How Much Do You Know About Welding?

By: Ian Fortey

How many types of welding are there?

While most people might only think of welding with a torch or something like MIG welding, there are numerous kinds of welding, over 30 in fact. Some require electrodes like MIG welding, while others burn fuel like oxyacetylene welding.

What does EBW stand for?

Electron-beam welding uses high-velocity electrons to form a bond between metals. The kinetic energy created by the flow of electrons actually melts the two surfaces and allows them to bond together.

What kind of weld is an LBW weld?

A laser beam weld is just what it sounds like, a weld performed with a laser. Unlike many welds, a laser beam weld can be used not just on metal but on thermoplastics as well. Because a laser can be so well focused, this can produce very thin yet very deep welds.

How does ultrasonic welding work?

Ultrasonic welds are a kind of solid-state weld. A tool is applied to the plastic being welded or, in some cases, even thin metal. It is vibrated so fast, at such a high frequency, that it bonds the two pieces of the weld together thanks to the friction melting them.

A good way to bond sheets of metal together is by using RSW. What is it?

Resistance spot welding, better known as simply spot welding, bonds metal together with the power of heat caused by resistance to an electrical current. Thin metal is held together under pressure and a current is run through it. The spot is where the current passes melts the metal.

What company installed the first welding robot arm in 1961?

General Motors installed a massive industrial welding robot on the line back in 1961. Called the Unimate, the enormous arm weighed more than 2 tons and could perform spot welds based on some simple programming.

What do you call the kind of solid state welding that can occur in space?

Cold welding is a very bizarre sounding phenomenon that occurs in a vacuum. If two perfectly clean pieces of flat, similar metal come into contact in a vacuum, they will bond together with no heat required. With nothing separating the atoms, they have no reason not to become one thing.

What do you call the cloud of fumes you can see rising from a weld?

The fume plume is the kind of clever but fairly accurate name for a cloud of fumes coming off a weld. You're going to want to do your best to not breathe this stuff in as it can be quite toxic.

When was oxygen-acetylene welding first invented?

Oxygen-acetylene welding was developed in 1903 by French engineers. Pure oxygen allows for an increase in the temperature of the flame, and oxy-acetylene torches could burn at temperatures of over 6,000 degrees.

In what year did Russian cosmonauts become the first humans to weld something in space?

In 1969, Georgi Shonin and Valeri Kubasov from the Soyuz 6 mission became the first humans to ever try their hand at welding in outer space. They used a tool called the Vulkan and made a weld that was about as good as any weld from Earth.

EXW may be the most intense kind of welding known to man. What exactly is it?

Explosion welding is weirdly just what you think it is: a kind of solid state welding that uses the force of an explosion to force two metals together at incredible speed. It was discovered by accident after WWI when soldiers noticed shrapnel bonded to other kinds of metal.

What do the letters MIG stand for?

Metal Inert Gas or MIG welds are a kind of gas metal arc welding. While many years ago welding with oxy-acetylene torches was the norm, arc welding has become much more popular and commonplace.

MIG welding uses an electrode that has a coating on it. Why is there a coating on the electrode?

Porosity is what happens when the metal in a weld gets contaminated by trapped gas. The weld will look bubbly when it's done and will not be as strong as it should be. The coating on a MIG weld electrode helps prevent this contamination from happening.

Where does the heat come from in arc welding?

Arc welding works with electricity to create heat for the weld. An electrical arc is created between the stick in the welding tool and the metal that is the base of the weld. That arc, which looks to the naked eye like a very bright spark, is what heats the metal to allow the bond.

What civilization is generally thought to have created some of the first rudimentary welding techniques?

Egyptians were considered among the first to develop rudimentary welding techniques. During the Bronze Age, they began melting iron and by around 1,000 BC they had perfected a technique to make solder.

Welders need to be conscious of photokeratitis. What is it?

Sometimes called arc eye, photokeratitis is a painful inflammation of the eyes caused by exposure to the bright light and radiation from welding that often won't be noticed until it's too late. It's why welders wear goggles.

Advanced welding techniques greatly increased the speed at which ships could be assembled during WWII. What was the name of the legendary ship assembled in 4 days, 15 hours, 29 minutes?

The SS Robert E. Peary was welded together in just over 4 and a half days during a competition in 1942. Over 250,000 separate pieces together weighing more than 14 million pounds were put together in that time.

NASCAR cars have to undergo an immense amount of fabrication and welding. How many hours go into each car before they hit the road?

You can't buy a NASCAR vehicle off the showroom floor, they need to basically be custom made from the ground up. That means around 950 hours of work go into fabricating and assembling these cars, all with hand welds.

What kind of medical equipment runs the risk of malfunctioning if it gets too close to certain welding machines?

If you have a pacemaker, you need to be wearing of power sources for some arc welding machines. Evidence has shown that welding machines operate at a frequency that can interfere with pacemakers at a range of about 2 meters.

