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Arc Welding Process in a Nutshell

Saturday, December 3, 2011
There has been an increase in the affordability and availability of arc welders that most of the people have a welder of their own. Many hobbyists also own portable arc welders. Before purchasing an arc welder, you need to know the requirements and theproduct that best suit the needs. Basically arc welding is one of the strongest methods of joining metals. During the welding process, an electric current allows an electric arc to melt the two metal pieces. A strong and solid bond is formed when a filler material mixes with the two metals. This process is inexpensive and it may vary depending on the shielding and filler material.

It must be noted that intense heat is used in all arc welding methods. An electrode or welding wire dispenses the heat in most of the cases. Usually electrode is more preferred as it is comparatively to change them by popping them out of the electrode holders. However there are advantages with each welding processes. In shielded metal arc welding, a welding rode in an electronic holder would be used. Shielded metal arc welding is also called as stick welding and it the most common and portable arc welder. In SMAW welding, an electrode with a metal core would be used. The flux around the core melts with the pieces that you are working on and fuse the metals.

If you are planning to weld thin metals, use gas metal arc welding (GMAW). During the gas metal arc welding process, a gaseous shield would be used around the melted metal. Generally carbon dioxide and oxygen are the common gases used in GMAW welding. Hence there is another name for the welding; metal inert gas welding or MIG welding. In gas tungsten arc welding, you need to apply the arc between a tungsten electrode and the work pieces. Tungsten inert gas welding is otherwise known as TIG welding. One of the advantages of TIG welding is that it doesn't always require the use of a filler material.

In flux core arc welding (FCAW), the welder fuses metal together with the arc welding. This is done by directing the high temperature arc between the filler metal electrode and the metals. In plasma arc welding (PAW), the metals are heated using a plasma gas from a torch and if necessary, additional shielding gas is used. If you want to produce fusion of metals, use submerged arc welding (SAW) process by heating metals between the arc and the work piece.

During any arc welding process, the welder should take necessary precautions and wear protective clothing. Burns that is caused by the sparks while electric current enters the metal is the most common injury for welders. So the welder should wear protective clothing particularly wool clothing for safety. The light that the electrode produces is also dangerous as it emits significant amount of radiation. So it is necessary to wear a protective shield over the faces. Large quantity of heat is also produced when current passes into the metal. This heat generates fumes that can be hazardous. So welder should wear masks for protection.

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