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  1. #1
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    Default Scratch Start Tigs?

    I've been scouring all the threads on the various budget tig machines and everyone seems to squash the machines I've been looking at. Someone always mentions making a scratch start tig from a stick machine, so I thought we could start a thread to help out the uneducated like myself.

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    What is your question?
    Generally speaking... the reason that I don't/folks don't run scratch is because of the contamination of the tungsten that can be caused etc. Most larger machines offer it as a setting for when you're in hard to reach places but I cannot recall ever having used it.

    Basically... imagine if instead of being able to gradually increase the throttle in your car or on a bike you were IMMEDIATELY at 60mph.. You have to have your settings totally dialed so that when it starts you're dialed in for the material you are welding.

    If you have more specific questions I will do my best to answer em.. but basically that's the draw back off the bat:
    No gradual arc control
    pollution of tungsten

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    Scratch start is basically as it sounds..

    In order to start the arc you would have to to scratch tungsten. It doesn't give you the controlable that you would like. You pretty much scratch it like a match to start it up.

    This will probably help you

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lV4tzg4zn0

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    Miller Lift arc on the newer inverter machines isn't actually a scratch start....it's a system that physically works like a scratch start, but electrically,mechanically is much different.The arc doesn't really start until the tungsten is lifted of the work, and no contamination happens. Look it up on Millerwelds.com to read more about it....That being said, I've used mine a few times for tacking exhaust, and while lying on my back under a truck to weld back a sawcut caused by someone trying to steal the catalytic converter off my buddies Land Rover....other than those couple times, I much prefer the rheostat(pedal)

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    i aint a mig hater, but hands down no bullshit you get the best and cleanest welds with tig. but you cant if you have a contaminated tungsten. plus the torch is always live with scratch start which would suck. i would much rather have a mig than a scratch start tig if your going for price. but id rather save up for a tig than have a mig. sorry if this doesnt make any sense, the OTC sleeping pills are kicking in.

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    Ijust got my taxes back and was thinking id use the cash towards a tig. I can't justify spending 2500 bucks without ever even handling one. And there are so many mixed reviews on this and other sites. Someone always chimes in about scratch tigs so I thought id ask. Ill probly end up buying some other shit anyway, but any input is appreciated.

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    you dont need to spend 2500 bucks. wait around for an econotig or something on craigslist. youll find one of those, and get a big ass bottle of gas for under a grand. it can handle anything that a bike will throw at you. my buddy has one and hes building a model A chassis right now with one, along with several other bikes.

    your reading mixed reviews because there are a huge group of people that get too set in their ways with either miller or lincoln. they just bash eachother back and forth all day for no good reason. if you get a miller or lincoln used, and its proven to you that it works before you buy it then you should be set for a long ass time. if the board if fried then its a waste of time. not saying get something old as fuck that is bigger than your refrigerator, but good deals can be had.

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    Alright ill try and be patient. Although I've yet to see a tig machine on local CL since I've moved here a year ago.

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    try ebay. i just got a tig welder with free shipping from cally to dallas. now mine is a scratch start and i have yet you use it but for what i need it for it should work just fine. in the near future i plan to get a new mig welder i kick my self for selling my mac mig. i loved that thing.

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    Don't rule out Longevity or Everlast machines. Both get you state of the art at a budget price. I have a Longevity 250 and love it. I bought it having never even seen a TIG welder, but taught myself how to weld and use it all the time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by moespeeds View Post
    Don't rule out Longevity or Everlast machines. Both get you state of the art at a budget price. I have a Longevity 250 and love it. I bought it having never even seen a TIG welder, but taught myself how to weld and use it all the time.
    thats what i have a everlast ark/tig welder. payed 140 something on ebay shipped. i didn't think it was a bad deal. i normally like to get things new or like new.

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    I should just become a dealer for these guys.. everytime there is a question about inexpensive welders I mention these guys..

    Everlast Welders.. seem decent for the price and good warranty.

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    I learned on the scratch start at work a couple months back. If you know what you are doing you can make awesome welds with a scratch start. The guys at work have been using it for years to weld all types of expensive shit together and never had a problem. I now have an eastwood machine I bought new in the box of c-list for $300 and have to say it's pretty damn good. Even at full price they still are a good deal. I also had a real gear tig for a couple days but took it back because it broke. I like the eastwood machine more anyhow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gs650 View Post
    I learned on the scratch start at work a couple months back. If you know what you are doing you can make awesome welds with a scratch start. The guys at work have been using it for years to weld all types of expensive shit together and never had a problem. I now have an eastwood machine I bought new in the box of c-list for $300 and have to say it's pretty damn good. Even at full price they still are a good deal. I also had a real gear tig for a couple days but took it back because it broke. I like the eastwood machine more anyhow.
    a lot of what i have read and seen for reviews on the eastwood welders weren't that great. i'm leaning towards the everlast

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    Ha that's funny, all of the machines I've been looking at were just mentioned. I havnt looked into the longevity machine but I will. The everlast and eastwood both seem to be a good value and those are the ones I've been looking at. The next thing that seems to come up when I ask about these machines is the availability of consumables and repair. Any nationwide carriers for these?

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    Quote Originally Posted by soulmachine View Post
    Ha that's funny, all of the machines I've been looking at were just mentioned. I havnt looked into the longevity machine but I will. The everlast and eastwood both seem to be a good value and those are the ones I've been looking at. The next thing that seems to come up when I ask about these machines is the availability of consumables and repair. Any nationwide carriers for these?
    i heard some airgas shops ( but not all) are carrying the everlast

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    I was in this same situation a few months back. I didnt want to drop the cash for a true TIG, but also wasnt concerned with aluminum welding capabilities. A good friend of mine who is a pipeline welder convinced me to go scratch start. I found a hobart stickmate at a pawn shop, it was new in the box, never had the stick holder or ground clamp attached, for $200. My buddy traded me the tig leads and a bottle/ regulator to do the conversion.
    There is no doubt that the foot pedal machines will give you more capability, especially with thinner material. But, I feel like if you learn the basics with a scratch start rig, you will only be that much better when you get the adjustability of the full blown tigs.

    Also if you use your filler rod to strike the arc, you never contaminate the tungsten.
    Im pretty much self taught, and still have a ton to learn (only had the machine for about 10 months). But as a beginner I would say worry less about a machine with bells and whistles and more about seat time, the basics, and practice, and practice some more.

    mild steel seat gusset



    and sorry about the cell phone pics...

    stainless jockey shift handle


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    what do you mean if you use the filler rod you can never contaminate the tungsten?

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    you strike the filler across the work and bump the tungsten to start the arc. Its like striking a match, but use the filler rod to hit the tungsten and the work for a split second at the same time. its alot simpler than it sounds....

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    Quote Originally Posted by LDNCLR View Post
    you strike the filler across the work and bump the tungsten to start the arc. Its like striking a match, but use the filler rod to hit the tungsten and the work for a split second at the same time. its alot simpler than it sounds....
    so you scratch against the filler with the filler grounded to the work right?

    really tho, how is that any different than just using the work as your scratch surface?
    not being a dick, just wondering if there really is a difference.

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