Last Updated on September 2020
Welds are made on joints to bond pieces of metal to become one. It varies from different types depending on the nature of work and the kind of metal you intend to weld.
In this article, we will look at the uses, procedure, and importance of flux core welding. Anything else that falls under this type of welding as compared to others will also be discussed. By the end of this piece, you will have almost everything that you need to know about flux core welding.
What Is Flux Core Welding?
Flux core welding can be defined as automatic or semi-automatic arc welding. It comprises a tubular electrode which contains the flux that is fed continuously with a constant voltage. It is often used to bind mild steel.
Power from electricity is critical for this type of welding, and this is shown by the arc part of it. An electrical arc is formed that is focused at the end of the welding wire.
10 Ways to Use Flux Core Welding
The uses of this method of welding are of a wide range, and the technique itself is becoming popular by the day. Let’s take a look at instances where it is used and understand why it is becoming everyone’s choice. The following are examples of situations where flux core welding can be used.
Used When Portability is Necessary
This method of welding is easily portable. This means that as long as you have a power source, you only require a welder and an appropriate welding wire. These are easy tools to carry; you can move from one site to another without any problems.
You do not have to move a high gas pressure cylinder. The gas cylinders used for welding are usually heavy, and transporting them can be a challenge. High-pressure gas cylinders have to be handled with care because it is filled with argon which is a dangerous gas when inhaled as it can silently suffocate when in a room that is not well ventilated or when in a truck or car.
The equipment to be used with the flux core welding are also fewer, which helps make it easy to carry. This is because the rod of the welding wire is not separate as that of stick welding. This weld will be economical when it is difficult to access some areas. Some people may even use it while on a ladder, a feature not common with other welders.
Used Where it is Challenging to Pre-Clean the Metal
One of the requirements before welding is to ensure the surface is clean. Any rust should be removed to form a tight bond when welded. This is, however, not a requirement for flux core welding. In other cases, it can be difficult to clean a piece of metal you want to work on due to its location. Under such conditions, a flux core welder would be the best option.
Preferred for Outdoor Welding
Welding outdoors can be a challenge depending on the method you are using; this is because of factors in the atmosphere that hinder the formation of a strong bond. Welds fail and become weak when the hot metal is exposed to the atmosphere.
This is, however, not the case with this flux core welding, as it is not affected by the nature of the atmosphere. No matter how strong or high the wind is, the flux core welder will still deliver a clean and strong weld.
Shields are used to prevent the entry of wind that blows away gas used for welding. You have to ensure that you have covered any wind entry points when using other forms of welding. Instead of going to all that trouble, next time, try and use a flux core welder to make work easier.
Used for Welding Thick Metals
When welding thick gauge metal, it is wise to opt for the flux core. Dense metals can be difficult when welding. Remember, the main aim of welding is to make the metal pieces become one. This means that a lot has to be put in place when welding thick metal. Many steelworkers prefer using a flux core welder due to its ease when welding dense metals. This is evident whenever you visit a site using steel structures.
A flux core welder can quickly penetrate thick metal. It has to be gas shielded or self-shielded for it to weld deep enough. Self-shielded welders are preferred for use with less-dense metals. This type of flux core welder will penetrate up to ½ an inch of the metal with a single pass. Other welding machines are unable to penetrate this thickness with a single pass and with the same amount of voltage.
Used When Working on Galvanized Steel
As mentioned earlier, this type of welding works perfectly with mild steel, but that’s not all. It also delivers when dealing with galvanized steel. Other welding methods require you first to grind the galvanized steel off. This is, however, not a requirement for this method of welding.
Steel has to be galvanized for it to be used in some outdoor objects such as pipes and fences. This means that it can be difficult to take an object made of galvanized steel into the workshop for cleaning. A flux core welder is used under such conditions as it welds without requiring any grinding or cleaning.
Applied When Fast Welding is Required
The flux core welder relies on a hot process where the base metal is melted, and a filler is quickly deposited. Other different welding methods have difficulty in achieving this. The time taken for preparing a metal surface for a weld is reduced. Thus, you can weld anything at any moment by just making sure the settings on your welder are correct.
This factor has made flux core welding the most preferred welding method during construction and for industries dealing with ship making. Its ability to weld thick metal plays a significant role here, making it the perfect choice for such an enterprise.