Which type of weld can you safely do without eye protection?

Eye protection should be worn no matter what type of welding you're doing. The amount of shade in the lenses you're wearing can vary depending on how you're welding, but it's never a bad idea to protect your eyes.

If MIG welding is Metal Inert Gas welding, then what is TIG welding?

Tungsten inert gas uses a non-consumable electrode, unlike MIG welding. In this case, the tungsten electrode is not used up like the thin electrode in MIG welding. It makes for great welds but is slow and requires much more skill to pull off.

What color is the fuel hose on an acetylene torch?

It helps to know what line you're dealing with at a glance so the hoses are color coded. Red is the color for a fuel line, while green is the color of a line carrying oxygen. If you're using an inert gas in something, it probably goes through a black hose.

Is it safe to weld something on concrete?

You don't want to ever use concrete as a backdrop for your welding. Heat from the weld can superheat little gas bubbles in the concrete and literally cause it to explode underneath you.

Just how hot can Atomic Hydrogen Welding get?

Atomic Hydrogen Welding or AHW is a kind of arc welding that shields tungsten electrodes in hydrogen to produce an incredibly hot flame. The 4000°C it produces is much hotter than something like an acetylene torch, which produces flame about 700 degrees lower.

What's the best way to light an acetylene torch?

A striker is the only safe way to light your torch, creating a spark that ignites the gas. Any direct flame method like matches or a lighter could be too dangerous and result in burns.

What happens if you try to use a wet welding electrode holder out of the water?

Underwater welding units for wet welding are designed specifically to be used in the water. When used outside the water, they run the risk of overheating since the constant exposure to wet conditions isn't there to maintain the temperature.

Which of these is not a name for a type of bead you can run on a welded surface?

The metal deposited on a surface while you weld is called the bead. You can create different kinds of beads depending on how you weld. A fillet joins two pieces at an angle while a weave is caused by a side to side motion. There is no such thing as a hammer bead.

Understanding how different metals react is key to being a good welder. What's the study of metal known as?

The study of metal is called metallurgy. The name comes from alchemy when, back in the day, you would be considered a metallurgist if you could extract metal from minerals. Early examples of that include the smelting of gold.

Choosing the right clothing for welding is important. Which of these is the worst choice?

Synthetic fabrics are always the worst idea for welding unless they're specifically designed to be heat and flame resistant. A flammable fabric or one that can melt puts you at a much greater risk of injury than most natural fibers.

Which of these is a danger typically associated with arc welding?

Welding can be extremely dangerous, and arc welding is no exception. Welders have to be on the lookout for electrical shock, toxic fumes and even UV radiation, not to mention burns, eye damage and various cuts and bruises one could suffer.

Which of these sci-fi-sounding welding techniques is not real?

There's no such thing as phased plasma welding, but the others all exist. X-ray welding is still fairly new and relies on focused X-rays to produce heat for an extremely accurate weld. Magnetic pulse uses electromagnetic radiation, and electroslag is a kind of arc weld.

What does FCAW stand for?

Flux-cored arc welding is quite a bit like MIG welding overall, but the difference is in the electrode. Instead of a solid wire like in MIG welding, the FCAW weld uses one that is hollow and filled with flux.

What gas serves as protection for carbon arc welding?

Carbon monoxide gas is what's used to protect the weld during a carbon arc weld. The electrode used in carbon arc welding is a non-consumable electrode as in tungsten inert gas welding.

MIG welding is a kind of GMAW welding. What does GMAW stand for?

Gas metal arc welding is any kind of welding in which an electric arc forms between an electrode of some kind and whatever metal it is that you're trying to weld at that time. The gas part refers to a gs used for shielding, which can come in several varieties.

What is MAPP gas?

Methylacetylene-propadiene propane is a kind of gas that is considered a safer and more stable substitute for acetylene gas. interestingly, MAPP is a trademark and the product is no longer produced. Any MAPP in circulation currently is a substitute product.

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About This Quiz

Welding is one of the most common trades in the world, and also one of the most important. Nearly every industry involves welding at some point in time along the line of production.  It's involved in everything from the manufacture of technology like smartphones to assembling cars to constructing homes and other buildings and everything in between.  It's an industry that's always in demand and offers up a heck of a lot of variety that most other trades could only dream of.  What other industry can see you doing your work down at the corner store or deep under the ocean?  Heck, you even need to weld in space sometimes, so there's a lot going on there.  It's amazing and can take a lot of skill.

The thing about welding is that, with so many different methods and so many different applications, there's a lot to know. Even an expert welder might not understand all the subtle ins and outs.  Everyone has to start somewhere, though, so if you think you might have amassed enough knowledge in your time to master our welding quiz, then why not grab your gear and give it a shot?  Take the quiz and prove your welding skills!

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