Working with Sheet Metal: Consider These 3 Welding Methods
There are other sheet metal welding techniques, but the three we will explore are MIG (metal inert gas), TIG (tungsten inert gas), and laser welding. Many factors will influence the approach utilised. Consider the following factors for each of the three techniques.
1. MIG Weld
Metal Inert Gas welding (MIG), also known as Gas Metal Arc Welding. It entails using a welding gun to feed a continuous solid wire electrode into the weld puddle. The melted wire in the pool induces the merging of the metal pieces. The shielding gas in the welding cannon protects the weld puddle from ambient pollution.
MIG welding produces high-quality welds and is appropriate for most sheet metals, including aluminium, steel, and stainless steel.
This welding technique is widely used in the automotive and home improvement industries. It is also a low-cost approach because no specialised machines are required.
Pros and Cons of MIG Welding:
- MIG Welding requires minimal energy, and it is fast.
- MIG Welding can be used for thick or thin sheet metals.
- MIG Welding works in all positions.
- MIG Welding is a cost-effective technique.
- The puddle has a lot of slag, which makes it difficult to see the weld seam.
- MIG creates a lot of smoke.
- MIG creates a lot of spatter.
2. TIG Weld
Tungsten inert gas welding (TIG) is an arc welding process that uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to produce the weld. A filler material is not used, but instead, the electrode is moved around during welding to “draw” the weld. The weld is created by heating the base material to its melting point.
TIG welding creates very high-quality welds, used for aluminium and stainless steel, for example. The main advantage of TIG welding is the ability to produce a weld with a very narrow weld bead, rather than the wider weld bead produced by the MIG process. Another advantage is that no filler wire is used in TIG welding. This makes the welds very shiny and clean.
Pros and Cons of TIG Welding:
- TIG Welding produces a very clean, neat weld.
- TIG Welding can be used for thin or thick metals.
- TIG Welding works in all positions.
- TIG Welding is very stylish.
- TIG requires a great deal of skill and practice to master.
3. Laser Weld
Laser welding is typically used for thick metals, such as steel and aluminium. In laser welding, a laser beam welds the metal. A laser can be set to a specific wavelength, which melts the metal. The laser beam excites the outer electrons of the metal, and the metal becomes superheated. This causes the atoms of the metal to move to the surface of the metal, causing the weld. A filler rod or wire is not used, but instead the laser beam can move around to create the weld.
Laser welding is a very fast, efficient process. There are no fumes, and it produces very little smoke. This technique creates very high-quality welds with a narrow weld bead.
Pros and Cons of Laser Welding:
- Laser Welding is fast and efficient.
- Laser Welding creates very high-quality welds.
- Laser Welding can be used on thick metal parts.
- Laser Welding is very stylish.
- Laser Welding requires a lot of energy.
- Laser Welding has dangerous levels of UV radiation, which can be harmful to the skin.
- Laser Welding has very short ranges, which requires the use of expensive machinery.
Now that you know the three methods of welding sheet metal, you will be able to choose your technique more wisely. You should decide first what you need the weld for and then decide which method will be the best for your project. Learning how to weld can be very rewarding. You can create many different things, from sculptures to home repairs.
Regarding structural steel fabrication, leave it up to the professionals. CSM Fabrication and Welding is a steel fabrication company in Perth that can work with all steel types. Contact us today!