Get to Know the MIG, TIG and Stick Welding Processes

welding processes Cadet Steel DenverHave you ever wondered about welding as a job? At Cadet Steel, it’s part of our everyday life, and we know that the various welding processes are pretty fascinating.

If you’ve ever found yourself an industrial area of your city, you may have seen a metal fabrication shop like ours. Perhaps, even watched as a welder in squared off mask with a thick dark window viewer uses an apparatus sending out brilliant bright red and orange sparks of light.

It’s all quite fascinating and mesmerizing to watch. Today, we’re giving you an inside look.

First and foremost, a superior welder must be skilled at their trade and know their welding processes inside and out. They need to be good at reading architectural drawings and designs, mathematics and engineering. This allows welders to manipulate pieces of metal by cutting, shaping, and bending it to take on all sorts of different designs and shapes.

While you can see just how valuable this trade is, and let’s not forget how ancient of a trade it is also.

How Did Welding Come About?

It is believed that in 4000 BC, welding made its debut in Egyptian times. Copper is considered the first metal to be shaped in welding history since it can be hammered and bent.

Metal technology stayed about the same until the Industrial Revolution in the 1700s to the 1800s when forge welding technology was developed. Forge welding uses heated metal to join two pieces together, similar to the familiar blacksmith shop.

Not until the widespread availability of electricity did modern welding come about at the start of the 20th century. The need for military welding in World War I and II accelerated welding technology and methods. Today, over 90 welding processes are in use, with abundant research on new metals used in nuclear, space, and ship-building industries.

3 Primary Welding Processes: MIG, TIG, and Stick Welding

Stick Welding is a manual arc welding process using a consumable electrode covered with a flux to lay the weld, also known as shielded metal arc welding or flux-shielded arc welding. This is the most widely used of the arc welding processes and ideal for outdoor welding. It can produce various joints, butt, lap, t-joint and fillet weld, using conventional materials such as cast iron, stainless steel, and mild steel.

  • Uses an electrode rod that is quickly used up
  • Uses equipment that is simple, inexpensive, and portable
  • Uses an electrode that provides and regulates its own flux
  • Provides all positions for operating
  • Welds different metals by changing the rod for great versatility
  • Can weld over dirt, rust, bad welds, etc.
  • Uses the open electric arc which is a safety concern in this style of welding, so it is crucial always to practice safe techniques, to avoid burns

Metal Inert Gas Welding or MIG, also known as Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) is one of the easiest welding processes to learn. In MIG, a spool of solid steel wire, fed from the machine, through a liner, then out of a thermal or electrically charged contact, tip in the MIG gun.

The trigger is pulled and melts the wire for the weld puddle.

This method results in high productivity, as there is no need to stop and change rods, chip, or brush this weld. It makes great-looking welds, virtually no cleanup, can weld on stainless, mild steel, and aluminum in all positions. You can weld all sorts of metal and alloys, and it’s ideal for mechanized welding.

  • Can only be applied to thin and medium thickness metals
  • Utilizes aluminum, magnesium, carbon steel, stainless steel, copper, nickel, silicon bronze and many other metals
  • Is less portable than the other types of welding processes
  • Produces a less tidy look than the other types of welding
  • Is easy to learn
  • Often referred to as the “hot glue gun” of the welding world

Gas Tungsten Arc Welding also is known as TIG welding, is the most difficult to learn. It is the most versatile in regards to various metals. This process is slow, but when done correctly, it produces the highest quality weld.

TIG welding is most commonly used for critical weld joints, welding metals other than common steel, and where precise, small welds are needed. TIG is designed for trickier welds and can weld copper and titanium, and even two dissimilar metals. TIG welding generates heat through an arc of electricity; it jumps from a (tungsten metal) electrode to the metal surfaces to weld, usually aluminum or steel.

  • Must be operated with a constant current power source
  • Uses argon and helium as the general shielding gas
  • Is great for welding aluminum and chrome-moly steel
  • Does not require a filler metal
  • Provides precise control of welding variables (heat)
  • Yields low distortion
  • Leaves no slag or splatter

Welding Applications & Opportunities

Have you ever wondered about the vast amount of technologies that use these welding processes? If you have ever thought of a welding career, here are just a few of the places you may go:

  • Ship building and repair
  • Military
  • On board cruise ship welders
  • Pipeline installation
  • Motorsports race teams such as NASCAR
  • Underwater welders
  • Bridge building
  • Even NASA hires welders

So, not only are there an enormous amount of jobs that require welders but let’s face it, most of them are prestigious and indispensable positions. The pay rate is good, too.

Most highly skilled welders can make the salary of a doctor or lawyer with a 6-figure number on it, not bad! Welding opportunities can take you to many different industries, and you can maintain your career, which is the advantage. The future in welding is in high demand and continues to grow.

Hopefully, now you know all the various welding processes and how they can help your business, hobby or project develop into the next phase. Cadet Steel houses a huge metal fabrication shop for all welding needs providing precision welding and welders that are fantastic at their craft and love what they do. Get in touch to discuss how we can assist you.

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