Some of the very basic processes of welding include: Gas metal arc welding, shielded metal arc welding, gas tungsten arc welding, and oxyfuel gas cutting. These processes are so unique in certain ways that it is easy to forget about all the dangers that come with welding. When there is a finished weld that is so beautiful from a process that is not really desirable, that is when it is easy to forget.
“Oxyfuel gas cutting (OFC) is a process used to cut metal by rapidly oxidizing it.” (Bowditch, Bowditch and Bowditch 259). Oxyfuel gas welding is commonly referred to as “flame cutting” because the flame of the oxygen and acetylene melts the metal enough to cut it. The ignition temperature of steel is 1500 Fahrenheit, which is definitely something to think about before playing with a cutting torch. After lighting the cutting torch, the oxygen and gas must be adjusted until a neutral flame appears, then the metal to be cut must be heated up to an almost liquid orange state. Once the metal is that orange color, the trigger on the cutting torch should be pushed all the way down to release a stream of pure oxygen, which is what makes the cut.
“Gas tungsten arc welding is a welding process in which an arc is struck between a tungsten electrode and the base metal. The tungsten electrode does not melt or become part of the weld. Therefore it is considered a nonconsumable electrode.” (Bowditch, Bowditch and Bowditch 163). Gas tungsten arc welding is often referred to as TIG welding, which means tungsten inert gas welding. This is slang for the actual name to be used, because the gas (argon) that is used is not an inert gas. Tig welding is the cleanest welding process of all, because ther...
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...lts to the base metal, which creates the weld bead, while the flux covers the weld bead. The reason for the flux is that it acts as a protectant against oxidization and other atmospheric elements. Shielded metal arc welding does not require any shielding gas, the flux does all the work that shielding gas does. The reason that shielded metal arc welding is a very dirty process is because of all the excess spatter and fumes.
This has been a brief introduction of the basic welding processes, explaining a bit about each process. Welding is not a skill that everyone possesses, but it is a very useful skill to know. It takes time and patience to make a beautiful weld bead, but once that bead is completed, it is a very proud moment in a welding career.
William A, Kevin E, Mark A. Bowditch. Welding Technology Fundamentals.
Tinley Park: Illinois, 2010. Print.
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