The Fine Art of Fusion: Exploring TIG Welding Without Filler Metal

09 November, 23 9:36 am · Leave a comment · Red-D-Arc

TIG, or Tungsten Inert Gas, is a kind of welding using non-consumable tungsten electrodes, a shielding gas like argon or helium, and a filler rod to melt into a weld pool for deep, thick, robust welds. The resulting joints are strong and, when done properly, can be very even, level, and even beautiful. One thing that many people don’t know – or discover on their own in a moment of desperation – is that TIG can be performed without a filler rod at all.

What is a TIG without a filler rod? How does it work, what are the pros and cons, and should you learn how to do it? Let’s talk about it.


The Environmental Impact: Sustainable Welding Practices in Industry

26 October, 23 9:25 am · Leave a comment · Red-D-Arc

At first glance, the environmental impact of welding might not seem like a significant concern. At its core, you’re using electricity to generate heat to melt and fuse metals together; where is the environmental impact?

At closer examination, there are many ways that welding can impact the environment.

  • The process of welding generates metal fumes, both from the metals being welded, from the fillers being used, and from the fluxes or shielding gasses being used. These fumes, released into the environment, can lead to poisoning the air, land, and water, as well as people or animals in the area.
  • The electricity used in welding has to come from somewhere. As a very energy-intensive process, any steps taken to reduce energy consumption or make welding more energy-efficient can be beneficial to the environment, even if it is many steps removed from the generation of that energy.
  • Welding has many consumables, many of which have debris or remains that are simply discarded as waste.

This only scratches the surface; a comprehensive analysis of welding processes shows a wide range of potential environmental contaminants and impacts across the industry.

Two things are undeniable.

Welding can be hugely damaging to the local and global environment.

Welding is absolutely essential to modern life.

As long as welding is necessary for the manufacture of modern necessities, it can’t be abandoned. Therefore, anyone using welding should take any steps they can to minimize their environmental impact. The question is, how? There are many options, so let’s discuss them.


The Future of Welding Automation

11 October, 23 11:00 am · Leave a comment · Red-D-Arc


Welding automation can help offset the skilled welder shortage while improving both productivity and safety. While some welding jobs can be completely automated, that’s often not the case for many tasks. However, as welding automation systems are rapidly improving, and becoming more commonly used, we will likely see welding automation ingrained in everyday welding tasks, even in small welding shops.

Learn about the advantages and disadvantages of welding automation and how your business could benefit from automation solutions, including cobotic welding.


SEMA Show 2023: Connecting with the Automotive Industry

10 October, 23 2:13 pm · Leave a comment · Glorious Hightower


The SEMA Show takes place from October 31 to November 3, 2023 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV. The annual event is a trade-only event and is the premier trade show for automotive specialty equipment manufacturers to exhibit alongside automotive manufacturers and debut new, innovative products while connecting with industry buyers from all over the world.

The show brings in more than 150,000 attendees, including over 70,000 buyers, and encompasses educational seminars, networking events and attractions that highlight industry trends, such as, live demonstrations and hands-on workshops over a four-day period.

If you’re looking to connect with automotive enthusiasts and professionals who have the fingers on the pulse of the latest advancements in the industry, the SEMA Show is where you want to be.

Come See Red-D-Arc at the SEMA Show

Red-D-Arc is a leader in welding and weld automation equipment solutions. With more than 70 locations in the United States, Canada and Europe plus a strong dealer network, our products and services are used in a variety of industries.

The Red-D-Arc team will be in the Airgas Exhibit #31209 (located in South Hall Upper) at SEMA Show 2023. We’ll be showcasing our latest BotX™ cobot welding system, BotX XSR, and answering all of your questions about cobotic welding. The system will also be featured in the New Product Showcase in the North Hall in the Collision and Repair section.

Come check out BotX and learn more about how you can increase productivity in your shop without making a capital investment using our flexible options to rent or lease a system. BotX is also available for purchase, so you can choose the best solution for your business needs.

Can’t make it to the SEMA Show, but want to learn more about BotX? Visit for more details and to contact an expert.

Tank Manufacturing Made Easy with Weld Automation Equipment

07 October, 23 10:41 am · Leave a comment · Colin Brown

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An oilfield equipment and vessel manufacturer approached Red-D-Arc for assistance with a large project. It was awarded to them at the last minute and was not their primary area of expertise. The requirement was to manufacture 25 large tanks with a timeframe of only one year. Each of the tanks was to be 5 meters in diameter by 25 meters long, manufactured using 16 millimeter thick material at a weight of approximately 45 tonnes.
The experienced Red-D-Arc Weld Automation team was able to immediately address all of the customer’s challenges. While other suppliers where insistent that the customer purchase the equipment, Red-D-Arc determined that long term rental would be their best option. This would avoid the time consuming process of acquiring CAPEX approval to purchase such a large amount of equipment and would further increase the profitability of the project. The manufacturer also had questions on how to avoid ovality and transverse movement of the sub-assemblies. Red-D-Arc experts were on-hand to provide the right advice and the right equipment to address these challenges.
The rental equipment included:
• 6x 10 tonne turning roll sets
• 10x 60 tonne drive rolls
• 47x 30 tonne and 60 tonne idler rolls
• 7x submerged arc packages with LT7 tractors and DC600 power sources
Red-D-Arc worked very closely with the company to ensure their success, providing comprehensive training and on-site assistance. After the successful completion of this project the company has become recognized in their market and are receiving new orders from similar customers in the industry. Furthermore, they anticipate being awarded “phase 2” of this project.

Tank Fabrication Equipment

Red-D-Arc carries a variety of equipment useful for the construction and maintenance of storage tanks including:

weld automation button

The Official Guide to Different Welding Processes

30 August, 23 2:42 pm · Leave a comment · Red-D-Arc

Since the discovery of metal ores in ancient times, mankind has continuously tried to expand the productivity and quality of the welding and casting processes. As a result, welding can be performed using countless methods: some versatile, some specialized, some common today, and others obsolete.

In this guide, we will be discussing some of the commonly used welding processes and some of the more obscure ones. Knowing the different types of welding processes and how to weld with different types of materials is essential to getting any job done– no matter what the circumstances and tools are available. For this guide, we have arranged all terms alphabetically so you can easily find the welding process you are looking for.

