Exploring MIG and TIG Welding: A Comparison of Consumables, Precision, Speed, and Cost

In the realm of welding, two prominent methods often utilized are MIG (Metal Inert Gas) welding and TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welding. Both methods have distinct characteristics and are applicable in various industries based on the project’s requirements. In this article, we will delve into a detailed comparison, focusing on consumable parts such as contact tips, diffusers, nozzles for MIG welding, and collets, cups, and electrodes for TIG welding. Additionally, we’ll explore aspects of precision, speed, and cost, shedding light on the major industries that predominantly use each welding technology.

Consumable Parts: MIG Welding vs. TIG Welding

MIG Welding Consumables:

MIG welding employs consumable components that are integral for its functionality and efficiency. These include:

1. Contact Tips: These small copper or brass parts facilitate the transfer of electric current to the welding wire and help maintain a consistent arc.

2. Diffusers: Diffusers distribute shielding gas evenly and promote a stable welding process.

3. Nozzles: Nozzles control the flow and direction of the shielding gas, optimizing gas coverage and enhancing welding outcomes.

TIG Welding Consumables:

TIG welding involves a distinct set of consumables that are essential for its operation:

1. Collets: Collets hold the tungsten electrode firmly in place and guide its alignment within the welding torch.

2. Cups: Also known as gas cups, these items direct and shape the shielding gas flow, safeguarding the weld area and refining gas coverage.

3. Electrodes: Tungsten electrodes are a key component in TIG welding, as they generate the arc and are available in various compositions suitable for different metals and welding requirements.

Precision: MIG Welding vs. TIG Welding

Precision in MIG Welding:

MIG welding, while efficient and effective, is generally considered less precise compared to TIG welding. The deposition of filler material in MIG welding is quicker and provides good penetration. However, the larger bead and potential spatter can affect the final weld’s precision, making it less suitable for intricate or detailed work.

Precision in TIG Welding:

TIG welding is renowned for its precision. The ability to control heat input and weld puddle size accurately enables welders to achieve fine, intricate welds. The precise control over the arc and filler material deposition makes TIG welding ideal for applications demanding a high level of precision, such as aerospace components and delicate fabrication work.

Speed: MIG Welding vs. TIG Welding

Speed in MIG Welding:

MIG welding is generally faster than TIG welding due to its continuous wire feeding and higher deposition rates. The automation potential further enhances speed, making MIG welding ideal for high-volume production and applications where efficiency and speed are paramount.

Operator welding machine structure by MIG welding

Speed in TIG Welding:

TIG welding is comparatively slower due to the meticulous approach required to maintain precision. The need to dip the filler rod manually and the controlled, precise welding process reduces the speed, making it less suitable for high-speed production. TIG welding finds its niche in applications prioritizing accuracy over speed.

Cost: MIG Welding vs. TIG Welding

Cost of MIG Welding:

MIG welding is often considered more cost-effective, primarily because it’s a faster process and requires less skill and training to operate effectively. The equipment and consumables for MIG welding are generally more affordable, making it a preferred choice for those aiming to balance efficiency with budget constraints.

Cost of TIG Welding:

TIG welding tends to be more expensive due to various factors. The equipment for TIG welding, including the welding machine and accessories, is typically pricier. Moreover, the meticulous nature of TIG welding necessitates a higher level of skill, leading to increased labor costs. The cost of tungsten electrodes and shielding gas further adds to the overall expense.

Major Industries and Applications

Industries Utilizing MIG Welding:

MIG welding finds extensive applications in industries such as:

• Automotive: Body panels, chassis, and exhaust systems.

• Construction: Structural steel, heavy machinery, and pipelines.

• Manufacturing: Sheet metal fabrication and general manufacturing.

• Shipbuilding: Hulls and structural components.

Industries Utilizing TIG Welding:

TIG welding is prevalent in industries where precision is paramount, including:

• Aerospace: Aircraft components, engine parts, and fuel systems.

• Nuclear Power: Pipe and reactor fabrication.

• Food and Beverage: Stainless steel equipment and pipelines.

• Medical: Fabrication of surgical instruments and equipment.

In conclusion, both MIG and TIG welding techniques have their own set of advantages and are better suited for specific applications. MIG welding offers speed and cost-effectiveness, making it ideal for high-volume production in industries like automotive and manufacturing. On the other hand, TIG welding shines in precision and is a preferred choice for applications demanding intricacy and accuracy, such as aerospace and medical industries. Understanding the nuances of each method allows welders and businesses to choose the most suitable approach for their particular projects.

