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Best flux core welders – 2021’s Most Current Picks

by Miles Bruner 0 Comments

Who said flux core welders are only for professionals or experts? However, even if you are just a beginner looking forward to getting your hands on some DIY welding or repairing projects, nothing can stop you as long as you follow proper guidelines.

In this content, we offer you the affordable but best flux core welder list in the market.

We are aware that these are heavy-duty machines. So before you get all excited about swiping your card, it is necessary to do some research about the machine’s model, features, or price so that you and your flux core welder-buddy can keeping welding together for more years to come.

But before we give you a peek at our list, let’s understand the dynamics and practicality of flux core welding.

Introduction to flux core welding

Flux core can also be termed as Flux Cored Arc Welding or FCAW, a welding method that uses a tube-shaped wire conductor containing a flux within the inner core.

In flux core welding, the wire conductor feeds via a wire feed unit and needs coarse rollers for holding the tube-shaped wire without causing any damage. It’s recommended to FCAW outside, simply due to the smoke produced. It’s common to use fans or welding respirators when FCAW welding.

There are two types of FCAW– Self-shielded (FCAW-S) or Innershield, and Gas Shielded (FCAW-G) or Dualshield. FCAW-S consists of a flux that protects the molten weld pool and prevents both nitrogen and oxygen from acting up against hot metal.

In addition, FCAW-S provides great weldability with excellent removal and has a good reputation amongst the mechanical and chemical properties. All these factors make FCAW-S a standard choice for metal-related construction, repair, or erection.

Whereas in FCAW-G, the welding process occurs via shielding gas in which the supply comes directly from the gas nozzle. FCAW-G has a flux coating that quickly hardens compared to molten weld and relies on the repetitively-fed tube-shaped wire, which is essentially filled with metallic and metallic-oxide powders.


Uses of flux core welding

If you think flux core welding is only about fusing different metal parts by heating them, you need to rethink it again. Let’s have a look at the uses-

  • Apart from excellent penetration against dense joints, flux core welder can advance to various metal directions. Due to its simple and easy functioning, anyone can quickly learn it.
  • Another unique quality of FCAW is that it uses a shielding method that requires no gas tank, making it portable-friendly, but the technique releases excess smoke. Hence, it is advisable to use the machine around ventilated space.
  • FCAW has the highest deposit rate and can supply 25 pounds/hr. Therefore, FCAW is an excellent resource for industrial productions and repair, which deals with many requirements.
  • Overall, some regular uses of FCAW include- generic repair, manufacturing, pipeline welding, underwater welding, and shipbuilding.

Factors to consider while purchasing flux core welder

There is no denying that many welding machines are available in the market, which may confuse you. To make things easier, here are few features you should double-check while shopping so that you end up getting the best flux core welder.

Current Output

If you are on the lookout for a powerful machine that can work with any welding project, you might need to check the machine’s current output with at least an average of 120 amps. But if you are more into the big guns, the best flux core welder comes in 160 amps or 200 amps with high current output, and it is faster to weld thick metal.

Controls

No matter how excellent your equipment is, if it does not offer all the basic controls which are a must in a flux core welder, your machine is as good as a toy. One of the primary control options should include a feature to alter the feeding rate of both current output and flux core, as it will help you adjust the welding speed and create accurate actions for your welds. Moreover, having a display that gives legit current output status is also a bonus.

Thickness of the material

Even if your welder is powerful unless it can weld thick metal sheets, the whole purpose of getting such equipment is invalid. Therefore, while scanning for welders, keep your eyes on flux core welders, which provide a metal thickness rating. The standard rating starts from 1/8 inch or ¼ inch, and it will inform you how thick a particular metal is, and accordingly, you can do your welding.

Duty cycle

You must be aware that flux core welder works with heat, and there are high heating issues. So to prevent such a scenario, flux core welders provide a duty cycle rating such as 25%, 30%, 40%, and more. These ratings guide you to inform how many duty cycles your machine has covered and how long it can function within a given period. But if you want to use your device for a more extended period, you can get a higher current output as the duty cycle varies according to the current output and the model.

Accessories

If you managed to pick a welder of your choice, ensure it provides accessories inclusively with the machine as some welding machines in the market sell without including the supplements. But there are also flux core welders, which provide for accessories in the packaging. The additions will consist of welding hoses, power cables, welding cables, and more. So if your find such a welding machine, get your hands immediately as they serve as an excellent deal, and you don’t have to purchase the accessories separately.

Warranty

The warranty of any product becomes the deciding factor if the product is genuine and worth buying. So, you better watch out! For example, in most high-performance flux core welder, you will find one year warranty which makes the product reliable for usage and an assurance that the machine will last some good years.


List of best flux core welder

This segment is all about bringing a smile to your face as we have curated a few but the best flux core welder and have also made sure it’s pocket-friendly. So let’s have a look at the most-awaited list-

GoPlus MIG 130 Flux Core Welder

Features:

  • Max current output of 120 amps
  • It comes in a robust stainless steel frame and plastic handle
  • Duty cycle: 40%
  • Weight: 35 lbs
  • Can manage auto and light welding

GoPlus is a newbie, and due to that, it offers a reasonable price in the market. But GoPlus is a good and durable machine that can deal with both generic and industrial requirements. The current output rate is 120 amps and a 40% duty cycle which is very decent. Moreover, this machine can weld up to ¼ inch metal sheets, comes with accessories and a 1-year warranty.

Pros
  • Great deal for the money
  • Ideal for steel welding
  • It consists of varieties of control options
  • Storage space for small accessories
  • Includes mask and welding wire
  • Air-vents for cooling the machine
  • Provides durable body
  • Adaptable current flow levels
Cons
  • Loud cooling fans
  • Lack of powered battery

Yeswelder Flux 135 Flux Core Welder

Features:

  • Max current output of 135 amps
  • Welds 1/8 inch thickness
  • 30% duty cycle

Yeswelder Flux 135 comes as a decent performing welding machine with varieties of handy features. The welder has a current output of 153 amps with an average 30% duty cycle. Yeswelder Flux 135 weighs 11 lbs, making it very portable with a limited 1/8 inch thickness. You will require a 0.30 or 0.35 flux wire to use this machine in a versatile manner. Like others, this Yeswelder Flux 135 comes at a 1-year warranty.

