Welding can be a tedious process, and if you master the skills of welding, you will become better and better at it. In this blog post, I will start by talking about why TIG is the hardest form of welding and then talk about various forms of welding. Also, I will provide tips and tricks to practice your welding skills like an expert. Through this article, you will see which one is the best for you.
Why is TIG the hardest form of welding?
TIG is the hardest form of welding for various reasons such as being a tedious process, and it is harder to master than other forms of welding. Now, I will show you why TIG is the hardest form of welding.
The process of TIG is slow: If speed is a factor you’re considering, then TIG is reasonably slow. It takes some time to get used to it as a beginner. Again, it takes time to complete a weld job and allow the welded pieces to cool down.
The welder must use hand and food at the same time: A foot operated variable amperage control device is used, and it gives you the ability to slowly start the heat and you can slow it down at the end, as well. Because of the multi-tasking aspect, it can seem a little trickier than the other types of welding.
The welder has more control in TIG welding: Unlike traditional welding, the welder has a control over the heating, the gas cooling, current, etc. This makes it seem daunting for a beginner to master.
Despite the con of TIG welding, it is nevertheless, the best welding method based on the visual appearance. It is little wonder industry experts prefer people with TIG welding skills to those without.
Popular Forms of Welding
So, as you many know, there are many forms of welding, over 30 types. There are a few standard types of welding, which are the most important to cover in this post. To start, there are four standard types of welding that include Arc, MIG, Stick, and TIG. Now, I will explain the processes involved in using each of these four types of welding.
Arc welding, or flux-cored welding, is a type of welding that involves many popular forms of welding such as MIG, Stick, and TIG. In fact, basic arc welding uses electrodes and a shield to create the weld. Also, the arc itself is an electric current running between two electrodes through an ionized column of gas. Arc welding is different than MIG welding because it immediately creates a shield around the weld, and MIG welding has to have an external gas source. Also, the name “arc welding” is self-explanatory because an arc is literally created when using this form of welding. With arc welding, you can use heavier materials, and it produces a stronger weld than the MIG welding. In addition, dual-shielded welding can also be used in arc welding meaning that it can create a second shield and make an even stronger weld.
Because arc welding is similar to MIG welding, which I will explain next, it is fairly easy to use this type of welding process.
Basic Tools Used in Arc Welding
- Consumable or non-consumable electrodes
- Alternating or direct current
- Constant current of electricity
- Electrode Holder
- Safety gear
Tips for Arc Welding
Here are a few tips to follow when arc welding:
- If you do manual welding, you have to have a constant stream of electricity.
- Try your best to hold the electrode rod steady by using electricity. It may be difficult to do so.
- Choose your current based on the process and the metal being welded.
- Decide the intensity of heat you might need for your kind of weld.
GMAW (Gas Metal Arc Welding)
GMAW welding is commonly referred to as MIG welding. In this welding process, electrodes are used to fuse the metal together, and welders use the tool called a “spool gun” to feed the electrodes through a wire at a speed that welders select before using it. In addition, a protective “bubble” is formed to shield the weld from the harsh, outside elements. This bubble is formed using an inert gas source. Also, because you are feeding a wire through the metals, that allows you the ability to fuse many different kinds of metals together. Futhermore, “non-ferrous” metals are used, and these metals are more resistant to corrosion and have a higher conductivity. A MIG machine can be manual or some of the machines have auto set features. These auto set features save a lot of time and energy.
In my opinion, this is one of the easier welding processes, and if you are a beginner, this would be a great one to learn because it is fairly easy to control. Another reason why it is easier than other types is that you only have one element to control at a time. Some welders would describe MIG welding as using a “point and shoot” method.
Basic Tools Used in MIG Welding
- Spool Gun
- Electrode Wires
- Wire Feeders
- Welding Power Source
- Shielding Gas Cylinder
- External Gas Supplement
- Safety gear
Tips for MIG Welding
To do MIG efficiently, here are a few tips to follow:
- Make sure to perform MIG welding in dry weather.
- Get the correct shielding glass for the job.
- Set parameters on the machine depending on the size of the job.
- Maintain a clean surface to work on to make the weld most effective.
Stick welding, or SMAW (shielded metal arc welding), is a type of arc welding that uses consumable electrode sticks to create the weld. To explain further, stick welding involves melting the tip of an electrode, or stick, to fuse the metals together. As a result of the electrodes being “consumable,” this process can be tedious because you have to keep changing the sticks you use as you use them. The electrode has many parts: the inner part of the electrode provides the filling materials for the weld and the outer layer help creates an arc and a shielding gas. Stick welding is better for thicker pieces, and it’s faster that way too.
