What Is Arc Welding, And How Does It Work?

Here you will learn the fundamentals of Arc welding
Arc Welding

Arc welding is a welding process that uses an electric arc to heat and join metals.

Arc welding is an excellent way to weld. But it can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. So be sure to read this article to understand arc welding better.

I am a welder with over five years of arc welding experience.

In this article, I will share with you all you need to know about arc welding:

  • Its components;
  • How it works;
  • Its benefits; and
  • Application 

Let’s begin!

What is arc welding?

Arc welding is a very versatile welding method. You can use it on many different types of metal. 

Arc welding is a technique in which an electrode fuses two metal pieces at a joint by creating an arc with a power supply.

As an arc welder, you can use either alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC). And you may use either consumable or non-consumable electrodes.

Most of the time, you can use a shielding gas, vapor, or slag to protect the area where you are welding. 

You can do arc welding by hand, partially automatically, or fully automatically.

What are the main components of arc welding?

Circuit diagram of arc welding
Circuit diagram of arc welding

The main components of arc welding processes are:

  1. A power supply
  2. Metal workpiece
  3. An electrode and electrode cable
  4. A clamp and a ground cable
  5. An arc welder

These components of an arc welder create an electric circuit. 

The power supply provides electricity that passes through the electrode cable to the electrode. 

You connect the electrode to the workpiece via a clamp. And you can join the ground cable to the workpiece as well. 

This completes the circuit and allows electricity to flow from the power supply through the electrode into the workpiece. 

How does arc welding work?

To create a weld, you must strike an arc between the electrode and the metal. 

The electrode then heats the metal, which melts it and creates a pool of molten metal.

This pool of molten metal is known as a weld pool. 

Once you make the weld pool, you can use a filler material to strengthen the joint. 

You then add the filler material to the weld pool and allow it to cool. 

This creates a strong bond between the two pieces of metal. 

DC and AC in arc welding

As I stated, you can use either alternating or direct current (AC or DC). 

But what’s the difference between the two?

Welding with AC 

Welders use AC more often for welding thin metals because it provides a more stable arc. 

When welding with AC, there is also a transformer that helps regulate the amount of current flowing through the system. 

Too much current can cause damage to the equipment or cause injuries to those using it.

Welding with DC 

Welders typically use DC for welding thicker metals because it provides a hotter arc.  

This means it can penetrate the metal more efficiently, which is essential when welding thick pieces together. 

The downside to using DC is that it can be more challenging to control than AC. This is why many welders prefer to use AC when possible.

Different types of the arc welding process

Here is a list of different arc welding processes:

1. Shielded metal arc welding

Shielded metal arc welding is the most common type of arc welding. 

It uses an electrode that is covered in flux to lay the weld.

2. Gas tungsten arc welding

This process uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to create the weld. 

Gas tungsten arc welding is often used for thin metals and stainless steel.

3. Gas metal arc welding

Gas metal arc welding also uses a non-consumable electrode. But it is made of: 

  • magnesium; 
  • aluminum; or 
  • copper. 

You feed the filler material through the gas nozzle to create the weld pool.

4. Flux-cored arc welding

The flux-cored arc welding process is similar to MIG welding. But it uses a special wire that has flux inside of it. 

This makes flux-cored arc welding ideal for welding in difficult or outdoor conditions.

5. Submerged arc welding

This is a high-production welding process that is often used for large projects. 

The electrode and weld pool are both submerged in a granular flux.

Each of these processes has its advantages and disadvantages.

Therefore, it is crucial to choose the right one for your project. 

You can also consult a professional welder near you to ensure you use the best possible method.

What are the benefits of using arc welding?

Here are some benefits of using arc welding that may appeal to you.

Benefits of Arc Welding

1. High welding speed

When using arc welding, you can weld at a very high speed. 

This is because an electric arc generates the heat necessary for welding.

2. Portability

Arc welding is a very portable method of welding. 

It means that you can take your equipment with you wherever you go.

3. Ease of use

Arc welding is very easy to use. You don’t need to be a trained professional to use this type of welding.

4. Inexpensive

Arc welding is one of the most inexpensive types of welding available.

So you would need to consider arc welding if you are looking for a welding process that is:

  • Fast;
  • Easy; and
  • Cheap.

Applications of Arc Welding

The uses of arc welding are widespread. And the process has continued to evolve over the years.

Arc welding is used in a variety of industries, including:

  • Aerospace
  • Shipbuilding
  • Automotive
  • Construction
  • Mechanical

One of the most common arc welding uses is for repairing metal components. 

You can use the process to weld together two pieces of metal or fill in a hole in a bit of metal.

You can also use arc welding to attach metal components to other materials, such as plastics or wood.

In recent years, arc welding has become increasingly popular for creating artwork and sculptures. 

Many welders use the process to create a wide range of shapes and textures. And the results can be very stunning.

What is next?

I do hope you now have a better understanding of arc welding. And can use the process satisfactorily.

Meanwhile, I recommend you to check out the main types of welding metals and how to decide which one to use.

Jeremiah Lambert

Jeremiah Lambert

A certified welder with almost a decade of experience in MIG, Flux, Arc, TIG welding, and metal forgery. Welding certificate course graduate with excellence. Also familiar with and enthusiastic about real estate and home improvement.
Arc Welding

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