Welding, also known as splicing, is a manufacturing process and technique for joining metal or other thermoplastic materials (such as plastics) with heat, high temperature, or high pressure.
Here are two commonly used welding methods in the rapid prototyping industry.
1. Laser welding
Laser welding is a type of high-energy beam welding, whihc equipment is generally used for welding, and it is a welding method using a high-power coherent monochromatic photon flux focused laser beam as a heat source for welding.
This welding method usually has continuous power laser welding and pulsed power laser welding. The advantage of laser welding is that it does not need to be conducted in a vacuum and can perform precise energy control, thus enabling the welding of precision devices. It can be applied to many metals, in particular to the welding of difficult-to-weld metals and dissimilar metals. At present,it has been widely used for mold repair.
2. Argon arc welding
Argon arc welding is a type of arc welding. It mainly uses the arc that is continuously fed between the welding wire and the workpiece as a heat source, and the arc is sprayed by the torch nozzle to protect the arc.
At present, argon arc welding is a common method and can be applied to most major metals including carbon steel and alloy steel. MIG welding is applicable to stainless steel, aluminum, magnesium, copper, titanium, zirconium, and nickel alloys. Due to its low price, it is widely used for mold repair. However, welding heat has a large area of impact, large solder joints, etc. Precision mold repair has been gradually replaced by laser welding.
The advantages and disadvantages of laser welding and argon arc welding are compared in four aspects:
Welding speed: Simple spot welding and automatic welding are used for classification. The laser spot welding machine has simple welding operation, fast welding speed, non-melting argon arc welding operation is relatively difficult, and there are consumables, and the welding speed is slow.
The difference of the welding speeds between automatic laser welding and automatic metal-arc welding is not big, because the fusion-gas-argon welding will still melt the welding wire.
Depth of welding: laser welding machine is the fusion welding of materials by laser, but the laser is a short board in deep welding. It's not mean laser deep soldering can not be reached, it's just too expensive.
For example: Weld 2.0mm stainless steel plate, if you choose welding machine, at least 500W optical fiber transmission laser welding machine has to be used. The general argon arc welding machine can be welded to such a thick stainless steel plate, but only a few hundred cheaper. Therefore, using a laser welding machine is not worthwhile if deep penetration is required for welding very thick materials.
Welding effect: The laser spot welder has a more beautiful appearance than the non-molten argon arc welding. The appearance of the automatic laser welding machine and the automatic argon arc welding machine is similar, and the thin material welding laser welding is better.
Welding firmness: As long as the power of the laser welding machine is large enough, it can be welded very firmly, and is comparable with argon arc welding. However, the heat of the laser welding machine is more concentrated and the thermal deformation caused by the material is small.
Therefore, the laser welding has advantages in welding thin-walled materials. Accuracy is also the higher of the laser welding, and the laser welding basically does not need to be processed after welding, saving time and effort.
Difficulty of operation: The operation of laser spot welding machine is much less difficult than that of non-GTA welding. In fact, TIG welding is very technical and it is prone to mistakes, but laser welding is much better. Simple, even if there are mistakes, the problem is not great. The operation of automatic laser welding and automatic argon arc welding is not difficult and requires computer control.
Summary: If welding thin-walled materials, laser welding is better. If there is no high requirement for welding speed and welding accuracy, it is more cost-effective to use an argon arc welding.