Peculiarities and Cautions of SMAW

The profession of a welder is considered to be quite popular and relevant today.

Consequently, young specialists, who will gain experience, can already take on more serious tasks and work in this field.

Surprisingly, after a seven-month professional welder program, you can earn a higher yearly income than the average of all professions in the United States.

Here is more information on SMAW, one of the most common and universal welding forms.

About SMAW Welding Process

In other words, Manual Arc Welding is piece electrode welding (the American abbreviation is Shielded Metal Arc Welding).

The European abbreviation is Manual Metal Arc.

As a matter of fact, the essence of electric arc welding is that an electrode which is evenly surrounded by flux coating makes a connection.

The melting of the coating forms a protective layer which separates the welding area from atmospheric gases (nitrogen, oxygen).

Besides, it contributes to the alloying of the seam.

Indeed, this is an effective solution for joining most metals and alloys.

All the necessary equipment is highly mobile and affordable.

Features of SMAW Welding

When welding, you must form a neat and clean weld.

Therefore, it’s important to pick a steel that works well with SMAW welding techniques.

For example, steel that conforms to AISI-SAE 1015 to 1025 requirements is good, as well as steel with silica content under 0.1% and sulfur content under 0.035%.

Other steels with content above this range might have problems with cracking.

Then clean up the edges to get a solid weld.

To make the gases bubble out before the puddle solidifies, use an electrode with a slow travel speed like E6010 or E6011.

This technique is effective if it is impossible to clean the joint.

Quality SMAW Welding Rules

The main defects of the weld are porosity, cracking and inclusion of slag.

By slag, we mean the waste matter that was not chipped or brushed off and became part of the weld.

In case of less optimal metals, use a slow travel speed that will keep the puddle molten and allow gases to bubble out, forming a strong weld.

If you’re welding thinner stock, between 10-18 gauge, place your work at a 45-75 degree slant.

By doing so, you can get the fastest travel and don’t make the joint too wide to burn through.

If you’re working with a heavier plate that is 3/16″ or more, make the weld flat for the best electrode placement.

Cautions When SMAW Welding

Welding machines are not dangerous if you read all warnings and take all measures to ensure your safety and that of the people around you.

Since electrical current and temperature are the main causes of injury, the following requirements apply to welders:

  • Use a polarized darkening shield that will protect your eyes from burns in an arc flash;
  • Preferably, do all works in rubber gloves on the dielectric layer so that the current does not flow through the body to the closing of the ‘balancer-welding surface’ circuit.

Welding aerosol contaminates the working area during welding.

Then problem is, the aerosol includes oxides of various metals and gases that have a harmful effect on the human body. 

For this reason, provide sufficient ventilation of the workplace when welding.

This page is also available in Spanish.

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