Learn the basics of flux core welding with Blain’s Farm & Fleet.
Flux core welding, also known as flux-cored arc welding or simply “FCAW,” is a type of wire feed welding. There are many advantages to using flux core welding, most notably its ability to be used in all positions when equipped with the right filler metal. Flux core can be used with a variety of metals, including stainless steel and some nickel and steel alloys.
Flux Core Welding Equipment
One of the best parts of flux core welding is the small amount of required equipment. You don’t need a gas cylinder because the shielding gas is in the core of the welding wire. You just need a flux core welder, a welding gun and your metal work piece, which can be sheet metal, tubing or whatever you need to weld. You also need spools of welding wire, which is fed through the welding gun.
How Flux Core Welding Works
A wire is fed through the welder and the welding gun. What sets flux core apart from MIG welding is how the filler metal is protected. In MIG welding, a separate gas cylinder is hooked up to the welder. The shielding gas is fed from the cylinder to the welding gun, protecting the welding wire from any toxins that would jeopardize the weld.
In flux core, the inner core of the wire consists of materials that create purifying agents and shielding gas when the welding arc is struck and heated. This internal shield protects the weld pool.The wire provides filler metal, which is heated and then drips to form a weld between the two metal work pieces.
Pros of Flux Core Welding
- Can be used in all positions with the right filler metal.
- No need for a shielding gas, making it perfect for outdoor welding.
- Easier to learn than stick welding and TIG welding.
- Filler metal can be applied at high speed.
Cons of Flux Core Welding
- More fumes than stick welding.
- More expensive than TIG, MIG or stick welding.
Flux Core Welding Safety
Safety should be the biggest priority when welding, no matter which process you choose. A welding helmet will protect your ears, neck and face from debris and slag. Safety glasses, combined with a darkening helmet, will protect your eyes from arc flash. Welding gloves should be worn to protect your hands from hot metal and debris. To further protect yourself, welding sleeves, an apron or jacket should also be worn. Don’t cuff shirts or pants, as sparks can get lodged and burn you. It’s best to tuck your pants into a sturdy pair of work boots. As well as the protective welding clothing, you’ll also need flame resistant clothing to further protect yourself.