Welding



WHAT IS WELDING?



In simple terms, welding is a process that joins materials, usually metals or thermoplastics by using high heat to melt the parts together and allowing them to cool causing fusion.



Welding is distinct from lower temperature metal-joining techniques such as brazing and soldering which do not melt the base metal.



The most common forms of welding are MIG, TIG and Stick. Unfortunately, there is no single welding process which is suitable for all types of applications.



Subsequently, it’s important to understand each method of welding to determine which is most suitable for your needs.



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ENERGY SOURCES USED FOR WELDING

    • Gas Flame

    • Electrical Arc

    • Laser

    • Electron Beam

    • Friction

    • Ultrasound

STICK WELDING



Stick or MMA (Metal Arc Welding) has been commonly used for Home Repairs or ‘DIY’ applications for many years. This method of welding uses an electric current flowing from a gap between the metal and the welding stick, also known as an arc-welding electrode.



Stick welding is an effective method for welding most alloys or joints and can be used indoors and outdoors or in drafty areas. It’s also the most economical welding method and provides the ability to create an effective bond on rusty or dirty metals.



However, Stick Welding is also a difficult discipline to master and can be relatively slow in comparison to other methods of welding. Other limitations include the need for frequent rod (electrode) changes, difficult to use on thinner materials and leaves significant spatter which needs to be cleaned after welding.




Stick Welder



Benefits of Stick Welding:

    • Relatively inexpensive equipment – does not require shielding gas to function

    • Better suited to outdoor conditions

    • Can be used indoors and outdoors – on most alloys and joints.

    • Best choice for quick repairs

    • More lenient on dirty & rusty material

    • Effective on thicker materials

Challenges of Stick Welding:

    • Difficult to master and operator needs a high level of skill.

    • Challenging to work on thinner materials

    • Produces a high level of slag which requires cleaning

    • Frequent rod changes

Typical Applications:

    • For use on Steel, Stainless Steel and Cast Iron.

    • Maintenance, small repairs and general fabrication.

      • Good choice for farmers, DIY or home hobbyists, and those who need to weld in outdoor conditions.




MIG WELDING



Often considered the easiest method to learn, MIG or Metal Arc Welding, uses a wire welding electrode on a spool that is fed automatically at a constant pre-selected speed.



The arc, created by an electrical current between the base metal and the wire, melts the wire and joins it with the base, producing a high-strength weld with great appearance and little need for cleaning.



MIG welding is clean, easy and can be used on thin or thicker plate metals.




MIG Welding



Benefits of MIG Welding:

    • The ability to join a wide range of material types and thicknesses.

    •  MIG has higher electrode efficiencies, usually between 93% and 98%, when compared to other welding processes.

    • Higher welder efficiencies and operator factor, when compared to other open arc welding processes.

    • All-position welding capability.

    • A minimum of weld spatter and slag makes weld clean up fast and easy.

    • Less welding fumes when compared to Stick Welding and Flux-Cored Arc Welding processes.

 

Challenges of MIG Welding:

 

    • Requires a shielding gas to function

    • Can be sensitive to surface contamination such as rust, paint, mill scale.

    • Possibility of weld fusion issues where the material has not been joined together correctly.

Typical Applications:

    • For use on Steel, Stainless Steel and Aluminium Alloys.

    • Commonly used in automotive repairs, plumbing, construction and general fabrication.

    • Usually the best method for ‘DIY’ and hobbyist-type welding.




TIG WELDING



Often referred to as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW), TIG welding is an arc welding process that uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to produce the weld.



 

The weld area is protected from atmospheric contamination by a shielding gas (usually argon) and a filler metal, though some welds, known as autogenous welds, do not require it. A constant-current welding power supply produces energy that is conducted across the arc through a column of highly ionized gas and metal vapors known as plasma.

 



TIG welding is most commonly used to weld thin sections of alloy steel, stainless steel and nonferrous metals such as aluminum, magnesium and copper alloys. The process grants the operator greater control over the weld than other welding processes, allowing for strong, high-quality welds. TIG welding is comparatively more complex and difficult to master than other processes and is significantly slower.




TIG Welding



Benefits of TIG Welding:

  • For use on Steel, Stainless Steel and Aluminium Alloys.
  • Produces precise, high-quality welds.
  • Best method for use on thin materials.
  • Produces no slag so is the preferred process for jobs which require high levels of cleanliness.
  • Can be used on all metals. However, AC Output is required for use on aluminium and magnesium alloys.
  • Aesthetic-driven weld beads achieves seamless look.

Challenges of TIG Welding:

    • Hardest Welding Process to learn

    • Significantly slower to execute

    • Metals must be cleaned before welding

Typical Applications:

    • For use on alloy steel, stainless steel and nonferrous metals such as aluminum, magnesium and copper alloys. 

    • General Fabrication

    • Commonly used for on-site maintenance & aluminium boat repairs.



PLASMA CUTTING



While welding joins two materials together, Plasma Cutting is a process which cuts metals by melting the material using a high temperature (10,000 – 14,000C) plasma jet.



Plasma cutting can be performed on any type of conductive metal - mild steel, aluminium and stainless are some examples. With mild steel, operators will experience faster, thicker cuts than with alloys.



A plasma cutter is a fantastic cutting solution for a number of applications and provides an alternative to traditional cutting methods such as mechanical saws.




Plasma Cutter



Benefits of Plasma Cutting:

    • Able to be used on any type of conductive material.

    • Produces highly precise, clean cuts.

    • Highly efficient and provides a quality alternative to traditional cutting methods.

    • Safer method than Oxy-Acetylene cutting

Challenges of Plasma Cutting:

    • Requires compressed air to operate

    • Substantial amount of electrical power is required

    • Typically more expensive than Oxy-Acetylene Units.

Typical Applications:

    • General Fabrication

    • Maintenance and Repairs

    • Rural/Agricultural Work

    • DIY/Home Hobbyist