The Basics of TIG and MIG Welding

TIG and MIG welding custom sheet metal fabrication prototypesTIG and MIG welding are two of the most common arc welding processes. But what exactly do these abbreviations mean?

To better understand the two terms, let’s start by defining what arc welding is.

Arc welding is one of the several fusion methods for joining metals. Usually, two metals are brought together and intense heat applied at the point where they join causing metal at this joint to melt and intermix either directly or with an intermediate filler metal. As the joint cools, it solidifies creating a metallurgical bond. These bonds, having been created by mixing the two metals, will potentially have the same strength properties of the parent metals. Arc welding is therefore different from non-fusion processes such as soldering and brazing in which the physical and mechanical properties of bonds formed at joints don’t duplicate the properties of the parent metals.

Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding

Tungsten Inert Gas welding also commonly known as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW) uses a non-consumable tungsten or alloy of tungsten as the electrode. A filler metal may or may not be used.

Tungsten is used because among pure metals it has the highest melting point (3,422°C). The name TIG actually comes from the tungsten electrode and the inert gas (usually argon or helium) surrounding this tungsten. TIG welding is predominantly used in magnesium, stainless steel, copper, and titanium and can also be used for two dissimilar metals. It is also handy for tricky welds such as S-Curves or when welding around things.

When performed by skilled operators, TIG welding can produce some of the highest quality welds. This is partly because of the greater control afforded to the operator. All material used in the process must also be very clean and free of oil, moisture, and dirt. The level of heat applied must be high enough for greater penetration and thus stronger welds. Continue Reading The Basics of TIG and MIG Welding

Plating vs. Painting for Finishing Sheet Metal Products

Painting Sheet Metal Enclosures

The sheet metal painting process.

Using aluminum for sheet metal fabrication offers a great deal of of flexibility in terms of creating designs and parts with a variety of shapes or designs. Because of this it is often chosen over other materials. However, aluminum is not the strongest or most durable choice, so many fabrication shops offer finishing options, such as electroplating or painting. Both of these options offer significant benefit in either price or durability. Deciding which option makes the most sense will depend in large part on where your enclosure or sheet metal part will be used.


Basics of Electroplating and Sheet Metal Painting

There are a number of different methods for protecting sheet metal prototypes and production pieces. In this realm, electroplating and painting occupy the opposite ends of each spectrum.

Electroplating creates a very thin layer of another metal such as iridite joined to the component over the aluminum base. Continue Reading Plating vs. Painting for Finishing Sheet Metal Products

Sheet Metal Fabrication: Prototyping to Product


custom sheet metal enclosure

A custom sheet metal enclosure

Sheet metal prototyping affords engineers and project managers the ability to test their product and design prior to any manufacturing. During prototyping, they can learn about potential manufacturing inefficiencies that can cost tens of thousands of dollars on short runs and many more times more during full-scale production. A&E Manufacturing has more than 45 years of experience working with companies to produce the first pieces of their product with a streamlined sheet metal fabrication processes.

Until It’s Built, No One Will Come

There are multiple steps that come between a client submitting a design and the first part even being sent into production. It is in this first step that we can identify key cost drivers that may not be necessary for a part to meet the overall requirements. The quoting department takes the initial design and decides on the most efficient way to make the part. Using our many years of experience, our quoting department and engineers are able to dissect the part submitted and give suggestions on how to better design the part for a more cost effective production run. From shearing the material, to cutting out the initial piece with our CNC laser cutting machines or CNC Turrett Presses, to any forming done on our CNC brakes, spot welding, and the finishing of the product. All processes are taken into account and our years of experience are used to help our customers have a successful prototyping run. Continue Reading Sheet Metal Fabrication: Prototyping to Product