Choosing a welding machine for the first time may be challenging because typically, no single welding machine is designed for all applications. For instance, different welding machines are designed for different kinds of metal. One excellent way to finding the perfect welding machine for your use is knowing the various types available. This guide will help you understand the most popular welding machines available and when to best use them.
Stick Welding Machines
Stick welding is also popularly referred to as arc welding. Stick welding machines use electrodes and electrode holders to form an arc. Instead of a shielding glass, these machines rely on a flux coating, usually fitted around the consumable rod to protect the molten pool of weld from impurities. This feature makes stick welding ideal for use in outdoor environments where there are harsh or windy conditions. The stick gases can't be blown away easily by wind.
Effective weld control and excellent penetration are other advantages that come with stick welding machines. However, while you can control the amperage at the machine, they tend to draw a considerable amount of amperage, which means high energy use.
TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) Welding Machines
These machines utilise tungsten electrodes to heat up the metal being welded. To protect the weld from any contaminants in the air, a shielding glass is required. The use of the shielding glass also ensures you have a much cleaner working environment, usually with less fumes as compared to their stick counterparts. Porosity issues are also effectively lessened with the use of this shielding glass. Another top reason to consider these machines is that they allow for welding extremely thin materials such as aluminium foil or razor blades. However, TIG welding machines are relatively slow, which can interfere with your working process, but it can also be advantageous in the sense that you get to have enhanced control, especially with the arc.
MIG (Metal Inert Gas) Welding Machines
With MIG welding, a wire electrode will be fed through a gun or a torch unit. Current from your power source will then flow through the welding wire, which when in contact with the metal being welded, will produce the arc that then welds the material. Similar to TIG welding, you will need a shielding glass when using MIG machines. MIG welding machines also ensure a neat work environment because inert gas is used to shield your weld as well as protect it from any impurities.
If you are doing the welding on your own and are still a beginner, learning how to use these machines is much easier compared to the other two. MIG welding machines are also relatively faster and can be used to weld a variety of metals including aluminium, stainless steel, and nickel alloys. However, these machines produce a relatively softer arc, which means they are not ideal for use on thicker materials.