Pros
  • Light and easy to carry
  • Reasonably powerful
  • Can function with various sizes of flux wire
Cons
  • Not very high material thickness support

Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG Welder

Features:

  • Self-resetting motor protection
  • It does not require a change in the fuse
  • No need to reset circuit breaker buttons
  • Provides 20% duty cycle for 90 amps
  • It contains a wire feed speed range of 40 IPM-700 IPM
  • Product weight: 57lbs
  • 1-year warranty

 

Hobart 500559 flux core welder is an excellent option for high-performance but can be a little harsh on the wallet. Fortunately, it is a perfect pick for heavy-duty performance because of its weld of ¼ inch thickness and making it an ideal choice for the best flux core welder. Hobart 500559 comes with a variety of accessories that can create various opportunities for its use.

The welding machine has a current output of 140 amps with a 20% duty cycle for 90 amps. In addition, Hobart 500559 consists of essential features like power cords, contact tips, dual gauge regulator, and drive roll.

Pros
  • Varieties of accessories
  • Specific and legit controls
  • Very powerful
Cons
  • Very expensive for low duty cycle
  • Not industry-friendly

Tooliom 200A MIG

Features:

  • Comes with protection class: IP21S
  • Easy to operate
  • Insulation class: F
  • The duty cycle of 60% at 200A and 100% at 155A
  • Input voltage: 110V/200V
  • The output voltage of 24V
  • 1-year warranty
  • Two voltage settings
  • Internal thermal protection

 

Tooliom 200A is a heavy-duty machine with a current output rate of 200 amps which is excellent. It is also a fantastic duty cycle of 60% at 200A, making it one of the best flux core welder with potent characteristics. Tooliom 200A has a limited thickness rate of only 5/32 inches, which is less than other welders. With Tooliom 200A, you get accessories like electrodes, cables, wired, feed, and more.

Pros
  • It comes with various practical accessories
  • Great duty cycle
  • Exceptional current output rating
  • Automatic protection from overheat or current
Cons
  • Low material thickness support

Forney Easy Weld 299 125FC Flux Core Welder

Features:

  • Receives 2 and 10 pound spools
  • Gasless flux core
  • Power source: corded-electric
  • 20% duty cycle
  • Amperage capacity: 125 amps
  • Weight: 51 lbs
  • Cord length: 6 ft
  • 6-months warranty

Forney Easy Weld 229 125FC is a product made especially for beginners. Few mention it as a MIG machine, but it doesn’t require any gas. The product comes with a MIG gun and uses 0.30” flux-core wire, and provides shielding. Forney Easy Weld functions on 120 v with a current output rate of 125 amps and can weld to ¼ inch.

Overall it is easy to operate, best for small projects, easy to carry, and can function in various locations without any safety issue. The machine comes with other components like welding accessories, welding wire, and power tool accessories.

Pros
  • Easy to transport
  • Durable handle for movements
  • Made from long-lasting plastic and thin metal
  • Provides smooth arc with the help of Tweco consumables
Cons
  • Mainly for light/medium projects
  • Only two power settings

Forney Easy Weld 261 Flux Core Welder

Features:

  • Gasless welding process
  • Power output: 140 amp
  • 30% duty cycle at 90 amps
  • MIG Gun: 8 ft
  • Weight: 19 lbs
  • 1-year warranty
  • Able to handle 2 and 10 pounds of wire spools

Forney products are something we can always trust and look forward to as they provide one of the best flux core welders. The Forney Easy Weld 261 is very compact and perfect for beginners or hobbyists. Despite being very light, it can function in various projects like repair, ranch, farm, metal fabrication, and more. Forney has an average of 14 amps and a fair duty cycle of 30% at 90 amps.

The product has a 0.30 flux-core wire, which helps make accurate welds and works perfectly for ¼ inch thickness. In addition, the machine comes with an inherent torch and handles for convenient purposes.

Pros
  • Small, space-saving, and compact
  • Powerful for the size
  • Smooth control
  • Can run on average home power
  • Durable metal housing
  • Unlimited voltage management
Cons
  • Compatible with only Forney parts
  • Very few accessories
  • Requires cleaning as it is not dirt-free

We hope this list has solved some of your confusion, and honestly, it doesn’t matter if your project is big or small. As long as you have the best flux core welder, the outcome will be great. With that said, you might want to pick your favorite and make the purchase right away.

What Is Spray Welding? 4 Unique Types To Be Aware Of

by Miles Bruner 0 Comments

Spray arc welding is best used in non-positioned butt and fillet style welds due to efficiency. There are multiple types of spray welding technique  – all which share a similar process of converting a electode rod, metal powder, or metal wire into a molten material that is then sprayed on the weld metal (substrate) via gas.

As we mentioned earlier, it’s best to avoid this type of welding technique on positioned welds due to the way it works (essentially creating metal droplets). Several of the common processes that are talked about when you hear the term “spray welding” are as follows:

  • Flame & Arc welding (otherwise know as TSZ, TSA, TWAS) – commonly uses acetylene or electric arc to produce the required heat
  • Plasma trasferred arc welding (otherwise known as PTA) – commonly uses ionized gas and powered metal
  • High Velocity Oxyfuel welding  otherwise known as HVOF) – commonly uses pressurized gas alongside power
  • Detenation Gun Spray Weld- commonly uses a mix of oxygen, gas, and powder that is then ignited in a specialized gun barrel for spraying
  • Cold Spray Weld – only used with plastic, this technique utilizes a preheated gas
Pros
  • High efficiency (high deposit rates of metal)
  • High quality metal fusion and weld penetration
  • Clean weld bead
  • Can support larger electrodes (less replacement)
  • Minimal spatter given the right conditions
Cons
  • Best used on at least 1/8 inch materials
  • Limited use, since it’s most effective on horizontal weld positions
  • Large weld pool produced
  • Can quickly burn through layers if material is too thin

The Spray Welding Process

The process is fairly straight forward, but be aware that it requires high voltage and high amp levels.

Step 1) Wire placed near base metal.

Step 2) Current is produced, and melts the wire.

Step 3) Molten metal from the wire then travels via the arc as metal droplets (hence where the name “spray” comes from).

A couple of things to keep in mind for this to work successfully:

  • Current levels must be higher than the transition current
  • This is what differntiates the droplet process from pure melting
  • High voltage levels are required to keep spatter to a minimum, and produce as clean of weld as reasonable possible

Plasma Spraying (PTA)

PTA welding has a single use, to weld ceramics. The process has been through several iterations, resulting in a technique that effective can weld metals and plastics. It utilizes several gasses including helium, nitrogen, and hydrogen argon alongside an electric arc that ionizes the gas.

Step 1) You’ll need a powered alloy along with a constricted arc to begin the weld

Step 2) As you begin, the mixture in step 1 travels towards the plasma torch, along with argon gas

Step 3) The powered then runs to the effuent arc directly from the plasma torch

Step 4) It is then melted and placed onto the base material

PTA generally requires at least two passes to produce an effective weld. You’ll need to be extremely careful and make sure you have appropriate welding safety gear because PTA operates at significantly higher temperatures than many metals.

