4 different types of welding every DIY enthusiast should know

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Welding can be an exciting hobby in itself, or it can be a useful skill for DIY enthusiasts, vehicle restorers, building engineers, craftspeople, and artists. Unfortunately, no single type of welding is suitable for all tasks. The different types of welders can be confusing both for those who are just starting out and for those looking to improve their skills or upgrade their equipment.

If you are wondering what the different types of welding are and what the types of welding are used for, keep reading. In this article, we take a look at each of the four different types of welding that might appeal to DIY users, discuss their merits, and take a look at some of the best machines in each category.

1. Gas arc welding – aka MIG welding

types of welding for DIY enthusiasts - MIG welder

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MIG welding is undoubtedly the most popular type of welding among DIY users, and is also popular with professionals. Welding wire is fed from a spool to the welding gun. The feed rate is variable, providing excellent control, and the welder can concentrate on the weld itself. This is the easiest welding technique to learn, and beginners can soon produce consistently strong welds that require little work to clean.

The only real downside to MIG welding is that a supply of bottled gas is required to create a protective “shield” around the weld and to prevent contamination. It’s not difficult to set up, but MIG welding is less portable than some alternatives.

Best for: Versatile welding in the workshop of steel or aluminum.

Our recommendation: Lincoln Electric Weld Pak 140 A – Get at Home Depot for $ 649.00
Lincoln Electric is one of the leading brands of DIY and professional welding equipment. This high-quality device combines ease of use for beginners with the power and precision demanded by more experienced users. It can produce two types of welds. In addition to efficient MIG welding, it also offers flux core capability (see Flux core welding below).

Related: How To: Aging Metal

2. Tungsten gas arc welding – aka TIG welding

types of welding - TIG welding

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The main difference between MIG welding and TIG welding is the absence of a coil fed welding wire. The weld is formed by a tungsten electrode, protected by a gas like MIG. Filler wire is often used, but “autogenous” welds simply merge two pieces of metal together.

TIG welding offers greater versatility. It can be used for steel, stainless steel and aluminum, so-called “soft” metals like brass and copper, and more exotic materials like magnesium and titanium. Some TIG welding machines have a foot control, allowing precise adjustment of the heat control. Skilled users can produce neat and high quality welds in thick or thin materials with these steel welders.

However, working with a gun, filler rod, torch and possibly a foot control at the same time makes TIG welding more difficult to master than MIG welding. It is also a much slower process. It is not recommended for beginners.

Best for: Precision welding of a wide variety of metals.

Our recommendation: Primeweld TIG225X 225 A Welder – Get on Amazon for $ 825.00
TIG machines under $ 500 are available, but DIY welders on a budget would probably be better off investing in MIG. This powerful Primeweld machine features inverter technology that delivers constant, controllable power so users can take full advantage of TIG’s versatility. The complete welding set comes with a high quality torch, foot pedal, gas regulator and basic mask.

Related: Solved! The best paint for metal

3. Shielded metal arc welding – aka stick welding

types of welding

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Stick welding has been around since the end of the 19th century. Before MIG became affordable, it was the preferred welding method for many DIY enthusiasts. Basically it melts a stick (rod) of metal in the joint. The rod contains the necessary elements for the shield, so a separate gas supply is not necessary, and it works well outdoors. It is often the type of welding machine recommended for welding cast iron and is well suited to steel. It will weld dirty, rusty or painted surfaces. Although it can be used for other metals, the high power generated makes it difficult to weld thin materials.

Starting an arc (starting the weld) can be difficult. Using rods, rather than a continuous spool of wire, means this is a stop / start process. It also creates a lot of spatter (splatter of molten metal) which creates a messy weld that requires a lot of work if a neat finish is required. It is essentially a quick and dirty “agricultural” welding.

Best for: Dirty or rusty metal where careful welding is not particularly important.

Our recommendation: LOTOS LTPDC2000D Stick Welder, TIG Welder & Plasma Cutter – Get on Amazon for $ 489.00
Lotos is a brand known for its high performance welding equipment at competitive prices. This model offers great flexibility in that it offers both stick and TIG capabilities, and can be used as a plasma torch for metal cutting (a compressed air supply is required). The emphasis is on arc ignition, which overcomes one of the drawbacks of stick welding.

Related: The Best Angle Grinders For Your Home Store

4. Flux-cored arc welding

types of welding - arc welding

Photo: amazon.com

Flux core welding is very similar to MIG welding, with a coil that feeds the wire into the weld. In fact, a number of machines, like the Lincoln Electric above, offer both MIG and flux-core capabilities.

The difference is the wire itself, which has a flow around the outside. It is a solid until heated by contact with the solder, at which point it releases an inert gas that creates a shield similar to MIG welding. However, it does not need the bottled gas, hose and regulator. This makes it a much more portable solution. The shield is less affected by wind, making it a good choice for outdoor welding. Like stick welding, it will weld metals in poor condition, so little or no preparation is required.

The downsides are that the wire is more expensive and the spills can be difficult to clean up. Additionally, flux core welding provides fast penetration which is excellent on thick material, but inexperienced users can burn through the thin sheet.

Best for: Exterior repairs and constructions.

Our recommendation: Goplus MIG 130 Welder – Get on Amazon for $ 149.99
The economical Goplus MIG 130 offers beginners everything they need to get started, including the gasless welder, basic mask, brush / chisel hammer and spool of wire. This is a lightweight and versatile introduction to flux core welding, although more experienced users may want more power.

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