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Building a Strong Foundation: Becoming a Welder

Are you intrigued by the sparks flying and the art of fusing metal together? Becoming a welder could be the perfect career path for you. Welding is a highly rewarding profession that offers diverse job opportunities and a chance to leave your mark on various industries. This article is designed for individuals aspiring to venture into the welding industry, guiding them through the educational requirements, work environment, job diversity, pay scales, and future demand for welders.

Education and Training

Welding is a skilled trade that demands proper training and education. While a high school diploma or equivalent is usually the baseline requirement, pursuing formal education through technical schools, community colleges, or vocational programs is highly advantageous. These institutions offer various certification and degree programs that provide hands-on training and theoretical knowledge essential for a successful welding career.

Typically, a prospective welder learns about welding techniques, safety procedures, blueprint reading, metallurgy, and equipment operation during their training. Gaining experience through internships or apprenticeships under skilled welders is also highly beneficial for honing skills and gaining practical knowledge.

Welder welding a pipe on a terrain

The Mission of the AWS

The American Welding Society (AWS) is a crucial organization for welders. It serves as a hub for welders, welding educators, and welding industry leaders. AWS’s mission is to advance the science, technology, and application of welding and allied joining and cutting processes. They achieve this through education, certification, research, and support of welding professionals around the globe.

By being a part of AWS, you gain access to valuable resources, educational opportunities, and a network of professionals that can enrich your career in welding.

The Work Environment as a Welder

As a welder, your work environment will vary based on the industry you’re in. You may find yourself working outdoors or in confined spaces, depending on the project. The work can be physically demanding and often involves standing for extended periods, working with heavy equipment, and dealing with potentially hazardous materials.

Safety is paramount in the welding industry. Welders are required to wear appropriate protective gear, including helmets with face shields, safety glasses, gloves, and flame-resistant clothing, to mitigate risks associated with the job.

Welder with steel structure in fabrication factory.

The Diversity of Welding Jobs

Welding opens doors to a multitude of career options. From aerospace and automotive industries to construction and manufacturing, welders are in demand across the board. Some common welding specializations include:

• Structural Welding: Involves working on buildings, bridges, and other large structures.

• Pipeline Welding: In demand for the construction and maintenance of pipelines for oil, gas, and water transportation.

• Underwater Welding: An adventurous field where welders work on structures submerged in water.

• Aerospace Welding: Involves welding components for aircraft and spacecraft.

Hourly Pay by Type of Work

The pay in the welding industry varies based on factors such as experience, location, and specialization. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of their last reporting in 2021, the median annual wage for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers was around $45,190.

Specific welding jobs may pay differently. For instance, underwater welders might earn more due to the specialized and risky nature of their work. It’s essential to research and understand the pay scales in your preferred area and field of specialization.

Forecasted Demand for Welders

The demand for welders remains steady, and the BLS projects a 3% employment growth from 2020 to 2030. The need for welders will be driven by the continued growth of various industries like construction, manufacturing, and oil and gas extraction. Aging infrastructure will also necessitate repairs and maintenance, further fueling the demand for skilled welders.

Industries Where Welding Is Prevalent

Welding is integral to several industries, including:

• Construction: Welding is used in building structures, bridges, and roads.

• Manufacturing: Essential for producing various products, from automobiles to appliances.

• Automotive: Welding is crucial in car manufacturing and repair.

• Aerospace: Required for building aircraft and spacecraft components.

Welding Labor Unions

Labor unions play a vital role in advocating for the rights and interests of welders. Three significant welding labor unions are:

• International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental, and Reinforcing Iron Workers (Ironworkers): Represents ironworkers who often perform welding tasks in their projects.

• International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers, and Helpers (Boilermakers): Represents workers in various industries, including welding and manufacturing.

• United Association (UA): Represents pipe fitters, plumbers, welders, and others in the construction and service industries.

Geographic Areas of North America with Common Welding Jobs

Workers are welding the inside and outside of a pipe

If you’re considering relocating for welding opportunities, here are some regions in North America with prevalent welding jobs:

1. New England: Known for its manufacturing and construction industries.

2. The Gulf Coast: Abundant opportunities due to the presence of oil and gas industries.

3. The Midwest: Manufacturing and construction sectors drive demand for welders.

4. Southern Ontario, Canada: Strong industrial presence and construction projects offer ample opportunities.

In conclusion, welding offers a promising career with a wide array of opportunities across various industries. By investing in the right education and training, staying connected with industry associations like AWS, and understanding the diverse fields within welding, you can pave a successful path in this dynamic profession. The demand for skilled welders is expected to remain robust, ensuring a steady stream of opportunities for those aspiring to master the art of welding.

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8 Tips to Reduce Welding Costs

It doesn’t take a savvy business owner to know that reducing welding costs leads to better profits. What really sets a manufacturing company apart is knowing how to cut costs without cutting corners.

