Though some might consider it to be a bit archaic, the art of ARC welding is alive and well for those who still yearn to take it up. If you are new to the welding scene however you may be unfamiliar with the differences between MIG Welding and ARC Welding. That being said, let’s describe MIG Welding first.
MIG Stands for: Metal Inert Gas and the name implies the function. The gas provides a shield and a spool of wire is fed through a nozzle. While this is undoubtedly more efficient, it does open up some new safety issues that many would rather avoid, and with that being the case there are many who still prefer the simplicity of ARC Welding.
ARC welding is synonymous with stick welding, or more formally known as Shielded Metal Arc Welding, and it utilizes a basic circuit in its effort to melt the electrode, the flux coating, and ultimately join it with the metal that you are working with. There are two types of electrode in ARC welding, consumable and non-consumable. Consumable electrodes will melt as they are used, and as a result they will form an alloy with the welded material. Non-consumable electrodes are a bit different as they do not melt during use, and will actually call for a filler wire to melt. A mistake that people tend to make regarding the electrode, especially if they are new to the welding scene, is the belief that any piece of metal can be used as the electrode. This is not the case, and you will need to make sure that the metal you choose is an official welding rod as such rods are covered in a flux coating that creates a shield for unwanted gasses.
One of the most interesting and notable parts of ARC welding is the fact that you can weld using either AC or DC Power, and it should also be taken into account that there are certain welding units that have been designed to handle both AC and DC power.
It should be noted that there are certain welding sticks that will only work with AC Power, and likewise there are some that only work under DC Power. That being the case, you might wish to look for a machine that supports both Direct Current and Alternating Current. It must also be noted that safety is of the utmost importance when it comes to creating a good weld, especially in the case of ARC welding.
Safety in ARC Welding
As with any other type of welding, a helmet should be worn, or at least a pair of goggles. You can pick these up for fairly cheap, though it is more than possible for you to pick up a pair that costs more than $1000 if you wish to spend the money. You must wear the helmet or goggles as looking at the ARC too many times directly will eventually cause your eyes to feel sandy or even itchy, and this condition is known as welders’ flash.
When it comes to ARC welding there are plenty of things to know and understand. Over time you will undoubtedly discover more than a few ARC welding secrets, and they will aid you in creating a safer environment, building smoother welds, and even instructing others in what you have learned. The sky is the limit when it comes to ARC welding, and we have barely scratched the surface.