There are three major types of welding, in my experienc […]
There are three major types of welding, in my experience. Arc (or stick), mig, and tig.
Arc welding uses a simple welding machine with an electrode holder attached to pass an electric current through the electrode, or “rod”. This rod is made of the metal that forms the weld, and coated in flux that burns off to protect the weld. This is used for all types of construction, since it is easy to transport and possible to use outdoors.
Mig, or gmaw (gas metal arc welding) uses an electrode holder that spools out wire instead of a rod. This wire forms the weld, and is covered by a cloud of inert gas to protect the weld. This is used for more industrial applications, such as parts manufacturing on an assembly line, building large equipment, automotive welding, etc. Not used in construction as the gas tanks and wire spools can be cumbersome, and the gas shielding only works well in a controlled environment with no wind. But flux core wire can be used to take advantage of wire welding outdoors.
Lastly, we have tig, or gtaw (gas tungsten arc welding). This process uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to create the current, and the filler rod (stick of metal that will become your weld) is worked with a separate hand. Like mig, tig uses inert gases to surround the weld to keep it protected from the environment as it forms. Since the welder is in complete control of all aspects (current, filler material amount, speed of movement, speed of material addition, location, etc) at any given time, these welds tend to be the best lookjng and highest quality. But this is also the most expensive and time consuming of the three processes.