Welding itself breaks down into three distinct categories depending on the type of welder being used. The most common form for the last few decades has been "Stick" welding, where an electrical current is kept at the opening for the welder and flame is produced from that. This is typically used for repairing small metal joints and the like. Gas metal arc welding, also known as MIG welding, involves a spool-fed electrode that moves at a constant speed and makes for a much stronger, more reliable mold. Finally gas tungsten arc welding is generally used for thinner alloys and sheet metal (1). Small jobs can usually cost around $150, medium sized jobs about $350, and larger jobs can top out around $575 and up. Some possible projects that require welding include:

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Metal Fabrication

Whenever you're bending, cutting, or assembling metal, as in a machine setting or simply with tubes or sheets, that constitutes as metal fabrication (2). Metal fabrication can involve sawing, hammering, and of course, welding in the process. While generally used for industrial methods, homeowners can also see benefits associated with fabrication, often abbreviated as metal "fab." This is especially true if you own a property with aluminum fencing or siding (3). While certainly affordable, metal fab runs at roughly $2 per sq. ft. While the contractor may charge an upwards of $85 per hour. The industry has seen exponential growth since WWII (4).

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A broad term that refers to a number of services, welding can come in many different shapes and forms. Essentially all welding is doing is creating an electric arc through various means to fuse two pieces of metal together and create something new. This can be as simple as a bicycle repair or as complex as a full fledged car. Here are just a few examples of what welding can be.

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Certain homes, vehicles, and domiciles can use welding to touch up of fix issues in the metal. If there has been an accident, or intense weather (large hail) it's possible to dent metal. Welding allows for that metal to be restored correctly. Depending on the work you want, welding aluminum siding can cost between $70 - $200 dollars.

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Another fantastic design using welding is creating beautiful and original pieces of art. You can create your own lawn ornament, indoor coat rack, or wall art using welded metal (5). Be as creative as you want, as you're only limited by the amount of metal you're working with. Hiring a metal worker to create your masterpiece might cost around $85 an hour.

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Of course, what list would be complete without metal signs? Whether you're looking for a stop sign or a cool logo made of metal, welders can create the perfect sign for your property. These can be warning signs or purely decorational, as well as a fair mix of the two. So grab some metal and get to making signs.

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Qualifications of a Welder

A welder, or fabricator, is typically trained on the job as there are no formal educations available. Generally these types of jobs come about in a facility with the machinery already in place (6). Fabricators come from all walks of life, are generally introduced into the industry via association, and make roughly $20 an hour or around $35,000 a year (7).

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How Welding Works

The entire process revolves around forming an electrical arc through metal at a high enough temperature that it melts two or more bits of metal together (8). At its core, welding is just melting metal together. Even when using a torch, the function still remains the same.

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What is Sheet Metal?

Essentially any metal that can be formed into a flat piece of varying thicknesses constitutes as sheet metal (9). This is used for industrial construction jobs and made extensively to be easier to work with. You might see sheet metal used in (10):

  • Decor
  • Art
  • Ductwork
  • Signs
  • Medical tables
  • Refrigeration units
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  1. "Buying Your First Welder: A Practical, Informative Guide for Do-It-Yourselfers". Miller. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  2. "Metal Fabrication". Wikipedia. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  3. "What is the difference between manufacturing, production and fabrication?". Quora. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  4. Continelli, Aaron. "What is metal fabrication and where is the industry headed?". The Fabricator. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  5. Lawley, Rodney. "Basic Welding Equipment and Techniques for Metal Art Sculpture and the Beginner Welder". Felt Magnet. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  6. "What Is a Fabricator?". Study.com. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  7. "Metal Fabricator Job Description". Snagajob. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  8. Atteberry, Jonathan. "How Welding Works". How Stuff Works. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  9. "What is Sheet Metal?". Western Washington. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  10. "More about Sheet Metal Fabrication". Thomasnet. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
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