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What is Electric Welding?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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Electric welding is the process of heating and welding two pieces of metal together using a powerful electric current. It was invented by professor Elihu Thomson. It requires the use of a specialized device called a dynamo that releases the current used for welding.

Unlike more traditional methods, electric welding requires only a minimal amount of skill and understanding on the part of the dynamo operator. He must only learn the proper welding heat of the metal being used, but is not required to learn the more intricate processes of conventional welding. The dynamo use in this type of welding is self-regulating, and only needs occasional lubrication to continue working properly. This makes this method perfect for the novice welder.

Alloy and any two like pieces of metal can be connected via electric welding. Two unlike pieces of metal can also be welded this way, as long as the welding point of neither is in excess of the other. If differing welding temperatures are an issue, the metals can still be welding using sauter at the weld point.

During the electric welding process, the metal pieces are connected together using copper clamps. Electricity is passed through the pieces, heating them and connecting them at the point where the two metal pieces meet. It seems as though the heat would be greatest at the meeting point of the two metals, but the area where the metals are looped and not touching becomes hot first and then radiates outward to the joints.

The heat distribution is regulated by providing a consistent motion using a regulatory lever. This ensures that both metals become soft and join to one another at the same time. When the electric welding process is complete, a seamless joint is formed.

The benefits of electric welding include the fact that this method does not waste excess fuel and provides targeted precision. The heat does not move far beyond the weld point. This makes it ideal for insulated wires. The ends of each wire can be welded, while still leaving the insulation in tact.

Although electric welding can use up to 50,000 amps of electricity, it uses an electromotive force which only contains half a volt of electricity. This makes the dynamo incapable of electrocuting or shocking a person when in use. Welding using electricity can take as little as a fraction of a second and as long as several minutes depending on the job, and the method can be used for both large and small jobs.

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Discussion Comments

By anon171735 — On May 01, 2011

So a electric welder is an arc welder?

By gregg1956 — On Jul 23, 2010

Are there certain applications in which electric welding is better than gas welding or MIG welding?

By CopperPipe — On Jul 23, 2010

@lightning88 -- I would say your best bet is to tack around the outside at intervals, then go back and weld between the tacked spots.

You should also make sure that your current isn't having any problems, because distortion can sometimes be caused by an unreliable or changing current.

By lightning88 — On Jul 23, 2010

When doing electric arc welding, how can I minimize distortion?

It seems like whenever I try to do something that requires turns -- for instance, welding around a circle or square -- I get a lot of distortion.

How can I get rid of this?

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