Stud Welding Applications

29 June, 23 9:44 am · Leave a comment · Red-D-Arc

Stud welding is a highly versatile welding process for fasteners and bolts. It can weld studs to all electrically conductive metals, including carbon steel, stainless steel, and aluminum. 

Industries of every stripe use stud welding in one way or another. So, let’s examine how different parts of the most prominent industries use it to improve part fabrication efficiency and how you can benefit from our stud welder rentals.

Introduction to Stud Welding

Stud welding was developed before WWII but quickly became a go-to welding choice for quick and efficient fastener fusing to the base metal. Today, the stud welding process is the best method to weld studs, and you can choose from several different stud welding types to best match your application.

What is Stud Welding?

“No filler metal is involved with stud welding.”

Stud welding is a welding process that joins a metal stud with a base metal, and it can be performed with arc, resistance, friction, and percussion welding methods. But, arc stud welding is the most commonly used stud welding process.

No filler metal is involved with stud welding. This process is used with or without a shielding gas or protective flux, depending on the used stud welding method. Stud welding also relies on pressure to fuse the metal fastener with the base metal once both are heated to the point of melting. 

Benefits of Stud Welding

The number one benefit of stud welding is the extreme efficiency and speed of stud attachment. Stud welding is measured in milliseconds. So, other arc welding processes like TIG and MIG can’t compare, even if automated welding is employed.

  • Extreme welding speed
  • Easy to automate
  • The operator doesn’t need to be a welder to use stud welding equipment
  • Significantly easier manual welding compared to other arc welding processes
  • It can be used for various stud types (i.e., threaded, plain pins, headed pins, rectangular shapes, slotted pins, internally threaded fasteners, etc.)
  • Low heat input into the welded metal minimizes HAZ and warping
  • Stud welding heat-treatable aluminum alloys minimizes over aging and softening of adjacent base metal
  • It doesn’t affect the back side of the weld
  • Stud welding doesn’t require access to the back side of the welded plate
  • Studs can be welded to extra thin sheets of metal with capacitor discharge stud welders
  • It’s possible to weld studs to dissimilar metals
  • Stud welding provides robust welds

Construction Applications for Stud Welding

Stud welding is crucial to the construction industry. Building large steel structures, bridges, underground systems, dams, and other structures requires fusing various fasteners and steel bolts, and stud welding provides the most efficient stud joining system.

Steel Structures and Building Construction

Steel frame construction benefits from stud welding by connecting shear studs to the steel beams and through steel decking sheets. In particular, “thru deck welding” achieves a composite action between the concrete slab and the steel construction. 

Bridge Construction

Studs are essential to strengthen and connect shear connectors to the concrete base of bridge elements. In addition, steel plating and similar steel parts of a bridge rely on stud welding to form the full bridge structure. Without studs, bridges wouldn’t be able to have a cohesion of steel and concrete elements, making them indispensable in the bridge industry. 

Concrete Reinforcement

It’s possible to reinforce concrete and provide ductile connections using special rebar studs. Since concrete is brittle, rebar studs are often necessary for earthquake-resistant concrete structure connections, seismic shear walls, and securing steel plates to concrete structures. Various shapes of rebar studs are available to match the connection type and provide the necessary ductility.

Roofing And Insulation Systems

The roofing and insulation industry relies on stud welding to attach fasteners to the metal substrate before the insulation is attached to the fasteners. Insulation weld pins are inexpensive, and the capacitor discharge stud welders can attach them to the metal substrate quickly and efficiently.

Automotive Applications for Stud Welding

The automotive industry wouldn’t be the same without stud welding. Multiple vehicle production stages use stud welding, including airbags installation, power steering modules, exhaust systems, and heat shields. 

Automotive Body Repair and Restoration

Auto body shops use stud welding systems to avoid invasive procedures when repairing car body dents. Stud welding one or more pins to the dents makes it easy to pull them out and correct the car body after minor collisions. Then, technicians cut off the welded pins and grind off the excess metal. 

Vehicle Frame and Chassis Construction

Vehicle manufacturing requires a huge number of automated welding operations, which include stud welding. A high-energy arc allows quick fastener fusing with the vehicle frame, allowing seamless attachment of various vehicle components. 

Engine Mounting and Exhaust Systems

Mounting the engine and exhaust systems in vehicles requires various studs to be installed during car fabrication. 

Manufacturing and Industrial Applications for Stud Welding

“Stud welding is the go-to choice for fast stud fusing in complex arrays”

The industrial sector uses manual and automated stud welding to manufacture sheet metal and machinery parts. While other arc welding processes are paramount for manufacturing, stud welding is the go-to choice for fast stud fusing in complex arrays. 

Sheet Metal Fabrication

Stud welding is the best way to join fasteners and other types of studs to sheet metal in large-scale production. Since stud welders produce very short bursts of energy, sheet metal is unlikely to warp or burn through

Machinery and Equipment Assembly

Fabricating machinery and equipment often requires numerous fasteners and pins to be applied to thin sheet metal or thick metal plates. Stud welding can be automated for precise and efficient stud joining for almost any configuration. So, attaching machinery guards, hatches, handles, fluid lines, cover plates, and other parts can easily be completed with the stud welding process.

Electrical and Electronic Component Mounting

Fastening processes for electrical components often require stud welding during production. Many electronic systems, communication systems, electric motors, and other electrical equipment need stud welding fascia panels, earthing studs, printed circuit boards (PCBs), switches, buttons, and other small electrical elements. So, stud welding doesn’t always involve thick, large steel studs. It’s also used for far more sophisticated manufacturing. 

Advancements and Innovations in Stud Welding

Stud welding is a growing field. While the process stems from before WWII, numerous innovations have transformed it to better suit modern needs of high efficiency and automation.

Automated Stud Welding Systems

Automated stud welding employs pre-programmed commands to facilitate large-scale, repeatable production. These systems can operate on multiple axes to provide maximum accuracy and accommodate different part shapes. Automated stud welding systems can use CNC to maximize accuracy and efficiency. 

Since stud welding is fundamentally a simple process, automation doesn’t require a lot of programming. In addition, automating stud welding improves welding efficiency and workplace safety by removing human error and direct presence in the welding area.

Specialized Stud Welding Techniques

Specialized stud welding applications like HVAC require a slightly modified process. Since the HVAC metal base is wrapped in the insulation, it requires stud welding the metal pins to keep the insulation in place. These pins are similar to thumbtacks in shape but are far larger. But, sometimes, the stud welding process welds the caps onto the previously welded pins, fixing the insulation between the two.