If you are the CEO or Operations Manager, it is your job to create plans and processes that make your stakeholders money. In fact, your job depends on it.

While you may be tempted to just look out for the lowest price tag for parts and materials, we don’t recommend it. Instead focus on cost-cutting practices that don’t compromise your output quality.

In this article, we will discuss the common costs of welding and how you can reduce them.

Costs of Welding

Typical welding costs include the materials to produce your product plus labor. Costs to consider include filler metals, shielding gas, raw materials, equipment, and electrical power.

While on paper this seems easy enough to budget, mistakes can happen which leads to costs adding up quickly.

Common causes of cost overruns:

  • Unplanned downtime
  • Consumable waste
  • Lost labor
  • Repairs and rework
  • Lack of training

So how can you keep your facility from making these costly mistakes? Keep reading to find out!

8 Tips for Reducing the Cost of Welding

Stop missing out on savings because you think you don’t have enough time to implement new practices. While the more complex initiatives may take some time there are methods that don’t take much work on your part and can be easy to implement.

Attract And Retain Skilled Workers

Retaining employees can save you lots of money on training and recruiting. The best way to attract experienced employees is to enhance your culture and facility.


reducing welding costs

Creating a safe and comfortable environment not only attracts but retains dedicated employees. Additionally providing perks and ongoing training can ensure everyone is motivated to do well and has the resources to do so.

Your employees are the backbone of your company so investing in them is best for your bottom line. When they feel like you care about them they will care more about their job.

Improve Welding Procedures

No matter how long your business has been open or how efficient you think your procedures are there is always room for improvement. Start with an assessment of your facility’s current procedures to pinpoint any areas of weakness.

Factors that can affect your efficiency include:

  • Feed speed
  • Transfer mode
  • Voltage
  • Erratic arcs

From having procedures that leverage efficient technology to having procedures for storing and using parts, improving productivity can save you money.

Ensure A Safe Environment

As we mentioned earlier, a safe environment can attract and retain employees but it also has other benefits. Workplace injury lawsuits and workers’ compensation can be very expensive for your business.

Having automated processes and incorporating robots in your operations that are more dangerous can help protect your employees. Additionally, you should offer safety gear such as goggles and gloves.

Give Padding In Time

One of the biggest welding costs towards consumers that can affect your bottom line is unplanned downtime. It can lead to delays in revenue and lost loyalty.

When there is unplanned downtime you are still paying for labor and space without producing anything. This means not only are you not making any money but you’re losing it.

If you allow for padding time before delivery and between processes you can account for that when budgeting. This can also help with your partnerships because you can give a more accurate quote and ensure you meet expectations.

Invest In New Technology

As technology advances, it is able to make our jobs easier. Investing in new technology can help you improve your productivity, reduce maintenance, and reduce costs.

Automated technology is gaining power as more and more welders realize its benefits. It can allow you to reduce costly errors and cut down on labor costs.

While this involves an initial investment in the long run you will save time and money in production and improve quality.

Make A Preventative Maintenance Plan

It costs more to clean up a disaster than to prevent it. Having regularly scheduled maintenance performed can save you from wasting money on downtime.

Make a preventive maintenance (PM) plan for how operators should perform maintenance and build it into their procedures. The hour it takes to check on your equipment is far better than the days lost while waiting for a replacement.

Reduce Consumable Changes

Your consumables make up a large portion of operating welding costs. We often want to be preemptive and change consumables. But changing your consumables before it’s necessary can be wasteful and the costs add up.

reduce welding costs with consumables

Additionally, when welders use improper practices or equipment, they may experience birdnesting or other gas metal arc welding gun performance issues.

Replacing consumables not only costs you money for parts but leads to downtime which can cost you more.

Choose The Right Equipment

Many companies make the mistake of looking for the lowest price tag but when you invest in high-quality parts you save in the long run. You get what you pay for and cheaper products tend to have a shorter life span and can cost more in labor, downtime, and parts.

You want to ensure you have high-quality nozzles, contact tips, and gas diffusers to be able to maximize lifespan for your operation.

Cut Costs With American Torch Tip

Ready to start cutting costs the right way? At American Torch Tips we make it easy to save money.

From providing educational resources such as our Complete Guide to MIG Welding to sharing blogs just like this one.

Additionally, we offer a wide range of high-quality welding parts that have a long lifespan and reduce consumable changes. While we have 100% confidence in our consumables and parts we also include a lifetime warranty to give you peace of mind.

Our MIG guns and consumables are the most durable on the market but you don’t have to take our word for it. Try our products risk-free for 30 days and see the cost savings for yourself!

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How Welding Played A Role In Star Wars

May the Fourth Be With You

We can’t think of a better way to celebrate May the 4th than to share some of our favorite Star Wars welding scenes, arguably one of the most iconic movie series of all time.

