Today, we can find many different types and welding processes due to technological advances.
Although some are simple and can be carried out in any house, other welding processes are complex. They can only be carried out under exceptional conditions and situations.
Unfortunately, there is no single welding process suitable for all applications, so let’s start with an overview of the fundamental techniques and highlight each’s capabilities and advantages.
Also, if we talk about the types of welding that can be carried out in any home or small workshop, we can distinguish four welding types.
Each process has its benefits and limitations and is better suited to specific applications. No strategy works for everything.
These are the most common processes:
- MIG / GMAW welding
- TIG / GTAW welding
- Welding with electrode / SMAW
- Arc welding or molten flow
Other types of welding, but much more precise and not so common, are micro soldering, seam welding, ultrasonic welding, hermetic welding, projection welding, orbital welding, precision, and resistance welding.
These types of welding are not used too much.
Therefore, in this small guide, we will analyze and compare the four most common processes, considering each type of welding’s advantages and disadvantages. Let us begin!
How does MIG welding work?
What is known as MIG is metal arc welding with gas (GMAW).
The electrode forms an arc with the metal to be welded, melting with the material.
The MIG welding process has a protective gas bubble to protect the welding of the air components.
The pieces that are welded do not fuse since the welding is fed with another material, which makes it possible to weld different types of materials.
Both the electrodes and the gas that are used have to be replaced as they are spent.
What is MIG welding used for?
MIG welding has various applications, and both thick and thin metals can be welded with this method.
But for this, a good MIG welding machine will be necessary so that the power can be adjusted so that fragile and thin materials can be welded, and at the same time also weld thick steel materials.
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Advantages of MIG welding
The most significant advantages of MIG welding are the following:
- Easy to use and control the machine, recommended for beginners since it only has one gun to learn to control.
- It can be used in a wide range of thicknesses.
- Aesthetically pleasing finishes.
- It can also be used for sculpture.
Disadvantages of MIG welding
- The materials that can be welded are limited: it is weak for cast iron and too strong for thin aluminum. The same goes for the material that is too thin or too thick. However, it also has some disadvantages that must be taken into account:
- It cannot be used on dirty or rusty materials. They have to be clean.
- It cannot be used in wet conditions, as it is somewhat delicate.
If you think what you need is a MIG welding machine, we leave you the link to the buying guide below:
How does TIG welding work?
Tungsten arc gas welding (GTAW), or TIG, is a welding process that uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to heat and melt the material.
In this way, the welding puddle is created.
This process does not use filler metal, and welding is done with a single metal. But if you want to provide filler material, you can add another rod to be welded in different materials.
As with MIG welding, a gas bubble is needed to protect the weld from contaminants. The difference is that while carbon dioxide is used for the former, helium or argon is used for TIG welding.
What is TIG welding used for?
TIG welding can be used in many materials since you can weld from steel to aluminum.
However, TIG welding has limitations in terms of the thicknesses of these materials, and although you can use it in many materials, they have to be thin to weld them through this process.
In this way, the tungsten rod used is also much thinner since this makes the welding also performs thinner and much more precisely.
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TIG welding Advantages and disadvantages
Here are the main advantages and disadvantages of TIG welding:
Advantages of TIG welding
The main advantages of TIG welding are the following:
- Precise and very aesthetic welding is the most aesthetic welding of all.
- Welding is suitable for car and motorcycle bodies due to its thin and precise welding bead.
- One of the cleanest welds that exist does not produce any waste.
For these reasons, TIG welding is one of the favorite welding types of experienced welders.
Disadvantages of TIG welding
However, it also has some disadvantages that you should keep in mind:
- It is not an easy welding type. It is not for beginners.
If, after reading this, you have decided that what you need is a MIG welding machine, we leave you with our buying guide:
Welding with electrode / SMAW
How does electrode welding work?
Armored metal arc welding (SMAW) or electrode welding is one of the oldest types of welding.
Therefore, the operation is effortless and very effective because the joints it creates are solid and can be used to weld thicker materials.
The electrode, which provides most of the welding material, is heated and melted, and the two parts are welded with heat. This rod, being coated, protects the weld from contamination.
