Updated: April 02, 2022
Welding is an especially important process that requires a great deal of expertise. An exceptional welder is not one who simply melts two pieces of metal together. It requires skill, talent, even artistry to be exceptional at this craft.

It also requires using the right technique for the job. While there are several types of welding process, some are far superior to others. Here are seven of the most popular types of welding in the specific task they are used for.

#1 MIG or Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) Process

In this process, a higher welding electrode is fed through the welding gun. This electrode generates an arc on the base metal. This heats up the metal until it starts melting, which makes it easier to fuse with another piece of material, whether metal or some other similar material.

This is an extremely popular choice for several reasons, starting with the fact that it is an exceptionally durable and solid weld. One can be sure that a weld of this nature will hold, plus, it gives an exceptionally clean look. Little work is needed to be done to clean up afterward, and this is why it has become so popular.

The benefits go beyond this, however. The MIG type of welding can be used on both thick and thin plate metals. You can also use it on several different types of metals, including copper, carbon steel, nickel, stainless steel, aluminum, among others.

If you are a beginning welder, then this is the ideal process to use. Not only does it require a lower degree of precision to create exceptional welds, but there is a lower amount of heat that is generated and a greatly reduced amount of welding fumes. It is easy to clean up as well.

While a great choice, it does come with its disadvantages. The biggest of these is external elements, such as wind, rain, or dust. While the MIG weld could be performed indoors, it is best accomplished outside. This means you must worry about such things as moisture or dirt getting into the weld, which could add a factor that could reduce the efficiency of the weld.

This weld does not work well with thicker metal plates and you are not able to use it in creating vertical welds or when working overhead. Greater precision requires a different type of weld.

Benefits.

  • The easiest type of weld to learn.
  • Allows you to create welds quickly.
  • Easy to clean up.
  • Offers great control when welding thinner metals.

#2 TIG or (Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW) Process

This type of weld uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode that allows the welder to create a weld with no filler metal needed. Only the two metals being welded together are needed to be able to accomplish the weld because of the heat and precision created by the tungsten electrode.

While not necessary, it does allow you to add a filler metal if you so desire. This is accomplished by feeding it by hand.

To accomplish the weld, a gas tank is necessary. This ensures that a constant flow of gas is supplied which protects the weld. Because of this, it is far better if you performed of the weld indoors away from elements like wind.

This is an extremely precise type of weld that creates a very appealing look when finished. No cleanup is required, as there is no spatter that is produced.

Because of the factors involved, it is one of the most difficult types of welds to learn how to perform. It is also inefficient, in that it requires a lot of time to do the job right. Because a small area is being worked on by the arc, it requires great focus and skill.

While these are disadvantages, there are many advantages that go beyond the clean weld that is produced. First off, it creates a very thin yet solid weld when done correctly. Plus, you can use it with materials such as magnesium, nickel, aluminum, and copper. It has become an extremely popular weld for those working with non-ferrous metals and is used in industries such as aircraft and bicycle manufacturing.

Benefits.

  • Produces the highest quality weld.
  • Allows you to work with thinner metals.
  • An extremely strong weld.
  • No cleanup is necessary.
  • Creates a great look.

#3 Shielded-Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) or Stick Welding Process

This process was developed back in the 1930s and, like plasma welding, has been tinkered with over the years. Because most welders begin by learning the SMAW process, it is one of the more popular options used today. It is a very low-cost type of process that does not create the neatest welds, meaning that there is the potential for a significant amount of cleanup.

In this process, a replaceable electrode stick is used as a filler metal. When the arc is created, it connects the end of the stick to the base metal. The electrode that melts the filler metal creates the weld. The stick is coded in flux which helps to create a gas cloud when it is heated up. This helps protect the metal to prevent it from undergoing oxidation.

But some prefer about this type of process is that it does not require a gas. It can be performed outdoors and is often used even during adverse weather conditions. You can create such a weld on painted, rusted, even dirty surfaces without corrupting the weld in any way. This makes it perfect when you have some equipment that needs to be repaired.

One of the major disadvantages of this process is that it is a rather steep learning curve to become an expert. This is not easy to become skilled at, and many welders prefer other processes because of the long hours it takes to become an expert.

