The Benefits and Disadvantages of Flux Core
Flux core while similar to MIG in appearance, and basic operation, is very different in a couple of major areas. First, Flux Core as the name suggests uses a wire, with a flux based center. Instead of using a shielding gas, as the metal melts, the flux flows out and covers the weld, similar to the way a stick weld would operate. Second Flux core is ideal for almost any outside welding, in breezes or in heavy drafts, because unlike gas, the flux is not easily blown off the weld. Overall, it is a lot more dirty and messy to weld with, as spattering and smoke are constant reminders that you are Welding without a Gas to surpress it. Flux Core can as a result of not having a gas flowing, achieve greater penetration. But due to the high amount of spatter, transfer efficiency is reduced. It is fast, as with MIG, but slower in some respects since more wire is consumed to make the same amount of weld that you would with a MIG. Heavy weldments with thick plate metal, such as tanks, boilers, and even pipes can be made quite easily. Thinner welds, due to the extra heat are more difficult to manage though. As far as expense, flux core wire can be more expensive to run, though the low initial startup cost of welding with a dedicated Flux core machine makes it initially more appealing. The positive aspects of a wire with a cored flux versus solid wire with gas surrounding it appeals to many people especially beginners. The absence of having to purchase or lease extra equipment just to get started reduces initial cost. But over time the price paid for flux core wire, does eventually offset the initial savings of a cheap welder. For most homeowners purchasing a Flux Core wire welder over a MIG welder, the main issue does seem to be start-up cost. For those in the industry purchasing a Flux Core wire welder over a MIG, the issues seem to be simplicity, and capability out on a jobsite.