Used for Out of Position Welding
The wire used in flux core welding is made in such a way that it allows horizontal welding. Different forms of wires can be used for all welding positions, including overhead, vertical, or uphill.
The most preferred welding position is a flat weld. This is also among the easiest to work with because being above a weld lets gravity take its course.
Welding out of position is more complicated because it requires an operator with more skills to make welds that will enter the metal and, on the other hand, work quickly so that the molten metal filler does not drip. Use the right type of flux core wire to get the weld right.
Works Great for Beginners
This welding method works best for beginners or anyone who has not mastered welding skills. It is preferred for use by first-timers because it is easy to handle and operate. Newbies can make perfect welds after a few hours of practice. For more information on the best welders for Newbies [ Read our Full Guide]
Making a good weld means that your weld is strong enough to hold. A weld by a beginner may not be that appealing at first glance, but it is has a strong bond and will hold. The ability to hold is among the most important thing when welding.
Large Welding Projects
Flux core welding is used in large welding projects because it is fast and efficient. This method can be used both outside and inside, meaning no matter where the location of the weld, it will still deliver. Some projects may be located in areas that are not easily accessible. Flux core welding can be done in such situations because of its portability.
Flux core welding can penetrate deep in thick metals. This plays a significant role in the construction of steel structures because time and energy are saved. All these features and many more make flux core welding the most preferred welding method for any situation.
Preferred When Looks are Not of Importance
The wrong settings on the flux core machine can lead to production spatters when in use. Spatters will affect the look of your final weld and the area surrounding it. Using the wrong settings, it is hard for the slag coverage to take effect as it is hard. This will lead to the production of a weld that does not have an appealing look. More time is thus used to clean and correct the final finish of the surface.
When the final finish of a weld is not of much consideration, you can opt to use this method. This type of welding is preferred when the strength of a weld is important. Flux core welding produces a stronger weld. When looking for a strong bond without having a problem with the final appearance, be sure to consider this method.
How To Use a Flux Core Welder
The choice of your welding method will be influenced by the type and size of the job. So far, we have discussed only the uses of flux core welding, so now let’s look at the steps you can take when using this welding method.
Arrange All the Necessary Equipment
Before any welding is done, be sure that you have tools that you will need for the whole job. These equipment include gloves, welding mask, hammer, grinder with wire wheels, tape measure, and ear protection. These are just a few of the essential tools you will use when welding.
Clean the Metal Surface
We earlier mentioned that it is not a requirement to clean the metal surface when welding using the flux core method. However, if the nature of the job allows you to clean, then do so. Cleaning the surface makes the bond hold and become stronger; therefore, this step should not be ignored.
Make Cuts Where Required
Depending on what you are working on, make cuts where necessary. Ensure you have correctly measured your pieces and cut them according to the measured lengths.
Set up the Workpiece
After making cuts, set and arrange your pieces according to how you want the final workpiece to appear. Doing this will allow you to make adjustments where necessary.
Turn Your Welder on and Adjust the Settings
Make sure you make correct adjustments depending on the job. The wrong adjustments can lead to shoddy work. Handle these changes with care and ensure everything is set before you move to the next step.
Tack-Weld Corners of the Piece
This step involves welding the corners and edges of your piece according to the arrangement. This is meant to hold the piece intact before making the final weld. It allows you to maintain your parts together when filling.
Filling the Remaining Parts
After the corners are well supported, weld the gaps left to fill them. Make sure you maintain consistency when filling. The filling weld should be smooth all around the piece.
Clean Your Piece
After final welding is done, there could be spatters that are left on the piece. This step is used to remove any spatter or slag from the material. You can use a grinder and bleach to smooth the surface. The metal should be free from any holes, and the corners should have a seamless transition on each side. After cleaning the piece, you can paint it to improve its appearance.
Clean Up the Working Area
When you are finished welding, make sure everything is arranged correctly, and the working area is clean.
Flux core welding is a good option as it has more advantages than other forms of welding. It offers you better efficiency and versatility, making it an excellent fit for amateurs and professionals alike.
Remember always to make sure the settings are correct to avoid doing lousy work. Follow the above steps on how to use the flux core welder, and you may improve your welding skills. Safety should always come first; therefore wear the appropriate gear to avoid accidents.