Some processes, like friction stud welding, are completely different from traditional stud welding. Friction welding relies on friction generated between the welded element and the base metal to heat them to the point of melting as the welded stud spins at high RPM. The stud is pressed against the base metal and spun, which causes them to fuse. So, unlike traditional stud welding, friction welding doesn’t require an electric arc to fuse the materials. 

Considerations for Stud Welding Applications

It’s vital to consider whether the stud material and base metal are compatible before welding. You should also conduct surface preparation when necessary and select the stud type and size according to design needs and stud welding machine capabilities.

Material Compatibility and Selection

Stud and base materials should be compatible for stud welding to achieve a strong bond. Carbon and stainless steels work great for drawn arc and capacitor discharge stud welding. But, high carbon steels (above 0.25%) require preheating to prevent weld cracking.

Steel alloys are more challenging to stud weld depending on the alloy type. But you’ll generally get better welds on steel alloys using the drawn arc welding process. 

Copper base metal supports welding studs from mild and stainless steel, but you’ll achieve the best results with copper studs. Use capacitor discharge stud guns because copper conducts heat exceptionally well. The high amount of concentrated current from the capacitor will melt and fuse copper, while other stud welding methods might struggle.

Stud welding aluminum usually works like a charm. An aluminum base with aluminum studs is the best way to go. You can weld pure aluminum to aluminum alloys and vice versa.

It’s also important to use polarity compatible with the welded material. Use DCEN for steels and DCEP for aluminum and magnesium.

Stud Type and Size

Stud welders are rated according to the maximum diameter of the stud they can weld. For example, the Proweld ARC-3000 can weld studs from 1/4″ to 1-1/4″ diameter with preciseness and repeatability. It’s important to choose a stud welder that can use the stud size and type you need to join to the parent metal. You can always contact us, and our experts will help you find a stud welder for your needs.

Surface Preparation and Weld Quality

It’s vital to thoroughly clean the surface area where you intend to weld a stud. Remove paint, grease, oils, rust, or any other element that can contaminate the weld pool.

To achieve the maximum weld quality, you should also:

  • Ensure a proper workpiece connection
  • Use adequate amperage output for the stud’s thickness/diameter
  • Use appropriate ferrules (ceramic arc shields for the stud weld)
  • Apply the correct gun angle (usually perpendicular to the surface)
  • Use welding cables of sufficient size for the applied current


Stud welding may seem like a highly specialized process at first glance, but it’s applied in almost every industry. Fasteners, pins, rods, rebar, and other kinds of studs are vital for manufacturing complex machinery and constructing cohesive concrete and steel structures in the construction industry. 

Our stud welder rentals include small stud welding equipment and industrial stud welding products. Contact us today, and our experts in the sales team will help you find the right stud welder for your application, whether you run a small fabrication shop or conduct manufacturing on a large scale.

Advantages Offered by Plasma Cutting

07 June, 23 9:04 pm · Leave a comment · Red-D-Arc

Plasma cutting offers many advantages over oxy-fuel, waterjet, laser, and mechanical metal cutting processes. The hot electric arc of a plasma cutter heats the compressed air/gas and ionizes it. The ionized air becomes the 4th state of matter — plasma. When constricted in the plasma torch and released under pressure at extremely high heat, the plasma arc slices electrically conductive metals quickly and produces clean cuts. 

Advantages of Plasma Cutting

Red-D-Arc offers plasma cutter rentals suitable for almost any industry and application. Plasma cutting advantages are utilized in industries of every type. So, let’s see how your business may benefit from this simplified, fast, and precise metal-cutting method.


Dry Ice Blasting for Robotics, Weld Lines and Fixturing

17 February, 23 12:58 pm · Leave a comment · Red-D-Arc


Weld spatter, resin, smoke, dampening adhesives, and other carbonized deposits pose continual challenges in fabrication, automotive, and manufacturing environments, gradually contaminating robots and surrounding production equipment. Without proper maintenance, these accumulations lead to misalignments, subpar welds, increased scrap rates, and decreased operational efficiencies. Enter dry ice blasting—a revolutionary cleaning solution perfectly suited for maintaining cleanliness in robotics, automated weld lines, fixturing, tooling, and intricate machinery requiring specialized care.

The various advantages of dry ice blasting include:

  • Minimized production downtime
  • Mold disassembly becomes unnecessary
  • Superior cleaning ability, even in hot and confined spaces
  • Elimination of waste disposal costs
  • Increased operational uptime
  • Non-abrasive, preserving the integrity of tooling
  • Environmentally responsible, leaving no harmful residue
  • Produces impeccable, as-cast finishes

Moreover, dry ice blasting offers a carbon-neutral, non-toxic alternative that aligns seamlessly with sustainability initiatives and proactive maintenance strategies.

In contrast, traditional manual cleaning methods pale in comparison:

  • Labor-intensive and time-consuming
  • Results in prolonged equipment downtime and revenue loss
  • Poses risks of equipment damage, jeopardizing asset longevity
  • Diverts skilled labor from more valuable tasks

Dry ice blasting revolutionizes cleaning and maintenance practices, enabling ‘clean-in-place’ capabilities, thereby eliminating the need for equipment disassembly or recalibration. Its non-abrasive nature ensures the safety of sensitive machine components, such as photo eyes and electricals, while mitigating misalignment-related performance issues. With only one operator required, dry ice blasting outperforms manual cleaning in terms of efficiency, safety, and efficacy.

The applications of dry ice blasting are extensive and adaptable, addressing cleaning needs across various equipment and components.

Common applications include:

  • Fixturing and tooling
  • Transfer cases and proximity switches
  • Electrical components and cabinets
  • Cabling and ancillary equipment
  • Weld tables, positioners and trunnion systems
  • and most other equipment or components that require cleaning

The Red-D-Arc team of dry ice blasting specialists are positioned nationwide and can tailor a turnkey rental solution that fits the needs of your next maintenance cleaning, deep clean, equipment refurbishment, or upcoming shutdown.

Benefits of Lincoln Electric Advanced Welding Technologies

06 February, 23 9:41 am · Leave a comment · Red-D-Arc

Advanced welding technologies on Lincoln welders from the Power Wave line benefit demanding professionals in almost all welding applications. These machines are feature-rich, built to last, packed with proprietary waveforms, and ready to tackle any welding job at the highest quality.

