Arguably these two welding types are by far the most prominently used ones in the world. Although professional welders do not consider the flux core and MIG welding a world apart there are some differences. It is important that you understand what each of them do in order to be able to differentiate between them. As a beginner it can be quite tricky to know which ones stands better than the other. This is the reason you need to know how they operate and what results they are capable of producing.
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It would necessarily enable you to make the right choice when you are out there to make a purchase. You would also be able to understand which one you can begin with as a novice welder. In this article we go through the process of both, their pros, and cons. It would give you a fair idea on where you can begin with in your welding process with different metals.
Each welding types mentioned above have their own advantages and disadvantages. By being aware of these can help you make the right choice of purchase with welding machines. You would also be better aware of how each one of them work by the end of this article. Only upon differentiating each of the welding types you can understand what suits you better. Without this knowledge it is likely that you would be all at sea in more ways than one.
Understanding flux core arc welding
The process of using flux core has been in place around the 1950s. To understand the process in simple terms, the electrode contains flux material in the core elements. The flux material ends up creating a shield when the gas is burned. It means that no external gas is required to ably supply shielding gas in this process. There is also no need of a gas container that is external for flux core welding.
Flux core welding can be used in farms, automotive general welding projects, and body repair works. They are also widely used in welding of pipes, and ship building work. However, the main industries that this type of welding is put to use is underwater welding and manufacturing. Read more best guide on MIG welder by Fixit man blog.
- FCAW (Flux Core Arc Welding) can be done either in overhead or vertical positions
- Windy conditions or outdoor welding is possible with FCAW
- FCAW is both portable as well as cheaper since there is no requirement of a gas container
- Rusted metals and dirty metals can be welded with FCAW
- High emission of unpleasant, harmful and even poisonous fumes is released while welding with FCAW
- The person welding is exposed to health hazards
- If this type of welding is done indoors you would need to have a proper ventilation system in place to safely operate
- Requires clean up after the process of welding is completed or in welding terms slag caused due to welding has to be removed
- FCAW wires are much costlier when they are compared to MIG wires
Understanding MIG welding
MIG (Metal Inert Gas) welding as you may have rightly guessed is the much older type of welding process. Consumable wire electrodes are used to make an arc that is between the electrode and metal. When this process is underway there is a lot of heat that is produced as a result. While this is in progress an external gas container provides shielding gas.
So, it is basic understanding that the flux materials are absent in the electrode when it has to do with MIG welding. Although this type of welding is still in use it is quite uncommon to notice them in most industries these days.
Although the uses do not differ by much with MIG welding when compared to FCAW (Flux Core Arc Welding) this type of welding can be done on both non-ferrous and ferrous metals. Pressure vessel production, ship building industry, and the automotive industry and the most common ones to use MIG welding.
Aluminum product manufacturing industries can also use MIG welding as this type of welding is capable of welding aluminum. You may also weld steel with this welding type hence has a wider use comparatively.
- This type welding has minimal splatter while in progress
- Since gas is supplied from an external tank there is minimal loss of alloying element while using MIG welding
- You can produce aesthetically cleaner welds or clean welds using this method of welding
- Slag produced during this welding process is lesser hence easier to remove too
- The learning process is much simpler and easier when compared to FCAW
- This welding supports both non-ferrous and ferrous metals hence has a wider usage in different industries
- The surface that has to be welded has to be clean and tidy by all means
- This welding type does not work on rusty, dusty, and surfaces with paint or other types of residue
- You would not be able to use this type of welding outdoors and hence are confined to indoor welding only
We have clearly listed the operational pattern, uses, pros, and cons of both welding processes. There are other things that you would have to look at as well. Some welding professionals may begin to argue one is better than the other. However, in terms of quality of the weld and looks both are relatively the same.
It depends on so many aspects on which one is better than the other. Achieving high-quality weld is possible on both the machines. With one it might be easier while with the other it may be difficult. Yet, it is possible to achieve the same quality with both welding types. One type of weld may be better in one aspect compared to another. However, it is still difficult for anyone to say you should only choose a certain type of welding between the FCAW and MIG.
In simple terms, you can run a comparison and figure out which one is better suited for your needs. If you wish to learn welding there is no better way to do it than with a MIG welding machine. Choosing one based on performance and output is still something that is debated based on a person’s perspective and outlook.