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GMAW Fundamentals

Gas Metal Arc Welding

Metal Inert Gas


Electrocution hazard
Skin burns from flying metal
Skin burns from direct light from arc
Skin burns from indirect light from arc
Cotton clothing and leather gloves
Helmet to protect eyes from light
Safety glasses when chipping slag
Ventilation to remove dangerous fumes
Do not weld near water
Do not weld near combustible materials
Keep welding cables and jobs free grease
Protect bystanders from arc rays
GMAW is defined as arc welding using a
continuously fed consumable electrode and
a shielding gas.
GMAW is also known as MIG (Metal Inert
Produces high-quality welds
Yields high productivity

Large gaps filled or bridged easily
Welding can be done in all positions
No slag removal required
High welding speeds
High weld quality
Less distortion of work piece

Hard to reach locations are less easily welded
because of bulky torch and cables
Wind or air drafts may compromise gas shielding
Reactive metals (i.e. titanium) may need special
shielding provisions
High heat may be uncomfortable to welders
Correct parameter selection learning needs
dedicated training
Equipment is more complex and expensive than
that of alternative processes

Several tips must be consider in
selecting mode of transfer
Type, intensity and polarity of welding
Electrode size
Electrode composition
Electrode extension
Shielding gas mix composition

Types of Metal Transfer
The basic GMAW process includes three
distinctive process techniques:

1. Short Circuit (Short Arc)
2. Globular Transfer
3. Spray Arc Transfer

Modes of GMAW Transfer
Short Circuit (Short Arc)
Operates at low voltages and welding current
Small fast-freezing weld puddle obtained
Useful in joining thin materials in any position, as
well as thick materials in vertical and overhead
Metal transfer occurs when an electrical short
circuit is established
this cycle can repeat itself between 20 and as
much as 250 times per second.

Short Circuit

A - Electrode is short circuited to base metal. No
arc, and current is flowing through electrode wire
and base metal.
B - Resistance increases in electrode wire causing
it to heat, melt and neck down.
C - Electrode wire separates from weld puddle,
creating an arc. Small portion of electrode wire
is deposited which forms a weld puddle.
D - Arc length and load voltage are at maximum.
Heat of arc is flattening the puddle and increasing
the diameter tip of electrode.
E - Wire feed speed overcomes heat of arc and
wire approaches base metal again.
F - Arc is off and the short circuit cycle starts

All-position capability, including flat, horizontal,
vertical-up, vertical-down and overhead.
Handles poor fit-up extremely well, and is capable
of root pass work on pipe applications.
Lower heat input reduces weldment distortion.
Higher operator appeal and ease of use.
Higher electrode efficiencies, 93% or more.
Restricted to sheet metal thickness range and open
roots of groove joints on heavier sections of base
Poor welding procedure control can result in
incomplete fusion. Cold lap and cold shut are
additional terms that serve to describe incomplete
fusion defects.
Poor procedure control can result in excessive
spatter, and will increase weldment cleanup cost.
To prevent the loss of shielding gas to the wind,
welding outdoors may require the use of a

Globular Transfer
Welding current and wire speed are
increased above maximum for short arc
Droplets of metal have a greater diameter
than the wire being used
Spatter present
Welding is most effectively done in the flat
position when using globular transfer
Globular transfer is often a
high voltage, high
amperage, high wire feed
speed transfer, and is the
result of using CO2
shielding gas (or 75% AR-
25% CO2) with parameters
higher than the short-
circuiting range

Uses inexpensive CO2 shielding gas, but is
frequently used with argon/CO2 blends.
Is capable of making welds at very high
travel speeds.
Inexpensive solid or metal-cored electrodes.
Welding equipment is inexpensive.
Higher spatter levels result in costly cleanup.
Prone to cold lap or cold shut incomplete fusion defects,
which results in costly repairs.
Weld bead shape is convex, and welds exhibit poor wetting
at the toes.
High spatter level reduces electrode efficiency to a range
of 87 93%.
Less desirable weld appearance than spray arc transfer
Welding is limited to flat positions and horizontally fillet
Welding is limited to metal 1/8 inch (3 mm) or thicker

Spray Arc Transfer
Occurs when the current and voltage settings are
increased higher than that used for Globular
Used on thick sections of base material, best
suited for flat position due to large weld puddle
Spatter is minimal to none
Uses 5% to 10% co2 mix with argon or oxygen.
>Forms very small droplets of metal
>Very good stability
>Very little spatter

Spray arc transfer sprays a stream
of tiny molten droplets across the
arc, from the electrode wire to the
base metal.
Spray arc transfer uses relatively
high voltage, wire feed speed and
amperage values, compared to short
circuit transfer.
High deposition rates.
High electrode efficiency of 98% or more.
Employs a wide range of filler metal types in an
equally wide range of electrode diameters.
Excellent weld bead appearance.
High operator appeal and ease of use.
Requires little post weld cleanup.
Absence of weld spatter.
Excellent weld fusion.
Lends itself to semiautomatic, robotic, and hard
automation applications.

