How To Weld Properly? Welding Secrets Revealed
This post is an introduction to welding.
Along with information on How to weld properly, using arc, MIG, and TIG, we will also cover a host of other important topics such as position welding, set up and prep, electrode selection, needed equipment and more.
As a welder with over ten years experience, I can vouch that the information contained within is straightforward and accurate.
I would say that I have more than ten years experience, but for my first couple of years, I only thought that I knew how to weld. Even if you know most everything about a certain type of set up and weld specs, there is still the actual act of Doing it…..This can only be mastered by hours of hands-on training…..however, armed with the right information out of the gate, you can speed up the learning process very quickly.
To try and keep the content fresh, and up to the minute with everything new in the world of welding, I have started a blog at “How To Weld Like a Pro”
Table Of Contents
Some Essential Things to Know Before You Learn How To Weld Properly
First….Welding is NOT Just For Men!
One crucial component in welding is a steady hand……women are more than capable of being top notch welders, as I have witnessed and also worked alongside a few very talented lady welders. So ladies, if you might be considering a career change, or just looking for a good paying job, this could be for you.
That aside, probably the most important information for a beginning welder is on safety. Welding, by nature, has many hazards and dangers.
- High temperatures that can cause burns
- Arc flash, which can cause blindness and UV burns
- Dangerous fumes from welding such metals as stainless steel and galvanized
- The severe electrical shock from improper grounding
I’m not trying to scare you……welding is as safe as a trip to the supermarket IF you follow some safety rules and use common sense.
In the next sections, we will go over Arc, MIG, and TIG welding………the differences between them, and what equipment is necessary for each.
Arc, or Stick welding as I call it, can be done with either an AC or DC welder.
Most commonly in my previous line of work, was with a DC Miller welder.
In the basic sense, you are attaching a ground clamp from the machine to your workpiece that you are welding. The other lead from the welder is the electrode holder, where you place your chosen welding rod. The actual act of welding occurs when you strike an arc between the electrode and the workpiece that you want to weld.
As you travel along the edges of the pieces that you are trying to join, the welding rod melts into a puddle, along with the base metal, blending them together as one.
This is an oversimplified explanation of arc welding.
There are many factors involved in the actual process….such as.
preparation of the pieces that are to be welded, selection of the proper electrode for the job to be done, correct settings on the welder, proper rod angle and travel speed for the type of weld joint used. Such as a butt joint, a fillet joint, or a host of other variations. You also need to consider whether you are doing a vertical, flat, horizontal or overhead weld.
There is a lot to this, and simply reading about correct procedures is only part of the process. You need to have access to welding equipment to really learn through hands-on experience. Some common equipment is listed in the next section below.
What Are MIG and TIG?
Let’s start with MIG welding first..
MIG welding is similar to arc welding in the sense that you are welding by striking an electrical arc and using the heat generated by this arc to heat and melt the metals together that you are trying to join………Except….instead of a welding rod, or “electrode”, you are using wire fed from a spool with a shielding gas (usually Argon)
to protect the weld from contaminants, rather than the “slag” formed from the melted flux of an electrode.
MIG and TIG welding is what I call a “cleaner” form of welding.
I say this in reference to the use of a shielding gas being used instead of a flux which turns to slag, that has to be completely removed prior to a second pass.
A weld bead from the MIG or TIG process should be cleaned with a wire brush between passes, however, the weld is quite clean due to the fact that the shielding gas leaves virtually no residue on the finished weld.
Let’s Move On to TIG Welding
TIG welding is similar to both arc and MIG in different ways. It is similar to arc welding, as you are striking an electrical arc to create heat and fuse the metal together….the difference being, you are using a nonconsumable tungsten electrode instead of a consumable welding rod. The added metal comes from a filler rod which you feed into the weld puddle with your other hand.
It is similar to MIG welding due to the use of a shielding gas instead of a flux coated rod.
TIG welding has many uses and is readily used where a high degree of precision is required. The TIG weld can be controlled with such accuracy that you can actually weld soda can tabs together.