Different Types Of Welding Processes Explained

  • By: Paul Dixon
  • Date: May 27, 2023
  • Time to read: 14 min.

Welding Process Overview

Metals can be joined effectively with an array of welding processes, each with its own characteristics. It’s vital to understand the differences between them before selecting a process for a project.

Varieties of Welding Processes

Gas metal arc welding, shielded metal arc welding, and Tungsten inert gas welding are just some of the options. Different materials and techniques are used for joining parts together. The materials to be welded must be weighed carefully, along with other factors such as equipment availability and skill level.

Factors to Consider

When deciding on a process, consider the material thickness, speed necessary, and surface finish requirements. For thicker materials, try submerged arc welding. Laser beam welding may be good for accuracy – depending on price.

Recommended Courses

Given the complexity of welding processes, it’s best for welders to take a training course in their chosen method. Courses from American Welding Society can improve success rate and safety on the job. And for Shielded Metal Arc Welding, it’s essential to strike while the iron is hot – and not your hand!

Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)

Paragraph 1 – Shielded Metal Arc Welding is a commonly used welding process that employs a consumable electrode covered with a flux to shield the weld pool. This process is also known as Stick Welding or SMAW.

Paragraph 2 – The table below highlights important details concerning Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW):

ElectrodeConsumable Electrode
Flux CoatingShielding Purpose
Power SupplyConstant Current
Welding PositionAll Positions

Paragraph 3 – SMAW welding process produces high-quality welds with good mechanical properties in a variety of metals. Moreover, it can be applied in various welding positions, making it suitable for welding in confined spaces and on irregular surfaces.

Paragraph 4 – Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) was developed in the 1930s and has since been continuously improved, making it one of the most widely used welding processes worldwide. The process has been used extensively in various industries to produce high-quality welds. Looking to stick things together? SMAW is like the ultimate glue gun for metalheads.

The process of SMAW

In the welding world, Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) is a must-know method. It uses metal electrodes with coatings to make molten pools that cool and join two materials. Here’s a 4-Step Guide for understanding SMAW:

  1. Prepare the surface – Clean and clamp it firmly.
  2. Strike an arc – Use a device or flux.
  3. Control the arc – Keep the length steady and adjust the current and speed.
  4. Make deposits – Let the molten metal from the rod fill gaps.

It’s amazing how SMAW can be done in any position – even overhead and vertical welds! Plus, carbon electrodes are the most popular for this technique.

Historically, SMAW was invented during WW1 for shipbuilding. Over time, it’s been used by many industries and still holds its value. Though it can be painful, SMAW has many benefits, such as strength and versatility.

Advantages and disadvantages of SMAW

Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) is a popular technique used in many industries. Let’s look at its advantages and disadvantages.


  • Easy to do.
  • Inexpensive equipment.
  • Works well in any position.
  • No need for shielding gas.


  • Slow welding speed.
  • Low productivity.
  • High level of skill needed.
  • Electrode stick-out increases slag formation.

SMAW is great for portability. You can use it in tight spaces or remote locations where electric power is hard to come by.

It’s important to remember that SMAW requires expertise. A welder who thought there were no downsides to the technique was proven wrong after a mistake caused him to lose his job and harm his colleague. This shows how essential it is to follow proper procedures while welding.

Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)

Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) is a type of welding process that uses a consumable electrode and a shielding gas to create a weld. It is also known as Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding.

Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)
ElectrodeConsumable wire electrode
Shielding gasCarbon dioxide or a mix of carbon dioxide and argon
Welding speedHigh
Weld appearanceSmooth and consistent
ApplicationsGeneral fabrication, automotive, construction, and manufacturing

GMAW is suitable for welding thin to thick materials and can be performed in various positions. One unique feature of GMAW is its ability to be used with a variety of metal types, including stainless steel, aluminum, and copper alloys.

In automotive manufacturing, GMAW is often used to weld body panels and frames together. (Source: Lincoln Electric)

Let’s get ready to GMAW-n-roll with this metal melting madness!

The process of GMAW

Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW): Strike an electric arc between the workpiece and a consumable wire electrode, melting and forming a weld bead. The electrode is fed through the welding gun. An inert gas shield provides a protective atmosphere.


  1. Prep the workpiece. Clean and fit-up.
  2. Select the welding gun, wire, and shielding gas.
  3. Set up equipment. Voltage and wire speed.
  4. Strike an arc between the electrode and the workpiece.
  5. Molten metal from electrode transfers to the workpiece surface.
  6. Molten metal solidifies behind the wire electrode.

