Intimidated by welding?
Whether you’d like to build custom cars or fix a cracked piece of equipment, learning to weld gives your construction game a serious boost. To help you choose a machine that meets your needs, in this story we’ll outline the three basic welding systems. Ideally, you’ll pick one that can handle both your first effort and more advanced projects as your skills grow. Once you’ve mastered the basics and are looking for your first project be sure to check out our story on how to build a welding table.
All of these welding systems work essentially the same: An electric arc generates enough heat between the electrode (stick or wire) and the metal being joined to melt both together and create the bond. To ensure a strong bond, the super-hot area around the weld is surrounded by a cloud of inert gas to prevent oxygen and contaminants in the air from weakening the weld. That gas is provided either by the flux inside or around the electrode, or by a bottle of gas that feeds the joint as you weld.