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Looking To Buy Your First Welding Machine? Here's Some Terminology Help!

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If you’re looking at welding machines for the first time, the terminology can be a bit confusing. How many globulars are enough? MCAW? Is that like a bird? We jest, but we’ve all been there. Here at the Oxygen Supply Company, we supply welding machines and tools to all different types of people, from career welders to hobbyists. If you’re thinking of getting into welding for the first time, take some hints from below to help you out!

Need to know terminology:

GMAW – Gas Metal Arc Welding. This is a sold wire that’s energized and fed at a constant velocity to establish an arc between the welding gun and the base metal. There’s a high deposition of metal, but it requires fairly specific and cleaning conditions normally found in shops.

There are 3 general transfer modes:

Short circuit: low wire speed with low voltage
Globular: high voltage with low wire speed
Spray arc: high voltage with moderate wire speed.

FCAW – Flux Cored Arc Welding. This is similar to GMAW but with the exception that instead of a solid wire, a metal tube is filled with chemicals and elements with vary properties are used. There’s a high deposition of metal and excellent penetration with this method of welding. You can find it used in both shops and in the field.

MCAW – Metal Core Arc Welding. This is sort of a combination of GMAW and FCAW, utilizing an iron powder in a tube rather than flux. Normally found in shops.

GTAW – Gas Tungsten Arc Welding. Tungsten has the second highest melting point of all elements and that’s what’s used to create an electrical arc in this method. It melts the base metal into which you feed a rod made of nearly identical alloy. Found in shops and in the field in controlled conditions.

SMAW – Shield Metal Arc Welding. A metal alloy rod is covered with the flux (consisting of a variety of antioxidants, fillers, and other protective chemicals). The flux melts, forming a protective barrier against the atmosphere to create a strong weld.

PPE – Personal protective equipment. Think steel toed boots, glasses, gloves, ear plugs, the whole nine yards. 

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