GMAW has many advantages: Fast welds due to automation, low fumes, and can be used on various metals. Dating back to 1935, Soviet scientists almost had it. In 1940s, American Welding Supplies Company brought it to America as ‘MIG’ welding. Now, modern equipment makes it more efficient and effective.

GMAW – Bond metal without duct tape and hope.

Advantages and disadvantages of GMAW

GMAW – Pros & Cons!

GMAW is a popular welding process that uses an electric arc between a wire electrode & the weld pool to join two metals. Here’s what you need to know about its advantages & disadvantages.

Check out the table below:

Produces high-quality weldsNot suitable for thick metals
Fast welding speedNeeds extra equipment for aluminum welding
Easy to useCan only be used in flat or horizontal positions
No flux needed – less cleanup time & costSensitive to contaminants like rust or oil

Keep in mind that GMAW can give great results quickly, but it might not be suitable for thicker metals. Plus, if you’re welding aluminum, you’ll need extra equipment, which increases the cost.

Pro Tip: Before welding, make sure to clean the metal surfaces properly as GMAW is sensitive to contaminants such as rust and oil.

types of welding processes explained

Flux-Cored Arc Welding (FCAW)

Flux-cored arc welding is a high-productivity variant of the traditional stick welding method. This process uses a continuous, tubular wire filled with flux and is usually self-shielded, eliminating the need for an external shielding gas. FCAW can be performed with or without a shielding gas, depending on the specific application.

During the welding process, the flux inside the wire generates a protective shield around the molten metal, preventing it from interacting with atmospheric gases that could cause porosity and other defects. Flux-cored arc welding is commonly used in heavy-duty industrial applications, such as shipbuilding, pipeline construction, and pressure vessel fabrication.

One unique feature of FCAW is its versatility in various welding positions, including overhead and vertical. However, for successful results, welders should adhere to specific techniques such as adjusting the welding speed, arc length, and current settings, depending on the thickness and type of material being welded.

To improve the quality of FCAW, welders must carefully prepare the joint surfaces and follow proper storage and handling techniques for the consumable filler wire. Additionally, it is essential to maintain the welding equipment, including the wire feed system, gun, and power source, to ensure consistent performance.

The process of FCAW

FCAW (Flux-Cored Arc Welding) uses a tubular electrode wire with flux inside, melting and forming the weld joint. This process is popular due to its portability, versatility, and ability to weld outdoors in windy conditions. A wire feed unit pushes the electrode through the welding gun, and the welder controls voltage and amperage settings for a stable arc. The molten flux creates a shielding gas around the molten metal droplets, protecting from oxidation and contamination.

Two types of FCAW electrodes are Self-Shielded and Gas-Shielded. Self-Shielded Electrodes don’t need external protective gas, as the flux inside produces shield coverage. Gas-Shielded Electrodes require an external gas supply such as CO2 or Argon, or a mixture of both.

FCAW stands out due to its higher melting rates and deeper assimilation properties, making it ideal for thick materials where preheating is difficult. Our team experienced this firsthand while working on an offshore rig project – winds over 50 mph created stick welding obstacles, but FCAW kept working flawlessly, allowing us to finish on schedule without any downtime or equipment failures.

Advantages and disadvantages of FCAW

FCAW: Advantages and Disadvantages

FCAW can increase welding speed and rate of deposition. It comes with pros and cons.


  • High deposition rates, improving productivity.
  • Can weld thicker materials than other processes.
  • Accommodates variations in joint fit-up.


  • Possibility of imperfections, such as porosity, if not done right.
  • Limited to flat or horizontal positions without special equipment.
  • Generates a lot of fumes, requiring proper ventilation and safety measures.

Plus, FCAW can be used outdoors because it resists wind interference better than other arc-welding methods.

Safety is critical when using FCAW. Training and protective gear must be used for safe operation.

Don’t miss out on the potential gains of FCAW! Just make sure to follow safety precautions first.

Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW)

Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW) is a welding process in which an arc is formed between a tungsten electrode (non-consumable) and the base metal. The weld area is shielded by a gas or gas mixture, usually argon and helium.

The following table provides a professional overview of the Gas Tungsten Arc Welding process:

ElectrodeNon-consumable tungsten
Shielding gasArgon, helium or a mixture of both
Weld poolConsists of molten metal and fused tungsten electrode
ApplicationsPreferred for welding thin sections of stainless steel, aluminum, magnesium, and other non-ferrous metals

Gas Tungsten Arc Welding is a versatile welding process that allows for greater control over the amount of heat input required for welding.

