Different Types of Welding

TIG welding Carbon Steel, Stainless, and Aluminum

If only there were videos that compared the different types of welding, pros and cons of each, and even some great arc shots.

TIG

metal must be clean enough…cleaner than for all the rest of the welding processes.  This mainly applies to hot rolled steel with the mill scale coating. Stainless steels and aluminum are often clean enough to weld without much extra cleaning. A simple wipe down with acetone is often enough for brand new stainless or aluminum sheet.

 Tig is more precise and more versatile but often a lot slower than other welding processes.

When I say versatile, what I mean is that with TIG welding, you can switch back and forth on all different types of metal  very quickly and easily.

Sometimes, all you need to do is pick up a different filler rod to weld a different metal.

Switching from stainless steel to aluminum might only require a simple swap of electrodes and tig cup, a flick of a switch on the welding machine, and a different filler wire.

Compare that to MIG welding where you might need to swap out a spool of wire as well as a different shielding gas to switch from stainless to aluminum …and it might even require hooking up a spool gun.


Tig requires shielding gas so is not as robust for outdoor welding as flux core or stick.

MIG welding - short circuit, Spray transfer, pulse spray, and Mig aluminum with a spool gun

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MIG

mig welding excels in production.  It is usually much faster than tig or stick.  But as already mentioned, it is not as versatile as Tig.

Shielding gas is needed for mig welding so for outdoor welding, special wind blocks, curtains, etc might be needed.

MIG welding is a great process if all you do is carbon steel in a shop environment.

There is short circuit mig for light to medium fab work

Spray mig for hot and fast production

And pulse spray mig for pipe shops and other all position welding 

Mig welding aluminum is also spray transfer and often requires using a spool gun due to the softness of the aluminum wire and problems pushing it thru a long mig gun cable.

Aluminum MIG can be done using the same mig welding machine as used for carbon steel provided there is adequate amperage. 

Stick Welding aka Arc Welding = SMAW Shielded Metal Arc Welding

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STICK

Stick welding is also known as Arc welding and also SMAW shielded metal arc welding.

Stick is the most durable dependable robust process of all in my opinion.

Welding outdoors is not a problem.  Equipment is simple and inexpensive too.

There are different rods for different applications and most small inverter tig welders also can stick weld making it a very portable option for quick small jobs.

Flux Core Arc Welding - FCAW

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FLUX CORE FCAW-s 

Self shielded flux core is actually a good way to get into welding.

You can get a small 115volt mig welder at a yard sale, off craigslist or Facebook marketplace that can do a pretty good job on light duty welding or light fabrication.

Self shielded flux core is call self shielded because it does not require a cylinder of shielding gas. 

The flux is inside the hollow wire and works much like stick welding.

One big mistake hobbyists make with self shielded flux core is using the wrong polarity.  DCEN is almost always what you need for self Shielded flux core and a lot of mig machines are set on DCEP because that is what works with bare wire mig.

It pays to check polarity whenever you weld with a mig welder. Whether you are using bare wire or flux core.


DUAL SHIELD FLUX CORE

The term “dual shield” is a trademark term that is sort of like the term Kleenex.

Just as Kleenex is used as a generic term for almost any tissue, “dual shield” is used in the same way to refer to flux core wires that also require shielding gas.

Dual shield flux core is amazing. Especially for shop work where there is hot rolled mill scale that would require lots of time and effort to remove to get a proper bare wire mig weld.

Dual shield is fast too and works better for out of position welds like vertical and overhead than most other bare wire mig processes.

For vertical uphill welding on hot rolled steel with mill scale, I think dual shield flux core is faster and better than any other welding process.

I know there are folks who will disagree with that but we can still be friends as long as they don’t get rude about it.

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The one drawback of dual shield flux core is that for 2f fillet weld tests, it is difficult to hit the root on 3/8" and thicker.

But for vertical uphill welding, dual shield excels.

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