The Basics of Manual Metal Arc Welding

The Basics of Manual Metal Arc Welding

There are many forms and methods of welding, from TIG, MIG to ARC to inverter welding. All of these methods have their own uses for one metal or another. But the most common of the four is ARC welding due to its relatively inexpensive equipment and a simple operation process. However the process also produces many safety hazards to the untrained welder, so be sure to have the proper equipment and know-how before you start welding.

Start with the equipment you’ll need to protect your skin and eyesight from the hazards that occur during welding. You will need a welding mask, gloves, rubber shoes or a rubberized work environment, safety should always be your first priority. The gases and ARC caused by the welding process can be dangerous so be sure to always perform a check on the welding equipment and the safety equipment, here is a checklist of what you’ll need to look out for.

ARC welding requires consumable(manual metal arc) MMA welding electrodes, while being used the electrodes are covered in flux which creates vapors that serve as a shielding gas and provide a layer of slag, both of which protect the weld area from atmospheric contamination. The electrode is usually made of a metal that is compatible with the metals that are commonly welded with the ARC method, these being ferrous metals (Metals that mostly contain iron).

Weld times for ARC welding are rather slow, they require patience from the welder and need processing after the weld is made. The accumulated residue from the flux needs to be chipped away after the welding process is done, this is to minimize the risk of rusting and corrosion, the slag also acts an extra layer of protection over the metal ensuring that the weld pool(welded spot) is secure and sealed.

To achieve all of this the welder requires a power supply unit which can have an AC (alternating current) or DC (direct current), and a ground connection to dissipate all of the excess electricity that flows through the closed circuit. The voltage of the weld, the MMA welding electrodes feed and the travel speed are all controlled by the welder’s speed and distance at which they hold the ARC. Once welded the weld pool and slag needs to cool off before the piece could in any way be used after cooling comes the chipping and you have yourself a clean weld. And while these are simply the basics it is always recommended to get the proper education and training on the safe operation of any type of welder.

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