Different Types of Welding Explained

Fancy taking up a bit of amateur welding but don’t know exactly where to start? The best advice is to seek professional help from firms such as WIA before tackling that DIY job. Welders are highly skilled tradespeople, sometimes with many years of training and study before taking up the art of the arc. Still, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know some of the basics to help understand what this welding business is all about.

Perhaps one of the most important things to know involves the different types of welding. Many people think welding is a basic process that forges two pieces of mental to form one strong joint. That is true to a degree. But there are actually many forms of welding to choose from and what you use depends on a variety of factors including the thickness of the metals. Here are some basic and widely used welding methods.

Arc welding
Most people have heard of arc welding using a device that generates an electric current that forges the materials together. This method is the most common as it can be used on a variety of materials and is among the cheapest to operate. There are also a range of methods that fall under the arc welding category, depending on what form the finished product is going to take and the necessary strength of the welded joint.  

Electroslag welding
This method has been around for nearly 60 years and is perfect for joining larger materials such as thick steel. Electroslag welding came into practice in the mid-1950s and incorporates a device that uses copper water-traps to prevent molten metal (slag) flowing to and ruining the new joint. Electroslag is a fast welding process which makes it ideal for welding vertical materials that need strengthening before they fall over.

 Flux-cored welding
Another 60-year-old method, flux-cored welding is favoured by many construction workers and is an alternative to stick welding. It is fast and can be used in many situations (vertical, horizontal, corners) and on a wide range of materials. It is also an automatic form of welding that can be adapted to robotic manufacturing.

Gas metal arc welding
This was created in the 1940 and is best for large quantities of welding work due to the speed of the process. It incorporates a welding gun that generates a gas shield to protect the metal from outside elements while feeding the weld material to the desired spot. This automated form is largely used today in the manufacturing industry due to its easy use in robotic construction.

Gas tungsten-arc welding
This is something you should not try at home. Gas tungsten-arc welding is reserved for intricate jobs and in fact many professional welders my never have had anything to do with it. It was developed during World War II for construction on aircraft and ships. It too uses an arc process but unlike the common form, its weld arc is concentrated on a very small space.  It is of high quality and very strong if done correctly. It continues to be used in aircraft manufacturing today, in both military and commercial contexts.

These are just a few of the many welding processes currently in use. Which one suits your particular needs is going to depend on the type of materials to be joined, how the end product will be formed and the skills-set of the welder. Amateur welders are not unheard of but unless you have some experience with the process it might be a better option to first seek some professional advice.

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