Learn about Lincoln’s advanced process welders and how innovative waveforms and process control mechanisms can benefit your welding business.

Benefits of Lincoln Electric Advanced Process Welders

Using advanced welding technologies on Lincoln welders improves productivity and provides reliability you can count on. These machines offer advanced multi-process capabilities for GMAW, FCAW, GTAW, and SMAW processes. 

The proprietary waveforms and numerous accompanying features ensure you get the most suitable arc for the welding job at hand. But, process standardization using Power Wave Manager and Weld Sequencer combined with CheckPoint Production Monitoring software helps you stay on top of your business and improve production times.

Waveform Innovations

Every Lincoln Power Wave welding power source includes a plethora of waveforms that can make a significant difference. These waveforms are designed to improve filler metal deposition, reduce spatter and welding fumes, increase travel speeds, enhance weld appearance and joint quality, and make out-of-position welding easier.

Advanced process welders allow you to tailor the welding arc to match your welding application perfectly. For example, you can employ Lincoln’s patented STT (Surface Tension Transfer) waveform to simplify open-root pipe welding. The STT eliminates common problems like lack of fusion and burn-through when performing short-circuit MIG welds. The STT root weld face is flat, and the operator can achieve excellent fusion with higher travel speed and less cleaning/prep time.

Lincoln’s patented Pulse-on-Pulse GMAW-PP drastically improves welding thin aluminum. The GMAW-PP can achieve a TIG-like weld appearance thanks to two distinct pulse types. Pulse-on-Pulse improves travel speed and reduces the chance of excessive heat input, making the GMAW-PP process easier to perform. 

Many other waveforms are available with Power Wave Lincoln welding machines, like HyperFill, RapidArc, Rapid X, RapidZ, AC-STT, STTBraze, Low Fume Pulse, and Precision Pulse. Each is designed to improve performance and help you get the job done better.

Maximum Process Control

Lincoln’s Power Wave Manager software lets you standardize your fleet’s welding procedures, save and transfer machine settings, configure and select memory slots, modify parameter ranges and enable lockouts. You can easily create memory modules, name them, and specify every setting, like pre-flow, post-flow, crater time, initial WFS, wire run-in, weld trim, and others. 

Your operators don’t have to bother with the arc settings. They can just select the specified memory slot on the Power Wave advanced process welders and be ready to weld. For example, if your shop often fabricates certain parts, selecting the memory slot for each weld saves your operator’s time. Instead of re-adjusting the settings every time, they can switch between pre-set settings and weld. As the process manager, you can set and re-adjust their settings and even lock out setting ranges to prevent operators from accidentally burning through or causing other weld defects. 

Lincoln’s patented Weld Sequencer software can improve welding performance and weld quality. This visually-aided process control clearly defines each assembly part, including hidden welds. Combining Lincoln’s Power Wave machines with Weld Sequencer and Power Wave Manager makes complex welding jobs far simpler, improves completion time, and reduces assembly errors. 

Production Monitoring

Power Wave welders can work with Lincoln’s CheckPoint production monitoring software. CheckPoint allows complete visibility of your entire welding operation via cloud-based 24/7 access. It doesn’t need any software installation, and you can use it on any device anywhere in the world. 

CheckPoint collects weld data like OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness), material consumption, operator’s arc on time, and weld and assembly information. All stakeholders can easily view and track welding productivity and receive notifications and custom alerts. Production monitoring may help you identify bottlenecks, reduce waste, improve weld completion time, and ultimately increase your company’s profitability.

Lincoln Power Wave S350Lincoln Power Wave S350

The Lincoln Power Wave S350 is a portable multi-process welder capable of MIG, flux-cored, stick, and DC TIG welding. Its maximum amperage output of 350A lets you weld thick materials, but the 5A output on the low end allows you to professionally join thin stock too. This versatility combined with low weight makes it a suitable choice for automotive shops, fabrication, and construction site welding jobs.

While compact and relatively lightweight (85 lbs), the Power Wave S350 packs a serious punch. With over 65 optimized waveforms and an IP23 rating, you can make excellent welds in harsh conditions. The Power Wave S350 also includes pulsed TIG welding and Pulse-on-Pulse MIG welding for flawless aluminum welds.

Lincoln Power Wave S500

The Lincoln Power Wave S500 is a more powerful multi-process welder than the S350. However, both share many features like PowerConnect and Tribrid Power Module for automatic input power adjustments and high power efficiency. Additionally, the S500 also supports over 65 optimized waveforms and includes pulsed MIG and TIG welding modes.

But, the Power Wave S500 outputs up to 550A, allowing you to join thicker metal efficiently. The S500 is heavier than S350 but makes an excellent choice for heavy-duty fabrication.

Lincoln Power Wave 355M

The Lincoln Power Wave 355M offers more power than the S300, but it’s more compact and has a lower weight (81.5 lbs) thanks to the state-of-the-art inverter technology. This multi-process welder supports MIG, FCAW, DC TIG, and SMAW processes and includes Lincoln’s proprietary waveforms like Pulse-on-Pulse, Power Mode, STT, and others.

With amperage output up to 425A, the Power Wave 355M provides a great middle ground between the S300 and S500. It’s lightweight, portable, and offers exceptional welding power. 

Rent Or Lease Equipment from Red-D-Arc

Red-D-Arc has over 60,000 units and over 70 rental centers strategically placed throughout the USA, Canada, and Mexico, making it the largest rental welding equipment company in North America. 

For many reasons, investing in expensive welding equipment may not always be a financially sound decision. Renting or leasing high-end equipment has many benefits, like having the most modern equipment available at a lower price than the purchasing cost. Buying equipment yourself is an investment into a depreciating asset, which may result in lost profits compared to renting or leasing.

Red-D-Arc is ready to help you determine which welding equipment suits your application the best. Contact us for expert assistance today. Our team regularly provides assistance in the welding process and equipment selection.

Benefits of Lincoln MIG Welders

19 January, 23 1:33 pm · Leave a comment · Red-D-Arc

Lincoln MIG welders offer many benefits for all welding businesses, no matter how big or small. The MIG welding process is most commonly used for repairs and fabrication. So, it’s wise to consider quality equipment from one of the biggest welding brands in the USA.

