Common Welding Techniques Used By Steel Fabricators

Welding is one of the most frequently used ways of attaching sections of metal together and is a tried-and-tested method for steel fabrication projects of all kinds. Although you might think that steel fabricators always use the same welding techniques in their work, the truth is that most alter their approaches. Essentially, all welding relies upon heat to make two sections of steel come together in a way that creates a hard bond between them. When completed successfully, a good weld can attach two sections of sheet metal or one section of sheet metal with tubular steel in such a way that it will last for decades to come. Due to the use of electrodes, only trained personnel should attempt to undertake welding jobs within a steel fabrication firm. 

Stick Welding Technique

Stick welding, also known as SMAW, is often the first type of welding a trainee will learn to attach metal sections together for a fabrication project. One of the main reasons it is so popular is that the metal workpieces which are being welded don't have to been cleaned extensively beforehand. It is also less time consuming than other welding methods, making it ideal for fabrication workshops. An arc extends from the welder's electrode rod, or stick, which heats up the steel being worked on. With a stick weld, the amperage should be adjusted such that the arc is about one third the width of the workpiece. With this method, the rod needs to be kept at ninety degrees to the workpiece.

Gas Metal Arc Welding

Sometimes called MIG welding, this method requires two clean workpieces so that the sections of metal being welded to one another will make a good, permanent join. This often means grinding the steel down to remove any rust deposits or grime. The welder uses a forward and back approach to a gas metal arc weld across the join to form a zigzag. However, care must be taken not to allow the welding touch to come into contact with the workpiece meaning more skill is required by the welder.

Gas Tungsten Arc Welding

This method uses the shortest arc of the three methods described here so requires the greatest amount of dexterity from the welder. Fabricators tend to use gas tungsten arc welds, also known as TIG welds, when the join will be visible in the finished project. This form of welding creates unobtrusive welds which don't get in the way of a neat finish when the project has been completed. TIG welds often take longer than other approaches.