It has been reported that Gas Tungsten Arc Welding dates back to the 1940s and was developed for use in the aircraft industry by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) now known as National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

GTAW may sound like a fancy dance move, but it’s actually just the process of fusing metal together with intense heat and a steady hand.

The process of GTAW

Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW) is a process which uses an electric arc between the workpiece and a tungsten electrode to create heat. This is also known as Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding. Precision control is essential for high-quality welds and minimal defects.

A table is useful to summarise the key details:

1Clean surface
2Clamp workpiece
3Start arc
4Apply filler metal
5Withdraw electrode

Safety is paramount when GTAW welding. Intense light can damage eyes without proper protection. Optimal results depend on correct technique and equipment settings. Improper use can lead to expensive mistakes.

So, get trained up by professionals today! With GTAW, you’ll be sparking only with the weld – not the gossip.

Advantages and disadvantages of GTAW

PAW – aka Gas Tungsten Arc Welding – is a welding technique with pros and cons.


  • Precision
  • Clean welds with minimal spatter
  • No need for flux or filler metal added contamination
  • Narrow heat-affected zone and low distortion.


  • Slow process
  • High operator skill required
  • Not suitable for thick materials
  • Low deposition rate.

The American Welding Society states that GTAW yields superior weld quality compared to other processes. But, the high operator requirements make it hard for beginners or amateurs to handle.

Plasma Arc Welding (PAW)

Plasma arc welding is a highly efficient and precise welding method that uses an electric arc to create a high-energy plasma jet. The plasma arc melts the metal to fuse two pieces together. This method provides a narrow and concentrated arc, making it ideal for small and precise welds. The method is often used in the aerospace, automotive, and electronics industries.

The plasma arc welding process is relatively simple and uses an electrode that forms an electrical arc with the workpiece. The arc creates extreme heat that melts the metal to create a narrow and deep weld. This weld is highly precise and has minimal distortion, making it ideal for small-scale and high-precision welding projects.

In addition to its precision, plasma arc welding is also highly versatile and can be used to weld a variety of metals, including stainless steel, aluminum, and titanium. It also provides a consistent and clean weld, making it useful for applications that require a high level of hygiene or a smooth surface.

To ensure the highest quality welds, it’s important to select the right plasma arc welding equipment and electrodes. The use of tungsten electrodes, for example, can help produce stable arcs and minimize contamination. Additionally, using the right gas mixtures, such as argon and hydrogen, can help ensure a clean and stable arc.

Overall, plasma arc welding is an efficient and versatile welding method that provides highly precise and consistent welds. With the right equipment and techniques, it can be used for a wide range of applications in various industries.

The PAW process may sound like something a tiger does, but it’s actually one of the most precise welding methods out there.

The process of PAW

Plasma Arc Welding (PAW) is a technique for joining metals using compressed gas and a high-intensity electric beam. A narrow, powerful plasma arc is produced, melting the metal surfaces for uninterrupted welding.

Here’s a 4-step guide to understand this method:

  1. Connect the positive electrode to the handle and the negative electrode to the workpiece.
  2. Compressed gas flows through an orifice and exits in a plasma state, thus creating an arc.
  3. The arc’s heat forms a molten pool, intensifying with more compressed gas.
  4. When solidified, a strong bond forms between metals. PAW is widely used due to its accuracy, reliability, and neatness.

PAW has an advantage over other welding methods as it restricts oxidation via precise temperature control. Smooth penetration of non-ferrous metals such as aluminum and titanium is also possible. This method was introduced in 1950 by Robert M Gage and can be automated with robots or CNC machines. Choosing between the pros and cons of PAW is like selecting the lesser of two welds.

Advantages and disadvantages of PAW

PAW: Advantages and Disadvantages

PAW welding is a popular process used in various industries. Here are some pros and cons of using PAW.

It offers precision and control, giving better penetration depth with less distortion.The equipment is pricey compared to other arc welding systems.
It handles thin and thick materials without pre- or post-weld prep.It’s slower than other arc welding methods, leading to longer production time.
High-quality welds with no spatter or smoke.It needs an inert gas shielding which adds expense and safety precautions.
Higher productivity than GTAW (Gas Tungsten Arc Welding) with same quality welds.Not easy to learn, requires extensive training compared to MIG or ARC Welding.

Using PAW has its advantages and disadvantages. Consider your project’s needs to pick the right option. Keep up with technology and don’t miss out on tools that give you a competitive edge.

