Published On: Tue, Aug 18th, 2015

Choose the Right Welder for the Job

If you enjoy fixing or building things, a welder is an incredibly handy piece of equipment to have in your shop. Mechanics, artists, woodworkers, and general do-it-yourselfers can all find lots of uses for a welder.There are several types of welders and processes. The one that’s right for you depends on the nature of your work.

Stick Welder

Stick or arc weldersuse a current or electrode that runs between the stick and the metal. Stick welders are great for indoor and outdoor use. They’re safe to use in drafty or windyconditions. This type of welderis ideal for general maintenance around a home or ranch. Stick welders are economicaland work on dirty, rusty metals. However, if you often work on metals thinner than 18-guage, a stick welder isn’t the best choice.

TIG Welding

MIG Welding

Also called gas metal arc welding (GMAW), this process automatically feeds a wire electrode at a constant speed. The wire is melted to the base metal to form a strong, clean join. Flux-cored arc welding (FCAW) uses the same basic process except that it uses a wire rather than gas to shield the arc. FCAW is ideal for outdoor work because it’s portable, effective on dirty or rusty metal, and safe in windy conditions. Both types of welding are easy to learnand can be used to join either thick or thin metals at high speeds.

TIG Welding

TIG or gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) creates precise, high-quality welds. Its arc process uses a tungsten electrode, a shielding gas, and a filler metal. This technique is the best choice when joining thin plates of metal. It works on a range of alloys, including steel, copper, brass, titanium, aluminum, and other exotic metals. TIG welders are for specialists who need a precise, strong, good-looking join. The process is slower and more difficult to learn than other techniques.

Once you decide on the type of welder that’s right for you, don’t forget to also purchase safety equipment such as gloves, goggles, and protective clothing. Welding is a useful skill, and you’ll find endless applications for a new welder.