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The Difference Between Welding and Metal Fabrication

Posted Jul 26, 2021 by Dave Scaturro

 The Difference Between Welding and Metal Fabrication

Fabricating and welding: these are two similar and interchangeable words that don’t exactly mean the same thing. For one, welding joins together two pieces of metal, glass, or thermoplastics with similar melting points and compositions using fusion. Fabrication is the evolutionary process of creating a metal product, from layout and design to formation and finishing. But as the industry continues to grow, it’s fair to say that welders can fabricate and more likely that fabricators can, in turn, weld. Below we compiled a list of some key factors that help further differentiate the two.

Tools

Most metal fabrication tools can’t be used for welding because that process requires different, more specific instruments, including the following: abrasives, adjustable wrench, benders, chipping hammers, consumable electrodes, cylinders with custom carts, electrode holders, hand file, soapstone, vice and grips and welding clamps.

Processes

Because welding is a metal forming technique, it coincides with sheet metal fabrication, and each trade uses similar processes. The following are three common methods:

  • STICK Welding: Also known as shielded metal arc welding, manual metal arc welding, or flux shielded arc welding is a manual arc welding process that uses a consumable electrode covered with a flux to lay the weld.
  • STUD Welding: This process involves placing the stud (with a hand tool called the Stud Gun) in contact with the base metal, a weld arc is then drawn which melts the welding stud base and an area of the metal work piece for metal fastening. The welding stud is then forced into the melted area and held in place until the metals re-solidify. This high quality fusion arc weld is completed in milliseconds.
  • FLUX Cored Arc Welding: Also known as FCAW is a semi-automatic or automatic arc welding process which requires a continuously-fed consumable tubular electrode containing a flux and a constant-voltage or, less commonly, a constant-current welding power supply. This welding process is commonly used with construction clients because of its high welding speed and portability for field applications.

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Dave Scaturro
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