Are you looking to open a new welding workshop or company, or browse options for that new machine you want to buy for your business or perhaps just looking for a garage-welding machine for your house repairs and DIY projects then you are in the right place.
Different types of welding machines are used for different jobs and in some cases they might be used for the same task but the output would be a little different.
Today I am going to take you through 9 different types of welding machines you might have to use when in the welding profession.
Let us dive into the details
What is welding?
Welding is a fabrication process that uses high temperatures to melt and fuse parts together. However, it should be noted that pressure can also be used to aid the process or be used exclusively to produce a weld.
It is usually differentiated from lower temperature metal fusing techniques like soldering and brazing, which usually do not melt the base metal.
Welding usually also involves the use of something called a filler material, or a consumable. This, as the name suggests, is used to provide a “filler” or pool of molten material that helps facilitate the formation of a strong link between the base metals.
Most welding processes will also need shielding to protect both the main components and filler from being oxidized during the process.
What to consider before buying a welding machine
When it comes to selecting welding machine, look at several factors including:
- Materials it can be used on- This is the most important factor since you need a machine that works with materials you commonly use or plan to use with. This includes the type of metal you are using or will use, the rustiness, cleanliness and paint status.
- Usage- Where are you going to use the machine matters a lot as each need comes with a specific machine requirement from simplest jobs to the most advanced.
- Budget- Well this should be first factor to consider in my view but consider wear and tear so that you don’t incur extra costs down the road from selecting a cheaper machine.
- Amps available- A higher amp number represents a higher temperature while a lower amp number represents a lower temperature.
- AC/DC Current- You have to know your current flow available before selecting your machine although Some machines offer both current flows.
- Positioning options- Not all welders offer every welding position. Welding positions include: vertical, horizontal, flat & overhead.
- User Friendly- Different machines offer basic or advanced techniques select one that you can use or learn easily.
- Weld Quality- Different welding processes have varying qualities of welds. This is where you must prioritize the job needs.
- Accessories- If the machine has an external gas shield you will need tanks of that gas. Look into costs of filler for metals or needed safety gear.
List of the types of welding machines
1. SMAW (Shielded Metal Arc Welding) or Stick Machine
This is the most common machine found in welding workshops so its easier to find repairs, replacements and accessories. These machines can be found with both AC and DC current capabilities. The welder uses flux covered electrode rods (The flux provides protection from contaminants).
Welding can take place outdoors or indoors.
You can use a stick welder on painted or rusted surfaces unlike a MIG machine. This can be a benefit to saving time. The quality to SMAW welding is not always the best and can produce more waste since close to 15% of the rod goes unused.
When compared to other machines SMAW welders are considered budget friendly and affordable.
2. FCAW (Flux-Cored Arc Welding) Machine
Unlike in the SMAW, the electrode here is continuously fed so there is no need to stop and restart. There is no need for an external gas shield also.
These machines have less fumes and less electrode waste. They have been known to produce some smoke when in operation.
FCAW works best with thicker metals, in fact it is not recommended on any material thinner than 20G.
3. GMAW (Gas Metal Arc Welding) or MIG Machine
A GMAW/MIG machine is mostly known for its ease of use. Although there are some variables with this type of welder, the techniques are often picked up quickly.
The process uses an external gas shield, usually Argon. Once you gain experience, and knowledge of how different gases react, you can use other gases to work on a variety of metals.
A MIG welder needs a clean surface to weld properly and does not do well on rusty or painted material. This process can weld materials as thin as 26G.
4. GTAW (Gas Tungsten-Arc Welding) or TIG Machine
This type of welding can be complicated and requires some multitasking. GTAW welding requires you to hold the welding torch with one hand while feeding the filler with the other.
While to control amps (temperature) a welder uses a foot petal or remote to either increase or lower what is needed during the current weld.
The biggest advantage of TIG/GTAW welding machines is precision and also works on a wide range of metal thicknesses.
This welder has an external gas shield that protects the molten pool from contaminants.
One of the key identifier with TIG machines is the non-consumable tungsten electrode.
Like the MIG, GTAW also needs a clean surface with no dirt, rust or paint to weld properly.
5. PTAW (Plasma Transferred Arc Welding) Machine
These are larger industrial sized machines. The machines are more expensive than the familiar ones we have discussed.
A PTAW machine is a similar process to the GTAW but there is an anode surrounding the tungsten electrode. This anode constricts the arc aiming it to a laser like precision.
This anode also acts as a shield for the electrode protecting it from the powdery filler that is used for this process. The filler can be changed depending on weld.
These welding machines are mostly used in the aircraft manufacturing industry.
6. SAW (Submerged Arc Welding) Machine
This is usually a mechanized operation where an arc is formed between the work base and a continuously fed electrode. You will not find a gas shield but instead a powdered flux. The arc submerges in the flux where it is no longer visible.
A SAW machine produces a high-quality weld plus the Flux can be reused which reduces waste.
Since this is an automated or semi-automated system, you do not have to have a lot of experience to use this machine.
7. EBW (Energy Beam Welding) Machine
A benefit to EBW is it can weld a range of metals from thick to thin. It can also join metals of different makes.
How it works
Since you must perform this type of welding in a vacuum because the electron beam would be absorbed by air, this type of machine is strictly not for home use.
8. AHW (Atomic Hydrogen Welding) Machine
A welder needs to have experience to operate an atomic hydrogen welding machine.
In this process, an electric arc forms between two tungsten electrodes with hydrogen as a gas shield. A filler must be introduced separately.
9. Oxy Acetylene Gas Welding
The last welding machine or process we are going to look at today is the oxy acetylene gas welding machine. Fuel gas is used in combination with oxygen as a heating medium.
The main element of this weld is the flame produced at the end of the torch. This flame melts the base and possible filler to form a continuous weld.
This method is better for thinner materials and not as good on the thicker ones. A welder can effectively control their temperature and weld bead using this process.
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