Have you ever watched the famous 1983 movie, ‘Flashdance’? If you coincidently did, then you will know why the film is related to welding. Jennifer Beals starring as Alex Owens struggles between two odd jobs and dreams of becoming a ballet dancer. One of her duties, however, was a welder in the Pittsburgh steel mill. That was the time when a lot of people found out about the life of a welder.
Jennifer revealed that she had to study and practice welding for two months before bringing it on camera. No wonder it felt so real, though she was criticized for her skills. She also revealed that she was forced to do a lousy job.
Apart from the pretty sparks, which is perfect for Instagram material photography, welding is a dangerous job and can only be done if you have serious skills. Do not try this at home, kids!
For those of you who have little or no idea about what welding is, don’t worry, we have got you covered. What is welding? A process where two or more parts are brought together by using heat, pressure or even both,is known as welding. Welding is usually done on thermoplastics and metal but can also be done on wood as well.
When the two parts are joint together, that is known as the parent material. The material that is added to join the pieces together is known as filler or consumable. When the joint is welded, that part is referred to as weldment.
Various welding procedures are used in the manufacture of structural work, automobile bodies, general machine repair work, and tanks. It is also used in pipeline fabrication and refineries in the industries.
With the world changing every day, there are many new and latest technologies introduced for this procedure, hence, making the workload a lot less. You may think about getting your pipeline or your gate welded, but you are not able to carry it around, mostly because you can not fit it in your car? Engineers found a solution to that by introducing mobile welding. No, it has nothing to do with your cellphone. Mobile welding is a welding service provided at your doorstep.
Here are some of the basic types of welding procedures we have listed down for you.
For learners, MIG is the easiest type of welding procedure. MIG stands for Metal Inert Gas. This procedure uses heat generated from a DC electric arc between a workpiece and a consumable metal electrode, which is melted together to form a weld pool that, in turn, creates a joint.
This welding is of two types, one that uses a flux core, and the other uses a bare wire. A flux core MIG can be used in the outdoors since it does not need a gas supply or flow meter. As for bare wire MIG, it is usually kept indoors and is used to join thin pieces of metal together.
Hobbyists or DIY enthusiasts usually use this type of welding since they don’t prefer investing huge sums in proper expensive equipment. It also is useful if you want to start with something small.
If you are old school and want to weld the old fashioned way, then stick welding is the one for you. A stick welding is also known as Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW), which is a commonly used technique among the arc process. An electrode and electric current are used at the weld pool to join different varieties of metal.
The electrode is made up of a stick (that explains the name) or a solid metal, which is surrounded by a coating of metal powder mixed with a binding agent to bind them together.
An electric arc is made by the electric current between the metal and the electrode to form a joint, hence, creating a weld pool.
This method is applied over iron and steel and mainly used in the construction of massive steel structures and repair industries. Stick can be a little tricky to master as compared to the MIG but is not big on cash if you plan on buying one for personal use.
Here’s a tricky one. Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) or Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW) is a welding procedure that produces a weld with a tungsten electrode that is non-consumable. TIG was proved to be successful back in the 40s, by joining aluminum and magnesium. The process was a great replacement for manual metal arc welding and gas, by using a chemically inactive gas shield in place of a slag to protect the weldpool.
This method is widely used and plays a huge role in high-quality welding and structural applications. You need to be highly skilled to do this one. Both hands are required for this, one to feed the rod and the other to hold the TIG torch. That is when the heat and arc are created, which can be used on metals like steel, aluminum, nickel alloy, cobalt, titanium, and copper alloy.
PLASMA ARC WELDING
This procedure is quite similar to the TIG method since the arc is made between a workpiece and a tungsten electrode. A fine bore copper nozzle is used to force out the plasma to constrict the arc.
This type of welding is mostly used in an aerospace application where the thickness of the metal is 0.015 inches, for example, it is used to weld an engine blade or and air seal. There are further three types of plasma arc welding:
- Micro plasma welding (0.1 - 15A)
- Medium current welding (15 - 200A)
- Keyhole welding (over 100A)
LASER WELDING AND ELECTRON BEAM
Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation or just simply ‘Laser’ is an advance welding technique. This is used in many array industries, from jewelry making to aerospace.
This procedure requires heavy-duty energy. An intense beam of light is used on a small spot so that the metal area under the light absorbs it, thus, becoming highly energetic. The more powerful the laser beams are, the more excited the electrons would get to melt the metal, hence, breaking the bonds of the atom. Who knew that light had the power to melt strong metal? This procedure can also be used over plastic.
A welding procedure that is rarely used these days. It is one of the ancient forms of heat-based welding and is now replaced by TIG welding, as mentioned above. However, this procedure is still alive and a favorite in some industries. The reason is that it is cost-effective and easy to use. No need to be an expert to do this job.
This procedure involves melting the metal using heat that is transmitted into flames. The metal is heated to a certain point for it to melt and infuse. To achieve the heat, a piece of equipment is needed to create high-temperature flames.A fuel like Acetylene is used, which can take the temperature of the flame up to 3100°C. However, this temperature level is relatively less as compared to the Arc welding machine. Usually, oxygen is mixed with gases like hydrogen, butane, gasoline, Acetylene, propylene, and others.
THE FINAL WORD
Welding is also considered as a form of art. A lot of care and precision is needed to melt and enjoin metal pieces together. It is definitely not a child’s play by any means. But with all that you also need to ensure your safety first since you will be working with extreme levels of heat and electricity.