A proper weld creates a high-strength bond that fuses two metal pieces. In collision repair work, this bond is instrumental in the refortification process as technicians piece together the structure of a damaged vehicle.
That being said, an improper weld can seriously compromise a vehicle’s structural integrity and the safety of its passengers on board. Customers rely on highly trained collision technicians to make these high-strength fixes with precision.
Aspiring collision technicians can get a glimpse behind the safety shield of the basic processes and techniques that the industry relies on in the following post brought to you by Automotive Training Center (ATC).
Core Welding Equipment Types: GMA MIG and TIG Welding
The most common welding type that training technicians are likely to learn early in their training is steel GMA MIG welding. Let’s dissect this core welding type’s title.
GMA: GMA refers to the high-level classification of this style of welding. In gas metal arc welders, high-voltage electricity flows from the welder wire’s consumable electrode to the work metals in an arc shape, heating up and fusing the materials it meets.
In MIG and TIG welders, the welding tool produces a shielding sphere of gas when it’s in use. This gas bubble keeps the air’s impurities from permeating the weld site and compromising the weld.
MIG: MIG welders are the most common subset of GMA welders. MIG stands for metal inert gas. This welding type uses a continuously feeding coil of welding wire to conduct the weld and is known as the auto industry’s most universal welder. It can be used to weld a variety of parts that range in thickness from thin sheet metal to heavy steel plates.
TIG: TIG welding is another subset of GMA welding that uses a different method to make the weld, an extra strong non-consumable electrode known as tungsten. TIG welders rely on two thicker rods to slowly weld materials instead of a wire spool that threads through.
TIG welding is regarded as a more advanced welding style. Welders need both hands to operate the welder, with one steadying the welding gun and the other feeding in filler material that solidifies the fusion between materials.
TIG welding is used to accomplish uncommon metal welds, intricate, small area welds, critical weld joints, and heavy-duty welds.
Basic MIG Steel Welding Techniques for Collision Technicians
Developing proper welding technique requires in-depth training and special care to adhere to safety precautions during practice. As you develop your basic welding skills, you’ll need to consider the following:
- The length of unmelted wire you set to weld with at the contact point (referred to as the wire stickout)
- How long you concentrate heat from the welder
- How you hold the welder in respect to your body; in the flat, horizontal, vertical, or overhead position—vertical and overhead are the most challenging to accomplish
- The angle at which you hold the welder to the weld site
MIG and TIG welders are two fascinating industry equipment tools that Collision Technology students enrolled at ATC get to learn to use firsthand under the direction of ASE-certified industry professionals.
For more information about the exciting hands-on training you’ll be immersed in as a Collision Tech student, find out more about ATC’s Collision Reconditioning Technology program.