Arc Welding, or Stick Welding, Rod Welding, and Manual Metal Arc Welding is one of the more traditional choices of technique. Despite its old-fashioned approach, it’s also one of the most versatile, which a lot of specialised electrodes available to use. An electric arc is generated between the electrode and your base metal, connecting them. These electrodes also contain a flux that stops the atmosphere from contaminating the molten metals.
These are the welders that most people start to learn welding with, and are suited to a variety of home-shop jobs, making them a popular choice for DIY metal-workers. However, that doesn’t mean they’re only suitable for basic needs.
In fact, one of the most notable aspects of Arc welding is the sheer number of applications it has. Unlike TIG welders, which are suited most for detailed work on thinner metals and smaller moulds, Arc welders with the right electrodes have a high penetration, meaning they can work with metals as thick as cast iron. Different electrodes offer the ability to work with different metals, too, so it’s not entirely limited to the thicker kinds. It is, however, less able to work with copper and copper alloys, magnesium alloys, and titanium. For those thinner metals, TIG welders are often essential.
Arc welders are also lightweight and one of the most portable varieties available, lending themselves to welding on-site, outdoors, or in any jobs where the welder needs to be moved around regularly.
Like TIG welders, one of the biggest differences when choosing an Arc welder is between DC and AC. DC welders are generally considered safer and easier to get running. AC might be cheaper, and while it can still accomplish much, most electrode varieties run between with a DC welder. The power supply will also make a difference, but the versatility of all Arc welders means that they can serve as the tool for any (or most) jobs with the right choices of electrodes.
That versatility is obviously one of its biggest advantages, but it’s not the only one. As some of the oldest and most common tools around, they have a significantly lowered start-up cost, though that can build as you get a variety of different electrodes to work with it. They’re also easily transported and more than suitable for work in the outdoors, in the wind, and with dirtier metals that other welders can work well with. They’re also the best suited to work with cast iron and other metals that need high penetration power.
The problems with Arc welders, however, might make them unsuitable for more precise work. They tend to be less efficient, creating more waste and requiring more cleaning. They require a good deal more skill to use, however, meaning that training is necessary. Finally, they are versatile, but as mentioned, they can’t handle thinner metals.
Whether you think an Arc welder is right for you or you think you might need a MIG or TIG tool instead, come talk to us about your needs. We’ve helped metal-workers in Essex for over two decades, and we’ve come to learn that there’s a tool for every job and which tool is right for yours