And if you really think about it, we work with lightsabers every day, right?


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MIG vs TIG Welding: Why MIG Welding is Better Than TIG Welding

Arc welding processes are as varied as the workpieces they create, and choosing the right one is vital to your project’s success. While MIG and TIG welding both form the weld using an electric arc, the techniques are quite different. Choosing the wrong one can lead to more than a headache, it could lead to wasted time, resources, and money.

That’s why it is important to distinguish the appropriate application for a MIG welder or TIG welder.  Read on for the reasons you may want to choose MIG welding vs. TIG welding.

(Click here to learn why TIG is better than MIG.)

MIG vs TIG Welding

MIG and TIG welding both use an electric arc to create the weld. The difference between the two is the way the arc is used.

mig welding process

MIG (metal inert gas) welding uses a feed wire that constantly moves through the gun to create the spark, then melts to form the weld. It uses a semi-automatic or automatic arc.

tig welding process

TIG (tungsten inert gas) welding uses long rods to fuse two metals directly together. It uses a non-consumable electrode and a different filler material.

RELATED: Most Common Welding Equipment and Processes

Why MIG Welders Are More Efficient

While TIG welding guns have their benefits, there are a number of reasons why MIG welders are more efficient. For our more visual learners, here is a comparison chart of the MIG vs TIG benefits.

benefits MIG weld vs TIG weld

Now, let’s explore some of the key benefits of MIG welding in more detail.


First, a MIG welder is more diverse. While TIG welding can be used on more types of metals, it’s limited in its effectiveness on thicker jobs. MIG welding can be used on aluminum, stainless steel, and steel, and on every thickness from 26-gauge sheet metal to heavy-duty structural plates. This makes it a popular choice in many industries such as automotive, construction, and manufacturing. The process is also adaptable to different welding positions, such as flat, horizontal, vertical, and overhead, which makes it versatile for various welding applications.

MIG welding holds this advantage over TIG because the wire feed acts not only as an electrode, but also as a filler. As a result, thicker pieces can be fused together without having to heat them all the way through. And because it uses filler rather than fusing, MIG welding can be used to weld two different materials together.


Another reason for choosing MIG vs. TIG is speed. A MIG gun is designed to run continuously for long periods of time, making them more efficient and productive than its counterpart. MIG welders are efficient is because the process is automated and relatively easy to learn, which reduces the amount of time and effort required for training.

For large, industrial operations that require high production rates, MIG is the go-to choice. The speed of MIG welding also translates into lower labor costs, as welders can complete more welds in a given amount of time. In contrast, TIG welding is a much slower process that’s focused on detail.

Finest Welding Equipment Manufacturer American Torch TIp, mig welder


As with any manufacturing job, time equals money. And because the MIG welding process is so much faster, it’s also more cost-effective. MIG parts are also more readily available and far less expensive than TIG.

Moreover, MIG welding machines are typically less expensive than TIG welding machines, and the wire used in MIG welding is less expensive than the tungsten electrode used in TIG welding. MIG welding also uses a consumable wire electrode, which means that there is no need for frequent electrode replacements as there is in TIG welding.

Another factor that makes a MIG welder more cost-effective than TIG welding is the fact that it produces less waste. MIG welding creates less scrap material and less rework than TIG welding, which means that less material is wasted and the overall cost of production is reduced. TIG welding has a lower deposition rate making it more expensive per foot of bead. The initial costs are also a little more than MIG because the consumables are a bit pricier.


Finally, a MIG welder is easier to learn and can be perfected after just a few weeks of training. In fact, it’s even been referred to as the “hot glue gun” of welding — just pull the trigger to start or stop the weld. A MIG welder can hold and operate the gun with only one hand, making it a better option for beginning welders. TIG welding, on the other hand, is a specialized technique that requires the use of both hands and one foot — all doing separate things.

MIG welding is also easier than TIG welding because it requires less preparation and clean-up time. A MIG welder does not require the use of a tungsten electrode, which must be sharpened and cleaned before use. It also doesn’t require the use of filler rods, which must be cut to the proper length and diameter. MIG welding produces less spatter and requires less post-weld clean-up than TIG welding.

Moreover, MIG welding is easier to learn and master than TIG welding. It can be learned in a relatively short period of time, and welders can become proficient in the process with minimal training. On the other hand, TIG welding requires more time and practice to develop the necessary skills and experience.

RELATED: How to start a career in welding

When to Use MIG Welding

Both TIG and MIG welding have their pros and cons, so it is important that you consider the application. Manufacturers find MIG welding useful when high production is necessary and delicate work isn’t required. It can also be helpful when there aren’t experienced welders available.

