, you can visit our main website.

Abu Bakar

Abu Bakar

Hello, Abu Bakar here, the Mastermind Behind Welding Villa. Test my years of experience through my well-written blogs, where I have covered the overall experience of welding materials and shown all the aspects of Welding, their types and equipment.

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