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Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)

GMAW: A semi-automatic or automatic arc welding process in which a continuous and consumable wire electrode and a shielding gas are delivered to the weld through a welding gun.

GMAW Hazards
1 2 Electrical shock Hot metal How is the risk of these hazards managed?

4 5 6 7

Harmful rays
Hot spatter Fumes Shielding gas Pinch points

GMAW has the same three requirements of all arc welding. How does GMAW meet these requirements?
Shielding GMAW Heat Filler Material

GMAW Processes
The GMAW process provides four different metal transfer methods.
Short circuiting

Globular Pulse spray

Short Circuiting Transfer

When the gun trigger is activated, the wire starts to move toward the metal.

5. The wire touches the metal and the process continues

4. As the wire continues to move, the arc restarts.

3. The current pinches off the droplet and the arc stops.

2. The high current flow melts the end of the wire and a droplet is formed.

1. When the wire touches the metal it shorts out.

Process is recognizable by its sharp buzzing or crackling sound Most common method

Spray Transfer
Requires high current density. What is current density? The current density of the spray process causes the wire to melt into small droplets (less than the diameter of the wire). The arc forces propels the droplets to the metal. What are the characteristics of the spray transfer method? Would the process work better for thin metal or thick metal? Why?

Is the spray transfer method recommended for all welding positions? Why, Why not?

Globular Transfer
Low current density results erratic arc and globules of metal larger than the diameter of the wire. Minimum penetration. Excessive spatter Use is limited to submerged arc welding.

Pulse Spray Transfer

In the pulse spray transfer the current alternates from the desired welding current to a background current. The background current just maintains the arc. The peak current, time of peak current, background current and time of background current are all adjustable.

A = Peak Current B = Background Current C = Peak Time D = Pulses per Second

What are the advantages of the metal transfer method?


An important function of all GMAW processes is the stickout. Stickout is the distance from the end of the contact tube to the weld surface. What is a potential problem of insufficient stickout? What is a potential problem of Excessive stickout?


GMAW Equipment


Equipment Requirements
1 2 3 4 Store and deliver gas to the weld at the correct rate. Store and deliver welding wire to the weld at the correct rate. Provide correct current. Automatically or semi automatically control all of the features.


C o m p o n e n t What is the function s of each part?


GMAW Equipment
Power source Wire feeder and controls Welding gun and components Shielding gas delivery system Weld cleaning and finishing tools


GMAW System Parts

A. B. C. D. E. Hand wheel Flow meter Wire spool Wire Feed roll tension F. G. H. I. J. K. L. M. N. O. P. Q. R. Voltage meter Wire speed meter Wire speed adjustment Voltage adjustment Power switch Gun cable Gun Ground clamp Ground cable Feed rolls Wire guide Wire overrun Safety nut





Flow meter
What is the purpose of the flow meter?

Two types of flow meters are available. One piece: the gas flow rate is regulated by using a fixed orifice and changing the pressure to change the flow rate. Two piece: the gas flow rate is adjusted by using a constant pressure regulator and changing the flow rate with an adjustable orifice (needle valve).

Which type will provide better control of the gas flow? Why?

Welding Gun
Function is to deliver the shielding gas, wire and welding current to the weld pool. MIG guns are rated on amperage capacity.
The reason is heat. >400 amps are water cooled.

Welding wire is delivered to the gun by the liner.

Liner must sized to the welding wire. Small liner = excessive friction which may cause the wire to seize. Large liner = wire can buckle and spring forward causes erratic wire feed. Liner must be correct length.

Gun end cutaway

1. 2. Cable Insulation ring

4. 5. 6.

Gas diffuser
Contact tube Wire Nozzle

Welding Gun--cont.
Contact tube
Sliding electrical connection. Must match the diameter of the wire Must be replaced frequently Nozzle

The nozzle directs the shielding gas towards the weld pool.

Contact tube


Power Supply
GMAW and FCAW both use a constant voltage power supply.
Many different types are available. Industrial rate are usually 100% duty cycle. Non industrial power supplies have sloping duty cycle. May have a built in heat sensitive overload switch.

Install power supply so that the cooling air through the machine is not restricted.


Selecting Power Supply

Seven factors to consider when selecting a GMAW or FCAW power supply.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Type of metal Metal thickness range Type of metal transfer Wire diameter range Primary power available Capacity of power source Control and adjustments


Wire Feeding systems

Function is to deliver the welding wire at a constant rate to the gun. Three systems
Push Pull Push--pull

Two types
Constant speed Voltage sensing

Two types of construction

Internal External


Wire Drive Systems

The drive system is responsible for pulling the wire from the spool and then pushing the wire down the cable. The wire drive systems consisted of one or more pair of feed rolls and wire guides. The guides must be the proper size and adjusted close to the feed rolls and aligned with gap between the rolls.


Feed Rolls
For a GMAW system to work correctly, the feed rolls must be the correct type and size. The feed roll tension must also be set correctly.

V Groove Knurled V groove

U Groove Cogged U groove


ConsumablesShielding Gases
Carbon dioxide
Requires special valve Must use washer between valve and flow meter.

Same valve as helium

Same valve as argon


ConsumablesWelding wire
Solid (Copper clad) Flux core Stainless steel Hard surfacing Aluminum
What three wire diameters are most popular?




FCAW (Flux Core Arc Welding) uses a hollow wire that is filled with flux. Same transfer methods as GMAW. Two types
Externally shielded Intershielded


Self Shielded
Shielding is provided by flux in the core of the wire. Produces a larger volume of fumes. Resistant to contamination caused by sidedrafts. Will have slag to remove.

Does this fume removal system meet safety codes?


Self Shielded--gun
Does not require the use of a nozzle.

GMAW gun

FCAW gun

No nozzle?

What is this?

What are the advantages of not using a nozzle? What are the disadvantages of not using a nozzle?