The welding handbook is a comprehensive guide to all things welding. Each section provides information for everyone from students who need to understand the basics to t experienced welders looking for a quick reference.
So let’s get down to the basics and some questions and answers that provide a good place to start when trying to get into the world of welding.
- 1 What is Welding?
- 2 How Welding Works
- 3 What Do Welders Do?
- 4 What are the Different Welding Processes?
- 5 What is Arc Welding?
- 6 What are Consumable Electrode Arc Welding Methods?
- 7 What is Stick Welding?
- 8 What is TIG or GTAW Welding?
- 9 What is GMAW Welding?
- 10 What is MIG welding?
- 11 What is MAG welding?
- 12 Who Discovered Welding?
- 13 What Industries Use Welding?
- 14 Why is Welding Important?
- 15 Which Type of Welding is Best?
- 16 Are Welding Jobs in Demand?
- 17 What is the difference between Brazers, Solderers, and Welders?
- 18 What is Brazing?
- 19 What is Soldering?
- 20 Are Welding Fumes Hazardous?
- 21 Is Welding Dangerous?
- 22 How Do You Become a Welder?
- 23 What Other Skills Should Welders Have?
- 24 What do Welders Earn?
What is Welding?
Welding is the joining of metal parts. The process used is to apply heat to metal that fuses them into a permanent bond. The result is a strong bond that has the strength to support applications in manufacturing, aerospace, and construction.
How Welding Works
Welding is a process where an electrical arc melts the two metals being joined, sometimes along with the use of a melted a welding rod or filler metal to create a strong joint. There are no chemical reactions involved in the welding process. However, because molten metal reacts with oxygen in the air, creating metal oxide on the welded surface that can weaken the weld, different welding methods are used to overcome this problem.
What Do Welders Do?
Welders are involved in the following types of tasks:
- Actively weld metals together
- Work with power supplies and torches
- Inspection of welded structures, joints, and materials
- Determine metal requirements
- Select welding methods and tools
- Calculate the dimensions of what is welded
There are over 100 different welding processes.
What are the Different Welding Processes?
Common welding processes are Arc or Stick, TIG or GTAW or MIG. Differences involve the type of electrode used (consumable, non-consumable), shielding gas and the type of metal being welded.
What is Arc Welding?
ARC welding uses the gap between an electrode and the metal being worked on to produce heat. The heat either melts the two metals being joined, or the two metals melt along with a filler metal. The filler can come from a separate rod using a non-consumable electrode (doesn’t melt), or the electrode itself is the filler metal (consumable electrode) that melts into the project.
The welding process is shielded by gas (called arc shielding) to prevent oxygen in the air from oxidizing or coating the weld surface. This can weaken the weld. Types of Arc welding can be further subdivided into consumable electrode methods and non-consumable methods.
What are Consumable Electrode Arc Welding Methods?
Types of consumable Arc welding processes are:
- SMAW (shielded metal arc welding or stick)
- MMAW (manual metal arc welding) which is another name for SMAW
- GMAW (gas metal arc welding)- MIG and MAG are subtypes of GMAW
- FCAW (flux cored arc welding)
- SAW (submerged arc welding)
Non-consumable arc welding methods
- GTAW (gas tungsten arc welding)
- Plasma Arc Welding
What is Stick Welding?
Stick, or SMAW (shielded metal arc welding) is a process where electricity is passed between an electrode and the metal being welded. The electrode is a material covered in flux. The material is a metal compatible with the metals being welded and acts as a filler. The flux creates vapor that acts as a shield over the weld, protecting the weld against oxidation. The upside is that the process is easy to use.
The downside of stick welding is the need to replace the electrode consumable and the creation of slag which forms when the flux is heated, which has to be chipped away from the welded materials when the weld is completed. Stick welding is primarily used to weld ferrous metals such as copper, aluminum, nickel and cast iron.
What is TIG or GTAW Welding?
TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) or GTAW (Gas Tungsten Arc Welding) is an arc welding process. It uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to deliver current to the welding arc. TIG is used to join non-ferrous metals (copper alloy, magnesium, aluminum) and thin metals such as stainless steel. The weld puddle and tungsten electrode are both protected and cooled by an inert gas such as argon. TIG uses welding rods as a filler metal.
What is GMAW Welding?
GMAW (gas metal arc welding) uses an electric arc between the metal being worked and a consumable wire electrode. The heat created causes the metals to join. MIG (metal inert gas) and MAG (metal active gas) are types of GMAW processes that are used in the United States.
What is MIG welding?
MIG uses a consumable electrode along with inert gasses such as argon and helium. A solid-steel wire is fed from a machine through the tip of the MIG gun. The tip is electrically charged, melting the wire into a weld puddle. Inert gas such as argon and helium is used to shield the arc and puddle (gas that cannot be combined with other elements).
Carbon Monoxide, which isn’t an inert gas, works well in MIG welding, causing a name change to GMAW. That said, most people refer to the process as MIG even though that is not technically correct.
What is MAG welding?
MAG welding is used for welding steel using mixtures of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and argon gas. It is a GMAW process.
Who Discovered Welding?