Pros
  • Easy application
  • Minimal porosity
  • Low substrate heat
  • relatively resistant
Cons
  • high oxidation
  • not recommended for thin layer welds

High Velocity Oxyfuel (HVOF welding)

Combines oxygen, hydrogen, propylene, air, and kerosene for successful welds applied via very high pressure via a combustion chamber. The welding powder is places directly into the flame during application, making for less than 1% porosity during the coating process.

It’s a more environmentally friendly process than other welding techniques.

How it works:

  1. Produces a gas stream via a fuel and oxygen within a high pressure combustion chamber
  2. Torch is then heated
  3. The gas stream produced in step 1 is then used to apply the coating onto the target material resulting in very a very thin weld
Pros
  • Thick coat
  • Very low porosity
  • Strong adhesive
Cons
  • Loud during weld process
  • low deposition rate
  • can be costly

 

How To Stick Weld – 4 Simple Tips

by Miles Bruner

What is Stick Welding?

Stick welding (also known as shielded metal arc welding) is one of the most common types of welding (along with MIG and TIG) that you’ll hear about. Using the wrong welding process could result in wasted time and costly problems, so it’s important to understand when to use each type, as well as how to stick weld if that’s the option you pick. 

It’s generally the most cost efficient approach, and simplest making it a popular choice for beginners like many weekend warrior welders. Stick welding is extremely popular due to it’s flexibility – it can be used with iron,  aluminum, steel, nickel, and copper alloys.

It can be done outdoors (even in windy conditions) and can create an effective bonding result even on unclean and/or rusty surfaces. You can see why it’s seen as a beginner friendly option.   

 

Pros
  • Can be used on unclean or rusty surfaces

  • Can be used with a variety of metals

  • Beginner friendly

Cons
  • The least aesthetic of the 3 main weld types

  • Can be inefficient use of time due to regular electrode changes

How To Stick Weld

In order to understand the process of stick welding, you first need to understand the components involved. Components:

  • Slag  – think of this as the piece of metal that will be welded or attached to the base metal
  • Consumable Electrode – think of this as the rod that is melted to produce your weld pool before it is melted
  • Flux Coating
  • Arc
  • Gas Shield
  • Molten Weld Pool

The above components come together to produce a stick weld through the following process: 

 Step 1) A consumable flux-coated rod (more technically known as an electrode) is melted to lay the weld

 Step 2) As the stick welder is used, and the electrode melts, the metal workpieces melts along with it creating a weld pool 

 Step 3) The weld pool eventually cools down and hardens ending with a study joint fused between the two metals

Stick Welding For Beginners

How To Choose Your Electrode

There are many different types of stick welding electrodes (see the amperage chart  below for several examples). While there are many options, the most frequently used electrodes tend to be 6010, 6011, 6012, 6013, 7014, 7024 and 7018. 

If you’re a beginner (as many stick welders are), you may be wondering the significance of the electrode numbering. Think of it as 3 distinct groupings:

  • group 1 (first 2 numbers) – minimum tensile strength, it’s important that this matches the base metal strength for your weld.
  • group 2 (3rd number) – positions the electrode can be used for your weld. The #1 indicates it can be used in any position, the #2 indicates that it can only be used in a flat position.
  • group 3 (4th number) – indicates the current that can be used with electrode and coating on the electrode

Please see the group 3 reference chart below:

DigitCoating TypeWeld Current
0Cellulose Sodium dcep
1Cellulose Potassium ac, dcep, dcen
2Titania sodium ac, dcen
3Titania potassium ac, dcep, dcen
4Iron Powder Titania ac, dcep, dcen
5Low hydrogen sodium dcep
6Low hydrogen potassium ac, dcep
7Iron powder iron oxide ac, dcep
8Iron powder low hydrogen ac, dcep, dcen

Stick Welding Amperage Chart

6010/6011 Amperage Chart

 

6013 Amperage Chart

7014 Amperage Chart

7018 Amperage Chart

 

What is Stick Welding?

Stick welding (also known as shielded metal arc welding) is one of the most common types of welding (along with MIG and TIG) that you’ll hear about. Using the wrong welding process could result in wasted time and costly problems, so it’s important to understand when to use each type, as well as how to stick weld if that’s the option you pick. 

It’s generally the most cost efficient approach, and simplest making it a popular choice for beginners like many weekend warrior welders. Stick welding is extremely popular due to it’s flexibility – it can be used with iron,  aluminum, steel, nickel, and copper alloys.

It can be done outdoors (even in windy conditions) and can create an effective bonding result even on unclean and/or rusty surfaces. You can see why it’s seen as a beginner friendly option.   

 

Pros
  • Can be used on unclean or rusty surfaces

  • Can be used with a variety of metals

  • Beginner friendly

Cons
  • The least aesthetic of the 3 main weld types

  • Can be inefficient use of time due to regular electrode changes

How To Stick Weld

In order to understand the process of stick welding, you first need to understand the components involved. Components:

  • Slag  – think of this as the piece of metal that will be welded or attached to the base metal
  • Consumable Electrode – think of this as the rod that is melted to produce your weld pool before it is melted
  • Flux Coating
  • Arc
  • Gas Shield
  • Molten Weld Pool

The above components come together to produce a stick weld through the following process: 

 Step 1) A consumable flux-coated rod (more technically known as an electrode) is melted to lay the weld

 Step 2) As the stick welder is used, and the electrode melts, the metal workpieces melts along with it creating a weld pool 

 Step 3) The weld pool eventually cools down and hardens ending with a study joint fused between the two metals

Stick Welding For Beginners

How To Choose Your Electrode

There are many different types of stick welding electrodes (see the amperage chart  below for several examples). While there are many options, the most frequently used electrodes tend to be 6010, 6011, 6012, 6013, 7014, 7024 and 7018. 

If you’re a beginner (as many stick welders are), you may be wondering the significance of the electrode numbering. Think of it as 3 distinct groupings:

  • group 1 (first 2 numbers) – minimum tensile strength, it’s important that this matches the base metal strength for your weld.
  • group 2 (3rd number) – positions the electrode can be used for your weld. The #1 indicates it can be used in any position, the #2 indicates that it can only be used in a flat position.
  • group 3 (4th number) – indicates the current that can be used with electrode and coating on the electrode

Please see the group 3 reference chart below:

DigitCoating TypeWeld Current
0Cellulose Sodium dcep
1Cellulose Potassium ac, dcep, dcen
2Titania sodium ac, dcen
3Titania potassium ac, dcep, dcen
4Iron Powder Titania ac, dcep, dcen
5Low hydrogen sodium dcep
6Low hydrogen potassium ac, dcep
7Iron powder iron oxide ac, dcep
8Iron powder low hydrogen ac, dcep, dcen

Stick Welding Amperage Chart

6010/6011 Amperage Chart

 

6013 Amperage Chart

7014 Amperage Chart

7018 Amperage Chart

 

What is Stick Welding?

