Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Complete Guide to Metal Welding and Fabrication: When You Need It & Why?

Are you wondering when you might need metal welding and fabrication, and why? Have you ever considered how you might use these techniques to craft an object, or refurbish a part of your home or car? Let’s start with the basics. 

Welding and fabrication are two different things, although many people use both words interchangeably. 

Fabrication refers to making something out of metal, while welding is simply joining two pieces of metal together at their melting points. Welding is really one step in the process of fabrication which involves laying out a design, then welding the materials and finishing the design. In short, welding is one element in a bigger process. But of course, both go hand in hand. Welders usually know how to fabricate an object, and those who fabricate know how to weld.

So let’s take a look at welding and fabrication, and what you need to do to implement these skills.

Using the Right Tools

In order to weld and fabricate, you need the right tools. These include welding items such as:

  • Abrasives

  • Benders

  • Electrode holders

  • Soapstone

  • Vice/vice grips

  • Tungsten inert gas - for clean welding

  • Chipping hammers

  • Hand File

  • Adjustable wrench

Additionally, important fabrication tools include:

  • Cleco fasteners

  • Angle grinder discs

Cleaning supplies are also important to remove germs, oils, and the build-up of grease on metal surfaces. To handle cleaning appropriately, you’ll need one of these three items:

  • Acetone

  • Alkaline solution (mild)

  • Degreaser (one that does not contain butoxyethanol)

Be sure to protect yourself and your workstation with proper cleaning and safety tools, too. Safety is essential.

For workstation cleaning:

  • Coverings/protection films

  • Mops and sweepers

For personal safety:

  • Flame-resistant pants

  • Leather apron

  • Boots - either non-slip or steel toe

  • Fume extraction tools

  • Working gloves

  • Safety goggles

  • Hearing protection

  • Respirator or dust mask

  • Auto-darkening helmet (with visor) 

Safety must come first, so be sure you can afford to purchase and know how to use all of this equipment before getting started.  

Different Types of Welding

There are a variety of different kinds of welding techniques and types that you’ll discover. Sheet metal fabrication and welding takes a series of extensive steps to fully complete. Each requires a different technique or type of welding. For example, you will likely need to perform these techniques:

  • Die cutting

  • Roll Forming

  • Finishing

  • Spinning

  • Shrinking

  • Stamping

  • Stretching

Welding types include:

  • Oxy acetylene

  • TIG

  • Gas metal arc. 

  • MIG (Metal Inert Gas) 

  • Conventional stick welding 

One of the easiest types of welding is metal inert gas, which can be used to shape metal art. In the mainstream welding industry, TIG is frequently used, due to its ability to weld relatively devoid of splatter.

Stick welding creates very strong welds, for that reason this is the technique most often chosen for heavy repairs and for applications such as construction work. 

All in all, no matter when you need to use the processes of welding or fabrication, or the reason why, you need to utilize proper safety equipment, perform correct handling practices, and be using the right tools. With all of these elements in place, welding and fabricating are skills you should be able to master in a short amount of time, and there are many opportunities in welding and fabrication in the workforce, as well as at home or in your own garage or workshop.

Learn More About Metal Welding and Fabrication

To find out more about metal welding and fabrication, or consult with us about these processes, contact us at Atlas Bronze. Call 1-800-478-0887 to speak to one of our sales representatives about our wide selection. Our team of experts will guide you through the process.

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

What Metals Conduct Electricity & Why Do You Need It?

metal conductivity

Metals are more conductive to electricity than other material types. But some are more conductive than others. Why do you need metals, and one metal in particular? 

Let’s start with why metals overall are more conductive: the atoms of which metal is composed contain valence electrons. This type of negatively charged particle can move freely through atom lattices, which results in conducting electric current.

But the more of these valence electrons a type of metal has, the conductivity of that metal is weaker. That may sound counter-intuitive, but the reason is simple. With fewer electrons that can create resistance, conductivity is far less strong. So, metals with only one valence electron are actually the most conductive types of metals

Metals that Best Conduct Electricity

While all metals have electrical conductivity, those that are the least resistive to electricity are the most conductive. These include:

  • Silver

  • Copper

  • Gold

  • Aluminum

Silver is considered the most conductive metal. It was once used for the manufacture of electrical cables and wire. But, due to its low heat resistance, which can lead to the possibility of fire, it is no longer used for that purpose.

Copper is the second most electrically conductive material. It has replaced the use of silver as far as cables, electrical wires, and other parts of the electric grid. It’s just as soft and malleable as silver, and it offers a very high electrical conductivity and thermal conductivity.

But, unlike silver, it's highly reactive, meaning that it can be combined quite easily with other metal types. The result: there are more than 100 different kinds of copper-based alloys. Among the most popular are bronze and brass. 

Brass is stronger and firmer than copper alone but it can crack under stress. Copper can more easily bend without any breakage. Brass is also less conductive than copper, which means it is not suitable for electrical applications. In other uses, such as plumbing, brass is usually more resistant to corrosion than copper.

While copper is the top choice for electrical conductivity uses today, there are a few others that conduct electricity well.

Gold is the most expensive metal, and is not commonly used as an industrial electrical or construction material. Non-reactive, like silver, it’s somewhat difficult to alloy as well.

Aluminum is, on the other hand, an abundant and widely used metal. Along with its alloys, aluminum is used extensively in major industries from aerospace to construction and transportation. 

Why Do We Need Metal?

There are so many reasons why metal is crucial to modern life, and its ability to conduct electricity is key. Without conductive metal, our communications systems, transportation and vehicles, and our general infrastructure would be nonexistent.

Copper, specifically, is vital for all of these systems and applications. 

Atlas Bronze Can Help with Your Metal Needs

Regardless of your needs, our skilled professionals at Atlas Bronze are here to assist you. 

If you’re considering the right metal for your applications, our sales team is ready to help. Contact us - our expert team is ready today to help you get started at 1-800-478-0887.