What Do You Need To Know About Flux For Welding?

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Welding Buddy Experts

August 12, 2022
Lincoln Electric miller tig welder

Are you on the hunt for a worthwhile hobby to get into? Why not consider metal fabrication? Many people today transform their garage at home into a makeshift workshop where their creativity and ingenuity thrive. They can work on the much-needed repairs around the home and produce creative projects over the weekend.

But before you let the sparks fly from your home workshop, you should equip yourself with the basic know-how in metal fabrication. Aside from welders and cutters, you must regularly purchase metal fabrication consumables like flux for welding. 

But what is a flux for, and how do they work? Read more to find out what welding flux is about!

What Is Flux, And What Does It Do In The Welding Process?

If you wonder where welding flux goes in your torch, you must know that an electrode already comes with flux. But what is a flux for? 

It helps facilitate the flow of filler metal to the weld pool. Using flux as you work on your base metal improves your welds' quality. For instance, flux can make your welds cleaner depending on your welding process.

Another benefit of using flux is protecting your weld from being contaminated. The flux forms a protective shield for your weld, letting you exert better control on it. Once you're done with the weld, the flux protects it as it cools down. You can achieve stronger welds thanks to the protection provided by welding flux.

The Different Types Of Flux Available On The Market Today

flux for welding - Welder working on a base metal

Usually, the flux comes with the welding electrodes you buy for your welder. As such, when you stock up on electrodes, you don't need to worry about buying separate units of welding flux (like flux for welding stainless steel). 

Remember that welding flux comes in different types, depending on the welding process you wish to use. Read on to learn how welding flux works in different welding processes.

Stick Welding (SMAW)

Beginner metal fabricators often start their welding journey by learning the stick welding process. The welding electrodes you use in this welding process are coated with flux. 

That's why stick welding is also known as shielded metal arc welding or SMAW because the flux serves as a shield that protects the weld from atmospheric gasses.

Flux Core Arc Welding (FCAW)

Created in the 1950s, flux cored arc welding or FCAW welding introduced a better alternative to stick welding. You can use this welding process with or without shielding gas. The welding wire for flux core welding is hollow, unlike typical electrodes. This hollow space becomes filled with flux, rather than having the flux covering the electrode from the outside. 

Submerged Arc Welding (SAW)

Judging by its name alone, you might believe submerged arc welding or SMAW is done underwater. However, it refers to how the molten metal weld pool becomes submerged in granular flux. 

The flux protects the molten metal from contaminants from the outside while preventing spatter and welding fumes from going out. As such, SAW seems to be a safer and more fabricator-friendly process.

The Benefits Of Using Flux In Welding Projects

flux for welding - Closeup of a welding joint with fumes

Cleans Your Welds

Did you know that metal oxides can contaminate your welds? When your welds become contaminated with metal oxides and other impurities, the joints you make become weak, which can later be a huge problem. 

Welding flux prepares your base metal by acting as a cleaning agent so you can work on your joints without worrying about impurities and welding fumes. Stay safe from welding fumes and other welding hazards by getting yourself a set of safety gear.

Indicates Perfect Timing

If you are unsure when to put the rod in contact with the metal workpiece, you can look at the flux instead. While it's not meant to be a feature, beginner metal fabricators can check what the flux looks like while working on a metal workpiece. 

For instance, when working on Super Alloy 1, once the flux turns into a brown color, it's a sign that you can proceed with the rod.

Provides Protection

Once you're done working on your metal joints, you must clean up. Cleaning the flux is easy; you only need to brush it off the surface of your metal workpiece. You can also use warm water to make sure that no debris remains. 

The flux that remains on the metal workpiece will serve as a layer of protection against oxidation, making your project last longer.

Increases Rod Flow

Another benefit many metal fabricators often take for granted is how the flux helps your filler rod flow. The filler material inside the electrode becomes easier to work with as the flux improves its wetting action and reduces slag. 

This effect solves many quality problems that many fabricators often deal with, like welding porosity.

Tips For Troubleshooting Problems With Flux During Welding

Mistakes and the troubleshooting that follows are inevitable in metal fabrication. You get better in the craft through trial and error. Here are some things you can do to reduce the problems you may encounter during your welding projects.

  • Ensure that your wire feed is a-okay.
  • Clean your metal workpiece's surface before working on it.
  • Maintain proper travel angle and speed to avoid slag.

Final Thoughts

Metal fabrication involves many complicated processes, such as the interaction between the welding rod and the metal workpiece. Thanks to the many advancements in the industry, producing cleaner and stronger welds has become easier than ever before. The flux for welding rods helps you achieve ideal welds for your welding project.

If you're looking for the best welding machine for your fabrication needs, head to our welder section and discover the perfect one for you.

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