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Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) in Sheet metal fabrication


In this post I will provide a detailed explanation of the SMAW process, which is perhaps the most common welding technique in small sheet metal fabrication shops.

Let’s start defining, what SMAW is.

Shielded Metal Arc Welding, also known as stick welding or manual arc welding, is a welding process that uses a consumable electrode coated with a flux (more on electrode types in a separate post). In SMAW, the heat required for melting the base metal and forming a weld joint is generated by an electric arc established between the electrode and the workpiece.

The basic process of SMAW involves the following steps:

Preparation: The workpiece or base metal needs to be cleaned and prepared by removing any rust, dirt, or contaminants that could affect the quality of the weld.

Electrode Setup: The electrode is inserted into the electrode holder, which is connected to a welding machine.

Arc Ignition: The welding arc is initiated by striking the electrode against the workpiece. Once the arc is established, it generates intense heat that melts the base metal and the electrode, creating a pool of molten metal.

Welding Operation: The welder manipulates the electrode and maintains the proper arc length, travel speed, and welding technique to deposit the molten metal into the joint, forming the weld bead. The flux coating on the electrode also serves to protect the molten metal from atmospheric contamination and provides a slag that floats on top of the weld, helping to shield it from the air.

As the welding progresses, the electrode is consumed, and the welder must periodically replace the electrode in the electrode holder to continue welding.

After completing the weld, the slag is to be removed. Grinding, cleaning, and heat treatment, may be required depending on the application and desired results.

In separate posts I will be dealing with electrode types, welding machines and other topics of SMAW.
    Portoroz, Primorska - si

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