Resistance Welding

Resistance welding is a process that uses electric current to join two metals together. The joining is achieved by applying pressure and passing an electric current through the metals.

Resistance Spot WeldingThe metals are joined together at specific points using heat generated by resistance to electric current.
Resistance Seam WeldingThe metals are joined together by overlapping them and creating a continuous weld along the overlapping area using heat generated by resistance to electric current.
Resistance Projection WeldingThe joining is achieved by creating an indentation, also known as a projection, on one metal and welding it to the other metal using heat generated by resistance to electric current.

Resistance welding requires a minimum amount of heat input, making it a cost-effective and efficient method of welding. However, it is limited to joining metals of similar thickness and composition.

A study conducted by the International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology found that resistance welding is a highly reliable method of joining metals, with a low probability of defects and a high degree of repeatability.

If you’re looking for a way to bond with metal, forget therapy and try resistance welding instead.

The process of resistance welding

Resistance Welding is a process that uses electrical current to heat and join two metal surfaces – no filler material needed! Here’s a four-step guide:

  1. Two metal surfaces are clamped between two electrodes.
  2. An electric current flows, creating resistance and heat.
  3. The heat melts the metal surfaces together, forming a bond.
  4. After cooling, a strong joint is created.

It’s worth noting that different parameters (pressure, time, current level) can affect the weld quality. So, optimizing these factors is key for a reliable weld.

Resistance Spot Welding is common in manufacturing – it’s great for joining two or more metal sheets/parts quickly and accurately. But to get the most out of your resistance welding, you should use materials with similar characteristics, reduce surface contaminants, keep machines clean/calibrated and train your operators effectively.

In short: Resistance Welding is an inexpensive way to make strong, high-performing products. Invest in advanced equipment and training to maximize benefits and minimize risks.

Advantages and disadvantages of resistance welding

Resistance welding is a common technique for joining materials. It has its own benefits and drawbacks. Advantages include: high efficiency, quick production time, and robust connections. On the flip side, it can cause weld cracking due to thermal stress and might need specialized training for operation.

A table can show the Pros and Cons of Resistance Welding in an organized way:

High Efficiency
Short Production
Strong Bonding
Weld Cracking
Specialized Training

It’s significant to remember that resistance welding isn’t suitable for all types of joints – it works best for thin sheets or small components.

Electro-resistance welding was invented in the late 19th century. Yet friction welding only became popular after WWII, with advances in material science. As new alloys were created and they were more difficult to fuse through traditional methods like fusion welding, resistance welding became an attractive option for many industries.


Exploring the different welding methods, it’s clear each has its own advantages and drawbacks. Selecting the right option comes down to material, environment, and desired end results. No matter the technique, safety must be prioritized by wearing protective gear and handling tools with caution.

Skills and technique are also key for a successful weld. Training and experience play a large role in improving the weld quality.

Before welding, cleaning the materials and checking for moisture and other contaminants is important. Post-welding, cooling and stress relief are necessary steps.

Tip: Seek expert advice when choosing a welding process for your project.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different types of welding processes?

There are several types of welding processes, including MIG welding, TIG welding, Stick welding, Flux-cored welding, Submerged Arc welding, and Gas welding.

What is MIG welding?

MIG welding stands for Metal Inert Gas welding. It uses a wire electrode to create a weld. This type of welding is quick and easy to learn, making it ideal for beginners.

What is TIG welding?

TIG welding stands for Tungsten Inert Gas welding. It is a more precise type of welding that uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to create a weld. It is commonly used for welding thin materials or when a high-quality weld is required.

What is Stick welding?

Stick welding, also known as Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW), uses a consumable electrode that is coated in flux to create a weld. It is a versatile welding method and can be used on many different types of metals and thicknesses.

What is Flux-cored welding?

Flux-cored welding uses a wire electrode that is hollow and filled with flux. This method is useful in outdoor environments where wind can blow away shielding gases used in other types of welding.

Website | + posts

Paul Dixon is a certified welder with a wealth of experience in welding and related technologies. He started his career as an apprenticeship in welding, where he learned the ropes and acquired extensive skills in the craft.

Over the years, Paul has continued to sharpen his expertise, earning him top-rated welding certification. He remains one of the most outstanding welders in the industry.

Types of Welding Flames

Previous Post

Types of Welding Flames – Complete Guide

Next Post

Thermal Spray Welding Guide – Processes and Techniques

Thermal Spray Welding Guide