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Comparing Arc Welding to Gas Welding

Comparing Arc Welding to Gas Welding

There once was a time when the majority of welders were joining metal together using an oxyacetylene torch. From bridges to battleships, these torch setups using oxygen and gas were affordable, effective, and portable, even if they made rough welds and could warp the metals they were joining together.

Today arc welding, such as MIG, stick, and TIG processes, have largely replaced gas welding processes such as oxyacetylene welding. However, you can still find some enthusiasts for this method. Here are a few points to consider when comparing the two processes.

Oxyacetylene Welding Is Easy to Start

Most welders need a tool on hand for cutting metal, and an oxyacetylene torch is an affordable way to kill two birds with one stone. By setting up a cutting torch for welding, you can add a filler rod or just rely on the heat of the process to join the metal. Most importantly, a torch welding setup can help you accomplish all sorts of projects: welding, heating, brazing, and bending. You can work with carbon steel, chromoly, aluminum, stainless steel, and even cast iron. That’s not a bad range of options!

The torches themselves cost around $200 and the tanks of oxygen and acetylene run another $300 depending on your retailer options, so for $500 you can both cut and join metal together. That price may sound much better if you’re eyeing welding machines that can run well over $1,000 each. If you aren’t doing a lot of welding, then this process may be the one to try.

Portability and Heat for Welding

The oxyacetylene welding process can come in especially handy when you need to crank up the heat. While Multi-process welders and stick welding machines are coming in lighter varieties that pack more power, oxyacetylene welding has historically been the welder of choice. It has a simple setup that they can use just about anywhere.

This comparison will certainly change over time as welding machines become lighter and begin to put out more heat.

Beauty Is in the Eye of the Welder

Let’s face it, you don’t need every weld to look like a perfect stack of dimes and the metal being joined together doesn’t always have to look perfect when you’re done. For instance, a welding application on a tractor or fence may be completed just as well by an oxyacetylene torch.

While arc welding will always win the day when it comes to making neat and precise welds that don’t warp the metal in question, it can also be a bit of overkill for some projects that just need to be knocked out.

Welding Cars and Machines with Oil Leaks

The regular users of oxyacetylene welding have praised its effectiveness for welding cars and trucks where there are oil soaked castings like crankcases and transmission housings. While arc welding will draw more heat to the surface and contaminate the weld, oxyacetylene will be more effective at joining the metal without applying excessive heat into the weld. This will minimize the amount of oil in the weld itself.

Of course many automotive welding jobs will require some heating and bending of metal, so a torch setup can serve the dual purposes of heating and welding all in the same project.

Welding Safety with Oxyacetylene Gas

The main reason why so many welders have switched away from this welding process is safety. Acetylene gas is highly volatile and flammable. Whether you’re using this process at home or in the workplace, seek out the proper training before handling acetylene gas. You need only search for “acetylene explosion” to see what’s at stake!

Torch Kits and More on Sale

Visit Baker’s Gas and Welding today to find the best deals on welding supplies, oxy-fuel kits, and welding torches. Whether you need a few supplies or a complete welding safety kit, we’ll have you covered with the best prices and free ground shipping on most orders over $50. 


Ed C.


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