Welding Wire 101: Everything You Should Know About Welding Wires

welding process

Fusing metal pieces together (welding) requires the use of welding wire. It needs to be set on fire to connect the metal pieces. In welding, the wire becomes soft through hammering or compressing due to the heat.

Welding wire comes in many kinds. Which kind of wire you need depends on the type of job you have to do and. To add, every kind of welding job requires a specific type of welding wire. Welding wires come in three forms. These are:

  • Composite GMAW metal-cored wire
  • Gas-shielded flux-cored arc welding wire (FCAW)
  • Solid Gas Metal Arc Welding wire (GMAW)

Another component of welding wires that is important when choosing is the diameter and chemical makeup. Choosing the right kind of welding wire is important because using the wrong kind will result in wire burn-back. Wire burn-back means the wire ‘burns back’ to the contact tip of your pieces. Aside from that, you should also choose the right welding wire suppliers so that there’s a guarantee that the product you are buying is legit and good-quality.

Solid GMAW Wire

This type of wire is for Metal Inert Gas Welding. It is the best wire to use when you’re working on metal sheets because it can produce smooth and clean welds. A word of caution though, the shielding gas can’t be exposed to the wind as it might result in the end product not being desirable. The outcome of the weld depends on the chemical makeup of this wire and what kind of shielding gas you’re going to use.

Solid GMAW wire can also be used for ‘blasted plate’, out-of-position welding, and other post-weld functions.

Metal-Cored Wire

man using welding wire

This wire, like solid GMAW, produces welds that are clean or require minimal to no cleanup at all. It has almost the same performance with solid GMAW wire. It used to be called flux-cored wire and it’s a composite GMAW electrode.

A metal-cored wire can be used for high-strength and low-alloy applications. With low-alloy applications, its metallic components can mix with the core component to achieve the desired results. As said above, there might be a little cleanup to do before painting the base metal.

FCAW Wire (Gas-Shielded)

This wire consists of fluxing agents and deoxidizers. These ingredients can be manipulated so that the mechanical properties of the weld deposit are of good quality. It’s available in out-of-position and in-position welding.

Of the three types of wires, FCAW wire can tolerate harsher conditions due to its flux that gives extra atmospheric protection. It can also ‘deposit more pounds’ compared to solids GMAW or metal-cored wire except for tandem GMAW (makes use of two solid wires in a weld pool). It is used in high-strength and low alloy applications. The downside of this wire is the cleanup due to the slag left on the weld. You need to remove that before painting.

Choosing which type of welding wire you need is easy when you know the basics and your requirements. It’s also easy to know which welding wire suppliers to look for once you have narrowed what you’ll use it for. Do not forget to look for consistency, performance, productivity, and results when finding the right welding wire for your needs.