Learning how to weld creates great business and hobby opportunities. Some welders like to build chairs, tables, and other materials at home for fun. However, others use their skills across many different industries, from construction to automobile manufacturing. Whichever route you’re taking, learning the different welding methods gives you the chance to expand the wide array of materials you can construct. Read this list of the most common welding methods to determine which one is worth learning next.
MIG stands for “Metal Inert Gas,” though this method also goes by the moniker Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW.) While using the MIG method, welders melt a wire electrode to fuse the workpieces. Welders must steadily feed the wire through their welding gun while a shielding gas works its magic to keep the weld free of contaminants. This method is the go-to for beginners because it’s quick and simple to learn.
Plus, MIG welding has ample business and hobby applications. For example, you can use MIG welding for aluminum and steel workpieces, making it a perfect method for the automotive industry. Furthermore, car restorationists frequently use MIG for repairs on classic vehicles.
Like MIG welding, Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding goes by multiple names, including Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW.) Instead of melting a wire through a welding gun, TIG welding requires you to generate an arc with the help of a tungsten electrode, while an argon shielding gas provides protection. That might sound straightforward, but TIG welding requires immense skill and precision, so it’s typically a good method to move on to after learning how to MIG weld.
TIG welding is popular because it creates impressively durable, clean, and attractive welds. As a result, you’ll frequently spot this method in the construction and automotive industries. In addition, thanks to its ability to produce attractive welds, TIG welding is the best choice for welding sculptures and other artistic creations.
Stick welding, which also goes by the name Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW,) utilizes an electric current to complete welds. The electric current runs from the welding rod to the workpiece, relying on a flux coating for shielding instead of an exterior gas tank. Stick welding is straightforward and doesn’t require much preparation, but it also doesn’t create the prettiest welds. Whereas TIG welding won’t produce much spatter, stick welding certainly will. That said, stick welding is commonplace in the manufacturing, metal fabrication, aerospace, and construction industries—although stick welds aren’t as attractive as TIG welds, that doesn’t make the former useless.
Now that you know the most common welding methods, you can plan your next move accordingly. Although they all differ in distinct ways, each welding method shares a significant commonality—the need for safe, smart practices. For instance, any welder should know which safety checks to perform before welds, whether they’re performing MIG, TIG, or stick welding. Each weld above can help you accomplish a large swathe of tasks with the right prep, whether it’s a hobby, career choice, or both.