Different Types of Welding Processes

 

Welding is an exciting and rewarding technique for enthusiasts and professionals alike. Using a couple of tools and various types of metals, welders can transform any piece into any shape and design they desire, all with sparks flying around in the process. However, in order to be able to master the art of welding, you need to start with the basics and be aware of the different types of welding processes.

More than 30 different types of welding exist, and they range from simple oxy-fuel to high-tech processes such as laser beam welding. However, only four welding types are used commonly, and they are MIG, TIG, Stick and Flux- Cored arc welding. Each of them comes with its own advantages and disadvantages and you need to have proper training to practice them.

 

MIG - Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)

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This welding process uses a continuously fed electrode through a welding gun and the operator needs to pull a trigger in order to feed the consumable electrode through. Between the base material and the electrode an electric arc forms, which heats the material until it reaches the melting point that makes it possible to get it joined with another.

For this type of welding, you need an externally supplied shielding gas, and some of the most common used gases for this purpose are stainless steel, carbon steel, magnesium, copper, nickel, aluminum, and silicon bronze. Some of the typical uses for MIG welding

The main advantages of choosing the MIG style for welding include the reduction of waste thanks to the higher electrode efficiency, the minimal weld clean up required, lower heat inputs, and reduced welding fumes. Moreover, this is the easiest welding technique to learn, which makes it suitable for beginners and DIY enthusiasts.

Among the disadvantages, we can count the need for external shielding gas, the rather high cost for the best mig welders and other equipment needed, the limited positions in which you can weld, because you cannot use this technique for vertical or overhead welding, and the inability to weld thick materials. Moreover, in order to be able to use this welding technique successfully, all the materials need to be free of dirt and rust.

MIG welding is very commonly used in the automotive industry, mostly because it can provide a strong weld that can withstand large forces. Automotive repairs often require versatility and strength, and this is the type of welding that is best fitted to this purpose. Other common uses include branding, robotics, constructions, and the maritime industry.

When it comes to MIG welding, you need to be sure that you adjust the power settings perfectly in order to should the thickness of the material. The speed of the welding is also a factor that affects the periods and penetration of the weld. By decreasing the speed of thoughts travel, you will be able to increase penetration.  various calculators are available if you want to compare the different settings that you need for the welding power for a specific project.

 

TIG - Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW)

Gas metal arc welding

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Also known as Heliarc welding, TIG is a welding process that uses a tungsten electrode that is not consumable to heed the base metal and create a molten puddle for the by using this method, you can create are no filler metal or autogenous weld in order to melt two pieces of metal together. You can also add an external filler rod into the molten puddle in order to be able to create a weld bead and increase the mechanical properties of the metal.

Just like in the case of MIG welding, you will need an external gas supply, and some of the common of them are argon and argon/helium mixtures. Some of the most typical uses for TIG welding include piping systems, aerospace welding, and motorcycle or bikes.

The main advantages of using this welding technique as an enthusiast or a professional include the ability to weld very thin materials, the high quality cleaning welds, and the highly aesthetic weld beads. Moreover, with this technique you can weld a wide range of alloys and obtains spatter free wells so you don't have worry as much about debris.

On the other hand, some of the disadvantages of the TIG welding include the high cost of the equipment and the lower deposition rates. Moreover, you will need external shielding gas and a rather high operator skill in order to obtain the desired results.

TIG welding is generally regarded as the most popular welding technique used nowadays, and the reason behind this is the fact that it offers a clean weld and a high degree of purity that is almost impossible to obtain with other welding methods. The method is most commonly used for welding stainless steel, even though it is also a suitable choice for other metals such as aluminum, magnesium, copper, and nickel.

Some of the industries that use TIG welding on a regular basis include those where nonferrous metals are prevalent. This means that this method is a suitable one for the manufacturing of tubing, vehicles, bicycles, as well as the repair and maintenance of various types of tools made from magnesium, aluminum, and stainless steel. Check out our reviews of the best tig welders here.

 

Stick - Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)

Shielded Metal Arc Welding

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Commonly referred to as Stick, the shielded metal arc welding is a process that uses an electrode to carry electric current in order to be able to provide most of the weld metal. The electrode used for this method consists of a core wire that is coded influx and the electric arc is created when the tip of the electrode that is the work piece and is withdrawn while still remaining in close contact in order to generate temperatures of about 6500°F.

The molten metal is protected from nitrates and oxides in the atmosphere during this process, which means that this process is a suitable one for pipeline welding, construction, heavy equipment repair, and steel erection.

