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What You Need to Know About Arc Welding

Published: December 9, 2020

If you plan to have a career in welding, one of the most common processes you’ll use is arc welding. This process uses electricity to heat and melt two metals so they can be bonded together via fusion. Based on the type of metal and gas used, there are many different types of arc welding; you’ll need to know how and when each type should be used.

What Is Arc Welding?

The term “arc welding” comes from the arc of electricity that is used to heat the two metals you’d like to combine. Either an AC or DC power supply can be used to heat the metal to a melting point of 6,500 degrees Fahrenheit. Arc welding is commonly used because it’s a cheap and convenient process. It can be completed in many different weather conditions and can also be used on unclean metals.

Types of Arc Welding

Arc welding is classified as either consumable or non-consumable. Electrodes are used to create electricity in arc welding, and those electrodes can either be consumed (used) in the welding process, or not consumed. Here are the different types of arc welding in each category:


  • Stick Welding—This is a more common term for Shielded Metal Arc Welding or Flux Shielded Arc Welding. In this type of welding, a consumable electrode coated in a purifying agent known as “flux” is melted into a pool that forms a joint between the two metals when it cools. Stick welding is often used for common appliance maintenance and repairs.
  • Gas Metal Arc Welding—There are two different forms of gas metal arc welding: Metal Inert Gas Welding (MIG) and Metal Active Gas Welding (MAG). Both processes use a wire electrode and metals, as well as a shielding gas to prevent contamination. MIG is typically used in car repairs, furniture construction, and computer manufacturing.
  • Flux-Cored Arc Welding (FCAW)—This type of welding uses an electrode that has a core comprised of compounds and powdered metals. It’s typically reserved for heavy industry and complex manufacturing processes.


Tungsten Gas Arc Welding (TIG)—In this type of arc welding, a non-consumable tungsten electrode is used. This is a preferred method of welding because you have more control in this process than in others. It can be a little more difficult to learn as a result. It’s most commonly used on thin sheet metal and metal art sculptures.

Plasma Arc Welding (PAW)—This is similar to TIG in that it uses a tungsten electrode, but it places the plasma inside the welding torch so it’s kept separate from the shielding gas. Plasma arcs are quite powerful and can also be a little tough to learn.


Are you ready to learn arc welding? At Charter College, we offer a Certificate in Welding in Vancouver and Anchorage that will give you hands-on experience in all of the methods and processes that you’ll need to work as a welder across a variety of industries. Call 888-200-9942 or fill out the form to request more information.