Stick welding (also known as shielded metal arc welding) is one of the most common types of welding (along with MIG and TIG) that you’ll hear about. Using the wrong welding process could result in wasted time and costly problems, so it’s important to understand when to use each type, as well as how to stick weld if that’s the option you pick. 

It’s generally the most cost efficient approach, and simplest making it a popular choice for beginners like many weekend warrior welders. Stick welding is extremely popular due to it’s flexibility – it can be used with iron,  aluminum, steel, nickel, and copper alloys.

It can be done outdoors (even in windy conditions) and can create an effective bonding result even on unclean and/or rusty surfaces. You can see why it’s seen as a beginner friendly option.   

 

Pros
  • Can be used on unclean or rusty surfaces

  • Can be used with a variety of metals

  • Beginner friendly

Cons
  • The least aesthetic of the 3 main weld types

  • Can be inefficient use of time due to regular electrode changes

How To Stick Weld

In order to understand the process of stick welding, you first need to understand the components involved. Components:

  • Slag  – think of this as the piece of metal that will be welded or attached to the base metal
  • Consumable Electrode – think of this as the rod that is melted to produce your weld pool before it is melted
  • Flux Coating
  • Arc
  • Gas Shield
  • Molten Weld Pool

The above components come together to produce a stick weld through the following process: 

 Step 1) A consumable flux-coated rod (more technically known as an electrode) is melted to lay the weld

 Step 2) As the stick welder is used, and the electrode melts, the metal workpieces melts along with it creating a weld pool 

 Step 3) The weld pool eventually cools down and hardens ending with a study joint fused between the two metals

Stick Welding For Beginners

How To Choose Your Electrode

There are many different types of stick welding electrodes (see the amperage chart  below for several examples). While there are many options, the most frequently used electrodes tend to be 6010, 6011, 6012, 6013, 7014, 7024 and 7018. 

If you’re a beginner (as many stick welders are), you may be wondering the significance of the electrode numbering. Think of it as 3 distinct groupings:

  • group 1 (first 2 numbers) – minimum tensile strength, it’s important that this matches the base metal strength for your weld.
  • group 2 (3rd number) – positions the electrode can be used for your weld. The #1 indicates it can be used in any position, the #2 indicates that it can only be used in a flat position.
  • group 3 (4th number) – indicates the current that can be used with electrode and coating on the electrode

Please see the group 3 reference chart below:

DigitCoating TypeWeld Current
0Cellulose Sodium dcep
1Cellulose Potassium ac, dcep, dcen
2Titania sodium ac, dcen
3Titania potassium ac, dcep, dcen
4Iron Powder Titania ac, dcep, dcen
5Low hydrogen sodium dcep
6Low hydrogen potassium ac, dcep
7Iron powder iron oxide ac, dcep
8Iron powder low hydrogen ac, dcep, dcen

Stick Welding Amperage Chart

6010/6011 Amperage Chart

 

6013 Amperage Chart

7014 Amperage Chart

7018 Amperage Chart

 

TIG Welding – 3 Simple FAQs For A Better Experience

by Miles Bruner 0 Comments

TIG welding is a process that is most often used when precise, clean welds are required. It is also called Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (or heliarc welding) and is a higher-quality form of welding when compared to other methods. While it may not seem important what type of welding is used as long as the end result is the same, certain materials and structures need a TIG weld in order to maintain their integrity.

We will cover the basics of TIG welding, what it is, how it is performed and the benefits of this method in our article below.


What Are The Best TIG Welders For Me?

PrimeWeld TIG 225X – The Newcomer

best tig welder

The PrimeWeld TIG 225X is a popular model that is high powered, under $1,000, and produces high quality welds. The TIG 225X produces 225 amps at max output, and supports dual voltage. When in the 220 volt setting, it can produce welds up to 1/4” with aluminum and 3/8” inch steel. The duty cycle at 40% at 225 amps — did we mention it also has stick welding mode? When in stick weld mode, it’s capable of handling 1/2 inch steel with 7108 and 6013 electrodes.

This model offers a quite a bit of adjustments, with the power outputs shown via a digital display unit. User feedback noted that knobs were actually easier to use than a digital display while on the job and wearing welding gloves.

You won’t find the history of a brand like Miller or Lincoln while researching PrimeWeld; they’re a newer entrant to the game, but the feedback has been high praises from those who are verified purchasers. This welder comes with a 3 year warranty (similar to many Lincoln models). Read our Primeweld tig 225 x review.

Pros
  • TIG & Stick weld modes
  • 110v and 220v modes
  • 40% duty cycle
  • 3 year warranty
  • Comes with a welding pedal
  • Includes CK17 torch
Cons
  • 41 lbs, on the lighter side
  • TIG pedal is not the best quality

  • Fans are a little loud


What Is TIG welding?

When an arc is formed with a workpiece metal and a non-consumable tungsten electrode, it is called TIG welding. The shielding gas that is pushed through the welding torch protects the electrode from contamination by surrounding it and keeping it pure. Unlike other types of welding, there is no spatter because there is no flux and the exact amount of filler metal needed us fed into the weld pool.

Can you TIG weld aluminum?

The two most common methods of aluminum welding are TIG and MIG. The majority of welders prefer to use the TIG method when working with aluminum because the results are often better than other methods. TIG welding is an efficient way to weld light gauge materials when correctly performed.

It is worth noting that TIG welding on aluminum is much more complex than welding with the TIG method on steel. It is critical that all of your parts are kept clean before moving to the next section to ensure your TIG weld is as strong as possible when working with aluminum. It’s wise to have a welding screen for protection while doing this work.

That being said, TIG welding aluminum is still the most popular option. Tungsten inert gas welding allows welders to bypass mechanical wire feeding which has been known to commonly cause feedability issues. The soft metal that has an oxidized layer is a bit tricky to work with, but for experienced welders, the TIG weld can be a thing of beauty on aluminum.

What gas is used for TIG welding?

A limited number of gasses are suitable for TIG welding due to the need for a clean shield during the welding process. As such, the moth common gas used is argon. Depending on the amount of fluidity or penetration you need in your weld pool, you can also add helium to the argon. He & Ar mixes are suitable for all grades of metal.

