Metal fabrication involves a number of complex steps, the most important of which is metal welding. During this process, metal is transformed into certain shapes using various welding methods.

Welding is a common method used in metal structures where several pieces of sheet metal are joined together. This can be accomplished by either melting the metal pieces together using intense heat and allowing them to fuse after cooling, or by using filler material that melts at high temperatures, creating a molten substance to join the metal pieces together.

Main Types of Sheet Metal Welding

MIG Welding

MIG stands for metal inert gas, which is another term for Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW). This is an arc welding process that uses a continuous solid wire electrode which gets fed through a head where the contact tip is electrically charged creating enough heat to melt the wire and create a weld “puddle” that joins the two metal pieces together. It provides a clean finish on a variety of metals and alloys such as stainless steel, aluminum, carbon steel and also used to weld thin gauge sheet metal. MIG welding offers high productivity, produces clean weld finishes,  allows for all-position welding, and minimal cleanup.

MIG Welding

MIG welding finds widespread application across various large industries like home improvement and automotive due to its blend of efficiency and affordability. It accommodates a wide range of popular sheet metal types, from aluminum to stainless steel, producing high-quality welds at a relatively low cost without requiring sophisticated machinery.

One of the key factors contributing to the enduring popularity of MIG welding is its modern iteration: pulsed MIG welding sheet metal. This variant operates similarly to traditional MIG welding but utilizes a pulsed current instead of a continuous one.

The utilization of specialized machinery allows for considerable customization in pulsed MIG welding. Various waveform options, pulse amplitudes, and durations enable smoother welding with minimal splatter, even at lower currents. Additionally, this technique facilitates higher deposition rates and offers numerous other advantages.

TIG Welding

TIG Welding

TIG stands for tungsten inert gas another term for Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW). This welding technique like MIG also joins metals by heating them with an arc between a tungsten electrode (non consumable) and the work pieces. TIG is ideal for welding critical joints where small or precise welds are required. TIG can be used to join a wide variety of metals and alloys.

TIG welding sheet metal demonstrates optimal efficiency when handling various non-ferrous metals, including nickel, titanium, chromium, magnesium, and aluminum. This technique is widely utilized in the fabrication of frames for doors, feeders, and motorcycles. Moreover, its proficiency in working with non-ferrous metals positions TIG welding as a preferred method in industries related to flight, such as aerospace and aviation.

There exists a variation known as pulsed TIG welding, which operates on a similar principle to pulsed MIG welding sheet metal. In this process, the current is delivered in pulses, offering several advantages such as enhanced joint quality, smoother welds, improved heat control, and increased versatility in handling materials of varying thicknesses.

Spot Welding

Also known as resistance welding is a process where the metal surfaces are joined by the heat obtained from resistance to electric current flow. The typical thicknesses of sheet metal used in this welding process ranges between 0.02” to 0.12”.

The work pieces are held together under the pressure exerted by the electrodes. Two copper electrodes are used to concentrate the flow of electrical current through sheets of metal and clamp the parts in place while the spot weld is formed.

The actual spot weld process only takes a fraction of a second, while keeping the Heat Affected Zone (HAZ) low which means the thin gauge metal will not warp.

Spot Welding

Types of Metals Utilized in Sheet Metal Welding

While stainless steel is frequently employed in sheet metal welding, other metals are also utilized. These encompass aluminum, carbon steel, and even gold.

Each metal presents its advantages and disadvantages that welders should weigh before commencing their projects. Carbon steel, being the most affordable and widely used metal in sheet metal welding, boasts strength and ease of welding, yet it is susceptible to rust and corrosion.

Aluminum stands as another popular choice for sheet metal welding. It boasts lightweight properties and corrosion resistance, though it can pose challenges during the welding process.

Gold represents the most costly metal employed in sheet metal welding. Despite its exceptional strength and resistance to corrosion, it poses significant challenges during welding due to its intricate nature.

IMS Manufacturing: Your Reliable Partner for Sheet Metal Welding

When it comes to top-notch welding services for tailored sheet metal fabrication, encompassing bending, stamping, and sheet metal prototyping, our company is your ideal choice.

At IMS Manufacturing in Alberta, we are committed to delivering unparalleled service and products to our customers. Whether you require straightforward parts or intricate projects involving diverse materials, we ensure trustworthy outcomes.

FAQs about Welding Sheet Metal

When it comes to welding thin metals, TIG welding stands out as the top choice. Its precision ensures that welds remain exactly where they’re intended, resulting in a visually appealing finished product.
Welding thin materials necessitates high temperatures, requiring an adequate energy supply. Various techniques can be employed depending on material thickness. MIG welding is preferred for thicker materials due to its ability to weld thick sheets quickly. However, for minimal thicknesses, TIG welding sheet metal is the optimal choice.
MIG welding sheet metal is a quick and straightforward method for metal joining. Both alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) MIG welding are suitable for aluminum. However, DC welding is the swiftest option as it doesn’t require specialized equipment.
The maximum thickness of metal suitable for spot welding is 1.25 inches.
You can order service at an affordable price from IMS Manufacturing by calling (403) 279-7702.

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IMS staff are fully trained to the highest industry standards, and IMS offers a one-year manufacturer’s warranty on all workmanship.
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