Here are applications best suited for MIG welders:

  • Thicker materials
  • Long runs
  • Difficult positioning

Welding Thick Materials

When it comes to thicker materials, MIG welding’s high deposition rates and efficient heat transfer make it an excellent choice. The continuous wire electrode used in MIG welding allows for faster welding speeds, enabling efficient and effective fusion of thicker metal sections.

Additionally, the adjustability of MIG welding parameters, such as voltage and wire feed speed, allows welders to tailor the process to accommodate the specific requirements of thicker materials.

Long Runs

MIG welding is also advantageous for long runs, which involve welding over extended distances without interruptions. The continuous wire feed in MIG welding ensures a constant heat source, making it suitable for continuous welding applications. This eliminates the need to frequently stop and start, resulting in faster and more efficient welding for long runs.

Difficult Positioning

MIG welding can handle difficult positioning scenarios more easily compared to other welding processes. The wire electrode and the use of shielding gases help to protect the weld pool from external factors like drafts, ensuring better arc stability and shielding.

This feature is particularly useful when working in challenging positions, such as overhead or vertical welding, where maintaining proper shielding and controlling the weld pool can be more challenging.

Get High-Quality MIG Welding Parts, Torches, & Guns

Are you a MIG welder looking for high-quality MIG welding equipment? American Torch Tip offers durable MIG welding parts, torches, and guns that are specifically manufactured for welders like you.

Our line of Lightning® MIG guns and consumables are impact resistant, ink-resistant, and ergonomic. With our indestructible handles and swivel-neck technology, welders can get more done with less downtime.

For help with your MIG setup, download our free MIG Ultimate Troubleshooting Guide.

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GMAW Basics of Welding Aluminum

Aluminum is a popular material used in various industries due to its lightweight, strength, and durability. However, welding aluminum can be a challenging task for welders due to its unique properties. Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW), also known as MIG welding, is a commonly used welding process for aluminum.


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The Pros, Cons, and Best Practices of Welding Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a popular building material long heralded for its durability and substantial resistance to corrosion. However, welding with this attractive metal poses some unique challenges that need to be considered before launching into a project with stainless steel.

Before we take a closer look at the pros and cons of working with this substance, let’s get a better idea about what we’re working with.


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TIG Welding Techniques: Scratch Start, Lift Start, or High-Frequency?

When considering a TIG welding machine, the number of features, modes, and settings can be daunting. One of the most critical to understand, however, is the arc initiation method the machine uses. In this article, we will discuss the three types of TIG welding techniques used for starting an arc.

The Scratch Start Method in TIG Welding

The scratch start method is the original arc starting TIG welding technique. With the scratch start method, welders must manually “scratch” their electrode across the workpiece. The motion is often compared to striking a match.

This arc starting method is not very user-friendly, and it can take quite a bit of practice. The electrode tends to stick to the workpiece, which leads to point loss on the electrode and contamination of the weld. To avoid getting the electrode stuck to the workpiece, it is important to maintain control over the torch at all times. When using this method, the operator must also manually terminate the arc by pulling away from the workpiece.

As opposed to a gas solenoid in the machine, a valved torch head controls the gas in this TIG welding technique. This arc starting method will only be found on older machines, entry-level machines, and machines converted from SMAW operation. If you are new to TIG welding techniques, machines utilizing scratch start may be difficult and frustrating to learn on.

The Lift Start Method in TIG Welding

Lift start is a common TIG welding technique used on many welding systems because it is very user friendly. To use this method, the welder will touch the electrode to the work piece, depress the foot pedal or finger switch, and “lift” the torch off of the workpiece to form an arc.

This arc initiation method is much smoother than scratch start and will not disrupt nearby sensitive electronics like high-frequency start circuitry can. Lift start is often found on multi-process machines where the TIG process may only be used sparingly.

The High-Frequency Start Method in TIG Welding

This is the most common arc initiation method for industrial TIG welders. High-frequency start is the only true “touchless” TIG welding technique for arc initiation. Applications where any contamination of the weld puddle would result in a structural defect, most notably aluminum pipe work, will usually require high-frequency start..

High-frequency arc starting is also the most user-friendly method, as the welder may simply hold the torch where they want to start an arc and depress a foot pedal or finger switch. For machines that use scratch or lift start, adding on a module with high-frequency capability can upgrade the machine.

The downside is that these arc starting systems can cause issues with nearby televisions, radios, computers, lighting, pacemakers and other sensitive electronics. Fortunately, machines equipped with high-frequency arc starting capability will usually have the option to switch to lift start when it is needed.

Scratch start, lift start, and high-frequency start all have their pros and cons. Knowing the difference between these arc starting TIG welding techniques will help you choose the best method for your project.