Argon, in general, is highly versatile and can be effectively used on aluminum, stainless steel, and mild steel. Many people assume that you can use the same gas for MIG and TIF welding, but TIG is only effective with inert gas. This allows for a clean finish that is devoid of oxidization. If inert gas is used for simply MIG welding, it will ruin the look of the completed weld.

Some welders will mix in hydrogen or nitrogen for their special properties which have a dramatic effect on the end weld. It will create a stronger weld on some materials, but they are not suitable for all TIG welds. For example, hydrogen should never be used to TIG weld ferritic, duplex, or martensitic grades of metal.

Mig vs Tig welding

There are a lot of differences and similarities between TIG and MIG welding. To start, the arc for MIG welding is generated through an electric current passed through a wire in the machine. A TIG arc is formed by a fixed tungsten rod that has a stationary position in the torch. TIG welding has a very narrow arc the is highly accurate.

This allows it to create ultrafine welds by directing heat into a small area. MIG welds n the other hand have an arc that creates heat over a wider area. The penetration is less than a TIG weld, but the heat zone is much wider. This heat zone is important because, with a narrow TIG arc, you can penetrate deeper making a more effective weld.

The filler wire feed also differs between the two. TIG welding operates through hand feeding which is often slower and much more complex. This makes sense considering the smaller work surface and finer weld that is created with the TIG weld. MIG filler wire feeding is operated through a wire spool housed inside of the machine.

There are rollers that keep the wire smooth and help to feed the wire into the nozzle of the welding gun. It is relatively easy and straightforward. MIG welding is also much quicker than the TIG method. MIG welding is considered a point and shoot because the whole process is completed inside of the machine. You simply need to point the weld gun, start the arc, and move it along your chosen weld path. With a TIG weld, you have to move much slower and you need a steady hand to ensure your wire feed is properly maintained.

The main difference aside from how they are performed is the overall weld quality. MIG welds that are properly formed are very strong, but in most cases, they are not perfect. It is common for small holes to develop in the welds over time which can affect pressure and seals on the work surface. TIG welds are the highest quality welds and also make the most secure seal. When it comes to precision work or sealing an important surface, TIG welds are the best option.

TIG welds are also harder to damage or destroy. MIG welds are strong but not very difficult to break apart. Completed TIG welds also have a more aesthetically pleasing look when compared to MIG welds. TIG welds tend to generate uniform beads that are tight and look more professional. Most uncoated stainless steel products will always use a TIG weld thanks to their tidier appearance.

Tig Welding Torch Setup

Now that we have covered the basics of TIG welding, let’s get into the proper TIG Torch Setup. There are four main components for the body in addition to a tungsten electrode. The body of a TIG torch will have a cup, collet body, back cap, and collet. When assembled they will hold the tungsten electrode in its proper place while also evenly distributing the shield gas or gas mixture during the weld. It is very important that the tungsten electrode size and the size of the collet body and collet match.

The collet is what actually holds the tungsten electrode and also connects the electrode to the torch. The collet body attached via a screw feature directly into the TIG gun. This holds the tungsten electrode in its proper place and also is how the shielding gas is dispersed. The gas cup is attached to the front when the collet is slid back into a starting position. Ensuring the collet and the tungsten electrode are the same size will ensure that current transfers from the electrode to the torch are smooth and uninterrupted.

The cup on the TIG setup controls the shielding gas distribution. This control is important because it controls how much gas is let out into the weld pool. Cup sizes will vary and the determining factor is dictated by the target weld joint size. Cup sizes also have a dramatic effect on the angle by which the TIG torch is held. The tungsten electrode is used to create the welding arc by channeling amperage. The band colors will vary depending on the weld, though the most common color is red. This is usually used for steel TIG welding, and for aluminum, it is green. Another common color is purple, which is suitable for both aluminum and steel.

The point on a tungsten TIG should always be ground to ensure your arc is as tight as possible. Touching the tip to the metal will destroy it and cause you to stop for a regrind. Make sure to always allow the electrode to get close, but never touch the work surface. It is also important to properly measure the stick-out length before you get started.

The next part of the setup is your filler rods. These will be fed into your setup manually during your work session. The type of rod you use will need to match the metal surface that you are working on. The TIG torch, welding clamp, and TIG pedal will all be connected to your TIG welder which is the source of power for the unit. The foot pedal is what regulates the heat with more pressure equaling a higher heat. The shielding gas will flow through the torch, and in most cases, this will be 100% argon unless you are aiming for a special effect.

TIG welds and MIG welds are both effective ways to secure a work surface, but overall, TIG welds are preferred. With the right application and a steady hand, a TIG weld can last for well over a decade or more in the right environment.

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Welding Safety Gear – 5 Risky Welding Hazards To Protect Yourself From

by Miles Bruner 0 Comments

Welding is a hazardous activity, and welders require personal protective equipment (PPE). Some of the dangers involved in welding include exposure to UV radiation, met fumes, burns, cuts, shocks, and broken toes.

According to the American Welding Society (AWS) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), using welding safety equipment and wearing head-to-toe protection is the best way for welders to stay safe on the job. When welders have proper welding protective equipment, it decreases their chances of suffering from work-related injuries.

Welding Hazards – Why Welding PPE Is Important

There are various chemical and physical hazards involved during welding and thus the need for persona protective equipment. Every welder has a personal responsibility to ensure they are well trained and equipped to deal with hazards that pose a potential health risk. Here are some major hazards welder may encounter.

Flying Particles and Fumes

During welding operations, fumes and particles are created, and they are potentially dangerous when inhaled. Prolonged exposure to these fumes, especially during the machining process, can cause severe respiratory problems in welders. Some common occupational health-related issues include impaired lung function, asthma, skin burns, and chronic bronchitis.

Using protective equipment like gloves and masks and safety garments like coveralls can help prevent skin contact with fumes and flying particles. Welding screens are also important for protecting your environment and exposure to UV.

Chemical Exposure

Metalworking fluids involved in welding contain harmful contamination and are alarming dangerous. Therefore, welders need to take protective measures to improve their safety in the workplace. Wearing protective gear such as masks, gloves, boots, and welding coveralls will go a long way to enhance their protection against hazards.

Electric Shock

Electric shocks are a common welding hazard and can be life-threatening. Welders need to guard against electric shocks due to the tools used in arc welding. Electric shocks usually occur when welders touch two metals charged with electricity at the same time. Workers can carefully inspect the workplace to detect any potential risks of electric shocks and improve the working environment. Wearing personal protective gear can also improve their safety during welding.

Fire and Explosions

Fire and explosions are usually a result of arc welding, which creates high temperatures. The sparks, heat, and spatter created during the operations are the real cause for alarm. Every welder should ensure that their workplace does not have flammable materials.

