The first thing which comes to our mind when we hear the word “weld” is to think of a torch with some sort of flame source. However, there are many other types of welders. There are those who use heat sources such as electric arc, laser beam, or even vacuum tube; and then there are those who use a combination of these methods. Some welders have special equipment like gas mixtures, chemical compounds and so forth.
In any case, welding is not just one method of joining materials together. For example, if you want to join two pieces of metal, you might start by heating them up until they melt into each other. Then you would pour molten iron onto the surface of the melted material and let it harden.
You could then use a hammer to pound out the edges of your joint. If you were really skilled, you could even create a seamless joint.
There are many different types of welders, but the most common type used today is called “mig welding.” This term refers to using a high-voltage current (usually between 1 and 10 amps) to heat up metal parts until they become hot enough to fuse together. The heat from the electricity causes atoms in the metal to move at speeds that allow them to bond together.
This welding method was developed in the 1940s and has become one of the most popular welding techniques available today. It creates a strong bond between metal and can be used with many different types of metals. There are many types of specialized equipment which allows welders to perform this task more easily, such as helmets, gloves, power sources, wire feeders, cooling systems and much more.
The first step in mig welding is to prepare the metals you wish to weld together. This includes cleaning off any dirt, debris or unnecessary materials. Then, one or both of the pieces must be “fluxed.” Fluxing is a process that makes the surface of the metal less prone to oxidation once it is heated.
When welding, metals tend to oxidize as they are heated to join together. If not properly prepared, this will cause welds to be weak or brittle and prone to falling apart. Flux breaks down the bonds of oxidization and prevents this from occurring. The most common types of fluxes include sodium-calcium, ammonium, and sodium-borate compounds.
After preparing your metal and fluxing them, you can begin welding. This process starts by plugging a wire feeder (similar to an electric cord) into the welding machine. Then, you must connect your “stinger” which is a long metal nozzle that holds the welding wire.
There are many types of welding wire, including various grades of stainless steel, pure argon, and an aluminum-titanium alloy. Once you have this prepared, you can begin the actual welding process.
This starts by putting on protective equipment such as safety glasses, gloves, apron and more. Then, you must put your welding machine on a sturdy surface and turn it on. The welder is plugged into a standard 110V outlet.
Once the power is on, you may then begin to heat the work area by pushing the stinger into the joint you wish to weld. After a few seconds, you should see a thin blue arc of electricity form between the base of the stinger and the very top of your material. This indicates that the temperature is high enough to start welding.
Once this process has begun, you should never stop it until you are finished welding. Otherwise, the weld will be weak and prone to breakage. Instead, you must slowly move along the seam while applying the necessary pressure to create a strong bond between the two pieces of metal.
Depending on your equipment, this could take anywhere from 15 seconds to several minutes.
Once you have finished welding, you should let the metal cool down to avoid burning yourself. Once it is cool to the touch, you may remove the stinger from the joint and begin to move on to another piece. While many welders prefer to work from the bottom of pieces and move up, this is a personal choice that differs from welder to welder.
After you have finished welding one joint, you must clean off any excess flux and give the metal piece time to cool down. Then, you can begin the process again on another section of the piece.
The entire welding process can be difficult to master. However, it is an incredibly valuable trade that can be used for a lifetime with proper maintenance and upkeep of equipment.
Sources & references used in this article:
- Influence of welding speed on the fatigue of friction stir welds, and comparison with MIG and TIG (M Ericsson, R Sandström – International Journal of Fatigue, 2003 – Elsevier)
- Comparison of plasma, metal inactive gas (MIG) and tungsten inactive gas (TIG) processes for laser hybrid welding (C Bagger, FO Olsen – … Congress on Applications of Lasers & Electro …, 2003 – lia.scitation.org)
- Microstructure and mechanical properties of 5052 aluminum alloy/mild steel butt joint achieved by MIG-TIG double-sided arc welding-brazing (Z Ye, J Huang, W Gao, Y Zhang, Z Cheng, S Chen… – Materials & Design, 2017 – Elsevier)
- An investigation on butt joints of Ti6Al4V and 5A06 using MIG/TIG double-side arc welding-brazing (Y Zhang, J Huang, Z Ye, Z Cheng – Journal of Manufacturing Processes, 2017 – Elsevier)
- Study on MIG-TIG double-sided arc welding-brazing of aluminum and stainless steel (Y Zhang, J Huang, Z Cheng, Z Ye, H Chi, L Peng… – Materials Letters, 2016 – Elsevier)
- Heat input & joint efficiency of three welding processes TIG, MIG and FSW using AA6061 (A Kumar, SS Gautam, A Kumar – International Journal of Mechanical …, 2014 – ijmerr.com)