The difference of metal fabrication and welding lies in their process approach, in the sense that metal fabrication is the process of creating a project out of a metal, but which welding can be used as a means of operation during the process, while welding joins together two pieces of metal or other preferred materials with similar melting points and compositions using the principle of fusion. Because these two processes clearly are distinct in its approach, the neutralizing advantage is that a welder can fabricate, as well as a fabricator can weld.
Another difference between metal fabrication and welding is that the tools in metal fabrication cannot be used for welding and these tools are: abrasives, adjustable wrench, benders, chipping hammers, consumable electrodes, cylinders with custom carts, electrode holders, hand file, soapstone, Tungsten inert gas consumables, vice and vice grips, welding clamps. Both processes are similar with respect to the use of cleaning supplies for disinfecting the metal and these are a wire brush and organic solvent, like acetone or mild alkaline solution or a citrus-based degreaser without butoxyethanol to scrub away any grease, oily deposits, and germs.
There are four ways to weld: shielded metal arc welding (SMAW), tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding, which is common in fabrication shops, gas metal arc welding (GMAW), and flux-cored arc welding (FCAW), but in metal fabrication, the process entails using many other processes, such as: die cutting, finishing, hydroforming, roll forming, shrinking, spinning, stamping, stretching.
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There are stages or step procedures in metal fabrication and the first stage is the design and layout, such that before you cut a metal, weld it or bend it into a particular shape, you have first to determine what that shape is and it is the metal fabrication company that creates the metal design and lays out the design for the metal fabricator to apply the process of fabrication according to the given design, then the cutting, bending and shaping follows next.
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Stick or shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) is applied in steel erection, heavy equipment repair, construction, pipeline welding and the process makes use of an electrode or welding rod to carry the electric current and provide the majority of the weld metal.
A welding process that uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to heat the base of a metal and create a molten weld puddle is known as a tungsten inert gas welding (TIG) or Heliarc and this welding type is applied in aerospace welding, piping systems, motorcycles or bikes.
Gas metal arc welding (GMAW) or MIG is applied in small to large manufacturing, auto body, fabrication and is a welding process that uses a continuously fed, solid wire electrode through a welding gun.
A similar process to GMAW in that it uses a continuously fed electrode, but instead of a solid wire it uses a tubular wire filled with flux and this type of welding is used in thick materials, steel erection, heavy equipment construction or repair is known as the flux-cored arc welding (FCAW).