Last Updated on September 2020
Are you always on the lookout for high-quality welding consumables? Cutting tips, wire, and electrodes are critical components of any plasma cutting system, and their performance can directly influence the quality of your weld.
If you are new to this field, it is helpful to know that welding consumables = essential material for welding fabrication in any form.
If your consumables are not durable, you may find yourself spending a lot of money on things like sticks and flux-cored wire, only to end up struggling with double arcing, untidy cuts, and electrodes getting stuck.
Finding high-end consumables that are compatible with your system can be a challenge. There are many products available on the market, but there is not that much information on their features, efficiency, and performance.
To help you out, we did some research to make a list of high-performing products. We also provide some information on consumables to help you make an informed decision. Keep reading to learn more about the different system categories and cost considerations.
What Are Welding Consumables?
A welding torch has three primary functions, namely to deliver electric current to the electrode, to provide shielding of the arc area, and to direct the electrode into the arc.
A torch is connected to the robot flange with a mounting arm and should ideally be fitted with an anti-collision clutch to prevent equipment damage in the case of a stuck electrode or crash.
There are many types of torches, and the best option depends on several factors, including the process, current, electrode size, and shielding medium. A torch can be categorized in terms of cooling. Some models are water-cooled with circulating water while others are air-cooled.
Tips are located at the business end of a torch. Tips produce a positive pressure that is higher than one pound per square inch, and they are used at equal pressures of acetylene and oxygen.
Single-hole copper-alloy tips are fitted to the torch handle, which is equipped with a mixer that combines fuel with oxygen. The mixed gas moves through the tip and burns at the end as it exits to produce a weld. The design of the tip depends on the flame characteristics of the fuel gas.
You can choose from one and two-piece tips. One-piece tips have a cutting jet oxygen passage and preheating flame passage. Two-piece tips feature an outer shell, grooves for preheating flames, and a splined insert.
Consumable electrodes carry current from the torch to the plate. Electrodes are typically made from copper or silver and contain tungsten or hafnium to allow for better electricity conducting.
The electricity flows from the welder through the torch and to the electrode via a cathode block. An electrode has three functions, namely to maintain uniform density and thermal balance during welding as well as to concentrate the current at welding points.
In shield metal arc or “stick” welding, electrodes are consumable. The electrodes used in Tungsten Inert Gas welding, on the other hand, are non-consumable, as they don’t meld to form part of the weld.
There are several wire types available to fabricators, each with unique arc behaviors, applications, and mechanical properties. The three gas-shielded arc wires include:
Solid Gas Metal Arc Wire (GMAW)
Many steelworkers prefer GMAW as it produces a weld deposit with no slag. The clean-up requirements of this wire type are also low, which increases efficiency.
Gas-shielded Flux-cored Arc Wire (FCAW)
This type of wire is tubular and contains fluxing agents and deoxidizers in the core to add additional protection from the atmosphere. Because it has a flux, this wire type is especially suitable for welding dirty steel.
Composite GMAW Wire (Metal-core)
Metal-core wires are tubular electrodes that contain metallic constituents in the core. Because of its metallic components, it can weld steel with mill scale and surface contaminants.
Welding Consumables are Segmented Into:
In arc welding, an electric arc produces the intense heat that is necessary to melt steel, usually at the joint between two parts. An arc is an electric current that flows through ionized gas between to electrodes.
The arc forms between the steel plate and a wire or stick electrode. Consumable electrodes in arc welding do not only conduct the current but also melts to supply filler metal to fuse the joint.
Arc welding is incredibly popular, and there are several kinds to choose from, including shielded metal arc, submerged arc, MIG, flux-cored arc, and TIG. All these kinds of arc welding are based on the same principle.
Oxy-fuel involves the combustion of pure oxygen and acetylene that are mixed in correct proportions to produce a flame that melts steel at a temperature of about 3,200 degrees Celsius.
The equipment needed for this process includes a gas torch and steel gas cylinders that are fitted with a regulator, hoses, and a non-return valve. Other fuels that can be used include propylene, liquified petroleum gas, natural gas, MAPP gas, and hydrogen.
This process is incredibly versatile and can be used for welding, metal cutting and heating, and depositing metal for surface build-up. The application determines the type of torch and fuel you need.
Ultrasonic bonding is the fusion of two thermoplastic parts that are chemically compatible with each other to establish a molecular bond.
This method involves the conversion of high-frequency electrical energy into high-frequency mechanical motion that, together with applied force, produces heat at the joint area between two plastic components. The heat melts the plastic material to form the molecular bond.
The ultrasonic method is energy-efficient, clean, fast, and versatile. You can fuse most plastic material types, including polypropylene, acrylic, polycarbonate, and polystyrene. The running costs of this method are also relatively low since it does not require any consumable materials like solder, flux, rivets, or clips.
Laser Beam Welding (LBW)
LBW is a fast and efficient process that is particularly suitable in automated processes. A high-intensity laser beam that is focused on the joint generates the heat necessary to fuse metals.
LBW is a suitable option for projects that require visual appeal and precision. The most common LBW processes include spot and seam, depositions, scanning, heat conduction, soldering, and deep penetration fusion.
One of the advantages of this process is that it requires no consumables unless fillers are used for soldering. LBW is also ideal for processing materials that have complex geometries.
Consumable Fabrication Buyer’s Guide
Remember, welding consumables = essential material for welding fabrication in any form.
