I started a TIG welding class last evening. We are using lift arc-start on Miller welders (sorry, didn't note the model number). We are practicing on 16 gauge mild steel with 1/16" 2% thoriated tungsten, and 15-18 cfh argon gas. The amperage on the welder is at 60 amps, DCEN.
We were taught to touch the electrode to the practice coupon, depress the foot control, then lift the electrode to start the primary arc.
However, the initial contact between the electrode and coupon is welding the tip of the electrode to the steel. There is a noticeable spark. I have to twist and bend the electrode to break it free to start the primary arc. A small piece of electrode is breaking off the tip most times, eventually reducing my sharpened electrode to a blunt, jagged tip. It still welds, but I am wondering if I should change something on the machine or my technique.
I will ask the instructor next class, but he was pretty busy last evening and I didn't get a chance. TIA