Welding is a common and essential part of many projects, especially around the house. From building a new fence to repairing your car, welding can do it all. With so many different types of welding processes available, one might get confused about which type to use for each job. The four main welding process types are MIG welding (GMAW), TIG welding (GTAW), stick welding (SMAW), and flux-cored arc welding (FCAW).
Four Main Types Of Welding Processes Are:
- MIG Welding (GMAW)
- TIG Welding (GTAW)
- Stick Welding (SMAW)
- Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW)
MIG Welding (GMAW)
GMAW stands for Gas Metal Arc Welding. This process uses an electric arc between an electrode covered in filler material and the workpiece to melt both pieces together. The power supply provides the current to form the arc, and shielding gas is usually used to protect the weld from contamination.
When welding thicker pieces of metal, GMAW produces a more consistent bead than other welding processes. This makes it great for welding together two large pieces of steel at once. The speed of this process also helps to reduce heat input and prevent burn through on thinner metals.
TIG Welding (GTAW)
GTAW stands for Gas Tungsten Arc Welding. Here there is almost no contact between the electrode and the workpiece while welding. Only a small part of both molten metals actually touches during welding, allowing better control over the exact location that melts together. In this process, filler material isn’t required.
GTAW is used for welding thin materials, such as sheet metal. It also works great on other thin metals that can be burned through quickly by other welding processes, like aluminum and magnesium alloys. This process has the high heat input of FCAW while still allowing you to add filler material if needed.
Stick Welding (SMAW)
SMAW stands for Shielded Metal Arc Welding, but it’s commonly referred to as stick welding due to the electrode’s shape resembling a pencil or stick. The electrode and the workpiece both make contact while welding and an electric current pass between them.
Stick welding excels at welding thin pieces of steel together or joining two thick pieces of steel where high heat input is required. The speed of this process also makes it ideal for single-pass welding on thicker materials, like structural beams.
Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW)
FCAW stands for Flux Core Arc Welding. The electrode used in this process isn’t solid, but instead has a copper core with flux material inside. This gives off shielding gases to protect the weld while welding and offers things like convenience and ease of use without needing separate gas tanks or regulators to use it.
Because the shielding gas comes from within the wire itself, there’s no need to worry about running out during your welding project. The speed of FCAW also allows you to complete welding projects quickly and with fewer passes than other welding processes.
If you’re looking to purchase a welder, check out this best TIG welder guide Guide to help determine which is the best machine for your needs.
And if you want to build up your welding skills from scratch, check out these Welding Projects For Beginners. Thanks for reading! Please feel free to leave any feedback or questions in the comments section below. And as always, please make sure to share this post if you found it helpful. Have a great day!