what is the difference between Ark, Mig, Tig, and Oxy Acetylene welding. (?Strengh, speed, efficiency?)

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what is the difference between Ark, Mig, Tig, and Oxy Acetylene welding. (?Strengh, speed, efficiency?)

In: Technology

Hello there!

I want to start off by apologising for how long this post is; I didn’t want to oversimplify it too much.

Both MIG (metal inert gas) and TIG (tungsten inert has) are forms of arc welding. TIG may also be referred to as GTAW (gas tungsten arc welding) and MIG as GMAW (has metal arc welding). Typically when I hear arc welding, I think about SMAW (shielded metal arc welding) or stick welding, which is one of the most common welding processes. However, I have also seen FCAW (flux corded arc welding) referred to as arc welding. All of these processes have a few things in common however; they all use heat generated through electrical resistance and all utilise some form of atmospheric shielding.

MIG and FCAW work almost the exact same, as both utilise a wire feed mechanise that feeds the consumable wire electrode into the weld pool. However, MIG uses an external shielding gas, which is typically either carbon dioxide (CO2) or argon (Ar), which is dispersed through a nozzle over the weld pool. FCAW, however, doesn’t use an external shielding gas. Instead, it uses a hollow wire which inside contains what’s called flux, which burns and creates a shielding atmosphere for the weld pool. Both of these processes are fairly quick to use and easy to learn. However, they cannot weld aluminium and cannot weld very thick metal. My FCAW machine can only weld up to 3/16” metal, however, I surmise there are other, more powerful machines that can weld thicker materials.

TIG welding is a little bit different than GMAW, as unlike these two processes, TIG uses a non-consumable electrode that is made out of tungsten and mostly uses Argon as a shielding gas. This makes TIG a very precise process; it can be used to weld needles together. The TIG process is more difficult than GMAW as the welder not only has to direct the arc, but they also have to manually feed in the filler rod by hand into the weld pool. However, as a result of the precision this process has, it will produce the best looking welds out of all of the processes. The most important aspect of TIG is that it can be used to weld aluminium, and to my knowledge is the best method for welding aluminium. This process isn’t very fast to do, and is difficult to learn.

SMAW was the first arc welding process to be used. SMAW or stick works by having a clamp, which holds a long thick wire, which is why it is called stick welding. This electrode is coated in flux, which makes this process gas free. What the welder does with this process is strike the arc like a match, and pull the electrode across the joint or whatever is being welded. While pulling the electrode, the welder also pushes the electrode down, as it’s consumed during the process. This can made the process difficult to learn, however it is one of the most versatile processes. SMAW can be quick and efficient as its basically a strike and go process.

Oxy/Acetylene or Oxy-fuel welding is the only process here that doesn’t use electricity. Instead, acetylene and pure oxygen are combined and burnt to produce heat and a protective flame envelope. With this process, the welder also has to feed the filler rod by hand. However, Oxy-fuel is a much slower process since you have to wait for the metal to heat up and melt. This makes this process the slowest out of all of the aforementioned processes. That being said, this is the most portable process since it doesn’t require an electric current.

I wanted to wait until the end to touch on the actual strength of all of these processes. Assuming you’re making good, correct welds, all of these processes can produce strong welds. This means that the only real limitation will be the thickness of the metal itself. Because of this, i would say that SMAW is probably the strongest process since it can weld the thickest metal out of all of the other processes.