Insufficient PPE

Personal protective gear is crucial in protecting welders from injuries, burns, and exposure to arc rays.
Wearing proper welding safety gear and protective equipment will allow you to move freely and offer sufficient protection against welding hazards. For clothing, welders should wear coveralls or flame-resistant cotton garments.

Welders should pay attention to all safety data sheets, procedures, and information given by the manufacturer during welding operations. Since not all welding jobs are the same, you can get tailor-made coveralls, gloves, bib pants, coats, and any other welding PPE from a safety garments manufacturer.

Types of Welding Safety Equipment

Eyes and Face Protection

To protect your head, eyes, and face, you need protective equipment such as a welding helmet, goggles, and hand shield. Welding arcs produce intensely brilliant lights that have UV light which can damage your eyes. You should not look directly into the arc with the naked eye within a distance of 50.0 ft. The danger of the light, the exact spectrum, and brilliance depend on the welding process, the length of the arc, the arc atmosphere, the metals in the arc, and the welding current.

Welders and any operator working closely need to protect themselves against arc radiation. The higher the arc voltage and current, the higher the intensity of the light from the arc. Like all forms of light radiation, arc radiation reduces with the square of the distance.
Smoke acts as a filter for radiation, meaning that welding operations that produce smoke have a less bright arc. Prolonged exposure of the eyes and skin to the welding arc has the same effect as sun radiation since they have the same spectrum.

A welder requires a helmet for protection against harmful particles and light of hot metal from reaching the face and eyes. A welding helmet usually comes with a headband that you can adjust to be used by people with different head sizes. Most helmets have a dull black color that helps to minimize glare and reflection produced by the intense light.

Helmets should fit over your head with a mechanism to swing them upwards when you are not welding. Using a helmet has various advantages, chief among them being it leaves both your hands-free so that you can weld while holding the work.

A hand-held shield offers that same protection as a helmet, although you have to hold it in place by the handle. They are ideal for quick welding jobs or on-lookers observing the welding process. You can insert cover glass and the filter plate the lens holder present in the protective welding helmet. The lens holders can flip or open upwards in certain helmets. Filter plates have a standard size of 50 by 108 mm.

Lenses absorb the ultraviolet and infrared rays produced by the arc to prevent eye damage and flash burns. Filter plates or glasses have various optical densities that help to filter out different light intensities. This usually depends on the type of base metal, welding process, and the welding current.

The lens color can be blue, green, or brown, which acts as extra protection against the intensity of glare or white light. When you use colored lenses, you will be able to see the metal and weld clearly. Sometimes, you may find a filter glass with a magnifier lens behind it to offer clear vision.

The filter glass can also have a cover plate on the outside to protect it from weld spatter. It should also be tempered to prevent it from breaking when hit by a flying weld spatter. All filter glasses should have a marker that indicates the shade number and the impact resistance treatment, which is usually marked by the letter H.

Safety Goggles

Safety goggles are crucial eye protection gear during all-electric welding processes. Wearing safety goggles will protect your eyes from weld spatter that may find its way into the helmet. Welding goggles should be clear as they protect the eyes from slag particles from hot sparks and chipping, especially when using an angle grinder.

During welding operations, avoid wearing contact lenses. When grinding or chipping, it is better to use tinted safety goggles with side shields. If people are working near welding operations, they should also wear safety goggles.

Protective Clothing

Protective clothing worn during welding operations varies depending on the work’s nature, size, and location. Common protective clothing includes coat welding gloves, leg protection, and sleeves. These garments should be worn to fully cover the body to prevent arc rays from penetrating the skin. It’s crucial to keep protective clothing dry, especially the gloves.

Woolen clothing is preferred over cotton wool since they are not easily damaged or burned by weld spatter. They also offer more protection from weather changes. If you have to use cotton clothing, ensure it is chemically treated to reduces its combustibility. Any other clothing worn should be free from grease or oil.

Ensure that you wear welding jackets or flameproof aprons made of leather or fire-resistant material to protect yourself from radiated heat, spatter of molten metal, and sparks. You should also wear shoulder covers or capes during cutting operations or overhead welding. You can also wear leather skull caps to protect your head from burns.

Ensure that you button your collars and sleeves to prevent sparks from rolling up the sleeves, cuffs of overalls and trousers, or pockets of clothing. Aprons and overalls should also not have front pockets. Your overalls and trousers should not be turned up on the outside. High boots and fire-resistant leggings should be used for heavy work.

Gloves

Protective gloves should be made of flameproof material or leather to protect the arms and hand from arc rays, sparks, molten metal spatter, and hot metal. Ensure that your leather gloves are thick enough to prevent them from wearing out quickly. You should not use leather gloves to pick up hot items as they can crack or become stiff. Additionally, protect your glove from grease or oil as this may reduce its flame resistance.

Welding Safety Gear  — Why Quality Protective Equipment Is Important

A good welding safety plan should include protective equipment. Head protectors are crucial for protecting you from heavy or sharp falling objects. They can also protect you from bumping your head, especially when working in confined spaces.

Ear protection and steel-toed boots should be used for cutting and welding overhead or in confined spaces. Welding knee pads are useful when welding down low. Before starting your welding operation, ensure you screen the nearby area to protect passers-by and nearby workers from the welding glare.

Taking these welding precautions and wearing protective gear will protect you and other people from harm. Ensure that you are familiar with the manual of every machine you are operating for proper usage. Clean and store your gear safely to ensure it lasts longer.

Best Mig Welders – 3 mig welding guide tips

by Miles Bruner 0 Comments

Are you interested in welding? Have you wondered what is MIG welding? Considered to be one of the easier types of welding to learn, MIG welding is used for welding various types of metals, including stainless steel, carbon steel, aluminum, copper, nickel, and other alloy metals.

In the past decade, MIG welding has gained another name, Gas Metal Arc Welding or GMAW; however, everyone still refers to it as MIG welding. Below we have created a guide, MIG welding for beginners, that we will explain the basics of MIG welding

MIG Welding Process

MIG welding stands for Metal Inert Gas and uses an arc of electricity to create a short circuit between welding wire and metal. The short circuit produces heat that, when mixed with inert gas, welds the materials together.

Benefits of MIG Welding

Although it can only join metals of thin to medium thickness, it can join a wide range of metals and offers a good bead. It also provides the capability for all-position welding, minimum weld splatter and is easy to learn.

