The Ins & Outs Of Welding: Different Styles Explained
Author: Harry Nguyen Date Posted:11 October 2018
What is welding?
In short, Welding is the most efficient way to join metals together.
Welding is regarded as a highly valued skill in many industries. There are many different types of welding processes, some of them are easy for beginners., however, a lot of dedication and practice is needed to produce welds of high quality and purity.
Common Welding Processes
Metal Inert Gas, otherwise known as MIG involves an electric circuit that runs through objects to be welded together by using by using an electrode (welding wire). As you weld, the wire will melt and result in the fusing of the two pieces of metal. At the same time, a shield gas surrounds the area to prevents any contamination from the air interfering with the weld.
MIG is arguably the easiest method to learn, making it the most common process for most home & DIY users. As well as being relatively easy, MIG is also very fast, welds can be produced at a continuous rate thanks to the protection of that gas shield. MIG is also able to be used across many different types of metals.
So, you can see, MIG is a highly useful process. Unfortunately, like any welding process, it does have its limitations. The gas shield present with MIG welding is not effective when used outdoors, and surface prep is a crucial step that needs to be completed prior to welding with MIG, it is extra work, but it will ensure that contaminants do not interfere with the results.
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Tungsten Inert Gas welders are commonly referred to as TIG. TIG uses a non-consumable electrode to deliver current to the welding arc. Unlike MIG, with TIG welding you can easily control the heat level with a foot pedal.
TIG by far the most complex welding process to learn however the quality it delivers is exceptional. Due to that, TIG welding process is most suitable with professional welders in architectural, automotive or airline industries where high quality and purity of welds are expected.
Since TIG process is very sensitive to contamination, it requires lengthy preparation on metals and working environment. TIG allows you to weld detailed designs or complex shapes since you can control heat and amperage precisely with a foot pedal or a remote control. Like MIG, TIG only works well only indoor and it is considerably slower compare to MIG. Since a lot of accessories are involved such as TIG torches, foot pedals, etc… the initial cost to get into TIG will be high.
The last common welding process is called Stick Welding. Stick welding is an arc welding process where it requires a consumable stick electrode covered with a flux to join pieces of metals. Electric current is used to create an electric arc between the electrodes and results in metals being joined together.
Anyone one who welds often has come across stick welding since it has been around for a long time. It is very popular among welders due to its simplicity and versatility. Stick welding is suitable across many industries such as construction, structural welding, shipbuilding, etc… where you have no choice but to weld outdoor.
Stick welding is known for being the cheapest among TIG and MIG. It does not require an external shield gas hence you can easily weld even when its windy or raining outside. Stick welding is lenient on dirty or rusty metals. It also works well on the thicker type of metals.
Stick welding does not leave clean finish like TIG, it leaves a lot of mess when you try to clean up your welds. You also must frequently reload an electrode stick which can be quite annoying.
It is also very important to point out that different welding processes will accommodate different welding materials. The table below gives you a much clearer understanding of metal compatibilities.
Different Types Of Welding Hazards
When you are exposed continuously to bright UV light it can cause severe irritation to your eyes. Permanent eye damage can occur if Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is not used.
Flash burn is something not to be taken lightly. For further information on flash burn and where to get help please use the link below.
To avoid eye damage, it is important to source a reliable and high-quality welding helmet. It is important to purchase a welding shield/ mask/ helmet that provide your face, neck, and eyes with adequate protection, whilst ensuring you have high visibility.
As the sparks fly and the heat turns up, it is very easy to get yourself burned while welding.
No matter how experienced you are or how simple the job, refusing to wear proper clothing whilst welding is simply asking for troubles. Get yourself a thick, fully covering welding jacket and a nice set of gloves to protect yourself whilst you weld!
Love welding? Make That Passion Your Career!
Welding is a profession that will always be needed so long as there are metals that need joining! Being a consistent and dedicated welder will open many doors for you in the welding industries. You can start welding on construction sites and work your way up to some more advanced fields such as aviation or even underwater welding.
Like any skilled trade, welding requires a strong foundation of how to use the equipment correctly. Equip yourself with the right welding machine, the right protective clothing and the right helmet. If you are unsure of what welder to get you can always head to our Welding Buying Guide to get a better understanding.