Hypertherm Powermax45 Consumables
This handheld cutting consumable kit for the Powermax45 XP plasma system allows you to achieve a consistent and high-quality cut. The handheld tool makes it easy to change out consumables, and the SpringStart electrode technology eliminates moving parts in the torch to provide a reliable start.
The vent holes around the orifice prevent overheating and allow for a stable arc. Since the vented shield is electrically isolated, you also don’t have to worry about double arcing.
- Design provides for the correct gas flow
- Kit features a storage case
- Optimal cooling
- Only compatible with the Powermax45 XP system
Jack and Dave Cutting Consumables
- 100PCS Plasma cutting consumables
- Package Includes: 10 Pcs Cup 30 Pcs Electrodes 20 Pcs Ring 40 Pcs Tip(Common)
- Fits Stahlwerk CT312, CUT50, ACDC TIG200 PLASMA, CT520, CT512P with PT-31 GUN
- Fit PT31-GUN
- For 40 50 Amps Cutting Machine
This kit from Jack and Dave consists of 100 pieces of plasma cutting torch consumables that can fit 30-amp, 40-amp, and 50-amp plasma cutting systems. The consumables are compatible with a wide range of equipment, including the PT31 torch gun.
- Affordable and comprehensive consumable kit
- High-quality and durable tips
- Fits a wide range of models
- Tips are short and must be close to the metal to start an arc, but they do perform well
Miller Electric Consumables Kit
- Popular torch consumables for the Spectrum 375 and 375 X-TREME with XT30 or 30C plasma torch
- Includes plastic storage case with (5) electrodes, (5) tips, (1) swirl ring, (1) retaining cup, (1) o-ring and (1)tube of silicone grease
The consumables kit from Miller Electric for the XT40 is incredibly versatile and features, among other things, five electrodes, five 40A tips, three 30A tips, and two drag shields. Other items you receive with the kit include an O-ring, swirl ring, shield deflector, gouge tip, and gouge shield.
- High-quality, long-lasting tips, and electrodes
- Kit includes a drag shield and shield deflector
- Includes a storage container
- Kit has a relatively high price tag but comes with many components
JINSLU OEM Trafimet S45 Tips
This kit from JINSLU features one S45 torch head body that allows you to change out consumables quickly. You also get ten high-quality tips and ten electrodes for a wide range of applications.
These electrodes have a chrome-plated copper construction and are compatible with 230 Volt inverted plasma cutters. The tips can be used with the Chicago electric welding machine and 230 Volt, 40A plasma cutters.
- Durable finish
- Affordable kit
- Features an S45 torch head body
- Not compatible with Miller Electric
TIG Welding Tungsten Electrodes
- Premium ten (10) pack of blue EWLa-2 2% lanthanated tungsten rods for TIG welding
- Highest rated and most reviewed tungsten electrodes on Amazon
- United States based manufacturing & customer service staff are here to help you
- Electrode size: 1/8″ x 7″ or 3.2mm x 175mm
- Free materials safety data sheet (MSDS) and certificate of conformance provided below in the product information, adhering to American Welding Society standard A5.12M/A5.12:2009
This kit from Midwest Tungsten Service features ten long-lasting EWLa-2 1/8” x 7” blue TIG welding electrodes that offer reliable arc striking and a low burn-off rate.
These electrodes meet all ANSI and AWS standards and are suitable for both AC and DC applications. Also, you can use them for welding stainless steel and aluminum.
- High-quality, long-lasting TIG electrodes
- Can weld a wide range of steel types
- Low amperage requirements
- Blue paint can inhibit performance
Steel MIG Solid Welding Wire
- Low spatter, High feedability, Porosity free, Good bead appearance, Easy to weld
- Shielding gas is required: 80-percent Ar+20-percent CO2 or 100-percent CO2,All Positions, Single and multi pass welding
- Mig solid welding wire for Carbon and Carbon-Manganese steels
- Made in Italy from the finest quality materials using state of the art technology under highly respected labor conditions
- Approvals: ABS, TUV, DB, DNV, LRS, RINA, GL
This consumable wire offers a wide range of benefits, including low, spatter, a desirable bead appearance and a diverse application range.
Reviewers particularly like the weld quality that this wire produces as well as the tensile strength, which can be as high as 510 MPa. This MIG solid wire can be used for automotive repairs, earthworks, and for working on tanks and boilers.
- Exceptional weld quality
- Porosity free
- The wire is copper coated to prevent oxidation
- Requires shield gas
When it comes to costs, it may be tempting to settle for the most affordable consumables. However, higher-priced products tend to have a longer-lasting fabrication and a durable finish, which means there are longer times between stock replenishing.
High-quality consumables also tend to provide high levels of efficiency and neat results.
Going for the most affordable consumable may leave a cheaper dent in your pocket, but you will have a less reliable weld, and the precision of your cut may be compromised.
Low-priced consumables also tend to reduce your system’s energy efficiency, and they may not have the same cooling features, which means a shorter lifespan.
The quality of consumables plays an integral role when it comes to the performance, energy efficiency, and usability of your plasma cutting or welding system. Before purchasing tips, electrodes, or wiring, pay attention to system compatibility, additional requirements, and costs.
When shopping for consumables, prioritize lifespan and quality. The higher the quality of the consumable, the less you will have to worry about post weld work. You will also have to spend less on consumables that last longer.
A high-quality consumable will have minimal downtime requirements. If you are satisfied with a consumable, you don’t have to go through the selection process again when your stock is depleted, and it may be worth your while to do some research before you buy.