For more information about TIG Welding practices, you can read more of our guides & blogs here at American Torch Tip.

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How to Start a Career in Welding

A welding career can be very rewarding. Good pay, high job demand, and opportunities for advancement into robotics or management (or both.) But, it’s not a career you can just decide to start overnight. It takes specialized training, skill development, and certifications. So, we put together a list of schools, scholarships, and more to help you get started.

How to Start Your Dream Welding Career

Deciding your career path can be very nerve-wracking. With no prior experience or guidance, starting your welding career may seem overwhelming. But don’t worry, we’re here to help. Here are 4 steps to guide you to your preferred job in the welding field.

1. Research Different Welding Programs

Your first step will be to research welding programs, to eventually enroll in a welding program. Top-rated welding schools can be found from Alaska to Georgia, especially in areas of the country where welders are in the highest demand. To find the right school for you, do a little research to figure out which one best serves your end career goal. Take a look at the degrees and specialties offered, regional accreditation, and relationships with local businesses that hire graduates. Make sure you’ll get mostly real-world education that’s up to current standards, and look for included certifications.

Researching Welding Schools

2. Evaluate Tuition and Fees Across The Programs You Researched

The next step is to weigh your financial options. It’s no secret that money will likely be a determining factor – if not the main one – in which school you choose. Tuition and fees range widely depending on the type of welding program you’re interested in, from a few thousand dollars for basic certification programs to near six figures for a bachelor’s degree.

Evaluate Tuition

3. Compare Scholarships and Other Resources

Next, you should search for a scholarship or take advantage of a related program. One of the upsides of choosing a welding degree is its high demand – many organizations with a vested interest in training skilled welders offer scholarships, grants, or other ways to help grow a talented workforce.

Scholarships vary in the amount awarded, grade-point average requirements, and eligibility. The American Welding Society offers its own scholarships as well as links and information to hundreds of others around the world. Most scholarships require a GED or high school diploma and acceptance to an accredited program. Keep careful track of deadlines since they can be any time during the year.

States also receive federal funding through the Workforce Investment Act to award grants to help build up a local workforce. For many areas, welding is high on the list of important positions. Start by contacting the Workforce Development Center in your state!

Saving Money with Welding Scholarships

4. Finally, Get Certified!

The final step to your first welding job is to get certified, which proves that you can create quality, sturdy welds that meet your job’s code. If your school doesn’t include certification as part of its curriculum, several organizations offer testing. Certifications are as varied as the type of job and cost anywhere from as little as $25 to maintain a certified welder (CW) certification, to more than $1,000 for more specialized roles.

If an official welding school just isn’t an option for you, it’s possible to get certified using other methods. One popular option is to work under an experienced welder and learn through hands-on experience. And while certification is required for you to get paid work as a welder, how you get certified is based solely on if you can show up and adequately perform the responsibilities of the job position.

Starting a Career in Welding

Is it worth it?

In a word, yes. The median pay for a welder in May 2017 was just under $20 per hour, and wages can be upwards of $25 per hour for specialized jobs in industries like electric or gas utilities. In addition, The Bureau of Labor Statics expects the field to grow by 6 percent through 2026.

Keep Up With Welding News

At American Torch Tip, we pride ourselves in providing useful information and resources for those in the welding industry. After being in business for more than 80 years, American Torch Tip is fulfilling the mission we set out to accomplish by successfully designing and manufacturing thousands of industry-leading torches and consumables for welding, laser and plasma cutting, and thermal spraying.

You can follow our blog for more information about the welding industry, and you can always get in touch with us here.

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Welding Hazards & Risk Management 101

How to Approach Welding Hazards

Since welding and fabrication are tasks with elevated risks, they require specialized tools and equipment that need to be operated properly to prevent injury. It is very important to recognize what these welding hazards are, how and when they appear, and what to do in order to ensure that the chance of harm is as low as possible. 

The Types of Welding Hazards & How to Prevent Them

There are a variety of high-risk factors in welding. In order to reduce the likelihood of injuries, we will discuss the different welding hazards and how to prevent them.


Electromagnetic radiation is the way in which energy moves from one place to another. Most welding and cutting processes produce one or more forms of radiation. This radiation varies in energy depending on the wavelength or frequency. Radiation with a shorter wavelength (higher frequency) carries a higher density of energy than radiation with a longer wavelength (lower frequency). Exposure to higher frequency radiation (such as a welding arc) for even a short amount of time can cause severe damage to the eyes and skin. In the eyes, radiation exposure can cause photokeratitis (arc flash burn), retinal scarring, cataracts, and even blindness. Ultraviolet radiation attacks the electrons in skin cells, causing burns on exposed skin.

