10 Important Tips About Welding

Welding is the result of a combination of heat and pressure to melt materials joining them with a filler material. It can be performed in many ways using different energy sources gas flame, electric arc, laser, friction, ultrasound & electric beam. Arc welding is a basic welding process which requires a power supply, electrodes, welding rods, shielding gas, and proper safety equipment.

Although the welding process is common, it may also be a potentially dangerous one. Protective equipment is the most important requirement for persons engaged in a welding activity, since an open electric arc or flame is often involved and the probability of injury is great. Obviously the greatest threat is the high risk of getting burnt. To avert such risks, protective clothing such as heavy duty leather gloves and thick long sleeved coveralls must be used. In addition to possible burns, severe eye damage can also occur. Welders can prevent this by wearing protective goggles, masks, and helmets which have specially designed dark or self darkening lenses & faceplates. These lenses reduce the possibility of the negative effects of ultra violet rays to the operator's eyes from sparks and/or arcs when using electric welding methods.

Welders stand the chance of getting exposed to toxic gases & fine particles. These are in the form of welding smoke produced during welding which is detrimental to clean breathing conditions. Exposure to gases and fumes which are capable of subjecting the human body to long term ailments must be avoided.

When bottles of flammable compressed gases are used, there is a potential risk of fire or explosion when open electric arcs or flame is in close proximity. For this reason it is best to segregate arc and gas welding processes such as having a different room for each if possible. Doing so is the best way to prevent such risky situations.

Welding is a complex subject and a thorough study of it before one begins the craft cannot be overstressed. The most commonly used, easy to access welding operation today is arc welding. There are many types of arc welding, but two of the most common are MIG welding (also known as Gas Metal Arc Welding or GMAW) & TIG (also known as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding or GTAW) welding.

Arc welding is a process which employs a power supply to create a welding arc between an electrode and a base material to melt the metals at the welding point. Constant voltage and power, supplied by either AC or DC current are normally used in MIG and TIG welding. In these processes an inert or semi inert gas, known as a shielding gas is used to protect the welding region. Without such shielding gas oxidized weld deposits, an unstable arc, and high weld porosity would be unavoidable. Originally, they were primarily used for welding aluminum and other non ferrous materials. Of late, both MIG and TIG welding is frequently used to weld steel as well due to either its rapid work speed or superior weld quality. During MIG welding a continuous, consumable wire electrode and shielding gas are passed through a welding gun. Long duration welds can be made without any break in the middle and post weld cleaning is minimized to a great extent. MIG welding can be readily understood and mastered fairly easily. TIG welding uses a non consumable tungsten electrode which enables a weld that is superior in quality, to be performed with good control of heat, with or without filler rod, and low distortion.

The following are the common problems:

  • Contaminated welds. Failure to clean the parts and weld surfaces properly will result in an improper weld.
  • Shielding gas problems. Inexpensive or the wrong gas will result in poor results. A high quality gas brings good results.
  • Wrong polarity results in a bad looking weld bead.
  • Wrong contact tip sizes.
  • Improper travel speed too fast or to slow.
  • Insufficient shielding. Oxygen reaching the weld during fusion.
  • Insufficient current which results in cold weld and lack of fusion. This is a particular problem when welding heavy material.
  • Under buying selecting too small of a welder for the job.
  • Poor maintenance welder component wear like liners, contact tips & other parts.
  • Improper filler material not matched to the work.