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Welding steel is pretty fundamental to learning to weld.

Steel is basically Iron and Carbon with small amounts of other stuff like manganese. Low
Carbon Steel has .3 percent carbon. Not 3 percent but 0.3 percent or point 3 percent. That’s
not much. For comparison sake, Cast iron has a full 3 percent and sometimes more. That’s
why cast iron is such a pain to weld and also why low carbon steel is the easiest metal to
weld… low carbon steel is also the cheapest metal to buy. Low Carbon Steel is what we use
to learn to weld and low Carbon steel is what we compare all other metals to when we study
metals. Why? Well it’s easier to understand stuff if we can compare it to something we already
know and understand. How you gonna weld anything else if you haven't learned welding
steel?

Welding Steel is most often done using:


Stick welding, also called arc welding, also called SMAW,(shielded metal arc welding)

Mig welding, also called, wire welding, also called GMAW, (gas metal arc welding)

Tig welding, also called heliarc welding, also called GTAW, (gas tungsten arc welding)

I am old school. I just call them Stick, Mig, and TIG.

Stick Welding steel


Stick welding uses stick electrodes with flux
baked on them. Stick welding is used on the
farm, and on construction sites and in the field
like on a pipeline. It still rules as the most
commonly used type of welding in the world.
Its portable, the equipment is simple and
cheap, and windy conditions don’t much
matter because the flux on the rod turns into
slag that protects the weld from air.In the
hands of a craftsman, stick welding can
produce some high quality welds. Its easy to
change from carbon steel to stainless steel…all
you do is change rods.I have actually had folks
ask me: Does anyone really still use stick
welding? Then I explain to them that the arc
they see from a distance on a high rise construction job, is most likely stick welding.All you
need to know about stick welding rods is 6011 and 7018. They both run on a/c or dc reverse
so a 225 amp Lincoln buzz box from home depot is all you really need for a whole lot of hobby
welding.

6011 penetrates deeper and can weld downhill. 7018 will look better but they suck for
downhill. A 7018 bead done by a good welder looks good and is ductile and strong.

Mig Welding Steel


Mig welding is used for fabrication, manufacturing, and for body shops. It is not as portable
as stick welding and unless you are using flux cored self shielded wire, windy conditions
matter a lot. Several welding codes are not very MIG friendly because MIG welding in the
hands of a hack, can easily cold lap making it hard to tell a good weld simply by visual
inspection. Changing from carbon steel to stainless steel is much more complicated than
with stick welding because it usually involves changing shielding gas as well as the spool of
wire. The good thing about mig is that it is quick and there is no slag to clean. It lends itself
well for fabrication because of this and because it allows tack welding with one hand so the
other hand is free to help position the parts to be tack welded. Mig welding has a few
variations like short circuit, (also called short arc) flux core, and mig spray transfer. but the
kind of mig you see on American Chopper is definitely mig short circuit. It is the most versatile
mig process for welding anything from the chopper frame to the thin sheet metal gas tank.
For mig welding mild steel, use e70s6 wire and 75/25 argon/c02, if you need to weld
outside get some Hobart Fabshield 21b.

Tig Welding Steel


Tig welding is used
extensively for pipe
welding, aerospace,
aviation, biomedical
implants, fabrication of
race cars, choppers, etc.
It is much more precise
and cleaner than mig
welding or stick welding
and definitely the coolest.
Carbon steel and other
metals as thin as razor
blades can be welded.
Outdoor windy conditions
matter a lot and portable
wind shields are a must if
welding outside. Most tig
welding is done in shops
and indoors. It is one of
the most versatile types of
welding there is because
virtually any type of metal
can be welded with a few
exceptions like certain
alloys of aluminum that
are considered
unweldable (ie 7075
aluminum). Sometimes all
that is needed is to pick up a different rod. Even when switching from steel to aluminum, all
that is needed is a different rod and a few different settings on the tig welding machine. Just
change polarity to ac, swap the high frequency to continuous and you are good to go. Make
sure not to try to tig weld with rods made for gas welding. They look a lot alike but the
difference is tig rods have silicon and the gas rods don’t have squat. Gas welding rods will
give you porosity and just plain take the fun out of tig welding