Learn how MIG welding works and how your shop can benefit from Lincoln MIG welders. We’ll also discuss different MIG welder models from Lincoln and their unique advantages.

What is MIG Welding And How Does it Work

Gas metal arc welding (GMAW), popularly known as MIG welding, is an arc welding process that requires a shielding gas and a solid wire that acts as an electrode and a filler metal. 

The automatic wire feeder pushes the wire through the MIG gun and into the welded joint. When the electrically charged wire (from the power source) makes contact with the grounded metal, the resistance to electrical flow melts the wire and the welded material. 

The MIG gun also releases the shielding gas through the nozzle as soon as you press the gun’s trigger. The shielding gas protects the joint from the atmosphere to prevent oxidation, porosity, and other weld defects. The most commonly used shielding gas for MIG welding is a mixture of 75% argon and 25% carbon dioxide. But 100% CO2, tri-mix gasses, and other gas mixtures are sometimes required. The gas selection mainly depends on the welded material, costs, and desired weld characteristics.

MIG welding is commonly used as a semi-automatic process, but it’s fully automated in large production facilities. This welding process dominates the welding industry thanks to many advantages like ease of use, fast travel speed, high deposition rate, ability to weld in all positions, low hydrogen content, minimal post-weld cleaning, and practically unlimited electrode length.

You can use the MIG welding process to weld almost all metals with exceptional weld quality. Some welders like the Lincoln Power MIG 350MP can even achieve TIG-like, “stack-of-dimes” weld appearance on aluminum with a modified MIG waveform. But unlike TIG, MIG is far faster and easier to learn.

Why Choose Lincoln MIG Welders

Lincoln Electric is one of the largest welding equipment brands in the world. With over 125 years in the industry, Lincoln serves welders from general and light fabrication to offshore, pipeline, shipbuilding, construction, power generation, and automotive industries.

Using Lincoln MIG welders has many advantages, so let’s name a few and discuss some MIG welder rentals you can get from Red-D-Arc.

Lincoln Arc Technologies 

Numerous proprietary arc technologies provide Lincoln power sources with a reliable, stable arc you can count on. The Diamond Core Technology delivers a forgiving arc with low spatter and a wide voltage sweet spot for the set wire feeding speed. It makes welding steel, stainless steel, and aluminum easier, even for out-of-position welding.

More advanced welders like the Power MIG 350MP or Lincoln Power Wave machines offer patented waveform technologies like Pulse-on-Pulse and Power Mode. Specialized arc modes allow you to improve weld quality and productivity in industry-specific applications.


Lincoln MIG welders are tough, durable, and reliable. Featuring potted and trayed PC board protection and industrial cast aluminum drives, even their least costly units offer above-average reliability. 

Angled cast aluminum drive systems include split guides for excellent wire support through the entire drive system. The brass-to-brass gun bushings improve electrical current flow, while the input bushing protects the wire from damage. The internal tachometer feedback drive system maintains constant wire feed speed, which results in consistent welds. The wire drive systems may vary according to the Lincoln MIG welder model, but if their welder includes an integrated wire drive, you can count on reliable wire feeding.

Lincoln MIG welders are manufactured at ISO 9001:2000 and 14001:2004 certified facilities. These certificates mean that every Lincoln MIG welder is produced according to international environmental standards with a high-quality management system and a strong customer focus.

Ease of Use

Designed with productivity in mind, Lincoln MIG welders are quick and simple to set up. Featuring infinite adjustability, an easy-to-set wire drive, and provided settings charts, Lincoln MIG machines work well even for novice welders.

More advanced models like the Power MIG 255C and Power MIG 350MP also feature digital displays and Synergic MIG welding (Power MIG 350MP) for easier setup. While features vary between models, all Lincoln welders are relatively easy to use. 

Lincoln Power MIG 180C

The Lincoln Power MIG 180C wire feed welder is a lightweight, portable MIG/Flux-cored welder that welds up to 3/16″ thick steel and aluminum. If you use a gasless flux-cored wire, you can weld up to 1/2″ thick steel.

You can deposit filler material quickly and achieve excellent penetration with the wire feeding speed (WFS) of up to 500 IPM. Plus, Diamond Core Technology and infinite voltage and WFS adjustability allow you to fine-tune your welds just right. The Power MIG 180C is designed for light industrial welding and general repairs on auto body and farm work. It’s spool gun compatible (plug and weld), and features a no-hassle tool-less design for polarity switching and wire spool mounting.

Lincoln Power MIG 255cLincoln Power MIG 255c Wire Feed Welder

The Lincoln Power MIG 255C wire feed welder is far more powerful than the MIG 180C. The Power MIG 255C outputs up to 300A with a maximum WFS of 700 IPM, allowing you to weld thick materials faster with a high deposition rate. As a result, you can bridge gaps quicker and achieve excellent penetration. 

While heavy at 220 lbs, the Power MIG 255C has a built-in set of wheels for efficient movement. This machine features an industrial wire drive, digital displays, a 115V auxiliary receptacle, and is spool gun ready (up to 3/64″ aluminum wire diameter). The Power MIG 255C is a powerful MIG/Flux-cored welder designed for industrial production, welding shops, maintenance, and repair work.

Lincoln Power MIG 350MP

The Lincoln Power MIG 350MP Push-Pull One-Pack is a heavy-duty multi-process welder that supports MIG, Flux-cored, TIG, and stick welding processes. But, it also includes advanced Lincoln waveforms like Pulse-On-Pulse for double pulsed MIG welding and Power Mode for low voltage application on thin materials. 

The Power MIG 350MP also supports standard pulsed MIG for improved performance on thin stock, and you can use Synergic MIG for easier weld adjustments. With up to 350A and 700 WFS, you can employ advanced waveforms to weld thick metal more efficiently than with the MIG 255C. Plus, the Power MIG 350MP has a longer duty cycle than the Power MIG 255C (60% at 300A vs. 250A at 40%). The Power MIG 350MP is an excellent machine for versatile metal fabrication, auto body, and repair jobs. 

If your operators must use welding processes other than MIG and FCAW, the Power MIG 350MP has the advantage. But, if you often fabricate or repair aluminum parts, the Power MIG 350MP is among the best MIG welders you can use. Thanks to Pulse-On-Pulse, you can achieve TIG-like welds using an efficient MIG welding process. Plus, the Power MIG 350MP supports a push-pull gun, which is more productive for aluminum welding than a spool gun.

