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Welding materials are grouped into specific categories, from the actual welder and welding rod to protective clothing worn by the person conducting the welding and the materials used to weld with. Welder styles range from simple stick welders to metal inert gas (MIG) and tungsten inert gas (TIG) models. Welding rod of various sizes, make-ups and wire are used in MIG welding and are some of the more common types of welding materials found in a welding shop. Other welding materials such as welding masks, gloves and leather vests provide protection against burns to the welder's eyes, hands and skin.
With traditional stick welders, welding materials consist of the welder, commonly called a buzz box due to the humming sound it makes once switched on, the electrode holder or "stinger," and the ground clamp. Welding rods round out the typical welding materials and are available in many sizes and flux-coating derivatives, each designed to best serve the individual welding task at hand.
Other welding materials that are common to all types of welding are the welding mask or shield. It is designed to protect the user's eyes from the intensity of the welding flash or arc. This flash can be equal or greater to the light emitted from the sun. Heavy leather welding gloves protect the user's hands from severe burns, and a leather welding vest prevents hot sparks from burning the user's skin and clothes.
Modern MIG welders use a roll of welding wire in place of the welding rods used in stick welding. Common welding materials for this style of welding include the welding wire, and a container or cylinder of inert gas, such as Argon or carbon dioxide, to shield the weld puddle in place of the flux coating used on welding rods. The wire is stored inside of the welder on a spool and is fed through the torch, the device used in place of the electrode holder by a trigger-like device mounted on the torch.
While very similar to MIG welding, TIG welders use welding materials that are somewhat different. A length of filler wire is common among welding materials used in TIG welding and is used in place of the roll of wire used in MIG welding. The welding torch contains a tungsten tip that is used to create the very high heat used to melt the steel. Once melted, the wire is dipped into the weld puddle, and this process is repeated until the entire weld is complete.
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