Arc welding is essential to the process of metal fabrication. It is quite literally the glue that keeps your work from falling apart. That is why for many people looking to incorporate metal into the projects they are working on, it is a hurdle that they would need to overcome. Thankfully, the steps involved in welding are actually quite simpler than what people’s imaginations make them out to be. Arc welding can be enjoyable and useful beyond the current project. But where exactly do you start?
We have experience providing welding services in New South Wales and can help you get started with metal welding. We’ll cover the necessary equipment and methods in this tutorial. We won’t make you a master welder, but you will get an idea of how it all works.
What is Arc Welding?
Arc welding fuses metal pieces together with heat generated by an electrical arc. The world widely uses this welding method, which differs from other forms of welding. Let’s define what arc welding is and how it works before we dive into the process. There are many forms of arc welding as well which we will expound upon later on.Choose a different welding method if you don’t want to use electricity as the heat source. You’ll need a power supply, an electrode, and gas to protect the weld pool from contamination.
Different Types of Arc Welding
There also exist different variants of arc welding which vary in terms of the equipment used. Each of these variants has its advantages and disadvantages, and a welder can make use of more than one type of arc welding during metal fabrication. Your choice will be dependent on the materials you will be working with, how quickly you want to do the weld, and how precise you want your joints (where your two separate metal pieces meet) to be.
Stick Welding (Shielded Metal Arc Welding)
This variant of arc welding involves a short consumable rod that acts as both the electrode and the filler metal. Stick welding uses a coated rod that produces a chemical purifying agent to protect the weld pool as it dissolves, resulting in a stronger joint. It is an affordable and simple method, but its messiness makes it less suitable for precise and clean welds. Other than that, it has a lot of uses, one of which is stainless steel fabrication.
Metal Inert Gas (MIG) Welding
MIG welding discards the consumable rod and instead continuously feeds a spool of wire electrode and filler metal through the weld gun, while emitting protective gas through the same weld gun and supplying it with separate gas tanks instead of using flux. This setup allows for a steady and uninterrupted weld that is perfect for welding large metal surfaces. It is also quite beginner friendly, with most weld experts asserting that it is the fastest and easiest method of arc welding. It does come with a few disadvantages though. First of all, it has a higher cost of setting up. This is mostly because it requires so many components required to make it work. It can also be more expensive to maintain.
Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) Welding
TIG welding completely departs from the idea of a consumable electrode by using one made from tungsten instead. The protective gas is still emitted by the weld pool, but the filler metals now need to be administered manually using the welder’s free hand. This grants the welder a greater sense of control over the quality of the weld, which is an ideal scenario for aluminum fabricators and other welders working with delicate materials. However, beginners should not use this welding method as it requires a lot of knowledge and experience from a welder to produce consistent results. When a welder does it correctly, TIG welding produces precise and clean welds that no other type of welding can match.
Flux-Cored Arc Welding
This variant of arc welding uses a hollow wire of filler metal with a flux core, combining Stick and MIG welding concepts. The wire is fed through a machine like MIG welding, while the flux produces gas as the electrode is consumed like Stick welding. It is best for outdoor welding as the protective gas will not be easily blown away by the wind. This welding method is fast and simple but produces a significant amount of smoke.
Safety Equipment When Welding
Prepare safety equipment before starting arc welding, such as welding helmets that protect the eyes and face from flying particles. It also helps reduce the amount of radiation that a welder is subjected to during long work hours. A pair of safety goggles can also be worn underneath the welding helmet for stronger protection. Welding gloves prevent burns due to the intense heat produced by the welding process while welding jackets protect the rest of the body. Finally, boots protect your shoes from getting damaged by the sparks. There are other protective equipments that you can wear while welding, so be sure to get as much to keep you comfortable, safe, and maneuverable.
Welding is a very useful skill that anybody can make use of. It can be used for general repairs, modifications, construction, and even works of art. With enough practice and experience, anyone can become an expert welder. If you are short on time, you can always give Topweld General Engineering a call. Our team of professional welders will sure to please and exceed your expectations.