Rent or Lease From Red-D-Arc

Red-D-Arc has a vast rental welding and cutting equipment fleet strategically placed across North America. Sometimes it’s not cost-effective to purchase welding equipment. While Lincoln MIG welders offer excellent quality, it may be more profitable to rent or lease their machines.

Contact us today to get a quote on welder rental rates, or ask our experts to help you choose suitable equipment. Our goal is to provide all of our customers with the right equipment for the job at hand. So, we can help you make the proper welder selection depending on which features are most needed for your application.

Labor Shortages in Welding: Is There a Solution?

26 December, 22 9:23 am · Leave a comment · John Levan

The manufacturing skills gap in the U.S. could result in 2.1 million unfilled jobs by 2030, according to a new study by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute. The cost of those missing jobs could potentially total $1 trillion in 2030 alone. Manufacturers are increasingly looking to solutions like robotics and automation to bridge the gap.
Because welding is an essential part of manufacturing, many concerns are focused on the welding industry, which has been facing a shortage of workers for several years. The American Welding Society, an organization supporting the welding industry and its workers, predicts that the country’s workforce will need 400,000 welders by 2024.
Along with machinists, carpenters, and other tradespeople, the versatile, skilled welder who can handle several welding methods has suddenly become a scarce commodity. The demand for skilled welders has been outpacing the supply and continues unabated, leaving many wondering what happened.

What’s causing the shortage of welders?

The causes of labor shortages in welding and other skilled trades can be attributed to several factors, but one of the primary causes stems from an aging workforce. Older tradespeople, many from the so-called baby boomer generation, are reaching retirement age faster than companies can replace them.
Over half of all skilled trades workers are 45 or older, and predictions indicate there will not be enough new workers to fill these openings. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for welders are projected to grow two percent from 2022 to 2031, considerably slower than the average for all occupations.
Despite limited employment growth, about 47,600 openings for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers are expected each year, on average, over the decade. Most of the openings will result from the need to replace workers who either retire or find different occupations.
However, although an increased rate of retirements might be the leading cause of fewer welders, it certainly isn’t the only one. (more…)

Common Industry Applications of MIG Welding

19 December, 22 10:11 am · Leave a comment · Red-D-Arc

Pound for pound of filler metal used, MIG welding (Metal Intert Gas, also known as GMAW) is one of the most popular welding processes. A key contributor to the success of the process is its versatility: it can produce high-quality welds with good productivity on a range of material thicknesses and compositions.

MIG welding uses a continuously fed wire electrode to transmit the welding arc and provide filler metal into the weld joint. The weld is protected from the atmosphere by an external shielding gas whose specific composition is often determined by the application, although as the name implies, it is largely inert.

Shop Fabrication & Manufacturing

Because shielding gas is required, MIG is not commonly used for field fabrication and repair since providing protection from draft and breeze is time-consuming and can be difficult. Instead, self-shielded processes such as FCAW-S or stick welding (SMAW) are more popular.

The welding filler metal used may be solid or tubular. Tubular MIG welding wires/electrodes are often known as metal cored wires: they are a hollow tube filled with metal alloys. These tubular filler metals have some advantages over solid wires, such as potential deposition rate/productivity, although at the expense of per-pound filler metal cost. Metal cored wires are especially common in the fabrication of heavy equipment components and structural members.

Both solid and metal cored wires produce little to no slag, post-weld clean-up time is minimal, meaning parts can often be sent to downstream processes such as painting using only a light scrub with a wire brush. This makes the process very attractive for applications that demand high productivity, such as manufacturing. (more…)

The Benefits of Hypertherm’s Powermax SYNC Technology

12 December, 22 3:46 am · Leave a comment · Peter Germanese

Plasma cutting is a fast, reliable, cost-effective, and downright simple way to slice electrically-conductive metals. But, Hypertherm SYNC Technology makes plasma cutting setup far easier and more efficient. 

Learn how the Hypertherm’s next-generation smart plasma can improve your workflow, make cutting and gouging metal easier and faster, and how you can track the usage of the machine.

Why Choose a Plasma Cutter To Cut Metal?

While plasma cutting has a few safety considerations, like protecting from electrocution, eye and physical injuries, toxic fumes, and fire hazards, it’s one of the most accessible manual and automated metal-cutting methods.

Plasma cutters are lightweight and portable thanks to their IGBT-inverter cores. Therefore, cutting metals on-site is straightforward. In addition, it’s often not necessary to make any metal preparation, especially if the plasma cutter supports a pilot arc. You can cut painted, dirty, oily, or rusty metals because the pilot arc doesn’t rely on the contact between the nozzle and the workpiece to establish an arc. 

You’ll achieve the best results with conductive metals. So, you can easily cut plain carbon steel. But the plasma cutting process also works with stainless steel, aluminum, brass, copper, and other conductive metals that cannot be cut with oxy-acetylene.


Mig Welding for Beginners: Can You Mig Weld Aluminum?

28 November, 22 3:03 pm · Leave a comment · Peter Germanese

When they’re learning to weld, most people use scrap pieces of mild steel. Mild steel is easy to work with, relatively consistent, and very forgiving of a beginner’s mistakes. It’s also fairly common in the wild and will be a frequent target for welding, so it’s good to learn the practicalities right away.

Aluminum is a different story entirely. It shows up in construction, automotive uses, and many more. Aluminum is used all over the place because it’s corrosion-resistant, relatively durable for its weight, and exceptionally lightweight. It also forms alloys with other metals quite well, generally introducing a variety of properties that can be beneficial in specific uses.

The trouble is that many of aluminum’s benefits are also why it can be tricky to weld. Welding aluminum presents several unique challenges, including:

  • Despite its qualities, aluminum requires more heat than mild steel to weld properly.
  • The weld puddle for aluminum looks very different than steel, so your visual cues will be different.
  • It’s surprisingly easy to burn through aluminum and drop your weld pool right through the material, especially with thinner material.
  • Different alloys require different kinds of filler to weld properly, and picking the appropriate filler can be difficult.

Welding aluminum is often considered difficult, but it’s not necessarily as tricky as it is different. If you’re used to working with mild steel, you’ll need to break yourself out of your habits and turn off your mental auto-pilot to weld aluminum properly.

Can You MIG Weld Aluminum?

