A Welding Guide for Beginners

Posted by Jo-Anne Busse on

A Welding Guide for Beginners

It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are from, the term “welding” is commonly known. In this blog post we would like to share all the necessary information on anything related to welding with you. 

Welding Types

  1. MMA (Manual Metal Arc) Welding

This type of welding is also known as Stick Welding and is ideal for general repairs and maintenance applications. It is easy to operate and a portable option that makes welding in windy and outdoor conditions possible. 

The MMA process explained

MMA is a Manual Arc Welding process that uses a consumable electrode coated in flux to lay the weld. An electric current, in the form of either alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC) from a welding power supply, is used to form an electric arc between the electrode and the melts to be joined. 

As the weld is laid, the flux coating of the electrode disintegrates, giving off vapours that serve as a shielding gas, as well as providing a layer of slag; both of which protect the weld area from atmospheric contamination. 

Because of versatility of this process and the simplicity of its equipment operation, Manual Arc Welding is one of the world's most popular welding processes. 

2. TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) Welding

TIG Welding provides high quality, precise and accurate welding on thin materials such as mild carbon steel, aluminium and other metals.

It is important to note that for aluminium welding an AC/DC TIG welder is required.

The TIG process explained

This type of welding is an arc welding process that uses a consumable tungsten electrode to produce the weld. The weld area is protected from atmospheric contamination by a shielding inert gas such as argon; and a filler rod is used.
TIG is most commonly used to weld sections of stainless steel and non-ferrous metals such as aluminium, magnesium and copper alloys.
This process grants the operator greater control over the weld than competing processes, such as MMA (Manual Metal Arc) Welding and MIG (Metal Inert Gas) Welding (we will cover this process next), allowing for stronger, higher quality welds. However, TIG is comparatively more complex and difficult to master; and furthermore, it is significantly slower than most other welding techniques.

3. MIG (Metal Inert Gas) Welding

The MIG Welding process is considered as the easiest welding process to learn. It is ideal for workshops or factories in fabrication industries. MIG Welding is up to four times faster than MMA Welding, but is not suitable for windy and outdoor environment conditions.

The MIG process explained

MIG welding, also referred to as a MAG (Metal Active Gas), is an automatic or semi-automatic process in which a wire connected to a source of direct current acts as an electrode to join two pieces of metal, as it is continuously passed through a welding gun.A flow of an inert (argon) gas or active gas (CO₂) (depending on the type of steel), is also passed through the welding gun at the same time as the wire.This gas acts as a shield, keeping airborne contaminants away from the weld zone. The primary advantage of MIG Welding is that it allows metal to be welded much more quickly than traditional “Stick Welding” techniques. 

4. Plasma Cutting

This process can cut any conductive metals with neat and precise cuts. Warping is prevented due to the low heat affected zone. Plasma machines works with compressed air.

The Plasma Cutting process explained

Plasma Cutting is a process that is used to cut most types of steels and alloys using a plasma machine and compressed air. The principle of Plasma Cutting is based on the ionisation of air which is forced through a small orifice (the cutting tip) and air electrode.
An electric charge combined with the ionised air creates the cutting arc (plasma). Plasma is an effective means of cutting thin and thick materials alike. Hand-held torches can usually cut up to 50mm thick steel plate, depending on the size of the machine.

Welding Safety

Welding Safety Equipment

Be sure that you understand the risks and hazards each of the welding processes poses to ensure that you protect yourself and those around you. We found this informative short article on Welding hazards in the workplace. Be sure to check it out.

Welding Tips

It doesn’t matter if you are a welding DIYer or a qualified welder, these five basic welding tips will definitely be beneficial to you.

  1. The first step to a strong weld is to ensure that you know what current (AC/DC) to use for the job.
  2. Clean the material before welding. This will help get a stronger weld and better porosity.
  3. Your eyes are very important! Always make sure that you put your helmet down before welding.
  4. Tack welding puts the edges together and can easily be corrected if parts need to be disassembled and re-secured before welding. This is very necessary.
  5. Keep your head tilted and away from the smoke. Not only is it a safety measure, but you will have a better view while welding.

We hope that you enjoyed this blog post. Please contact us should you have any queries on welding and which machines are the best to use.

Be sure to have a look at our Welding Promotion (valid until 31 May 2020).


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