Differences between Electric Arc, MIG, TIG and Oxy Welding Equipment17 May 2017
Beware of welding equipment differences. There are major differences in the way these heat inducing tools operate and in the principles that enable these dangerous rigs to function, so don’t even consider welding unless you know how a particular method works. Generally, we’ll be looking at Electric Arc, MIG, TIG, and Oxy Welding equipment during the course of today’s discussion, so let’s get going.
Electric Arc Welding
As the first word in the engineering term suggests, this type of welding gear uses electricity to create a spark. A chunky housing occupied by a massive electrical transformer sits by the side of the welder, although more efficient rectifier/inverter models are now taking over. From here, an electric arc is generated at the end of a handheld electrode. The workpiece is grounded, a circuit is created, and resistive heat enables the weld.
MIG Fabrication Technology
MIG welding (Metal Inert Gas) uses an inert gas to protect the weld joint, so the presence of atmospheric oxygen doesn’t adversely affect the quality of the melt. Two feed mechanisms are installed on the welding handle. First of all, there’s a trigger dispensing wire. On the second handle, the inert shield gas is emitted. It’s still an electrical process, one that uses an electrode, but now there’s a filler rod, plus argon or helium added to the mix.
TIG Welding Technology
Tungsten Inert Gas equipment uses the unique properties of this exotic metal to resist high temperatures. It’s also a two-handed welding process, so its operational methodology requires a little more attention. Initially, the tungsten current holder provides melt energy. Importantly, that temperature resistive electrode (Non-consumable) will not melt, so a second hand must provide a filler metal, a rod of meltable solder that fills the gaps between and around the weld joint. Again, this is another electrical welding method.
Oxy Welding Differences
We’ve left oxy-welding (Also known as oxy-acetylene welding) until the end. And there’s a good reason for that tail-end order. Basically, while the above equipment all use variations on an electrical theme, oxy-welding turns to ignitable gas. Flammable acetylene gas is emitted from one line and oxygen from the other tube. The two gases mix to form a focused welding torch. Once that white-hot torch goes to work on a workpiece, 3,500°C of thermal energy is available to either weld or cut a dense metal part.
Essentially, arc welding methods use electricity, either from a transformer or a powerful inverter assembly. You’ll recognise the old transformer equipment as the blocky, near unmovable tools of old. The inverter models are certainly easier to get onsite. Meanwhile, the oxy-weld process uses gas tanks and valves to generate a super-hot torch, a flame nimbus that can melt practically any alloy.
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