Pros
  • Good for thin to medium thickness welds
  • Useful for a variety of metals
  • Good quality beading
  • Can be used in all position welding
  • minimum weld splatter when using proper technique
Cons
  • Can’t handle thick welding well

How to Set Up for MIG Welding

To set up for MIG welding, you will need a welder, wire, gas supply, welding torch, movements, techniques, and metal thickness. Below we will go into each item needed for MIG welding to explain MIG welding basics. You should also make sure you have the proper safety gear to reduce your risk including welding jackets.

Welder

The welder is what holds the spool of wire for welding. Inside you will find rollers that push the wire towards the welding torch. If your wire should jam up, you will need to open the case and review the feed assembly to fix it. On larger MIG units, the wire feed unit may be separate. Compact MIG welders generally have an internal feed assembly.

MIG Wire

MIG welding wire is a filler metal that is the same type of metal that is being welded. For example, if you are going to weld stainless steel, you will need a wire made of stainless steel.

The most common wire types are carbon steel, stainless steel, and aluminum. In addition, most wires now include elements like manganese or titanium to help with deoxidizing the weld and create a strong arc. Steel electrode wires come coated with some copper to avoid oxidation. As a result, the percentage of these elements may differ from wire to wire.

MIG Wire Sizes

Typical wire sizes range between a thickness of 0.023 to 0.045 for welding light to medium duty applications. For heavy-duty applications, a thicker gauge wire will be needed.

Installing Mig Wire

When installing the wire, you will need to first prep the wire reel tensioner by tightening it, so the wire doesn’t unravel under its own spring tension. Next, the first three inches will need to be straight as possible before feeding the wire through the guide tube towards the roller.

At this point, the small hole of the wire liner at the end of the MIG welding gun needs to be visible. Here the wire needs to be pushed through and should feed easily without force. If force is required, then most likely, the wire has missed the liner. Often it is suggested to remove the contact tip at the end of the torch before feeding the wire through. When installing, it can be helpful to use a welding table for stability of your project.

With the wire pushed into the liner a couple of inches, replace the tensioner and turn on the mig welding settings for the wire feed mechanism to push the wire through the liner. Remember to keep it as straight as possible as you reach the torch end. Finally, set and check the tensioner on the roller and the wire reel.

Welding Gas

For your MIG welding gas, it will either be 100% Argon or a mixture of Argon and CO2. This gas will shield the weld as it forms. Without gas, the welds will look brown, splattered, and not aesthetically pleasing. You will want to open the main valve of the gas cylinder to make sure that there gas inside.

The MIG welding gas pressure gauge should read between 0 and 2500 psi, and the regulator should be set between 15 and 25 psi. These are general settings and will be dependent on the welding torch performance and how you like the weld.

mig welding

Porosity

Porosity in welding is the presence of cavities in the weld. This can be caused by several things such as leaks in the gas line, draughts and excessive turbulence in the MIG welding beads pool, or too high a gas flow rate.

To avoid porosity, check the flow rate and leaks, keep a good contact tip to work distance, avoid drafts, ensure the surface welded is clean, and watch the travel angle. There are several types of porosity in welding, and they are distributed, wormhole, surface-breaking pores, and crater pipes.

Gas Types

There are four main types of gas for MIG welding: Argon, Helium, Carbon Dioxide, and Oxygen. The primary task of shielding gas is to protect the weld pool from the atmosphere, prevent nitrogen and oxidation absorption, and stabilize the arc.

The basic MIG welding gas is Argon. Helium can be added to increase fluidity and penetration to the weld pool. Argon alone and Argon with Helium can be used for welding all grades. Also, O2 or CO2 is added to help stabilize the arc and improve both fluidity and the weld deposit’s quality. To note, for stainless steel, gasses will contain small quantities of Hydrogen.

Gas Safety

When handling and using gas cylinders for welding, the following safety precautions should be taken.

– When storing or moving cylinders, cylinder valves should be closed with caps on and placed in dry space vertically. Avoid dropping cylinders when moving them.

– Remove the regulators if possible. If not, ensure the cart has at least a 10 lb. ABC rated fire extinguisher. Note: Regulators are to be removed after use unless the setup will be used within 24 hours.

– When hoisting and moving cylinders, use a pallet, sling board, or cradle. Never use a magnet or choker sling.

– While welding, protect the cylinders from flame, hot slag, or sparks. Either create space if possible, use shields or cover them with fire retardant blankets.

– When lighting torches, use friction lighters.

– If the cylinder is empty or work has been completed, ensure valves are closed, and the caps are on.

– Regulators, hoses, etc., should be stored in a dry area like cylinders. In addition to dryness, the area should also be well-ventilated.

– Oxygen cylinders should have a firewall or at least a minimum of 20 feet when being stored.

– All hoses and lines at the manifolds and gauges must use flashback safety valves.

Nozzle & Electrode Stickout

With your torch, you have a variety of welding nozzles to choose from. The main purpose of the nozzle is to direct the gas into the weld puddle as efficiently and as effectively as possible. Therefore, welding nozzle choice will be determined mostly by the process, application, and access to the joint.

There are welding nozzles that allow for better gas coverage, whereas other nozzles offer better access. Welding nozzles for a MIG torch will either be made of copper or brass; some are nickel-plated. Torches will only accommodate threaded or slip-on nozzles. The various types of welding nozzles are:

  • Conical
  • Bottleform
  • Cylindrical

The nozzle you use will determine your mig welding tips placement. There are also flush, stick-out, and recessed welding nozzles. Flush nozzles, MIG welding, will be done in short circuit mode. This type of nozzle can be prone to spatter because the tip will sit in line with the nozzle’s bore.

As the name implies, a stick-out nozzle allows the contact tip to “stick out” from the nozzle. Stick-out nozzles are generally used for welding with tight access. However, for spray or pulse mode MIG welding, a recessed nozzle will be used. Recessed contact tips with a longer wire stick-out are used with this nozzle. This nozzle will allow the gas to encase the contact tip at higher amperage and then flow to the weld piece.

Polarity

To correctly MIG weld, your polarity settings need to be adjusted for the wire you use. For example, if you are using flux core wire (gasless) and have the welder set to the wrong polarity, you will notice a lot of spatter.

To understand the difference, let’s review the purpose of the shielding gas. Gas is used to shield the weld pool from contaminants. There is already a shielding agent in the wire with flux core wire, so when the arc occurs, your shielding agent is present.

For gasless or flux core wire, your polarity needs to be set to direct the current electrode negative (DCEN). With DCEN, the electrons flow from negative to positive. Thus, the electrons move from the machine to the torch, then through the workpiece and ground cable, then back to the machine.

As for DCEP, Direct Current Electrode Positive, the electrons travel in reverse.
When setting polarity, the manufacturer’s specifications will determine the polarity. Most electrodes (7018, 8018, etc.) are positive. Likewise, wire-fed welding wires that will require gas shielding (solid wire, flux core with gas, etc.) are positive.

