FCAW or Flux Cored Arc Welding-

So basically the assumption had always been that FCAW procedure had always been done without the need for gas. Had just learned today according from individual at professional welding shop that shielding gas can indeed be used in conjunction with Flux Cored Arc Welding.

Apparently, you can use gas such as CO2 and Argon with the method much like with MIG welding. Some welding machines have different setups with regards to what type of welding that is required. For instance you can have a machine set up for MIG/TIG, MIG/FCAW, SMAW, etc.

FCAW operates on the same basic procedure that MIG/GMAW uses, and most people will claim that it is relatively easy to use compared to stick or TIG. So now going into a little more detail for FCAW, we will now look at a few of the different positions that are used with this welding method.

One of the biggest advantages that FCAW has over multiple other forms of welding is its high deposition rate of metal. This is truly one of the more important reasons as to why many fabrication shops and ship building industries favor FCAW immensely

- Flat: obviously one of the easiest positions to weld in as well as usually the position that many first time welders will begin. For the author, have found one of the best ways to learn for anyone who is beginning FCAW or GMAW is to be comfortable as to be able to manipulate the torch better.

Flat position or 1G/1F will offer the majority of folks, especially the beginners, the most comfort.

Horizontal: 2G/2F

Vertical: 3G/3F

For those who have struggled with stick welding in the vertical position and have not FCAW/GMAW welded before, this will certainly be a lot easier. Of course FCAW in this position tends to be easier due to the fact that you only have to worry about keeping the gun steady and watching the puddle.

With stick welding, you do this plus have to keep feeding the electrode in manually as you move along the puddle. It will take a few times to practice but eventually it will become really easy to do.


Pic of second overhead attempt:

Introduction to Operations

-When welding with FCAW equipment, it is also particular import to pay attention to the torch tip during welding operation. Most of the time spatter will gum up the nozzle tip causing obstruction for the gas (if you are set up for FCAW-G or GMAW).

-Depending on whether or not you might be new to FCAW or GMAW welding, it isn't always possible to weld in a comfortable position. Case in point, the welding instructor for the author was a retired welder of 40+ years at a local shipyard. He made mention that much of the FCAW welding was done out of position (e.g. welding with a mirror, on his back etc.)

Welding Gear

During the Shielded Metal Arc Welding class, one of the biggest issues stressed by the instructor was safety. Wearing the proper attire while welding is a crucial safety factor especially if one is looking to pursue a career in welding and metal fabrication.

Usually, most instructors will recommend that you at least have steel toed boots on while welding. Tennis shoes or open toed shoes are completely out of the question as far as footwear in the welding shop. It is good practice to always wear earplugs especially if you are arc welding because of the intense sparking and slag flying everywhere it is better not to take any chances and risk spark or slag from going into the ear.

If your just starting out in welding and are going to a trade school, your instructor may tell you the best places to buy the essential tools you will need for class. Most places that specialize in tools and warehousing equipment may carry specific equipment that you will need for class but its a good idea to find a company that deals primarily with welding supplies only.

Welding Shield

One of the first pieces of equipment that you will need to invest in is a fully functional welding shield. Below are several popular shields that are available.

Choosing a proper welding shield is incredibly important if you care at all about your eyesight. The extremely bright light that is given off from the arc can severely cause damage to your eyes as well as cause flash burn in some cases. Most of the conventional welding shields that are on the market will offer optimum protection from these dangerous rays of light and furthermore, most helmets are approved certain codes such as ANSI.

Sometimes whenever you are welding, spatter and sparks will be flying around in every possible direction, especially if you perform a lot of overhead style welding. In this position of welding, fire and sparks will probably be raining down due to the angle of weld on the base metal. So with respect to choosing a proper welding shield issues such as this are import to keep in mind.


One of the most effective helmets used by a wide variety of welders in the industry and at home these days is the auto darketing shield. This particular piece of equipment is truly one of the biggest technological breakthroughs as well as being renowned for its convience and ease of use for many welders out in the field.

