Why Your TIG Welder Won’t Arc (With Fixes)


TIG welding, otherwise known as Tungsten Inert Gas welding, is a popular method of welding among novices and professionals. Even the most experienced welders may still have some questions about TIG welders, though, and that’s what we’re here to help with!

Why won’t your TIG welder arc? Your TIG welder might not arc if it’s not plugged into the proper voltage source if the welder isn’t turned on, if there are issues with your gas hoses, or if the tungsten electrode is too short.

In this article, we’ll help you understand some of the reasons why your TIG welder won’t arc with in-depth explanations and walk you through how to fix your TIG welder so that it arcs properly. Ready to dive further into TIG welding? Let’s get started.

Why Your TIG Welder Won’t Arc and How You Can Fix It

Since it’s likely you already know the basics of TIG welding, you’ll have a better understanding of some of the reasons why your TIG welder might not arc, and you’ll also have a better understanding of how to fix the issues. Either way, we’re going to walk you through them!

There are several reasons your TIG welder won’t arc, and these reasons range anywhere from being very simple to more complex. We’ll discuss these reasons in-depth and let you know how you can fix them.

Overview: Reasons Your TIG Welder Won’t Arc

We’ll dive into these reasons in-depth and let you know how you can fix them to make sure your TIG welder begins to ArcArc again. But first, here’s an overview of some of the reasons your TIG welder might not arc:

  • It’s not plugged into the proper voltage source
  • The TIG welder isn’t turned on
  • There are issues with the gas hoses
  • The tungsten electrode is too short

Time to discuss these reasons and fixes in more detail!

Problems and Fixes of a TIG Welder That Won’t ArcArc

As promised, we’ve got an in-depth breakdown of some of the reasons a TIG welder won’t arc. We’ve also got some of the solutions to the issues!

Problem: TIG Welder Isn’t Plugged into the Proper Voltage Source

If your TIG welder isn’t throwing an arc, it could be due to the voltage source. You’ll need to have the proper amount of voltage for your TIG welder to work and throw an arc.

The minimum voltage that needs to be maintained in the welding circuit to establish an arc is 15.7 volts. If your TIG welder doesn’t throw an arc, it may be because it’s not at the minimum voltage.

Fix: Make Sure TIG Welder is Using Proper Voltage

The solution to this issue is relatively simple: make sure your TIG welder is at least at the minimum voltage needed to establish an arc. Again, that’s 15.7 volts. You may need to use an even higher voltage to develop the Arc, sometimes up to 70 volts. Once the ArcArc has been struck, the voltage should dropdown.

Problem: The TIG Welder Isn’t Turned On

If your TIG welder isn’t throwing an arc or isn’t working at all, for that matter, it may be as simple as the fact that your TIG welder isn’t turned on.

It might sound a little ridiculous, but we’ve all had those moments when something wasn’t working, and it turns out we just needed to flip a switch and turn it on! A typical TIG rig usually has quite a few dials and settings, and it’s possible you missed turning the TIG welder on.

Fix: Make Sure the TIG Welder and the Gas Are Turned On

The solution to this issue is also relatively simple: make sure your TIG rig and gas are turned on! As we previously mentioned, TIG welding uses gas.

If your TIG welder isn’t throwing an arc, it may be because the TIG welder isn’t on. Make sure your TIG welder is turned on and make sure your gas is on before proceeding.

Problem: There Are Issues With the Gas Hoses

Once again, remember that TIG welding uses gas. If your TIG welder isn’t throwing an arc, there may be some issues with the gas hoses. The gas hoses may have cuts or kinks, or may not be secured properly. This could affect your TIG welder properly throwing an arc because air sneaking into the gas flow is a contaminant in TIG welding.

Fix: Check Your Gas Hoses and Adjust Them Accordingly

Fortunately, there’s another relatively simple solution here. First, check your gas hoses. Are there any cuts in them? Are there any kinks? Are your gas hoses tightened securely at all points?

If there are any cuts in your gas hoses, you will likely need to replace them. If there are any kinks, make sure to work them out. Additionally, make sure your gas hoses are tightened securely at every point; tighten them more just for good measure even if they seem tight already.

Problem: The Tungsten Electrode is Too Short

Since tungsten is such an instrumental part of TIG welding, a tungsten electrode that’s too short can cause issues with the ArcArc.

If the tungsten electrode sticking out of the cup is too short, you won’t be able to see the tip of the electrode, and you won’t be able to hold a close enough arc length.

Fix: Make Sure You Have a Long Enough Tungsten Electrode

You need to have a tungsten electrode that’s long enough that you can see it (without getting a kink in your neck). That will allow you to keep your arc length right, and complete the ArcArc. Make sure your tungsten electrode sticks out ¼ to ⅜ inch.

Tips for TIG Welding More Successfully

There’s no doubt that you’ll be able to TIG weld more successfully when your TIG welder actually throws an arc.

That being said, there are some other tips you can learn and practice to make your craft of TIG welding even more successful! Let’s take a look at some of the tips for TIG welding more successfully so that you can get the most out of your welds.

Tip #1: Make Sure Everything is Very Clean!

When it comes to TIG welding, any contaminants can significantly affect the outcome of the weld, so much so that any TIG welding isn’t tolerant to contaminants at all!

Therefore, you’ll be able to TIG weld much more successfully if you make sure all of your tools and components are completely clean.

You can achieve this by first cleaning your base metal with a degreaser, and then scrubbing it with a (clean and dedicated) wire brush. It’s essential not to use the same wire brush on different types of base metals as contaminants can occur.

Additionally, wipe your filler rod down with a degreaser. The extra attention to cleanliness before and during TIG welding will help ensure better results!

Tip #2: Have Good Support for Your Hands

TIG welding is extremely involved with your hands, and moving the torch with precise control is critical.

To make sure you can have the most control over your torch during TIG welding, it can help a lot to have something to support your wrists and arms.

To set up some good support for your wrists, arms, and hands, you can use something as simple as metal or wooden block near the object being welded. Often, you can even rest your hands on the object itself.

If neither of those options works out, and if you’re a pretty dedicated welder, you may want to consider setting up a special support bar that you can position parallel to whatever is being welded. Support is important!

Alexander Berk

A bit about myself: I am a certified international welding engineer (IWE) who worked in different welding projects for TIG, MIG, MAG, and Resistance Spot welding. Most recently as a Process Engineer for Laser and TIG welding processes. To address some of the questions I frequently got asked or was wondering myself during my job, I started this blog. It has become a bit of a pet project, as I want to learn more about the details about welding. I sincerely hope it will help you to improve your welding results as much as it did improve mine.

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