Basic Tools Used in Stick Welding
When working on stick welding, you’ll need the following tools:
- Protective clothing
- Wire Brush
- Chipping Hammers
- A welding unit which supplies power
- A power generator if you’re working in remote areas
Tips for Stick Welding
Here are a few tips when practicing stick welding:
- Choose steel with the basic chemistry.
- Choose the right electrode for the right joint position.
- Remove dirt and impurities from the joint before welding.
- Select the electrode that’s best fit for the task.
- Avoid over welding.
I would say that stick welding is more challenging than MIG welding, but less challenging than TIG welding.
TIG welding, or Tungsten inert gas, is used with a non-consumable electrode called Tungsten. In the professional world, TIG is sometimes referred to as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW). A current is sent to the welding arc through Tungsten and the weld is shielded with an inert gas. The gas protection also helps in cooling the weld. Both TIG welding and Oxy-acetylene welding uses filler materials for strengthening and build-up. In addition, both systems make use of electricity to do work.
TIG welding is normally used for tasks that require great strength and rigidity such as racecar manufacturing. Both automobile enthusiast working on pet projects and professionals make use of TIG for their wielding needs. Learning GTAW is sometimes difficult and the process is quite complex. However, experienced welders in Oxy-acetylene welding could find it easier to learn than beginners. Another downside is the speed of welding pieces together using TIG. It is noticeably slower than a lot of other welding methods.
Basic Tools in TIG Welding
- Auto-darkening Welding Hood or Dark-fixed Shade Helmet
- TIG Welding Machine
- Oxy-acetylene Torch
- Protective Welding Gear
Tips for TIG Welding
- Choose the type of filler rod carefully. For example, if you are welding aluminum, it is the 4043 alloy.
- Make sure that the tungsten has the correct point for the metal you are welding.
- Make sure that the tungsten doesn’t touch the piece you are working on, or it can become contaminated.
- Move the torch in a controlled manner, and be patient.
Safety Precautions in TIG Welding
- Always put on the right clothing while welding: If you’re working on projects requiring TIG welding, whether it is a pet project at home, or at work, do not put on casual clothes while working.Casual clothing may not be able to resist the sparks and hot pieces that may accidentally spin off while working.
- Work with a face-covering helmet having a glass shield: The sparks and lightening coming from TIG welding could affect the eye after long exposure. Furthermore, skin irritation could occur if the sparks and hot pieces spin off to your face. Thus it makes sense to wear all face covering protective helmet instead of just wearing shaded eyeglasses.
- Check your system before welding: Before working during the day, ensure that everything is in place. Check the wires and the current supply to your electrical systems. Any leak should be patched before working.
- Concentrate and avoid side discussions: Avoid talking while working. Also, ensure that there is no distraction around you (no toddlers, playing songs, etc). If you’re working under an instructor, listen attentively and talk less.
- Work with gloves always: Touching objects with bare hands could be dangerous. It may cause electrical shocks, burns and electromagnetic radiation. Thus it makes sense to work with thick gloves that could help in preventing irritations when dangerous items are touched.
How To Practice Skills For Welding
So, the real question is: How can I refine and master my skills once I’ve learned them? There are some general skills to learn when you practice welding in general.
- Practice a lot.
- Use the correct tools and learn how to use them.
- Learn which metals can be used for each welding process. Example:
- Clean your pieces properly at all times. If there is any dirt in your area, it can affect the weld.
- Be smart with safety precautions. You don’t want to breathe in the welding fumes because it can have lasting negative effects on your body.
- Make sure you tack the welds before you start as this helps them to stay together.
- Try and use an abrasive metal-cutting blade when you cut the metal. This helps cut the metal faster and easier.
- Practice good posture when you weld because this helps you keep the weld steady.
- Lastly, sign up for welding classes to refine your skills. Also, these classes can help build your confidence in welding.
So, now that you know more about the standard types of welding, which one seems the best for you? Obviously, it is hard to gauge the difficulty of these types of welding because everyone succeeds at different levels and stages of work. One process may be easy for you and harder for someone else or vice versa.
First, you need to decide what you are welding and the environment you are welding in. This will determine the type of welding you do, and if you’re not sure what kind of welding to use, do some research. Make sure you know what types of metals work for which types of welding, and you will do well.