A Practical Guide to Choosing the Right Welding Machine – Handyman tips


If you’re a newbie in the welding field, the extensive variety of welding machines available can be overwhelming. Take the automotive industry for instance, there are numerous welding machines that weld automobiles. And much like automobile manufacturers have a wide range of SUVs, sedans, sports cars, and pickups, welder manufacturers have a wide selection of welding machines.

welding machine

However, choosing the right welder that suits your needs can be relatively smooth sailing once you learn more information about the different welders prior to purchasing. Our guide here will help you through the selection process.

#1: Know the Types of Welders

In this introduction, we’ll focus more on the most widely used welding machines: Stick, TIG, and MIG.

Stick Welding

Although this welding process is, to some degree, harder to use and master compared to MIG welding, you can still grab a stick welding machine if you want to weld at home. This welding machine use rod electrodes to weld metals such as stainless steel, low alloy, and cast iron.

TIG Welding

TIG welding requires much time to master, which leads to low productivity. On the contrary, it is without a doubt the exceedingly versatile type among the welding processes. Once you get the hang of using TIG welders, this welding process delivers superior-quality welds.

MIG Welding

MIG welding, otherwise called GMAW welding, involves a thin solid wire that serves as the electrode. As the wire is being fed into the welding gun, it gets heated as it goes toward the weld pool. There are actually two primary methods to operate this type of welding: with gas (MIG) and without gas (cored wire). If you want to save money on equipment, you can opt for gasless MIG. However, it also increases the costs of consumables. Also, the wire required for this welding is more costly. In contrast, the wire required for Gas MIG costs less and produces a cleaner output; however, it’s more complicated to use.

welding machines

#2: Know Which Type of Metal You Will Weld

Stainless Steel

This type of metal is more meticulous with regard to managing the heat. Stainless steel has anti-corrosion properties which make this metal ideal to be used in food and beverage container manufacturing as well as countless other products. TIG and MIG welding machines are usually used in welding stainless steel. Since this metal has lower-thermal conductivity, a welder uses less electric current when welding this metal. Additionally, a welder with great skill is required in welding stainless steel because of the level of difficulty with the majority of these welds. You can also use a stick welder on stainless steel. However, for this metal to withstand the extreme heat of this welder, the base metal should be thick enough. With a stick welder, spatter is more likely to occur in comparison with TIG or MIG.

Carbon

Unlike stainless steel, carbon requires more electrical current. Most carbon steel welds contain sheet metal or steel pipe. Carbon steel is ordinary steel that can withstand high temperature as they tend to be more forgiving compared to other types of metals.

Titanium

Airplanes are made with titanium, and this metal has its own fair share of thermal sensitivity difficulties that every welder must take into consideration. Titanium is too expensive that even the slightest mistake in your weld must be avoided. That being said, only the mighty TIG machine can deliver titanium welds exceptionally well, as it allows a skilled welder more control.

Aluminum

This non-ferrous metal manages heat remarkably well, so welders require more of it to maintain the molten puddle. Simultaneously, if the temperature gets exceedingly hot, the weld tends to distort rather easily. Therefore, to hit the mark, aluminum often needs more intricate equipment. MIG welders can be used on aluminum. However, a welder will need a spool gun to feed the filler wire, as much wire-feed equipment struggles with it. Although you need to keep in mind that not all MIG welders accept spool guns.

#3: Decide on Your Workstation

Your workstation is also a determining factor in what type of equipment you should buy. Things you need to consider are the power supply, environmental conditions, and outdoor scenarios. Power supply choices include 110/120V AC, 220/240V AC, and single-phase/three-phase. Welding in an unsheltered, windy area may cause issues with your welds. Welding off-grid won’t give you access to the power source; hence, you may need a welder generator or a welder that is engine driven.

#4: Decide Whether You Need Compressed Gases

Different welding methods use different types of gases, such as CO2, oxygen, and argon. For instance, MIG requires a type of gas depending on the base metal, environmental conditions, as well as welding position. The types of gases at its disposal include oxygen, nitrogen, helium, CO2, argon, and other mixtures of these.

The Takeaway

When choosing the right welding machine, it is important to find the machine that meets your needs and what provides the best results in certain conditions.



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