Welding Essentials: Questions and Answers

Chapter 5: Shielded Metal Arc Welding

Get your facts first and then you can distort them as much as you please.

Mark Twain

Introduction

Although there had been initial work on arc welding in the 1700s using carbon electrodes powered by batteries, development work intensified between 1880 and 1900 with the availability of electric generators to replace batteries. By the early 1900s Lincoln Electric offered the first arc welding machine and by 1912 covered electrodes were patented. It remains an important process for structural steel and pipelining. Decision makers in these critical industries use it because it is so reliable. Even with thousands of welds made in adverse conditions, on startup the trans-Alaska pipeline did not have a single weld failure. Arc welding is popular for industrial, automotive, and farm repair because its equipment is relatively inexpensive and can be made portable. More weldors have learned this process than any other. Although it will be around for many years, and its annual filler metal poundage continues to grow, it is declining in importance as the wire feed welding processes continue to gain popularity and market share. We will cover theory, equipment, electrode rod classification and selection, and safety.

Process Names

What is the AWS designation for welding with a flux coated electrode?

Shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) is the AWS designation.

What are other common names for SMAW?

SMAW is also commonly called arc welding, stick welding, and stick electrode welding.

What equipment makes up a SMAW setup?

  • Constant-current (CC) welding power supply

  • Electrode...

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