The 4 Common Welding Types

If you want to learn more about welding and its different types, keep reading this article.

We will dig into the world of welding by tackling its various techniques.

Thereby simplifying the subject for beginners to start their journey in this domain.

Welding is an ancient process used to join metals together for thousands of years. 

Although this industry is quite old, it’s still a growing in-demand trade nowadays.

Here are the different types of welding and their different uses:


Illustration of MIG Welding Process

MIG welding stands for metal inert gas welding and is also known as Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW). 

It is one of the most common types of welding that new welders can easily perform.

So, That was the general definition. But, let me tell you how it works exactly.

Like all arc welding techniques, the main principle is to form an electric arc between the electrode and the metal you want to weld. 

That arc generates heat which melts the filler metal.

Here, the filler metal is a consumable wire fed from a spool. That wire acts as the electrode too. 

So, in simple words, the welding machine supplies a constant voltage which creates an electric arc between the electrode (i.e., the filler metal) and the workpiece. 

That arc causes the filler metal to melt and fuse, which leads to a permanent bond.

As you weld and the filler metal melts, you keep feeding it to the torch from a spool.

You may ask now, what about the gas! 

The idle gas here aims to shield the electrode wire and protect it from contamination.

GMAW welding emerged in the USA in the late 1940s. It was used for welding aluminum and non-ferrous materials.

Then, users tried it on steel because of its high deposition rate.

Where and when to use MIG welding?

MIG welding gained a large fan base and became very popular in many industries such as:

  • Manufacturing
  • Automotive maintenance and production
  • Construction
  • Aerospace
  • Pipe welding/pipe joints
  • Shipbuilding
  • Custom fabrication
  • Railroad track repair and construction
  • Underwater welding

2-TIG Welding (GTAW):

Illustration of TIG Welding Process

Tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding is also known as gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW).

An arc welding process also utilizes an electric arc to generate heat (over 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit). 

Like MIG welding, TIG welding requires a shielding gas, such as argon or helium.

The role of the idle gas is to cool and protect the weld pool and the tungsten rod from oxidation or any other atmospheric contamination.

So, TIG welding is similar to MIG welding with a key difference; in TIG welding, the electrode is a non-consumable tungsten rod.

Also, in TIG welding, you will need to feed the filler metal separately using a hand-held welding rod.

TIG welding is usually used for welding thin sections of stainless steel and non-ferrous metals such as aluminum, magnesium, and copper alloys. 

GTAW is harder to master, especially for beginners, than most other welding techniques. It is also slower to perform.

Where and when to use TIG welding?

We can use this welding technique with a variety of metals; that’s why it is applied in several industries, including:

  • Aerospace
  • Nuclear and power industries
  • Transportation
  • Bicycle industry
  • Food and beverage industry
  • Artwork
  • Repair work

3-Stick welding – (SMAW): 

Illustration of Stick Welding Process

Another member of the arc welding family!

Actually, it is the most portable member, thanks to the fact that it doesn’t use a shielding gas! 

Shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) is commonly called stick welding or manual metal arc welding.

The main idea is the same as all arc welding processes. 

A power supply generates an electric arc between an electrode and the workpiece.

What differs here is that the electrode is a metallic consumable rod “stick” made from a proper composition. 

The molten electrode metal fills the weld gap and joins the workpieces.

This technique is one of the most popular welding processes, as it can produce a great variety of welds.

Unlike the previous types, Stick welding does not use a shielding gas. 

The electrode rod is coated with a flux that serves the function of protecting the weld pool. 

This welding technique doesn’t use a shielding gas, so you don’t need a gas supply, and This is what makes it more portable, and we can use it in outdoor areas. 

It also requires less equipment than MIG and TIG welding.

The materials used in SMAW are simple and inexpensive.

Where and when to use Stick Welding?​

This technique is used in a variety of industries, including:

  • Construction
  • Pipelines
  • Shipbuilding
  • Underwater welding
  • Farm machinery manufacturing

4-Flux-Cored Arc Welding (FCAW): 

FCAW, also known as gasless MIG welding, is a semi-automatic or automatic arc welding technique. 

It is almost the same as the MIG welding, except the electrode wire is a flux-cored wire.

If you guessed that it uses the flux as a gas substitute to protect the weld, you are right! 

As the flux melts, it creates a protective cloud that prevents atmospheric gases from reacting with the weld pool.

This process was first developed in the 1950s as an alternative to Stick welding. It gained popularity later because of its low cost and robust results.

Flux Welding Explained

Where and When to use FCAW?

It is popular in:

  • Small businesses
  • fabrication shops
  • hobbyists

Bottom line

There are many other welding techniques, from which we can mention Atomic Hydrogen Welding, Plasma arc welding, Electroslag, and more.

But the four types of welding we tackled in our article are the most dominant and famous processes in various industries.
If you want to keep learning more about welding, please check this article Welding Positions: A Guide to The Main Types You Absolutely Need To Know.

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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