MIG welding is entirely possible to use on aluminum, yes. Most professionals recommend TIG welding if possible, but MIG is perfectly acceptable (if a little more challenging) to get right.

Depending on who you ask, MIG might be better for thinner metal gauges, or TIG may be the preferred method.

This decision is largely down to preference and the comfort level of the welder; if you’re a beginner, TIG may be a better alternative if you have the equipment.

The key is the type of aluminum you are welding and the type of welder you have. Aluminum is a generic term and refers to many kinds of alloys, which we’ll get to here in a bit. If it’s an alloy compatible with MIG welding, you can weld it with a MIG gun.

What Equipment is Necessary to MIG Weld Aluminum?

If you’re planning on MIG welding aluminum, you must get your equipment and tool settings configured before you begin. Otherwise, you risk the metal not reacting as you expect, and the whole project can fail in various ways.

What do you need?

1. Cleaning Tools

One of the essential parts of welding aluminum is ensuring that the surface you’re working with is clean. This step is only sometimes necessary for particular welding projects and metals, but it’s a requirement for aluminum.  


Aluminum oxides are much more heat-resistant than plain old aluminum or aluminum alloys. If there are any oxides on your work surface, the heat from your welder will melt the aluminum, but not the oxides. The aluminum melts at around 1200 degrees, while the oxides don’t melt until a whopping 3700 degrees! Those oxides will sink into your weld puddle and create inclusions, pockets, and weak spots in the weld.

Cleaning is also essential when welding aluminum because the oxide coating on aluminum can make it more challenging to adhere to. You may need to use a wire brush or sandpaper with your wire wheel for the best results.

After removing dirt, corrosion, and coatings, you must clean both of the parts you want to join with solvent or soapy water.

Not only is it critical to clean your surface before welding, but it’s also just as important to clean it the right way. For example, a steel brush can contaminate the surface just as quickly as if you left it dirty. An aluminum brush is recommended, and you’ll want to be careful with softer aluminum to ensure that you don’t muddle over inclusions rather than brush them away.

2. Filler Rods of the Proper Alloy

Selecting the right filler rod can be a significant chore. The wrong alloy can leave your weld susceptible to cracking or breaking, weaker than the joint should be, or otherwise not suitable for the job.

Choosing the appropriate alloy filler depends on the answers to several questions:

  • What is the base designation of the materials?
  • Does your weld need to withstand prolonged high temperatures?
  • Will the weldment be anodized when completed?
  • Does your weld have specific flexibility, strength, or toughness considerations?
  • Will it need to be heat treated?

These questions and a chart like this can help you decide what filler is best for your job.  

That said, this is a beginner’s guide. That means you’re likely welding practice materials or learning directly from a mentor with more specific, practical advice. Everyone who teaches welding has their concept of what is most important, so be sure to ask them for specifics if necessary.

To further narrow things down, filler rods 4043 and 5356 generally apply to a vast majority of aluminum welding applications. It’s not perfect – there are certain situations where other rods will be necessary – but keeping those two on hand will cover many of your bases.

If you’re curious about the designations for filler rods, here’s a rundown. In short:

  • 1XXX is close to pure aluminum.
  • 2XXX is a copper alloy primarily used in heat treatment welds.
  • 4XXX is a silicon alloy and is extremely common in various forms.
  • 5XXX is a magnesium filler typically used in high-strength welds.

Each has numerous pros and cons, so choosing the appropriate filler is critical in many applications.

3. The Right Gas

Picking the correct gas is also vital for welding aluminum. Your choice of shielding gas will be a primary factor in the quality of the resulting joint.  

For the vast majority of projects, the go-to choice is Argon gas. 100% pure Argon is a good shielding gas because of its ionization potential and ability to keep a weld clean.

The alternative, used by many pro welders, is a mixture of Argon and Helium. Helium offers a more significant ionization potential and thermal conductivity, making for broader, deeper welds. As a beginner, a wider, deeper aluminum weld is much more likely to burn through, so stick with Argon until you’re comfortable with it. Helium is best added to the mix for more extensive, thicker pieces of aluminum where weld depth and penetration are required.

The critical piece of information here is that using CO2 in your gas mixture won’t work, which is why many attempts to MIG weld aluminum fail.  

4. What Settings are Best for MIG Welding Aluminum?

Properly configuring your MIG welding equipment is also important.

First, set your gas flow rate properly. You need enough gas flow to shield your weld correctly. Since you’ll be moving reasonably fast, a flow rate of around 20-30 cubic feet per hour is the general range to work in.

Second, the voltage of your welding gun should be appropriately configured. Usually, a voltage of around 21-24 is ideal. You’ll also want to ensure your MIG gun is set to DCEP (Direct Current Electrode Positive) polarity for the proper process.

Finally, welding aluminum is best done with the spray welding procedure. With this procedure, your arc is constant, and tiny molten filler droplets are sprayed from your gun along the arc and onto your weld surface.

Another common issue beginners run into is a cheap welding gun that jams rather than smoothly feeding the filler wire. Your gun needs a fast feed speed for its filler for this process to work correctly. Wire feed settings can also vary depending on the thickness of the wire you’re using.

5. What’s the Right Technique for MIG Welding Aluminum?

Welding aluminum is a high-heat process. Aluminum melts quickly, but it’s very thermally conductive, so the heat dissipates just as readily. This characteristic means it’s susceptible to variations in movement, and if you move the wrong way, your weld won’t work.

Proper aluminum welding requires three things.

  • First, you need a fast travel speed. This requirement is due to the heat involved; if you linger too slowly as you move, you’ll put too much heat into your materials, and risk burn-through. This scenario is prevalent with newbies attempting to weld aluminum. The travel speed required is much faster than with steel, and it will feel uncomfortably fast until you get used to it.
  • The second requirement is using the forehand technique. Where a backhand technique angles the gun away from the direction of travel, this does not facilitate good shielding gas coverage when you’re moving as fast as you need to. That means regular air will get into the weld pool and contaminate it. The forehand technique, where you tilt the gun 15 degrees toward travel, ensures proper shielding.
  • Third, you want to use simple weave patterns as you weld and avoid complex patterns. Using zigzag, looping, or other welding patterns is a technique used on steel to widen a weld and let heat linger a bit longer to increase depth.

Both are bad when welding aluminum and dramatically increase the risk of burn-through.  

In cases where you’re welding thicker pieces of aluminum or need a larger fillet weld, multiple straight passes are better than an attempt at a wider weave.

