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In this course, we'll go through the fundamentals of welding, its risks, and some of the best protective measures against these risks.
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Fundamentals of Welding
What are the three most popular welding techniques? As metals are the most widely welded material, we'll only tackle the three most used metalworking weld methods today. They are the following: Metal Inert Gas (MIG) or Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) Tungsten inert gas (TIG) or Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW) Stick Welding or Shield Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)
Metal Inert Gas (MIG) Welding MIG, also known as gas metal arc welding (GMAW), is a type of electric arc welding which relies on creating an electrical circuit that runs through the objects to be welded together and a welding wire, which acts as an electrode. It is the most widely used method and is considered to be the easiest to learn.
Advantages of MIG welding: Creates high-quality welds Minor weld splatter Can be used to join dissimilar metals Can be fully or semi-automatic Good weld speed
Disadvantages of MIG welding: Unsuitable for outside welding Unsuitable for thick metals Needs metal preparation
Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding is similar to MIG, but instead of a consumable wire, the electrode used is a tungsten metal rod inside the welding gun for creating an arc between the metals. It is considered one of the harder ones to learn.
TIG welding is a non-consumable electrode welding method, therefore the tungsten doesn’t get consumed with the process. TIG welding can work on both AC and DC power sources.
Advantages of TIG welding: Very clean welds Offer a high degree of control to the welder Can be used with or without filler material Can be done in manual or automatic methods Creates strong welds
Disadvantages of TIG Welding: Time-consuming Needs skilled welders Cannot be used for thicker metal joints
Stick Welding / Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)
What is Stick Welding? Also known as Arc Welding or Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) It is a two-handed method that uses a consumable electric arc (or stick) coated with flux used to melt materials before joining them together. This electric arc can create temperatures upwards of 3500°C, which is sufficiently high to melt high strength metals like carbon steel. Stick welding is best done on thicker metals (1/16 or thicker). It is excellent for ship building, pipe welding, and structural steel fabrication.
To lay a weld, does stick welding involve the use of a consumable electrode without flux?
How does stick welding work? Let's take a look!
What are the top hazards in welding? 1 Electric Shock Exposure to Fumes and Gases Ergonomic Hazards Noise Hazards Burns Let's tackle each of them in the next slides.
Electric Shock Electric shock is the most serious risk a welder faces and can lead to severe injury or death, either from the shock itself or from a fall caused by the reaction to a shock.
Electric shock occurs when welders touch two metal objects that have a voltage between them, thereby inserting themselves into the electrical circuit. For instance, if a worker holds a bare wire in one hand and a second bare wire with another, electric current will pass through that wire and through the welding operator, causing an electric shock.
Secondary electric shock from a stick welding circuit is actually the most common type of electric shock. 2 It happens when the welder touches part of the welding or electrode circuit at the same time as touching the metal you are welding.
An even more serious shock, primary voltage shock, may occur when a welder touches electrically “hot” parts inside the welder case or the electric distribution system to which the welder is connected. This action can lead to a shock of 230 or 460 volts. 2
Secondary electric shock happens when the welder touches part of the welding or electrode circuit at the same time as touching the metal being welded.
Ergonomic Hazards While welders do not spend their working hours sitting a desk, they are no less likely to suffer discomfort from bending over during the welding process. Welders often face ergonomic risk factors when they:
lift heavy loads (cylinders, cables, etc.).;
have awkward body postures (outreached arms, awkward position of neck and head, kneeling/squatting);
in a static body position (e.g. long duration of tasks, manual precision);
and are using continuous force or use of intense grip strength.
Noise-induced hearing loss can have the following side effects: Ringing in the ears, known as tinnitus Occasional dizziness, known as vertigo Increased heart rate Increased blood pressure
Do goggles need to be worn under a helmet? The answer is YES! While helmets do cover your eyes... foreign fragments, such as grinding fragments and slag chips, can easily ricochet under your helmet and into your eyes.
Glossary Alloy– a mixture of one or more elements with at least one being a metal. Base Metal – the metal material that will be welded or cut. Electrode – various materials that are used to conduct the welding current between the electrode holder and the welding arc. Flux – cleaner used to clean metals to be welded, soldered or brazed. It also dissolves rust and releases any trapped gases that may be in the metal. Weld – a point where metals have been fused together by heating the materials to a suitable temperature. Filler metals or pressure may be used to accomplish the weld.