Neiko Solar-Powered Auto Darkening MIG/TIG Welding Helmet, ANSI Approved

Average Rating: 466stars

Auto darkening welding helmet that is perfect for those who are starting out learning to weld or even the seasoned welding veteran. Welding shield has a centralized lithium battery with solar cell that allows for recharging capability.
For those on a tight budget and want to invest in a decent auto darkening shield, the Neiko Solar Powered shield may be what your looking for.

  • Ability to switch between shades 9-13.
  • Adjustable headband for optimum comfort.
  • Lithium Battery power source.

  • One of the more cheaper priced auto-darkening shields.

Neiko Auto Darkening Solar Powered Welding Helmet - ANSI Approved

Average Rating:

Another one of the more popular auto darkening welding shields put out by Neiko that offers the best protection while welding. The helmet is part of the AH-88 and uses solar polar device for darkening ability.

User Benefits From:
  • Light weight helmet for increased comfort.
  • Wider window area allows for better vision to make work easier to see.
  • Autodarkening feature allows quick reaction time as well as returning back to normal once welding has stopped.

Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)

For most individuals starting out in learning welding, most technical schools usually require students to start out with Shielded Metal Arc Welding or also known as SMAW. Many folks in the welding industry still use this method especially in the shipbuilding and pipeline sectors.

So basically the technical school that I had attended required me to take two semesters or 144 hours of training before I could become certified in the Shielded Metal Arc Process. If you are thinking about starting off in welding with completely no experience, be prepared to begin with SMAW or "stick welding" as it is otherwise known. To get a better idea about SMAW and how it works, take a look at the SMAW page on the right for videos.


One of the basic fundamentals of Shielding Metal Arc Welding is electricity. Without it, this method of welding is rendered useless. The whole method of operation of SMAW welding boils down to basically creating fusion of metal by means of electric current. It starts at the welding machine, through the cable and electrode holder or stinger as it is sometimes referred to.

Depending on how the welding machine is set up, DC+ or DC-, electrons will jump from either the work piece or the electrode thus creating a brilliant arc flash which creates enough heat to melt the area to be welded. Always take care before setting up the welding machine before use or consult with experienced personnel if at all unsure about proper welding adjustments.

Electrodes that are used in SMAW applications vary in all types and sizes and many have coding for certain welding positions. For instance, most experienced welders would argue that vertical position welding is one of the most difficult positions due to gravity and the molten metal dripping. There are electrodes that are made specifically for this style of welding and have a code that is affixed to them that denotes that tells the individual that they can be used for vertical position welding.

When starting out learning SMAW, be sure to keep in mind that there are several different categories in sizes with regards to electrodes. The most popular electrode measurements are

- 3/32" 2.4mm

- 1/8" 3.2mm

- 5/32" 4.0mm

- 3/16" 4.8mm

7018 Electrode:

- These electrodes are predominantly popular throughout the industry. Namely shipbuilding companies in particular are keen to utilize the 7018 electrode for most welding applications.

- For most people who have been welding for7 quite a while will attest that 7018's finished weld does in fact have one of the nicest looking finishes if done right. For the author of this blog, it was required to start off learning to stick weld with 6010 electrodes prior to learning with 7018.

- Fast Freeze Electrodes

In SMAW, some welding applications call for different positions like overhead and vertical style welding. As mentioned before, most individuals starting out with learning SMAW and beginning these positions will more than likely be challenged as you are working against gravity.

This is where using certain electrodes designed for these positions comes into play.


Hello everyone, this blog will be dedicated to the art (or science) or welding.
This blog will be for informational purpose and to spark the interest from anyone else who may be considering going into this career path. Welding is considered universally to be the backbone of all industrial and commercial design and will always be in demand in all welding applications.

Image: Pixomar / FreeDigitalPhotos.net