Explore These 6 Most Common Types of Welding Process

welder setting up plasma cutter

Welding Buddy Experts

June 29, 2022
man weld a metal with a welding machine

If there's one thing we like about heat and pressure, it's the process of combining them to create items that we can use in our everyday lives. Welding has been around for a long time, and we continue to see how this adaptable process allows us to repair cars, build bridges, and construct structures.

But if you think welding is merely about fuses and torches, you're mistaken. We’ll explain the different welding processes and their functions thoroughly. So have a peek and see what goes on behind the scenes in the welding industry.

The Profitable One: Metal Inert Gas (MIG) Welding

worker welding construction by MIG welding

The most common type of welding is MIG welding. Also known as gas metal arc welding, this procedure uses nitrogen and argon, which are inert gases that shield the weld region from oxygen and other pollutants in the atmosphere. This process results in a clean, strong weld that is corrosion-resistant. 

It's clear why MIG welding has become more popular in recent years, especially for side hustlers. You can use it for manufacturing and construction where thicker metals like aluminum, stainless steel, and cast iron are present. You can weld various joints, including lap joints, butt joints, and tee joints. 

In short, this welding process is relatively fast, common, and simple to learn, making it an ideal choice for those who want to take on jobs and earn money. 

The Precise One: Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) Welding

Worker welding metal piping using tig welder

Although TIG welding and MIG welding both work on shielding gas from toxins in the atmosphere, there are still critical variances in their welding arcs. 

The MIG welding arc is created by feeding an electrode through a wire feeder. The current from the welder passes through the wire, creating an arc between the two metals. The heat from the arc dissolves the metal. As the weld cools, the two pieces of metal bond together. 

TIG welding, on the other hand, uses an infusible tungsten-based electrode to produce the weld. That electrode is held in a welding torch containing an inert gas, such as argon or helium to provide a fine control of the weld bead. During the welding process, TIG welding produces minimal smoke and spatter to maintain the cleanliness of your welding. Overall, this process is excellent for delicate applications or difficult-to-weld materials.

The Old One: Stick Welding (Shielded Arc Metal Welding)

Shielded metal arc welding - the most common type of welding process

One of the earliest welding procedures is stick welding. It was invented in the late 1800s and is widely used in shipbuilding, boiler manufacturing, and other heavy industries.

The shielded arc metal welding procedure is quite simple: an electrode, or "stick," is placed in an electrode holder and connected to a power source. The electrode is then placed against the metal, creating a welding arc between the electrode and the metal. As the arc melts the metal, a filler material is added to create a weld pool. Finally, the electrode is removed, and the weld joint cools once the weld pool solidifies.

The most common type of welding rod you can use with this process is E7018 since it contains a thick flux. But all manufacturing applications that use thin materials aren’t suitable for this type of welding. This is because it inputs a lot of heat into the welding joint that might strongly penetrate through the material. 

The Semi-Automatic One: Flux Cored Arc Welding

This method is semi-automatic, which means that it can partially work by itself once your welding equipment is set up.

It functions similarly like MIG welding. The only difference is that the wire electrode is not melted and does not need to be insulated by an inert gas from the atmosphere. This makes FCAW welding much easier than MIG welding and enables you to weld outdoors without special equipment.

The only problem is that this welding technique produces a large amount of smoke and fumes, so you need to wear proper safety equipment to avoid respiratory problems.

The Versatile One: Plasma Arc Welding

One of the most common forms of welding is plasma arc welding, which uses ionized gas to create an arc between an electrode and the workpiece. It is close to gas tungsten arc welding, but a constricted arc produces the plasma between the electrode and the torch's nozzle. This constriction increases the temperature of the plasma to weld difficult metals effectively.

Plasma arc welding is great for various applications like metals, alloys, and composites. Best of all, it can handle thin sheets which are difficult to weld.

The Burning One: Oxy-Acetylene Gas Welding

Oxy-acetylene welding, otherwise known as gas welding, is a method that uses fuel gas and oxygen. Here’s the process: The oxygen comes from a tank or the atmosphere. Then, the metal is heated by the flame created by the burning gas, which melts and welds the two pieces together. While acetylene is the most commonly used, propane, natural gas, and hydrogen are also good alternatives to fuel gas. 

The flames produced by the burning gases are very hot, so it’s necessary to apply special safety precautions when doing this type of welding. The oxygen and acetylene gases must be carefully mixed in the proper proportions to produce a stable flame. If the proportions are incorrect, the flame can become unstable and dangerous.

Discover What’s the Best Welding Type for Your Needs

Welding is a serious process that everyone should consider for manufacturing or fabrication projects. With the right welder, the correct process, and some practices, you can create great joints and strong weldments.

Do you want to know more about welding? Or do you want the perfect welding item for your needs? Check more of our website and see our extensive selection of blog reviews to improve your welding knowledge.

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