Differences in Tig, Mig and Stick, and other random noob welding info.

Discussion in 'The Tool Shed' started by mr.smartass, May 4, 2007.

  1. mr.smartass

    mr.smartass 1 ton status Premium Member

    Aug 10, 2004
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    Hattiesburg, MS
    I've been doing some research and reading about welding and different types of welding techniques. This might help some other welding noobs out there...

    Apparently TIG, MIG, and Stick welding are nonstandard terms that are actually used in place of...

    TIG = GTAW (Gas Tungsten Arc Welding) is a manual welding process by which one holds a torch with a non-consumable electrode in one hand and a bare filler wire in the other.

    MIG = GMAW (Gas Metal Arc Welding) is a Semi-Automatic welding process that uses a continuous feeding filler wire as an electrode.

    Stick Welding = SMAW (Shielded Metal Arc Welding) is a manual welding process that uses a single flux coated electrode for filler.

    Searching for info using these terms usually brings up more detailed and helpful information.

    Both GTAW and GMAW are gas shielded arc welding processes, the primary difference is in the way that filler metal is added to produce the weld.

    In the GTAW process the arc or heat source is created between a tungsten electrode mounted in a hand held torch and the work piece to be welded. The welder initiates the arc by means of a switch. The filler metal, in the form of a hand held rod, is then added to the weld puddle by the welder as he manipulates the torch along the seam or joint which is to be welded.

    In GMAW, the filler metal IS the electrode and the arc is created when the filler metal, or wire, comes in contact with the work surface. The wire feeds from a spool through a conduit inside the torch or torch cable and the welder controls the feed by means of a switch or trigger.

    SMAW uses a coated welding rod or "stick" as the electrode. Remember, the electrode is the part that conducts the electric current. An arc forms at the end of the electrode and this arc provides the heat source. In SMAW the coated electrode melts as the arc is maintained, mixing with the base metal being welded and forming the weld. The shielding gas, which protects the weld pool, is produced by the burning away of the coating which covers the electrode.

    Advantages and Disadvantages

    • Lower equipment cost than GTAW and GMAW. (No bottle, gas hose, flowmeter, and tig rig/Wire feeder needed.
    • Quick Change from one material to another.
    • The process lends itself to welding in confined spaces and various positions with few problems.
    • Deposition Rates faster than GTAW Manual
    • Easy to move from one location to another
    • Some special electrodes are made for cutting/gouging
    • Requires no outside shielding gas and can be used outdoors in light to medium wind.
    • Low deposition rate compared to GMAW/FCAW
    • Filler metal cost per weld can be greater due to a low deposition efficiency that can vary greatly with stub length.
    • Production factor is typically lower (Unless welding on various materials) due to rod changes and chipping slag.
    • Needs more hand eye coordination than GMAW
    • High deposition efficiency when used in certain transfer modes.
    • No Slag to chip
    • The process can be used on thin materials with relative ease if properly set.
    • Low Hydrogen
    • High production factor since no slag is required to be removed and uses a continuous electrode.
    • With the parameters properly set for the application, anyone can weld after a very short amount of practice.
    • Requires a Wire Feeder which is difficult to move and can sometimes be a maintanence/repair burden.
    • Needs Shielding Gas
    • No slag system so out of position welds are sometimes more difficult.
    • Increased chance of lack of fusion if parameters and welding technique is not controlled.
    • The gun is difficult to get into tight places.
    • Is not suitable for windy conditions.
    • No slag (Unless using fluxed rods), No Spatter
    • The low energy input allows the welder to control the puddle with ease compared to other processes.
    • Autogenous welds can be made (No Filler metal required)
    • Because the welder can vary the amount of filler metal and can also manipulate the torch easily, the process is good for welding root passes in joints accessable from one side only.
    • Can be used on a very wide range of base metals relatively easily.
    • Wide range of thicknesses
    • All that is required is a stick welder and the proper gas to weld Alum, SS, CuNI,Carbon Steel etc.
    • V E R Y low deposition rate
    • Requires shielding gas
    • The welder must manipulate both the torch and filler metal. (A little harder in a mirror sometimes or restiricted access locations)
    • Requires more manual dexterity than GMAW/FCAW.
    • Requires tungsten electrode.
    • Thought by many to be "better" than everything else but in my opinion it is just another process.
    Here is where most of my information came from.

    A good link about welding safety and choosing a wire feed welder.

    Massive article. Link is especially helpful with labeled diagrams.

    And a few more tips on welding.

    THISISWEIRD 1/2 ton status

    Mar 10, 2007
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    Nice. I've been looking into a welder, having done very little in my past....looks like MIG (GMAW) for me.

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