Welding is a very diverse fabrication process that commonly uses either heat and/or pressure to join pieces together; most often, it’s used to join metals and thermoplastics, but there are types of welding that can even be used on wood.
There are many different welding processes, differentiated by the energy source used and their applications; these include Arc, Electron Beam, Laser, Friction, and Resistance welding. However, Arc welding is by far the most commonly used, and forms its own subset of processes. These include metal inert gas (MIG) welding, stick welding, tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding (or gas tungsten arc welding), gas metal arc welding, submerged arc welding, shielded metal arc welding and plasma arc welding.
As its name suggests, Arc welding utilises an electrical arc formed between the material and an electrode to generate the intense temperatures needed to melt and fuse metal, can be either mechanically or manually manipulated to guide it along the joint.
Of these, MIG and TIG welding are the most often used in the fabrication of sheet metal and in a wide variety of other industries, from aeronautics to automotives. Usually, a filler material is used to create the join between two individual sections of metal, such as stainless steel, titanium and aluminium. Because the joining actually creates a intermixture of the metals by melting them together, the resulting ‘weldment’ can actually have the same strength properties as the component materials, which potentially allows for a more solid join.