Arc Welding Articles

The arc welding technology area focuses on the most commonly used arc welding processes, mainly GMAW/MIG, GTAW/TIG, SMAW/stick, and plasma. The articles and press releases cover processes and power sources, plus all of the related items—electrodes and wire, wire feeders, fixtures, manipulators, positioners, and power sources. If you need information on personal protective gear, ventilation systems, and safety practices for welders, see our Safety coverage area.

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Arc Welding 101: Wire-feed welding, stick welding with the same machine

November 17, 2014

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Q: I would like to know if a wire-feed welding machine can double as a modest-amperage DC shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) machine if I attach an electrode holder to the output. I have been told that aluminum welding works well and is convenient using SMAW and DC. I have the aluminum roller kit...

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Arc Welding 101: Advice for MIG welding a motorcycle frame

November 14, 2014

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Q: I just ran across the article you wrote about gas metal arc welding (GMAW) machines in the July/August 2004 issue of Practical Welding Today. Your article was very informative. I will be purchasing a welding machine soon and would like to know if a GMAW machine can handle a motorcycle frame. Any...

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Arc Welding 101: Electrodes and machine settings

November 13, 2014

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Q: I know how to arc weld. I took arc welding classes in high school and was certified in the state of California. Unfortunately, they never taught me about the settings and what electrodes were best for what jobs. For example, I’m rebuilding a motorcycle and I want to straighten a minor bend...

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Arc Welding 101: Blowing out metal when welding car panels

November 12, 2014

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Q: I only have a 110-V arc welding machine, and I want to weld car panels, but I keep blowing out the metal. What can I do to stop this? Can I use aluminum rods? Dan F. A: You can use aluminum rods on aluminum only, and they typically are used only for really thick pieces, about 0.25 inch and...

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Arc Welding 101: Advice for a first-time welder

November 11, 2014

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Q: I’m thinking about learning how to weld. I want a gas metal arc welding (GMAW) machine so I can box my 1955 GMC truck frame and install an independent front suspension. Where should I start? William S. A: Books, the Internet, videos, cable TV shows, and classes offer more information about...

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Creativity springs forth from the darkness

November 10, 2014

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A freak accident changed the life of a materials science professor at Texas Tech University. Not only does he appreciate the second chance at living, he also discovered a talent for giving discarded metal objects a second chance at living through metal sculpture.

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Arc Welding 101: Don't spare the rod—Electrode storage myths

November 10, 2014

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Welders often ask me, “Can I dry welding rods in my oven if they have gotten wet?” and “Can I put 7018 welding rods in my freezer for a certain amount of time if they are old?” The 7018 electrode is a low-hydrogen rod, which means it doesn’t tolerate moisture in its flux. If you’ve...

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Arc Welding 101: Hot rods and MIG

November 7, 2014

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Q: Can gas metal arc welding (GMAW) be used on motorcycles and hot rods? A: Yes, but it takes a lot more than just running a good bead. The popularity of cable TV fabrication shows with the likes of Jesse James, the Teutuls, and Boyd Coddington has generated a lot of questions about GMAW....

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Arc Welding 101: Thoriated tungsten and its alternatives

November 6, 2014

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Q: In "TIG welding--An overview," you said you used 2 percent thoriated tungsten until you heard about the health risks. What are other options? Does cost vary significantly (not that cost should matter when it comes to health or safety)? My fabrication shop runs 14 gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW)...

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Arc Welding 101: Uphill MIG

November 5, 2014

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Q: What patterns is used in uphill gas metal arc welding (GMAW), and what amperage should I use on 0.25-in. plate using 75 percent argon/25 percent carbon dioxide shielding gas? Where I work—I build farm equipment—there’s no need for uphill welding, so I like to practice at lunch. August F....

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Arc Welding 101: How to motivate a welder

November 4, 2014

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Many people have asked me how to motivate welders in the shop. The following are some ideas. Money. If a shop doesn’t pay well, it won’t attract good welders. Health benefits and a 401(K) plan show that a company cares about its employees. Safety. Shops must be safe to work in; every worker,...

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Arc Welding 101: Best practices for aluminized steel

November 3, 2014

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Q: Which process, filler rod, and shielding gas work best for welding aluminized steel? A: Aluminized steel resists fire, heat, corrosion, and oxidation. It’s used in many applications, such as weather shielding and exhaust systems. Steel is hot-dipped in an aluminum solution, which provides...

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Arc Welding 101: Preparing for an overhead certification test

October 31, 2014

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Q: A carpenter friend of mine has taken some night-school welding courses and needs help getting certified in overhead welding. He uses steel beams to support the homes he builds and would like to weld them himself. How should he prepare for and take an overhead welding certification test?...

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Arc Welding 101: Hands-off MIG education

October 30, 2014

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Q: I recently bought a gas metal arc welding (GMAW) machine, and I’ve also just completed a beginner’s welding course at the local college. Unfortunately, the basics don’t explain enough about the controls, such as voltage, wire speed, and stickout, and how they affect the weld penetration,...

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Don’t underestimate MIG welding skills

October 29, 2014

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Plenty of welding training programs start with gas metal arc welding, or MIG welding, because it’s fairly easy to start laying a pretty consistent bead—under very simple and consistent conditions. As a result, most people look at gas tungsten arc welding, or TIG welding, with its need to use both hands while simultaneously operating a foot pedal, as a more complicated welding process. In a large-scale metal fabricating operation’s world, those people would be wrong.

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