Prolonged exposure can eventually lead to skin cancer. In order to prevent radiation damage to the eyes, protective eyewear and lenses which meet ANSI Z87.1 and ANSIZ49.1:2005 should be used. To prevent UV damage to exposed skin, wear clothing that is in accordance with OSHA standard 1910. Try to cover as much exposed skin as possible, including the neck, face, and forearms. 

Electric Shock 

Exposure to as little as 100 milliamps (1/10 amp) of electrical current can be fatal. Electric shock occurs when the human body accidentally becomes part of an electrical circuit. When this happens, electrons in the atoms of human tissue resist the flow of electrical current. The, they quickly absorb the resulting heat, which can cause severe burns, tissue damage, or death.

Since many welding and cutting processes use electricity to generate an arc, it should come as no surprise that according to OSHA standard 1910.332, welders face a higher-than-average risk of electric shock. With poorly maintained or improperly connected equipment, sweat, moisture, and incorrect operation create added risk. Thus, the potential for death or serious bodily injury rises considerably.

Many injuries resulting from electric shock are caused when the injured party falls after sustaining a shock, as the muscles spasm involuntarily. To mitigate the risk of electric shock welders face, operators need to know how to properly operate the equipment.

Safety Tips to Avoid Electrical Shock

  • Equipment should be well-maintained and turned off when not in use.
  • Operators should inspect the condition of their equipment, especially the cables, on a daily basis.
  • When extension cords are used, they should be rated for the application, properly grounded, and routed away from moisture and moving equipment.
  • Welders should wear personal protective equipment that insulates them from electrical current and take care in wet environments or when perspiring excessively as sweat is highly conductive.
  • Welders performing tasks above ground level should follow fall protection protocol. 

Fires & Burns 

Welding can be a violent process, generating sparks and sending bits of molten metal onto nearby surfaces which can burn operators and cause fire or explosion. Cutting torches can burn in excess of 4,000°F and may require compressed highly-flammable gases. Welders can sustain burns either directly from the welding process or from fire ignited as a secondary hazard.

In order to reduce the risk of fire, welders should be trained on fire prevention strategies. These include the segregation of combustible materials, care of oxygen and fuel gas storage cylinders, and inspection of equipment. Welders should also wear flame-resistant clothing, have access to fire extinguishers, and be trained in their use. Burns may be sustained directly from the equipment, from sparks or molten metal on the work surface, or via residual heat from the workpiece.

To prevent burns, welders should wear proper gloves, sleeves, aprons, and footwear. Welders should also be trained to use first aid equipment to treat burns with bandages and compresses. 

Fumes & Gases 

Many welding and cutting processes generate hazardous fumes and gases. You should absolutely try to avoid these welding hazards.

Fumes and gases are produced when a material is heated above its boiling point and vapors condense into tiny particles which become airborne. These particles may or may not be visible and may originate from filler rod or wire, base materials, or coatings or plating.

When inhaled, these fumes and gases may cause nausea, dizziness, headache, fainting, or disorientation. Prolonged exposure may cause emphysema, lung cancer, brain damage, and even death.

Zinc Fumes

Zinc fumes are particularly hazardous and can induce a condition commonly referred to as “metal fume fever,” which has symptoms similar to the flu. Because of this, welders should take particular care when welding or cutting zinc plated or galvanized material.

Hex Chrome

Hexavalent chromium, or hex chrome, is perhaps one of the most dangerous substances that can transform into a toxic gas by welding or cutting. Hex chrome can cause cancer, ulcers, respiratory distress, and allergic reactions. Other common metals which produce hazardous fumes to welders are aluminum, manganese, nickel, cadmium, beryllium, iron, mercury, and lead.

To reduce the risk of fumes and gases generated by welding or cutting, welders should wear respiratory personal protective equipment such as powered air-purifying respirators (PAPRs), use fume extraction devices, or both. 

Noise Hazards 

It takes a lot of energy cut, weld, bend, twist, form, and work metals. Sound is often a byproduct of this energy transmission. This sound can be barely noticeable, such as in the buzz of a TIG torch, or powerfully deafening, such as in air carbon arc gouging. OSHA requires companies to implement a hearing conservation program when employees are exposed to noise at or exceeding 85 decibels (dB) averaged over eight working hours. Unfortunately, it takes far less than eight hours of exposure to high-decibel noises to cause permanent hearing damage.

At noise levels above 112dB, hearing damage can occur in seconds. Noise hazards are extremely common for welders. However, earplugs or ear muffs with the proper attenuation rating for the environment can reduce these noise hazards. In extreme environments, reducing sound levels below the 85dB threshold may require both earplugs and ear muffs. 

Get More Welding Tips From American Torch Tips

It is important to approach welding hazards with extreme caution and proper safety procedures. Taking appropriate measures will ensure that every employee goes home healthy at the end of the day. Free welder safety training is available online from the American Welding Society.