Welding was discovered in the Middle Ages when pressure welding was used to make small gold boxes. Iron welded tools were also discovered from 1000 B.C. Modern welding was patented in the late 19th century.
Inventions that contributed to the discovery of welding happened in the 19th century when Edmund Davy discovered acetylene (1836) and Sir Humphry Davy produced an arc using battery power between two carbon electrodes.
IN 1880 Auguste De Meritens from France used heat from an electrical arc to join lead plates on storage batteries. In 885 and 1887 patents were issued to Nikolai N. Benardos, a pupil of Auguste De Meritens, who was granted a French patent for welding. Nikolai N. Bernardos and colleague Stanislaus Olszewski got American (1887) and British (1885) patents for an electrode holder used for carbon arc welding. Metal electrodes were first patented in 1890 by C.L. Coffin who received a U.S. patent for arc welding using this arc welding process.
C.L. Coffin is credited with the first known instance where filler metal was used to join two pieces of metal into a weld.
What Industries Use Welding?
Welding is integral to many industries including auto repair, shipbuilding, pipeline development, aerospace, construction, and manufacturing.
Industries With the Most Brazers, Solderers, and Welders
|Specialty Trade Contractors||6|
|Maintenance & Repair||5|
|Durable Goods Wholesalers||4|
Why is Welding Important?
Just about every industry requires the reliable joining of metals.
Which Type of Welding is Best?
Arc welding is the most popular type of welding. There are multiple types of arc welding:
Each type of welding lends itself to specific applications. Stick welding is used with nickel, copper, and aluminum and is easy to use in applications such as repair and construction. It is easy to use and perfect for the hobbyist or beginner.
Other methods such as GMAW or MIG is used with steel, but because of the utilization of an external gas (vs. flux coated electrode,) it isn’t ideal for outdoors use where the gas can get blown away from the weld.
Thin metals such as stainless steel are welded using TIG. The TIP process is used on just about all weldable metals and produces quality welds. The downside of TIG is that it requires a skilled operator.
Are Welding Jobs in Demand?
In the United States, welding jobs are expected to grow by 4% per year. There is moderate on-the- job training and most companies want a high school diploma or the equivalent. In 2015 the median pay in the U.S. was $38,150 a year or $18.34 an hour. There are approximately 397,900 welders. (U.S. Depart of Labor)
What is a typical Welder Work Schedule?
Welders usually work full time plus overtime. Many companies operate 2 or 3 shifts per day (8 or 12 hours.) Work can occur at night and over weekends.
What are Cutters?
Cutters trim and cut metal with heat to meet project requirements. Processes used by cutters include oxy-gas (burning gas), plasma (steam of ionized gas) and arc. Cutters also dismantle metal such as ships, autos, and airplanes. Welding equipment and cutting equipment are similar.
What is the difference between Brazers, Solderers, and Welders?
A brazer or solderer joins metal using a filler metal. Brazing refers to joining metals using a filler at a higher melting point while soldering uses a filler metal that is heated to a lower temperature. Soldered metals have a melting point below 804 degrees Fahrenheit while Brazers work with metals that have a higher melting point.
When brazing or soldering the melting point of the filler is higher than the metals being joined, so only the filler is melted. In welding, the metals being joined could melt, creating the possibility of weakness or distortion.
What is Brazing?
Brazing is primarily used to join thin metals or cast iron where there is a risk of warping the metal if higher temperatures are used. The process is also employed in the application of metal coatings to protect against corrosion or to reduce wear and tear.
What is Soldering?
Soldering is used to join small metal parts, such as in computer boards and electrical applications.
Are Welding Fumes Hazardous?
Inhaling welding fumes is hazardous which is why welding is only performed in well-ventilated areas.
Is Welding Dangerous?
Working with gas, heat and hot materials can be hazardous if proper safety procedures are not followed. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration has a strict set of guidelines that must be followed. All welders need to wear goggles, protective clothing, a helmet with a protective lens, heat-resistant gloves, and safety shoes.
How Do You Become a Welder?
Welders are required to completed some technical schooling plus on-the- job training. Most jobs require a high school diploma or equivalent. It is common to learn welding skills in the armed forces.
What Other Skills Should Welders Have?
Welders should be able to read a blueprint, know basic math, be familiar with mechanical drawings. If they can, welders should understand related principles of chemistry, metallurgy, and physics.
Are there Welding Certifications?
The AWS (American Welding Society) offers courses and a certificate program in becoming either a Certified Welding Fabricator or Certified Welder. Related occupations have certifications such as becoming a Certified Welding Inspector or Certified Robotic Arc Welder.
Are there Soldering Certifications?
The Institute for Printed Circuits offers training and a certificate program in soldering.
What do Welders Earn?
The average annual salary for welders in 2015 was $38,150, which is higher than the average for all occupations which is $36,200 (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics)
|Industry||Average Salary in 2015
|Specialty Trade Contractors||$40,580|
|Maintenance & Repair||$38,620|
|Maintenance & Repair||$37,070|
|Durable Goods Wholesalers||$36,380|
The map below lists the average hourly wage for welders.
In the United States, welding salaries vary by State:
The top hourly wage for welders in the United States are experience welders in Alaska that earn $43.83 an hour.