4 Types of Welding Processes and the Tools of the Trade

4 Types of Welding Processes and the Tools of the Trade

Welding is a fabrication process where two or more pieces of metal are fused together using heat and pressure. This process is considered the most efficient and economical way to join materials permanently. Today, skilled professionals can weld metal manually or with automation tools which speed up the process. Learn more about the different types of welding processes and what tools are commonly used by welders.

1. Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)

With this type of welding, the welder uses a manual process of stick welding. An electric current creates an arc between the stick and the metals that need to be joined. SMAW is most commonly used when constructing steel structures, as well as in industrial fabrication to weld steel and iron. Welders that follow this process must have the skill to weld to a level that passes a destructive type of bend test.

2. Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)

Also known as Metal Inert Gas (MIG), this type of welding process relies on a consumable electrode. GMAW requires a shielding gas and wire electrode which heats the metals that require joining. This process requires a constant direct-current power source and voltage. The GMAW welding process uses several methods of metal transfer, including globular transfer, short-circuiting, spray transfer, and pulsed spray.


3. Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW)

FCAW was created as an alternative to shield welding. Due to its portability and high welding speed, this semi-automatic arc welding is often used in construction projects. Its versatility and many operating angles and voltage levels also allow FCAW to be used in a wide range of welding projects. This type of welding process is best used outdoors or with industrial ventilation hoods because of the significant fumes and smoke created.

4. Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW)

The most common form of this method involves welding together thick sections of stainless steel or non-ferrous metals. GTAW is an arc-welding process that produces a weld using a fixed consumable tungsten electrode. Due to the complexity of gas metal arc welding, it is often more time-consuming than alternative welding processes like Stick, MIG, or Flux Cored Arc Welding.

Common Tools Used in Welding

Welding is a challenging skill to master and requires access to the right tools and equipment. Here’s a look at some of the most common tools used in welding:

  • Welding Helmet – Also known as hoods, welding helmets are designed to protect your face, neck, and eyes from sparks, flash burns, and infrared and ultraviolet rays.
  • Welding Jacket – A welding jacket is constructed from fire-resistant materials to protect welders from metal splatter and high heat.
  • Welding Gloves – Thick welding gloves are essential to protect the welder’s hands from high heat. There are two main types of welding gloves: TIG welding gloves and MIG & Stick welding gloves.
  • Ear Protection – Welders wear ear protection to protect their ears from the prolonged, loud sounds of welding.
  • Safety Glasses – Safety glasses are worn to protect the welder’s eyes from optical radiation and heat generated during welding.
  • MIG Welding Pliers – This type of plier has several uses. They can help remove the nozzle from NIG guns, loosen and tighten the contact tips, and remove weld splatter from inside the nozzle.
  • Welding Magnets – One of the most versatile tools a welder can have in their kit is welding magnets. Welding magnets are used to hold pieces of metal together without the use of clamps.
  • Chipping Hammer – MIG or stick welding can result in the condensation of slag as the metal melts and forms. This slag will often need to be chipped away using a chipping hammer.
  • Welding Framing Jig – A welding framing jig provides the welder with extra support while welding. It also allows for heavy pieces of metal to be used.
  • Metal Brush – Welders often use metal brushes to help remove slag and charring from cooled welds to create a clean appearance.
  • Speed Square – Speed squares are frequently used by welders for 90-degree cuts, measuring, or similar activities.

In order to weld accurately, you need to proper tool and equipment. Competitive Choice serves as a diversified business-to-business distributor. Choose from a wide selection of safety gear, welding tools, and other industry essentials.