Welding 101

Welding has been around for years, proving it’s a time-tested fabrication process. High temperatures are used to fuse parts, usually metal, by melting them together. Pressure welding, or solid-state welding, is another process that can be used to support the process.

The process of welding can also involve a filler material. When used, it provides a filler of molten material that can assist in the formation of a strong bond between the base metal pieces.

Anyone that is a welder or works closely with one is required to use some form of a shield to protect the worker. Shields are also used to ensure the metal components and filler are safeguarded from being oxidized in the process.

There are several energy sources used in the process of welding. For example, gas flames (chemical), electric, laser, electron beams and even ultrasound. This isn’t a complete list; however, you can get an idea of the versatility of the technique. On top of all that, welding can even be performed underwater and in space.

Types of Welding

Historically forge welding was performed by blacksmiths & one of the real viable techniques of that time. With the advances brought on by more modern times, new methods came about such as arc-welding.

Common welding processes of today:

  • MIG – Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)
  • TIG – Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW)
  • Stick – Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)
  • Flux-Cored Arc Welding (FCAW)
  • Energy Beam Welding (EBW)
  • Atomic Hydrogen Welding (AHW)
  • Gas Tungsten-Arc Welding
  • Plasma Arc Welding

At Tin Knockers, TIG, MIG/ARC welding are the more commonly used techniques.

TIG Welding

TIG welding is Tungsten inert gas (TIG), which is another name for Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW). It uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to produce the weld. The weld itself and electrode are protected from oxidation thanks to being shielded by a gas, often argon or helium.

MIG Welding

MIG stands for Metal Inert Gas. This process creates an electric arc to form between the metal you’re working on and a wire electrode. Metal is heated causing them to melt and join/fuse together.

This particular type of welding can be used with medium to thick metals and is often used in the repair of vehicles. Robotics, hard facing or reinforcing a worn-out surface are other applications of MIG welding.

ARC Welding

ARC welding is also known as Shield Metal Arc Welding (SMAW). ARC welding is a process where two metals are joined using electricity. The heat generated from the electricity gets the metal hot enough to melt, and when cooled down binds the metals together.

This type of welding works with metals of varying thicknesses. It is also one of the most common types of welding.

What’s the strongest type?

A tougher question than it may seem. The strength of a weld depends on the base material and how the final product will be used. There are different advantages and disadvantages to all techniques.

Stick welding, for example, is quite effective when facing windy or rainy conditions. While MIG welding can be produced quickly and can be used with several metals and alloys. MIG welding is an extremely common technique when welding steel applications.

The type of metal you want to weld also comes into play when determining strength. Aluminum is a softer metal that can’t stand up to a lot of heat. This factor alone limits the welding techniques that can be used.

Steel is opposite to aluminum in terms of strength. It’s a tougher material and can withstand more than soft metals before compromising strength.

New to Welding?

Not all welding techniques are easy to learn. Often new welders tend to start with MIG welding as it’s an easier technique to pick up. MIG welding produces what can be described as clean welds when compared to other techniques.

Occasionally, when your budget allows, you can consider a hybrid welder. This machine gives you the ability to try multiple styles at once. Despite this, most welders, both new and experienced, prefer the simplicity and reliability of MIG welding.

Types of Welding Rods

Since there are many techniques when it comes to welding, it’s important that you’re matching the welding rod you’re using with the task at hand. Having the proper electrode helps you achieve a strong and clean weld.

There are 3 major classifications of welding rods.

  1. Consumable Electrodes
  • Burn slowly & are used up (or melt) when in use
  • Regular replacements when in use are necessary
  • Low melting point
  • Less expensive & easy to use
  • Can be grouped into 2 categories; bare and covered
    • Bare electrodes don’t contain any flux coating
    • Covered electrodes contain cellulose, rutile, iron oxide, iron powder and low hydrogen electrodes
  1. Flux Electrodes
  • A consumable electrode that has a flux coating
  • Flux produces a gaseous cloud when burned to shield the weld area
  • Various types of flux coating available
  1. Non-Consumable Electrodes
  • Can also be referred to as refractory electrodes
  • Not consumed and do not melt
  • Longer lasting than consumable electrodes
  • Difficult to use but a wider variety of uses
  • Can be use with heavy metals
  • Used in TIG welding and carbon ARC welding