Build a TIG Welder

What can you do with an old stick welder?

Turn it into a TIG Welder.

I needed a larger welder, I had no $ and only had an old stick welder available for a conversion. Did a little research and found out I could convert it to a scratch start TIG.

TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) - GTAW (Gas Tungsten Arc Welding) - Heliarc welding all refer to the same process. You can use an old cheap DC stick welder for TIG on many metals.

This is a scratch start DC TIG. Metals that can be welded with scratch start DC power TIG are Stainless, Nickel alloys, Titanium, Silicon Bronze, High alloy steels, Low alloy steels, High Carbon steels, low carbon steels, Dissimiliar metals, copper, cast iron, and brass alloys.

This IS NOT an AC HF Start welder so it IS NOT ABLE TO WELD ALUMINIUM or metals requiring AC High Frequency well.

This Tig set up uses DCEN (direct current electrode negative) also known as DCSP (Direct Current Straight Polarity).

Materials needed:

1- Stick welder - Mine is 250 amps AC/DC I will only use DC for Tig because I have no High Freq box.
2- Argon Tank - Pure Argon nor CO2 - co2 will cause deposits on your tungsten. You will be grinding Tungsten all the time.
3- TIG torch - one that can handle your available amps and has a manual valve for the gas on the handle. Mine came from ebay for around $100.
4- Power Block adapter - block that you attach your welding clamp too. It is also used to hook up your gas. Gold colored in pic with welding clamp attached.
5- Flow meter - I use the same one from my MIG machine. Switch it when necessary.

You set up the flow meter to the power adapter and Electrode Negative clamp to the adapter. Workpiece clamp to the workpiece.
When ready too weld - turn on gas flow with valve on torch - lightly scratch tig tungsten to metal to start arc. Like striking a match.

Weld away! Remember to shut off gas flow when you have finished running your bead.

This would be nicer with a foot pedal to control the weld pool better; I got used to welding with a quality Tig set up and it took awhile for me to adjust to not having a foot pedal.

1 Like

Very cool Wayne,

I’ve heard of the conversion before but never knew how to do it. Thanks for sharing this great info!


Thanks Tim.

I have been wanting to post it for awhile but never found the time.

Here is a link to a homemade arc start box. I have never tried this one but the arc start boxes use to be a common thing in the day .

Thanks Dave. I will check it out!

Dave Bloom of Sachs Electric by any chance?

Matter of fact, I believe I knew a Tim Johnson that worked for Sachs Electric also. I was on a joint venture project (TCC) Homeland Security Data Center in San Antonio. I worked for Alterman ElectricTexasand a Wayne Baker for Irondale Industrial Contractors. I knew a Wayne Baker at that worked with me at IIC at the TXI Hunter Cement plant in New Braunfels, Texas. Very strange coincidence to say the least if you’re not the same guys… very strange indeed.