What is electrode welding used for?
The most significant use of electrode welding occurs in construction since it is a very resistant type of welding.
And it is the welding process that must be used for materials such as cast iron or thick materials in general, which is impossible to weld with other welding processes.
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Advantages of welding with electrode or SMAW
The main advantages of electrode welding are as follows:
- Heavy welds can be achieved in thick materials, so the welding process is used in construction.
- It allows welding materials such as cast iron.
- Equipment is cheaper than other welding processes.
- It can be used in humid environments and even in the rain.
Disadvantages of welding with electrode or SMAW
After seeing the advantages of this type of welding, we will see the disadvantages:
- It cannot be used in thin materials.
- The finish is not as aesthetic as other welding processes, leaves scum, and requires cleaning to improve aesthetics.
- It is challenging to learn and requires a little experience to achieve good finishes and make the bow.
Arc welding or molten flow
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How does arc welding work?
Arc welding, or molten flow welding, is similar to the MIG welding process. The two types use a cable that constantly feeds the weld but differently.
The cable has a flow core that generates a surrounding gas in this process, while an external gas is necessary for MIG welding.
What is arc welding used for?
This type of welding is also used mainly for the different construction materials since it is a process for heavy and thick materials. This is why it is used for hefty steel and serious machinery repairs.
Advantages of arc welding
The advantages of using this welding process are the following:
- It is very efficient welding and suitable for thick and heavy materials.
- It creates little waste, so it doesn’t take much cleaning.
Disadvantages of arc welding
Although not much cleaning is necessary, cleaning must be done if you want an aesthetic finish. This process also has some disadvantages that must be taken into account:
- This process is not suitable for thin materials.
What is the best welding? Comparative table of MIG, TIG, electrode, and arc processes
In this table, we summarize each type of welding to make it easier for you to make a decision:
|MIG WELDING||TIG WELDING|
|WELDING WITH ELECTRODE / SMAW / MMA||ARC WELDING|
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Welding process suitable for each material
Let’s look at the welding process that you can use for each type of metal.
In this way, it will be easier for you to make a decision based on the projects you have in mind or the use you are going to give the welder:
|METAL / PROCESS||MIG||ELECTRODE / ARC||TIG|
|Stainless steel welding||X||X||X|
|Welding of aluminum alloys||X||X|
|Cast iron welding||X|
|Welding of exotic metals (magnesium, titanium ..)||X|
Difference between MIG welding and electrode (MIG welding vs. electrode)
Since it is the question that people ask the most, here are the main differences between MIG and arc welding.
If you do not know how to choose between MIG welding or electrode, this can help you better understand the differences and distinguish the two virtually related welding processes:
1. Simplicity of employment
MIG welding is simple for beginners since it only has one unique element to manipulate.
With the gun, you have the materials you need to weld, and all you need to do is press the trigger to start and let it stop.
Arc welding is much more complicated since it raises the complexity of sticking the arc without causing damage to the material.
2. The materials you can use
With MIG welding, the materials you can use are limited, depending on their thickness.
They should not be too thin or too thick. Pushing a MIG welder with too much force to weld thicker materials such as melted iron could destroy it.
On the other hand, fragile materials such as aluminum will burn under the power of the arch.
In addition to this, the material used for MIG welding must not be dirty or rusty. Arc welding can be used to weld thicker materials.
3. Use inside or outside
MIG welding does not work outdoors due to rain and wind restrictions. If air blows on the metals, they will not form a solid weld.
Arc welding can be used even in rain or extreme winds. Therefore, it is the most convenient for outdoor use.
4. The appearance of scum
MIG welding is more aesthetically appealing and, therefore, ideal for making statues.
Aesthetically, arc welding is less pleasant since it generates many sparks and debris that leave scum all over the site. The finishing touches and specific cleanings are, therefore, unavoidable.
5. Cost and portability of the equipment
MIG welding equipment is quite expensive compared to arc welding, which is partially affordable.
The arc welding device is portable in that it does not need to be fed with a protective gas and can be held in a secure place.
From welder. Online we hope the article has been helpful!
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