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SMAW also known as MMW or manual metal arc, stands for Shielded Metal Arc
Welding. Most of us know it as "stick welding". The welding rod is solid and is
coated with flux.
FCAW FCAW stands for Flux Cored Arc Welding. The flux of the welding wire is in
the center of the electrode instead of on the outside. The process requires wire
feed spools and cable. The rod is pushed through the center of the cable and
through the welding gun. Shielding gas may or may not be used depending on the
flux material in the core of the wire. FCAW has the advantage over SMAW for "all
position welding" and the speed of welding since the wire is continuously fed.
GTAW GTAW stands for gas tungsten arc welding. Most refer to it as "TIG" welding.
The electricity is passed through a tungsten electrode and is surrounded by a
shielding gas. The welding rod (if used) is consumed in the heat generated by the
arc. This type of welding is most commonly used for aluminum, magnesium,
stainless steel and copper alloys. This process is slower than FCAW or SMAW but
is best for lightweight or thin materials.
through a hollow cable and through the welding gun. Shielding gas is required as
the wire does not have flux. As with FCAW, this process requires a wire feed system
to push the wire through the cable. It is not as popular for outdoor use as FCAW or
SMAW since wind blows away the shielding gas.