Prior to beginning a weld, you shouldn’t use just any random welding machine to do the job. Different types of base metals require different types of welding machines in order to complete a quality weld. Some will complete the weld faster, while others are a bit more long-winded. However, the differences run a bit deeper than that. This guide will take you through four of the most important welding machines you should be aware of. By taking the time to learn more about these machines, you’ll be able to make the proper decision on which one to use the next time you take on a welding project, whether you weld for a living or simply as a hobby.
MIG welding machines use a consumable electrode on a long piece of wire to act as the filler metal for your weld. To keep the weld pool clear of contaminants throughout the project, MIG welding machines emit a shielding gas. One of the benefits of using MIG welding machines is that they will result in a much cleaner welding process than many others, meaning you won’t have to worry about slag during your weld.
A MIG welding machine will also help you complete a quality weld much quicker than some other machines, making it one of the more efficient welding methods around. Plus, MIG welding is very easy for new welders to learn and is compatible with a bevy of metal thicknesses.
Although a MIG welding machine might not be an all-in-one kind of welding machine, as we’ll get to those later, but it certainly is a versatile one. You should also be wary of power requirements because not all outlets will provide you with the right voltage. Household outlets will typically provide you with 120-volt power for your MIG welding machine, but if your machine requires 240-volt power to complete the weld, you’ll need to find a more suitable power source.
When it comes to TIG welding machines, you need to keep that same voltage principle discussed above in mind. Another similarity that TIG and MIG welding machines share is that they both use shielding gases to maintain a quality weld.
However, despite these similarities, TIG welding machines are quite different from MIG welding machines. TIG welders are more difficult to handle because they require you to have the TIG torch in one hand and the tungsten rod in the other. The tungsten rod is the electrode TIG welding machines use instead of the consumable electrode used by MIG welders. It’s important to keep TIG welding machines on the minimum power setting.
Luckily, TIG welders are easily adjustable so, if you’re having trouble maintaining a puddle to complete your weld on the lowest setting, you can adjust the levels carefully in order to find that happy medium between too little and too much. If you use too much power while TIG welding, you run the risk of burning through the weld. When given the right power and care, TIG welding machines will allow you to complete welds in a precise, clean, and aesthetically pleasing manner.
While some consider stick welding to be an old school approach to completing welds, and in some ways it is, these machines still provide you with several attributes that TIG and MIG lack. Two of the biggest benefits of stick welding machines are that they allow you to weld thicker metals, as well as dirtier metals. Plus, using stick welders allow you to weld outdoors, even during high winds or rain, without compromising your safety or the quality of your weld. Stick welding machines also don’t require external shielding gas thanks to the electrode they use. The electrodes have a flux coating on the exterior that melts away due to the heat that the weld produces.
As the flux coating melts, it creates two components; shielding gas and slag. Both of these will help you keep the weld uncontaminated and, when the weld is finished, you can simply remove the leftover slag with a chisel, or another form of chipping tool.
If you’re planning on switching between different welding methods regularly, then multi-process welding machines will be the best fit for your habits. What’s great about multi-process machines is that, as the name suggests, they can easily switch from one welding method to another. These machines will be able to handle TIG welding, MIG welding, and even stick welding. However, not all multi-process welders are equal. Some will be able to switch between two different kinds of welding methods, while others can switch between three or four methods, the fourth option typically utilizing a plasma cutter.
Another great attribute of a multi-process welding machine is that since it allows the means to complete multiple welding techniques with one device, you don’t have to worry about multiple welding machines for different processes taking up a lot of space in your work area. In some cases, multi-process welders will also have dual voltage capabilities. With dual voltage, you won’t run into issues regarding whether or not you can supply your weld with the proper power, whether it needs 120V or 240V. With the help of dual voltage, both professional welders and hobbyists can easily switch between the two power options anywhere in their work area.
As you can see, these different types of welding machines share similarities in some cases but vary greatly in others. For instance, when it comes to volt power and AC/DC capabilities, these will differ from machine to machine, which is why it’s always key to research the specific components of the machine you’re considering.
Whichever machine and method you choose for completing welds in the future, you’ll be able to successfully complete your next big project if you’re providing your machine with the right power, keeping the gear in good shape, using the right handling techniques, and matching the right machine with the right base metal. If you’re not sure where to get quality welding machines, we’re here to help. At Welding for Less, we can supply you with a wide range of high-quality welding machines, such as multi-process welding machines, all from reputable brands at the best price point around.