Welding is used across the globe in some way in nearly every industry you can imagine. It’s used in industrial settings, open air environments, underwater and even in outer space. Welding is used on almost every scale – by handymen and structural engineers. And because there are so many uses for welding, there are also many different types of welding, each suited to different jobs and purposes. We’re going to take a look at some of the more popular kinds of welding.

Forge Welding
While not used as much as it was in the 19th century, there is still a place for forge welding today, especially when creating high-quality collectible knives and swords. This method of welding is one of the oldest around and relies on a process of heating and pounding metal. Forge welding is the craft employed by blacksmiths of old, making swords, weapons, horseshoes and many other day to day necessities.

Arc Welding
Arc welding relies on a welding power supply to create an electric arc between a positively charged electrode and a negatively charged steel place. The electrical current will “jump” through the resulting air gap and will create an arc of enormous heat – capable of melting metal.

Arc welding is one of the most widely used welding methods around and has many different secondary branches including:

- AC (Alternating Current) Arc Welding
- DC (Direct Current) Arc Welding
- Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)
- Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW)
- Submerged Arc Welding (SAW),
- As well as many other specialized methods.
Gas Welding
Unlike arc welding, which relies on electricity, gas welding uses gas (usually a combustion of acetylene and oxygen) to produce a welding flame that exceeds temperatures of 3000 degrees Celsius.

Gas welding is one of the planets oldest and most versatile welding processes, but has gone out of fashion in industrial applications over the recent years. However, it is still popular to use when welding pipes and tubing, as well as with completing some repairs.

Varieties of gas welding methods include:
- Oxyfuel welding
- Air Acetylene Welding
- Oxygen Hydrogen Welding, and
- Pressure Gas Welding.
Resistance Welding
Resistance welding uses the application of an electric current along with mechanical pressure to create a weld between two pieces of metal.

This method allows higher speeds, easy automation and is suitable for high production rates. However, the initial equipment costs and lower tensile & fatigue strengths temper out the payoff.

Resistance welding is used heavily in the automotive industry.

Energy Beam Welding
As its name suggests, energy beam welding is a category of welding which utilizes a beam of such high energy intensity that it is capable of melting and vaporizing metals. This process of welding uses electron or laser beams and is very useful for precision welding, drilling and cutting.

Solid State Welding
Our final category, solid state welding is very similar to forge welding in that it doesn’t rely on the melting of metal to work. One of the most popular methods of solid state welding is ultrasonic welding, a process very similar to resistance welding, except instead of relying on an electrical current, vibration is used to create the energy output. Ultrasonic welding is used for making electrical connections out of aluminum or copper, and it is also a very common polymer welding process.

Other popular methods of solid state welding include:
- Explosion welding (relies on the use of incredibly high pressure and is often used to join two dissimilar materials.)
- Co-extrusion welding
- Cold welding
- Diffusion welding
- Friction welding
- High frequency welding
- Hot pressure welding
- Induction welding, and
- Roll welding.
Between these many different welding methods (and many more we didn’t identify) we are able to graft metals and other materials together in such a way that skyscrapers, space shuttles and automobiles can take shape. But, we can also do something as intricate as make jewelry. We’ve been welding for millennia, and we’ll do it for many millennia more.

Welding helmets are the without a doubt the single most valuable item a welder has to protect himself. Welding helmets have been around for a long time and the technology has steadily improved. They are much more user friendly and offer far more protection. Still, there are a lot of misconceptions about how a welding helmet actually protects the welder from environmental hazards of their job.

Your average layperson commonly believes a welding helmet’s primary task is to shield your eyes from the bright lights of a welding arc. Almost like a welding helmet is a pair of super sunglasses. This is only partially true. The lens’ in the helmet primary job is to filter out ultraviolet and infrared light. The lens is designed to filter out 100% of harmful UV and IR rays from your sensitive eyes. Do not confuse this with whether or not the lens is dark or not. An auto darkening lens will protect the welder from ultraviolet light whether the lens is clear or darkened. It is understandable to think the bright light is the problem because it is visible to the naked eye. The bright light is still damaging to the eye, that’s why the welding helmet has a darkened lens or has an auto darkening feature.

On auto darkening welding helmets, the lens will darken within 4/10ths of millisecond to filter out visible light. This is faster than your eyes have time to react to the light. Anything slower than 4/10ths of a millisecond and you shouldn’t purchase the welding helmet. An auto darkening model protects your eyes 100% of the time from ultraviolet and infrared light whether the lens is clear or darkened and protects you from visible light 4/10ths of millisecond after the arc is lit. This arrangement is far safer than older style welding helmets for the simple reason that you can see when the arc is shut off. After you stop welding the auto darkening lens will become clear. Now you can walk around or see your work area without lifting the helmet. This is very important because another function of the welding helmet is to protect your face and eyes from flying objects. Metal debris and other hazards can still damage your eyes.

Auto darkening welding helmets are definitely the way to go and worth the extra cost. Rest assured the technology will completely protect your eyes from the harmful effects of the welding light. The lens will darken in enough time so your irreplaceable eyes are not damaged. A welder will not sacrifice safety for convenience and actually the auto darkening models are far safer because they allow to keep your face and eyes protected even after the welding arc is extinguished.