Arc Welding Basics

Arc welding is considered the easiest and most readily available of all the welding processes. Nearly everyone can gain access to an arc welding machine and learn how to arc weld. Also known as stick welding,  the technical name for this type of welding is manual metal arc welding or otherwise, MMAW.

arc weldingArc welding is used in all fields of metalworking and engineering for both fabrication work and maintenance. Metals that can be welded include mild steel in thicknesses from 1/16th up to 2 inches, stainless steel, and cast iron. Arc welding is an excellent method of repair work to cast iron castings.

During the arc welding process is that the arc generates enough sustainable high intensity heat to melt the intended metal at any point it is directed to. Combined with the filler / electrode this action effectively fuses two pieces together.

Choosing an Arc Welder

For general purpose use a welding machine with an AC/DC output is ideal. Using the DC output will give better results as this setting allows easy starts with less sticking. Other advantages using DC settings include easier overhead and vertical welding, less cleanup due to splatter and good looking welds.

As far as power goes the more power you can afford the better. Having said that most arc welding applications can be handled using a machine of 225 Amps. However a machine that has a lower amp rating can still be used to weld say 1 inch steel by making several passes of weld to build up the required bead size.

Since there is a serious shortage of reliable welders to draw from and the demand is increasing daily, you can understand why knowing that welding is not difficult to master is an important thing to know. It is estimated that approximately 80% of all American companies that hire arc welders find it hard to fill vacancies as they come open. It has also been reported that the average age of qualified and professional welders is 54 years. That is a high rate considering that those individuals will be retiring soon. It seems that the field of welding is one of the nation’s best kept secrets when it comes to getting ready for employment in the future.

Many people consider arc welding to be a dangerous occupation because of the electrical currents from high voltage that are used. In the past this may have been true, but today’s advancements in safety equipment and regulations the risk has been reduced by a large amount. Today, arc welding is not any more dangerous than working with plumbing and carpentry. Maybe it is time to get started with a whole new career.


MIG Welding Basics

MIG welding stands for metal inert gas welding. It was originally used to weld non-ferrous metals such as aluminum. It eventually was used on steel too. It is a quicker method of welding as compared to other methods of welding.

mig weldingSome of the advantages of MIG welding include the speed of the welding process. It has the ability to weld many metals and many thicknesses of metal. The biggest advantage to MIG welding is that it can be automated so that the human element can be removed all together. That’s why robotic mig welders are commonly found is on an assembly line in an automobile factory. As mig welding machines utilize a wire feed system this makes them ideal for robotic purposes as they can carry a great amount of filler rod or wire.

Mig welding utilizes a wire feed technique which feeds a wire electrode from your welding handgun to the weld. This wire electrode is available in numerous coil capacities or spools dependent upon the welder sizing, that may contain 100s and perhaps 1000s of feet/meters of wire. The actual wire feed includes a pair of drive wheels to the wire plus a continual speed electric motor to move the drive wheels. The majority of Welders contain numerous features enabling timed feeds together with adjustable speeds.

You need the right safety gear. This includes a face mask to protect your eyes and skin. You also need to have a heavy leather jacket. Keep the jacket fastened all the way up. You need to wear heavy cotton pants and close toed shoes. Heavy work boots are best. Make sure that you are welding in a well ventilated area, and that you have some kind of barrier between you and others, and you have a warning sign that advises people to avoid the area.

When you start welding you need to make sure that you have the valve on the machine for the shielding gas is open. Your welding machine needs to be on, and the grounding clamp either on the metal or on your welding table.  Make sure that your metal is clean and sharp edges are ground down. Clean edges make your welds better. You can bevel the edges to create a valley for the weld if you choose to, this is more important on thicker metals.

After you have done that and set your machine up, it’s time to start welding. You want to make a zig zag or concentric circles with the tip. It’s smart to practice before you start welding. Make sure the mig welding machine is at the right setting. If you are getting holes in your workpiece your setting is too high. Your settings are too low if your welds are being formed in spurts. You have the right settings when your bead is nice and smooth.