Welding is one of the most important skills in the world today. Almost every machine used in the world today involves welding at some point during its construction. However, despite the ubiquitous effects of welding upon day-to-day life in the modern world, relatively few people truly understand the types of equipment used when welding.
Safety equipment is extremely important in welding. All welders must wear the iconic welding helmet, although these days helmets are available that are far less bulky and also provide an adjustable level of darkening shade. In addition, welders usually wear a welding jacket and sleeves to protect themselves from bits of hot metal, a leather apron and a pair of specialized welding gloves.
Stick welders are the most basic type of welding equipment. They are also called arc welders. They consist of a small machine that produces AC and/or DC current to heat a small, coated stick electrode made of steel, with a ground clamp completing the full circuit.
Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welders run off high-frequency AC. These welders are named after the tungsten electrode as well as the gas used for shielding the electrode, therefore making the flame more manageable. This process is also known as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW).
Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding uses DC instead of AC and uses a filler metal for the welding process, which is fed into the torch from a roll of wire. Like TIG welding, intert gases provide shielding. This is also known as Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW).
Engine Driven Welders
Engine driven welders use a gasoline, diesel or LPG engine in lieu of electricity. They are often used at construction sites.
Resistance welders place two electrodes on each side of two pieces of overlapping metal and uses the heat generated by electricity to fuse them together. These welders are often used in the construction of automobiles.
Plasma cutters work from the same principle as welders, in that they heat the metal, but instead of joining the two pieces of metal together, they cut a clean line into it. A high-intensity gas jet removes melted material from the work before it rehardens.
Welding guns and torches are often used in MIG and TIG welding. They direct the motion of the wire feed and are operated by a trigger.
Wire feeders are important in MIG welding and come in two types, automatic and semiautomatic. Semiautomatic wire feeders are portable and are connected to a welding power source. They only feed metal when the torch trigger is compressed. Automatic wire feeders are stationary, usually mounted permanently in a work space, and feed wire at a constant rate, regardless of whether the torch trigger is compressed.
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