Self-shielded wires (flux core gasless) are electrode negative. However, there are some self-shielded fast-fill wires electrode positive. Ultimately, polarity depends on the manufacturing process and will be noted on the specification sheet.

Voltage

Four main variables affect the penetration profile and the weld bead profile: current, voltage, CTWD, and travel speed. For MIG welding, it commonly uses a constant voltage power source. This allows for a relatively consistent output over a range of welding currents.

Welding voltage controls the arc length between the weld pool and the wire. As voltage is increased, the weld bead flattens and has an increased width to depth ratio. For a CV MIG welder, it will select the wire feed speed (WFS) on the wire feeder unit and select the correct voltage on the power supply. From there, the current is supplied. Wire feed speed and current are interrelated, so changing one affects the other.

Wire Feed Speed

Wire-speed is probably the most important setting on a MIG welder. Unfortunately, when it comes to wire feed setup issues, it is generally caused by speed adjustment problems. Something that helps with adjusting wire speed is to test it out on a scrap piece of steel.

Set the welder to the correct power setting for the metal’s thickness, and then weld. While welding, alter the speed until you get close to what you need. Below we have listed common issues that occur at certain speed settings.

Too slow: The wire makes occasional contact with metal. When contact is made, the wire forms a ball and then melts back to the contact tip (burns back).

Slow: Wire still burns back at contact, but process is quicker.

Good: Wire is moving fast enough to provide constant arc to the metal. The sound of the weld is consistent.

Fast: The weld is consistent but sound and penetration is increased. Crackling or rapid-fire sound occurs.

Too fast: The wire is moving fast and bends on contact with the metal. The torch feels as though it’s being pushed back. At this speed, there will be a lot of spatter.

As noted above, wire-speed controls the welding current. Therefore, increasing the wire speed beyond a nice consistent weld will ultimately increase the current, resulting in blow-through on thinner steel.

Mig Welding Modes

There are four modes to MIG welding: short circuit, globular, spray, and pulsed. Each one is explained below.

Short Circuit – Also known as dip mode, is continuously fed solid or metal core wire during repeated short circuits. It has an all-position capability and is a low heat input method.

Globular – This mode is also continuously fed solid or metal core wire. It deposits short circuits and gravity-assisted large drops. This mode does not require the wire to be in contact with the metal and is capable of high-speed welds.

Spray – With continuously fed metalcore or solid wire, this mode is high energy. It deposits small droplets that make a visually pleasing bead with a high disposition rate.

Pulsed – This mode is a highly controlled variant of the spray mode. This mode has the greatest number of advantages compared to the other modes as it offers high resistance, no spatter, welding out of position ability, lower levels of heat-induced distortion, and 98% electrode efficiency.

MIG Welding Technique

With your welder setup, you are ready to get started with learning how to weld. There are several variables concerning welding and they are:

  • Torch Movements
  • Types of Beads
  • Welding Positions
  • Welding Joints
  • Thickness of Metal

Torch Movements

When welding, you cannot just push a straight line across a joint. There are two particular movements with welding; forehand, also called pushing, and backhand, which is pulling. Whenever possible, most will use the push movement, but often you may find yourself using both.

Forehand / Pushing – Pushing is the most common welding movement. The torch needs to be held at a 10-degree angle with the electrode facing the direction you will be welding. With position set, pull the trigger and push forward, making sure the electrode is pointing towards the leading edge. This position allows you to see the weld joint.

Backhand / Pulling – As with the pushing position, hold the torch at a 10-degree angle and pull towards your body. This position allows for more penetration; however, it does increase the chance of contamination to the weld.

Types of Beads

Several types of beads can be laid when welding. Below we have listed them in detail to understand how to create them.

Stringer Bead: This is the most common bead type. This requires the push position across the joint in a straight line. These are generally thinner welds.

Cursive “e”: The cursive e bead links the weld bead and is a good choice for thicker metals. This bead gives a clean scaled effect.

Cursive “v”: By going zigzag, this bead overlaps like the cursive e, leaving behind a better weld deposit. This bead is often used for overhead welds to prevent dripping.

Welding Positions

There are several welding positions that suit specific applications. There are a total of four positions that help to create the MIG welding patterns mentioned above, and they include:

  • Flat
  • Horizontal
  • Vertical
  • Overhead

Flat Position

The flat position is one of the most common, where the metal being welded will lay flat. The bead will be laid above the joint and horizontally.

Horizontal

The horizontal position is used for groove and fillet welds. When in this position, you have to watch for the bead to sag. To combat gravity, hold the torch at 45-degrees from the joint and point the electrode 10-degrees. This is where a forehand cursive e bead will be utilized.

Vertical

The vertical position is used in structural welding when the weld’s axis is vertical or more than a 45-degree incline. This position requires more skill than the first two positions. Often this position is called vertical “up” or vertical “down.”

The electrode is typically pointing up when in the vertical down position. For the vertical up position, hold the torch at the same angle but pushing up the joint.

Overhead

This position is one of the hardest to perform. The cursive e or v will be the best bead to lay for this position to keep dripping minimal. The nozzle should be kept close to the piece you are working on.

In this position, it is paramount that your head and body are properly covered. It’s suggested you keep the arc low and move fast.

Types of Welding Joint

When creating a joint to weld, you will find that there are a few to choose from. Below we have listed the four most common joints.

Butt Joint: This joint is created when two pieces of metal are put together edge to edge. This creates a seam for you to lay your bead.

Lap Joint: To create this joint, the two pieces being welded will overlap one another. You can perform a single or double lap joint. A double lap joint is the best when welding something for a structure under load. This joint is also called a fillet joint.

T Joint: A T joint is used when a weld requires a 90-degree angle. The two-piece comes together to form a T with beads laid on both sides of the vertical piece.

Corner Joints: For corner joints, the two pieces will form the letter L. These are tricky joints when the metal thickness is less than 1/8″.

Metal Thickness

Metal thickness comes into play when trying to create a good, strong weld. There are three thickness levels: low, medium, and high. Each requires bevelling with a grinder to obtain a strong weld except for low thickness metals. With 1/8″ or less it’s best to keep the electrode close to the joint. On thinner metal, watch your distance, so it does not burn through.

Medium thickness metals will require bevelling on one of the pieces. This allows the bead to lay directly down between the two pieces. Beveling both sides of the metal will be needed on high thickness metals. This is typical in professional industrial welding and is not generally necessary for hobby welders with a 140A welder.

To assist with wire and metal thickness, you can refer to a MIG welding chart.

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