What is an Arc Welder? Detailed Guide on Arc Welding

Arc welding is one of the popular methods and also effective! People have many confusions regarding Arc welding since they come with a dozen types. If you are also one of them, then spare five minutes and give it a read. You will thank me later!

By going through this article, you should have a proper idea of what is an arc welder, how to use an arc welder, types of arc welding, and their advantage and disadvantages as well. So let’s not waste any more time, here you go!

What is an Arc Welder?

Arc welding is the process of joining two metal together with the help of an electric arc. The electric arc creates intense heat which melts the metal hence joins them together. And the bond doesn’t get stronger immediately, it takes a little time to get cooled, and then the join becomes stronger.

Arc welding could be automated, semi-automated, and manual. And the only power source for arc welding is electricity, and they can use both direct current (DC) or alternative current (AC).

There is a shielding gas that comes with the welder which protects the welding region. The gas protects the entire weld portion from atmospheric contamination. Arc welder can use both non-consumable and consumable electrode.

Types of Arc Welding

Arc is called as the root of a group of welding methods, and that is for a good reason. Have a look below!

  • SAW (Submerged arc welding)
  • MIG or GMAW (Gas Metal arch welding)
  • TIG or GTAW (Gas tungsten arc welding)
  • PAW (Plasma arc welding)
  • AHW (Atomic Hydrogen welding)
  • CAW (carbon arc welding)
  • ESW (Electro slag welding)
  • EGW (Electro gas welding)
  • SAW (Stud arc welding)
  • SMAW (Shielded metal arc welding)
  • FCAW (Flux-cored arc welding)

How to Use an Arc Welder?

Arc welding requires a great deal of practice; it is not easy at all. The thing that requires the practice is striking the electrode; it is the toughest part. However, below, I have demonstrated a step by step guide on how to use an arc welder, scroll down!

All needed items

  • Welding machine.
  • Cables.
  • Clamps.
  • Electrode.
  • Brush.
  • Helmet.
  • Gloves.

Arc Welder Using Process

the metal

Cleaning the metal which will be welded is
mandatory, otherwise uncleaned metal will damage the weld. The metal should not
have any rust, paint, grease or any other contaminants. And the effective way
to clean them is to brush the sides that will be welded with a grinder machine.

the clamps

Attach clamps to hold the metal pieces together.
Vice, spring or C clamp should work fine. And also attach the ground clamp on
the bigger piece of metal.

Pick the right electrode

There are different types of electrode for different thickness levels. For example, an E6011 1/8-inch electrode at 80 to 100 amps can weld a ¼ inch plate steel.

A chart should come with the welder or it might be
on the side of the welder, check that whenever you are confused about which
electrode to pick.

Set the electrode in the electrode holder (stinger).
The conductive material of the stinger should be on the metal side of the electrode.

the welder on

When you turn the welder on, would hear a humming
sound coming from the transformer. Some people wait for the cooling fan to
start, but in some models cooling fan starts only when it is needed.

However, if you don’t even hear the humming sound
you must check the power supplying circuit and the panel box breakers. Most of
the time it happens when the power circuit doesn’t deliver enough amount of
power to operate.

the stringer

And here the toughest part begins. You should hold
the electrode enough high so that you can move it all the way. And that said,
holding the rod very high would not create the arc hence there would be no

And not to forget, you should never hold the stinger
without wearing a pair of protective gloves and auto-darkening helmet.

the electrode

In this step, you would want to mark the point from
where you would begin welding. And tap the tip of the electrode on the point
and then instantly pull it little back, in this way will be able to produce a
good weld.

As I mentioned earlier, using the electrode takes a
great deal of practice so you might not do well at the very beginning. But if
you are doing it for the first time, before you start the welder, practice
tapping on the metal with the tip of the electrode, that will let you know how
it feels and will make you familiar with it.

the weld bead

Once you have mastered controlling the arc, now it
is time to go further and practice laying and building nice weld beads. In case
you don’t know, the deposit of the metal in the joints is the weld bead and
they should look nice.

There are different laying bead techniques and which
one you should use that depends on the width of the gap you are supposed to
fill by welding.

For example, if you need deeper weld then you got to
move slower with the electrode and the more zig-zag or weave the electrode tip
move, the wider bead you will get.

While moving the electrode, if the tip gets stuck
immediately jerk the stinger so that the weld breaks.

the finishes weld

When you are done welding, you should brush off the slag for the weld joints and there are two main reasons for doing that. First one is, it will allow you to paint it better and secondly, the weld joints will look better.

Advantages of Arc Welding

  • Offers great welding speed.
  • Delivers high-quality welds.
  • Forms a strong bond between the two metals.
  • Requires simple welding equipment.
  • Highly portable.
  • Reliable welding.

The disadvantage of Arc Welding

  • Learning arc welding requires a lot of practice.

Frequently Asked Question

Ques: What can I weld with a 70-amp arc welder?

Ans: You can weld a (0.6 cm) ¼ inch steel plates with a 70-amp arc welder.


Arc welding is hard for beginners but with proper
practice and patient, you must get a hang on it. However, hope this article
will let you know exactly what is an arc welder.

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