Restricted to the flat and horizontal welding
Welding fume generation is higher.
The higher-radiated heat and the generation of a
very bright arc require extra welder and bystander
The use of axial spray transfer outdoors requires
the use of a windscreen(s).
The shielding used to support axial spray transfer
costs more than 100% CO2.

Pulse Spray Transfer
GMAW-P was developed for two demanding reasons:
control of weld spatter and the elimination of incomplete
fusion defects common to globular and short-circuiting
The welding current alternates between a peak current and
a lower background current.
This faster-freezing weld puddle is what allows the pulsed-
spray transfer to be used fort thinner metals,
better control on out-of-position work.
allows for larger wire sizes to be used on varied metal

In pulse spray transfer (GMAW-P) the
welding power sources pulse control
pulses the welding output with
high peak currents (amperage) which are
set at levels which will cause the transfer
to go into a spray. The background
current (amperage) is set at a level that
will maintain the arc,
but is too low for any metal transfer to
Pulsed arc transfer
Absent or very low levels of spatter.
More resistant to lack of fusion defects than other modes
of GMAW metal transfer.
Excellent weld bead appearance and offers an engineered
solution for the control of weld fume generation.
Reduced levels of heat induced distortion and tendency for
arc blow
Ability to weld out-of-position and handles poor fit-up.
When compared to FCAW, SMAW, and GMAW-S,
pulsed spray transfer provides a low cost high-electrode
efficiency of 98%.
Lends itself to robotic and hard automation applications.
Is combined for use with Tandem GMAW or other
multiple arc scenarios.
Capable of arc travel speeds greater than 50 inches per
minute (1.2 M/min.).

Equipment to support the process is more
expensive than traditional systems.
Blends of argon based shielding gas are
more expensive than carbon dioxide.
Higher arc energy requires the use of
additional safety protection for welders and
Adds complexity to welding.
Requires the use of windscreens outdoors.

Manual GMAW Equipment
Three major elements are :
1.) Welding torch and accessories
2.) Welding control & Wire feed motor
3.) Power Source

GMAW equipment can be used either
manually or automatically

GMAW Schematic Diagram
Welding Torch & Accessories
The welding torch guides the wire and
shielding gas to the weld zone.
Brings welding power to the wire also
Major components/parts of the torch are the
contact tip, shielding gas nozzle, gas
diffuser, and the wire conduit

Others types of torch

Welding Control & Wire
Feed Motor
Welding control & Wire feed motor are
combined into one unit
Main function is to pull the wire from the
spool and feed it to the arc
Controls wire feed speed and regulates the
starting and stopping of wire feed
Wire feed speed controls Amperage

Types of Wire Feed Motor
Types of WFM Roller
Types of Wire Feeder

Power Source
Almost all GMAW is done with reverse
polarity also known as DCEP
Positive (+) lead is connected to the torch
Negative (-) lead is connected to the work
Provides a relatively consistent voltage to
the arc
Arc Voltage is the voltage between the end
of the wire and the work piece

Contact Tip To Work Distance
In constant current, the CTWD (contact tip to
work distance) determines the arc length.
As the CTWD increases the arc length increases, and
as the
CTWD decreases the arc length decreases. This
presented a
problem for semiautomatic welding because it is
difficult to
maintain the same CTWD. To compensate for this
problem an arc voltage controlled wire

Constant voltage power source designs provide a specific
arc voltage for a given pre-selected wire feed speed The
volt-amp curve, or slope, is comparatively flat. As the
CTWD increases with these types of power sources, there
is a decrease in the welding current. As the CTWD
decreases there is an increase in the welding current. The
arc in this case becomes a series circuit, and the CTWD
provides resistance to current. In either scenario, the
voltage remains the same and the arc length remains the

Shielding Gases

Purpose of shielding gas is the protect the
weld area from the contaminants in the
Gas can be Inert, Reactive, or Mixtures of
Gas flow rate is between 25-35 CFH
Argon, Helium, and Carbon Dioxide are the
main three gases used in GMAW
Properties of Gases
Affect the performance of the welding process
1) Thermal properties at elevated temperatures.
2) Chemical reaction of the gas with the various
elements in the base plate and welding wire.
3) Effect of each gas on the mode of metal
Types of shielding gases
Inert Gas
1. Argon
2. Helium
3. Ar + He
Active Gas
1. Carbon Dioxide
2. Inert gas + any type of active gas
Argon is an inert gas which is used both
singularly and in combination with other
gases to achieve desired arc characteristics
for the welding of both ferrous and non-
ferrous metals.

Carbon Dioxide Pure carbon dioxide is not an
inert gas, because the heat of the arc breaks down
the CO2 into carbon monoxide and free oxygen.
This oxygen will combine with elements
transferring across the arc to form oxides which are
released from the weld puddle in the form of slag
and scale.
Helium is an inert gas which is used on
weld applications requiring higher heat
input for improved bead wetting, deeper
penetration and higher travel speed. In
GMAW it does not produce as stable an arc
as argon. Compared to argon, helium has a
higher thermal conductivity and voltage
Filler Wire
Wire Chemistries
GMAW Operation techniques
To setting WFS (Wire Feed Speed)
Voltage-bead Change
Electrode Stick-out

ESO Setting
Gun angles and techniques
Direction of Travel