types of welding process

Types of Welding Process – 4 Of The Most Common Types Of Welding

There are a few things that are more empowering than the ability to transform metals into different shapes and products. And the best way of doing this is by welding. A skill that requires lots of practice, welding gives you power over even the strongest of metals.

But before practicing it is important to understand the different types of welding. There are mainly four different types of welding process, which we shall discuss below. Different welding techniques are suited to various metals and welding tasks.

Here are the different types of welding process we have.

MIG or Gas Metal Arc Welding

Main points

  • Easiest to learn
  • Is suited to welding of thinner metals
  • MIG welders can also be used as flux-core welders
  • Produces cleaner welds that require minimal cleanup

Probably the most common type of welding out there, MIG welding involves the use of an electrode that is fed through a welding gun. The weld is produced by an arc struck as like the best stick welder between the metal and a continuously supplied electrode that provides filler metal.

Shielding gas is also fed from the welding gun to protect the arc from airborne contaminants. The electrode is heated and melt on the weld pool and joins the metals when it cools. Some of the common shielding gases include carbon dioxide, helium, argon, and oxygen.

This type of welding can be used to weld both thin and thick metals. This includes copper, stainless steel, nickel, aluminum, carbon steel, and mild steel.

Pros

  • Is an easy welding process to learn
  • Produces cleaner welds that require minimal cleanup
  • Produces minimal welding fumes and has a low heap output, hence safer
  • Lower degree of precision required
  • Can be used to weld a wide variety of metals

Cons

  • Is sensitive to external factors such as rain, and wind thus is best carried out indoors
  • Unlike other types of welding joints, the electrode used do not combat rust, oil or dirt and thus cleaning of the metals is a must before welding.

Verdict

MIG welding is common among welding hobbyists and DIYers due to it being easier to learn. There are various types of mig welders in the market such as best 220v mig welders, 120v mig welders and so on. Professional welders may not be attracted to this welding technique as it is not suited for welding thicker metals or rusty metals.

Flux-Cored Arc Welding

Main points

  • Can be used to weld dirty or rusty metals
  • Is compatible with out of position welding
  • Allows deep penetration for welding thicker metals
  • Tends to have faster weld speeds compared to MIG

Flux-cored welding is another type of arc welding. This welding technique is very much similar to MIG welding. However, whereas in MIG, we use a solid wire in flux-cored welding, we use a tube-shaped wire filled with flux.

The shielding gas used in MIG welding is also used in this type of welding. Also, the flux material forms a slag over the weld. This means the weld is well protected for external contaminants.

It is for this reason that flux-cored welding can be carried out in the outdoors. This type of welding is used for welding thicker materials. Some of the metals that it works best with include carbon steel, stainless steel, and alloy steel.

Unfortunately, this welding technique is not suited to welding non-ferrous metals such as aluminum. This is one of the main disadvantages of this type of welding.

Pros

  • Flux-cored electrodes are cheaper compared to the electrodes of MIG welding
  • Can be accomplished without the need for a shielding gas
  • Can be done outside
  • This type of welding has more tolerance for dirt
  • There is less weld spatter with this type of welding
  • Offers greater penetration especially with carbon dioxide shielding gas

Cons

  • Is not ideal for welding non-ferrous metals such as aluminum
  • This type of welding is not recommended for thin metals

Verdict

Similar to MIG welding, flux-cored welding is relatively easy to learn. It is, therefore, a method of welding preferred by Do-It-Yourselfers as well as professional welders. Also, it has an edge over MIG welding since it can be conducted outside.

Gas Tungsten Arc welding

Main points

  • Harder to learn compared to other Types of Welding
  • Is used for high-standard and professional welding tasks
  • Minimal clean up after welding is required
  • Uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode

Another popular type of welding is Gas Tungsten Arc welding. Among the different types of welding process, this is considered the most challenging. Also known as TIG welding, this welding type involves the use of a tungsten electrode.

The welding heat is generated by an arc between the tungsten electrode and the metal being welded. Similar to other types of arc welding a cloud of inert gas shields the weld from atmospheric contaminants.

This type of welding can be used to weld thin and thick metals. For thick metals, a filler metal wire may be required. However, for thinner metals, the filler metal will not be required. This welding type produces welds of a very high finish.

Some of the metals that are welded using this technique include aluminum, magnesium, titanium, and stainless steel.

Pros

  • Produces stronger and more ductile welds compared to other types of the welding process
  • There is no slag and thus no need for post-weld cleanup
  • Is used to weld a wide variety of joint types
  • There is little sparks, fumes or smoke, thus making for a neater weld
  • Can be used to weld a wide variety of metals

Cons

  • The cost of Tungsten inert gas welding is higher
  • Maximum joint thickness capable of being joined is 5 mm anything above that, and a filler wire is required

Verdict

This type of welding is more suited for more professional welding jobs. Due to its being costlier and much harder to master, it is not a welding technique suitable for beginners. However, due to the high-quality weld and finish, it is the best for professional welders.

Shielded Metal Arc Welding

Main points

  • The most basic type of welding
  • Uses electric current
  • Low cost of equipment necessary
  • Requires more time to master compared to other techniques

This type of welding is often referred to as stick or manual arc welding. Connected either to an AC or DC power source, this type of welding involves the use of an electrode. An arc is formed between the electrode of the metal.

This arc melts both the metal and electrode and forms a weld pool. The electrode usually has a flux that is burnet to produce a layer of shielding gas. This shielding gas protects the weld from other gasses in the atmosphere.

As the weld pool cools off, it solidifies to cover a joint. Slag is also produced which needs to be chipped off. This type of welding is mainly used in industries for welding heavy-duty steel and iron. However, it can also be used to weld aluminum.

Pros

  • Low cost of necessary equipment thus the process is cost-effective
  • The equipment used is portable
  • Can be used outside in different conditions
  • Can be used on rusty or dirty metal
  • This type of welding works well on steel, iron and even aluminum

Cons

  • A lot of waste is produced from this welding technique
  • It requires time and practice to master

Verdict

At its core, Stick Welding is a more manual process of welding. As such, some people consider it to be obsolete, especially in light of modern welding processes. Nonetheless, this type of welding still has its place among welders, especially in industrial welding jobs.

Other types of the welding process

Exactly how many types of welding process are there? The above mentioned are the most common. However, there are other welding processes. Most of which are less common and others are restricted to specific industries.

Electron Beam Welding: This is a welding method that involves firing rays of high-velocity electrons at the material to be welded. Energy from the electrons is transformed into sheets for purposes of melting the weld material.

This type of welding is vacuum-based and is commonly used in the aerospace industry. It is also used to weld transmission assemblies.

Plasma Arc welding: In this type of welding an electric current is passed through a small nozzle that goes through protective gases for accuracy. This type of welding is suited to welding small areas. It is also used in the aerospace industry.

Atomic Hydrogen welding: This is a welding process used for welding tungsten. The latter metal is notorious for being heat resistant. This process involves the placement of two tungsten metals in a hydrogen environment for purposes of breaking the hydrogen in the molecules.

The extreme heat of up to 3000 degrees Celsius is required for this. It is for this reason that this type of welding is rare nowadays.

Conclusion

The different types of welding processes are suited to welding different metals. Also, they are suited to different tasks. While some are easier to master than others, it is important to note that welding is a skill that requires practice.

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