The main advantages of using the shielded metal arc welding technique include the low cost of the equipment that is necessary, as well as its portability. There is no need for shielding gas as in the TIG or MIG welding techniques, which means that you can use this technique outside even during wind or rain. Moreover, this technique also works on dirty and rusty metals so it is a suitable alternative for those projects where you can simply not use the TIG or MIG techniques.

On the other hand, the disadvantages of the shielded metal arc welding technique include the lower consumable efficiency, as the quite a lot of waste is produced by welding in this way, and the high operator skill required. It is actually quite going to take you a bit longer than other methods to master the required skills, taking into account the fact that the method is also rather difficult to use on thin materials.

This method is usually considered obsolete when compared to the MIG anti-ageing methods mostly because it is primarily a manual welding technique. However, the process is sometimes necessary because it is not always possible to use TIG or MIG welding due to the position, type of material, and skill.

This type of welding offers a very low cost solution that does not require much expensive equipment. As a result, the quality of the final weld may not be the best possible, mostly because this technique may allow for shallow penetration, porosity, cracking, and a vulnerability to severe weather.

 

Flux-Cored Arc Welding (FCAW)

Flux-Cored Arc Welding

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This technique is rather similar to the MIG welding method, as it also requires an uninterruptedly fed electrode, but instead of a solid wire, it needs a tube-shaped wire full with flux. You can choose from two types of flux core wire, which are socially and will shield wires. social good wires are a good solution for outdoor use, as they work even in windy situations. n the other hand, double shield uses an external shielding gas and the flux in order to guard the modern weld puddle.

The main advantages of this technique include the higher electrode efficiency that creates less waste than other types of welding methods, as well as the lower hit inputs. With the flux-cored arc welding, there is no need for external shielding gas, and you get reduced welding fumes regardless of the metal used for welding. this is also a rather clean type of welding, as you don't have to deal with lots of debris.

When it comes to the disadvantages of this welding method, some of the most common of them include the generation of a lot of smoke and the high cost of the equipment. This welding method is not recommended for thin materials and may create slag.

The flux-cored arc welding technique is very easy to learn and there are many professionals prefer it because it is extremely inexpensive. Even though there are several limitations when it comes to the application of the technique and the results may not be as aesthetically pleasing as those obtained with other types of whaling methods, this matter remains popular because of its ease of use.Read our reviews of the best flux core welders here.

 

Electron Beam Welding (EBW)

This type of welding involves firing a ray of high velocity electrons at the materials that require welding. This technique transforms energy from the electrons into sheets in order to melt the welding materials, which can then merge and fuse together. This type of welding is used in multiple industries, with applications ranging from fully automated automotive inline part production to high-cost aircraft engine industry. Some examples of products that are created with electron beam welding include aerospace components, transmission assemblies, and bimetal saw blades.

Because this is a vacuum-based process electron beam welding is a perfect choice for sealing of electrical components and pre-evacuated housings. This technique allows joining of dissimilar metals, such as those with different thermal conductivities and melting points, something that is generally difficult to achieve with other welding methods. This is also a good technique for those who want to weld a thick material to a thin material.

 

Atomic Hydrogen Welding (AHW)

This welding technique has been largely replaced by the gas metal arc welding methods, but it is still in use for specific purposes such as welding tungsten. This material is highly resistant to heat and by using this technique, you can weld it in a way that does not damage the metal while still creating cohesive, strong weld.

The method was invented by Irving Langmuir after he discovered atomic hydrogen. It involves the placement of two metal tungsten electrodes in a hydrogen atmosphere in order to break up the hydrogen in the molecules and combine them in an explosion of heat that can go up to 3000 degrees Celsius.

 

Gas Tungsten-Arc Welding

This is one of the most difficult types of welding, and also the most time-consuming, because it requires a lot of focus and skill mostly because of the small area between the art of the flame in the material you intend to weld. For this method small strips of metal are welded with this process in order to obtain an extremely strong weld that is bound to last for years. This welding method has been released in 1941 and it has changed very little since. It is still used by manufacturers of bicycles and aircraft, both military and commercial.

 

Plasma Arc Welding

A process that is similar to that of the gas tungsten arc welding, the plasma arc welding was initially developed in 1954 and it uses electrical current that is passed through a very small nozzle that goes through the protective gases in order to enable extreme accuracy when it comes to welding small areas. This method is a suitable one to use when it comes to heating metal very extreme temperatures which results in deeper and stronger welds. This welding method is often used in the aircraft manufacturing industry, and it is very rare for it to be useful for DIY and enthusiast welders.

To learn more about plasma cutters and how to choose read our plasma cutter reviews here.