Benefits.

  • Can be performed outdoors.
  • Can be performed on paint, rust, or dirty surfaces and still provide an exceptional weld.

#4 Flux-Cored Arc Welding (FCAW) Process

This is a type of welding that is very similar to MIG welding. In fact, because of the similarities an FCAW welder could easily work with MIG welding tasks as well.

As you would find in MIG welding, the wire serves as an electrode and a wand is used to feed the filler metal. After this, there is quite a disparity between the two types of welding. In FCAW welding, the wire has a core made of flux. This creates a gas shield around the weld, eliminating any need for an external gas supply.

This type of welding is suited best for thicker, much heavier types of metals. This is because of the high heat levels that are generated. You will find that this type of welding is often used for repairs of heavy equipment. Not much waste is created and there is no concern about external gas being produced. Also, many welders prefer this option because it is a low cost weld that works very well.

However, one drawback is that a significant amount of slag is left over. This means you will have some cleanup to do once the job is done.

Benefits.

  • Does not require external gas source.
  • Works well with thicker, heavier types of metals.
  • Very little waste is produced.

#5 Plasma Arc Welding (PAW) Process

This type of welding is remarkably similar to TIG. In fact, they are similar with one major difference. That is that a different torch is used.

This type of welding was first developed in 1954 and has undergone numerous changes over the last 55 years. In using a plasma torch, the welder pushes the electrical current through a small nozzle. This then goes through the protective gas. This helps to create a great deal of accuracy, which is ideal when working in small areas.

Because of the precision, it requires a skilled welder to be able to accomplish the task. Many welders preferred this option because it allows them to create a deeper penetration into the metal as they heat to extreme temperatures. Airplane manufacturing is one of the most common uses of plasma welding, but most big industries employ the process. Those who are experienced welders are likely to use this type of welding process.

Benefits.

  • Creates a great deal of precision.
  • Allows for deep penetration of the metal.
  • Ideal for big industries.

#6 Atomic Hydrogen Welding (AHW) Process

The AHW process produces a very high level of heat. Because of this, it is often known as arc-atom welding.

To perform this type of weld, hydrogen gas is used which shields the two electrodes. These electrodes are made of tungsten, allowing them to reach extremely high temperatures, far above what would normally be found in acetylene torches.

The temperatures produced are extraordinary, reaching as high as 3000°C. This causes the hydrogen that is in the atmosphere to break up from their molecules, which helps to increase the level.

This type of welding also allows the welder to opt to use a filler. This is one of the oldest forms of welding and has been replaced most recently by MIG welding.

Benefits.

  • Allows for wielding at an extreme level of heat.
  • Does not require a filler.

#7 Electron Beam Welding (EBW) Process

This is a very sophisticated form of weld, which is performed in a vacuum. The process is carried out by firing a controlled beam of high velocity electrons toward the material that you intend weld. The energy of these electrons is then transformed into heat. This allows the material to melt, coalesce, and fuse together quickly and efficiently.

This type of welding process is becoming extremely popular in many types of industries, especially in the automotive and aircraft engine manufacturing industries. Because of its ability to fuse dissimilar metals with different melting points, it is allowing manufacturers to produce solid welds.

This has become the primary choice by automotive manufacturers primarily because it allows for welding on materials that could not be combined o using other types of welds.

Benefits.

  • Allows for welds of materials that could not otherwise be welded together.
  • Builds a superior weld.
  • Great for precision welding.
Wrap Up

While there are several different types of welding processes, these seven have risen to become some of the most popularly used options. There are great many benefits from each process, and these provided demonstrate that there are great options for both beginners and experienced welders.

Derrick Irvyn

Derrick Irvyn

A passionate researcher and marketing manager. He made hundreds of reviews on various safety products for the last decade. He is fond of blogging and also likes to hear from the curious people about their experiences and opinions. Derick had a lot of expertise and knowledge, but did not have a lot of experience in writing, although this was something he had longed to do. The opportunity to join the team at DefenseHacks was a dream come true of sorts, as he not only could share his insights with us, but with the world as a whole.

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