For more welding tips, follow the American Torch Tip blog!

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The 4 Main Types of Oxy Fuel Welding and Cutting Gases

The 4 Main Types of Oxy-Fuel Heating Cutting, & Welding Gases

A flame is a flame, right?

Well, not exactly.

While all industrial fuel gases are capable of generating a flame, their properties can be very different.

Here is a rundown of the four common types of oxy fuel heating, cutting, and welding gases.

Acetylene: The Old Standby

First, the nerdy stuff. Acetylene (a.k.a. ethyne) is an alkyne hydrocarbon consisting of two carbon atoms and two hydrogen atoms (C2H2). It was discovered in 1836 by Edmund Davy, who accidentally produced potassium carbide, which reacted with water to produce gas. The gas was given the name acetylene by French chemist Marcellin Berthelot in 1860.

Acetylene is intrinsically unstable, especially when pressurized. Because of this, industrial acetylene is dissolved in acetone and stored in porous cylinders which renders it safe for transport and use. This is why acetylene cylinders should always be stored upright. If acetylene cylinders are tilted, or if the operating pressure exceeds 15psi, liquid acetone can become introduced into the torch, which will cause the flame to drip from the orifice. This is also why acetylene has a withdrawal rate limit of 1/7 of the cylinder volume per hour.

From a performance perspective, acetylene has the hottest flame (around 5,720°F). It has a total calorific value of 1,470 BTU. The low hydrogen content of acetylene makes it an excellent choice for oxy fuel welding and cutting. When used as a cutting fuel, the inner cone of the flame will contain about 507BTU and the outer cone will contain about 963BTU. This allows for fast piercing with a minimal heat-affected zone. It also generates a fair amount of slag, requiring more post-cut cleanup. Acetylene is also highly prone to flashbacks. Flashback arrestors should always be used when cutting with acetylene.

Propane: Not Just for Grilling

Propane is an alkane consisting of three carbon atoms and eight hydrogen atoms (C3H8). It was discovered in 1857 by French chemist Marcellin Berthelot (the same man who gave acetylene its name). Propane is a liquefied petroleum (LP) gas and a by-product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining. Propane is heavier than air and has a tendency to sink when a leak occurs. This can pose a risk of explosion or fire, especially when propane is stored in basements near heat sources. Propane has a lower temperature flame than acetylene at around 5,122°F. Propane is not recommended for oxy/fuel welding.

The most notable potential benefit that propane offers is a significantly higher calorific value than acetylene at around 2,510 BTU. This makes it an excellent choice for heating. When used for cutting, the inner cone of the flame will contain about 255 BTU and the outer cone will contain a whopping 2,243 BTU! This allows a much faster preheat than acetylene but as a tradeoff for much longer piercing times and a larger heat-affected zone. Once the piercing is done, the cut speed is comparable to acetylene.

Propylene: The Other Prop-Gas

If propylene (C3H6) sounds similar to propane, that’s because it is. The prop- prefix that the two gases share means that they both have three carbon chains.

The molecular difference between propane and propylene is the number of hydrogen atoms (propane has eight, propylene has six). The similarities of the two gases don’t end there. Both gases have a comparable flame temperature and calorific value. The main difference between propane and propylene is the heat distribution when cutting. Propylene has a higher BTU value in the inner cone and lower BTU value in the outer cone than propane. The oxygen to fuel gas ratio is also slightly lower with propylene, making it somewhat more efficient than propane.

Methylacetylene-Propadiene: The gas you’ve never heard of (or have you?)

Methylacetylene-Propadiene (C6H8) is universally known as MAPP gas (a Linde trademark) or MPS.

There is some confusion surrounding the name. You might have heard that MAPP gas is no longer available. This is technically true. The last MAPP gas production plant in the US closed in 2008.

Gases available today are MAPP substitutes. MAPP gas does not offer many benefits over propane or propylene and is typically only used for small part heating and brazing. The one standout benefit of MAPP gas for cutting is its performance in high-pressure submerged cutting applications, but this is a rare application these days.

These four gases comprise the vast majority of fuels in use today for industrial heating, cutting, and welding. Many other gases exist, including branded gases which are usually one of the above-mentioned gases with a proprietary additive to enhance certain characteristics.

Knowing the capabilities and limitations of your fuel gas will make for a safer and more productive work environment. If you are unsure of the safety considerations of the gases you are using, please consult your gas supplier or OSHA standard 1910.253.

American Torch Tip is dedicated to providing the most up-to-date information surrounding the newest updates in the welding and cutting industry. Looking for more information about oxy fuel welding and cutting? Read our recent article about oxy fuel cutting and safety procedures.

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