My Weld is Bad: What Went Wrong?

If you’ve tried out a few aluminum welds using the MIG process and had mixed results, there are a lot of possible points of failure to diagnose. You can start by narrowing it down based on what went wrong.

1. Your weld burned through.

Burn-through or melt-through is caused by excess heat in one spot. There are numerous possible causes, but the most common for beginners is moving too slowly across the joint. Even if you think you’re moving fast enough, it’s likely that you aren’t.

It’s also possible that your joint type isn’t appropriate for the project. Instead of using an edge joint, you may benefit from a corner joint instead, or vice versa. This decision is very situational, however. Similarly, using thicker materials as a base might be appropriate, though you don’t always have a choice.

For more significant welds, you may need to work in shorter bursts to allow the material to dissipate some heat along the way.

2. Your welds are dirty.

Reactions or inclusions in the weld pool usually cause dirty welds.

First, check to make sure you’re using the proper technique. Forehand or push welding is necessary to properly shield your weld as you move, and if you don’t have the angle correct, you’re likely to end up with very dirty welds.  

If you’re using the correct technique, it’s possible that your voltage needs to be higher, particularly considering your amperage. You won’t get a spray transfer without sufficient voltage, and your weld won’t work.

Also, make sure you’ve correctly cleaned the surface using aluminum-only tools. The wrong kind of tools will leave particulate matter behind that will cause inclusions in your weld.

Finally, double-check to ensure you’re using the correct shielding gas and filler rod. If either is incorrect, your welds will end up pretty bad.

3. Your welding gun gums up.

Two common problems can crop up, particularly with low-quality MIG welders.

First, the filler material burns back into the gun and causes problems. This scenario usually occurs if you haven’t maintained the proper tip-to-work distance along your weld, or right at the end of the weld.

There are a few “cheats” you can use to get this right, so talk to your mentor about it.

The second is when the feeding process for your filler wire is unsteady or prone to coiling up behind the gun, known as birdnesting. There are several common causes of this, which you can read more about here.

Putting It All Together

Many people claim that MIG welding aluminum is impossible. Some have never attempted to weld aluminum because they believe it is, and they are intimidated by it; others have had a bad experience trying. Others say so to warn off beginners from doing something much more challenging than welding steel. The truth is that MIG welding aluminum is possible; it’s tricky and requires proper settings and technique, but it’s easier than the rumors make it out to be.

However, since there are so many ways that aluminum welding projects can go wrong, it also requires practice and training to get them right consistently.

Once you have the technique down, however, it’s very satisfying. Why not give it a try? Contact us for high-quality welding equipment.

The Welding Equipment Used in Automotive Shops

18 July, 22 2:54 pm · Leave a comment · Red-D-Arc

welder at automotive shop

Whether you are a professional or amateur gearhead, the automotive shop you work in requires a lot of tools, technology, and know-how to bring a project from start to finish. In that process, welding is one of many critical skills in the world of automotive fabrication and repair. Like all skills, staying sharp on the tools and techniques used in automotive welding can certainly pay dividends by making your work higher quality, faster, and easier.

Welding Processes for Intake and Exhaust Fabrication & Repair

Intake and exhaust components often utilize either Gas Metal Arc Welding (aka MIG) or Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (aka TIG). When comparing the two processes, TIG offers a much greater degree of control at the expense of speed and ease of use while MIG offers improved speed and ease of use at the expense of precision. It is possible to fabricate complete systems using either process, but muffler repair shops working on consumer-grade and OEM components typically employ MIG, while custom fabrication typically employs TIG.


Aluminum Welding: Challenges and Considerations

27 April, 22 10:24 am · Leave a comment · Red-D-Arc

industrial aluminum welding

Aluminum welding is one of the most critical processes in manufacturing. By understanding the challenges of aluminum welding, manufacturers can produce stronger and more reliable products. Aluminum is a unique material that requires special techniques to weld properly. It is valued for it’s lightness and is often used in aircraft construction.  This guide will discuss the different steps involved in the aluminum welding process and why you must follow a specific protocol when welding with this material.

Welding Rental for Beginners: Which Type of Welder Should I Rent?

27 April, 22 10:04 am · Leave a comment · Red-D-Arc

With welding, as in many things, having the right tools is crucial. As a beginning welder, the appropriate equipment varies depending on the type of welding work you plan to accomplish. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all option; the proper welder for working in a steel mill or auto shop is often out of place on a construction site or in your personal workshop at home. A welder rental provides the opportunity to find the best fit for your needs.

To put your best foot forward, take the time to learn about the different types of welding and the equipment involved. As a newcomer to the field, you can discover the important facts in the following welder rental FAQ resource.

Choosing the Right Welding Method When Renting a Welder

25 April, 22 3:57 pm · Leave a comment · Red-D-Arc

Selecting the Right Welding Method

guy getting ready to mig weld
When thinking about renting welding equipment, many contractors imagine visiting a local hardware shop with a small selection of soil compactors and other basic items. In reality, today’s rental solutions are nothing like that. You can find high-quality precision machinery maintained in optimal condition, from plasma cutters to TIG rentals

With professional welder rental, companies in countless industries are able to reach their goals on time and within budget:

  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Aviation
  • Oil drilling
  • Industrial pipe welding
  • Transportation
  • Automotive assembly and repair
  • Specialty production and prototyping


MIG vs TIG Welding: Which Method Is Right for Your Application?

25 April, 22 3:28 pm · Leave a comment · Red-D-Arc

Many businesses perform welding tasks every day, including parts manufacturers, vehicle makers, construction businesses and repair shops. People who enjoy do-it-yourself projects can handle automotive tasks or home repairs with a good arc welder. Thanks to welder rental options, you don’t even need to purchase welding equipment to get the job done.

Two popular types of arc welding equipment are metal inert gas (MIG) welding and tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding. What are the differences? How can you decide whether MIG or TIG welding is the right method for your application.

MIG Welding Process

MIG welding utilizes a welding gun with a machine-fed consumable wire. This metal wire serves as the electrode and provides the filler material for the weld at the same time.

While you work, the MIG welder delivers inert gas (usually argon) to shield the weld pool and protect the metal from contamination. The MIG welding gun automatically feeds more wire into the molten pool as you advance, so this option provides “what-you-see-is-what-you-get” welds that are easy to start, direct and control.

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