Welding is the process used to join, repair or fabricate metal pieces and products. Many welding projects are commercial in nature, and certification and inspection is required for anything structural. Education and certification is available through the American Welding Society.
Wrought iron fencing and gates are metal, but it is usually more economical to go to a service professional who specializes in fencing than to have this sort of project custom made. A welder may be called upon to fabricate special gates and design custom security applications for windows.
Sometimes old machinery and appliances require repair or replacement of parts. However, for more recently purchased items, it is usually more economical for consumers to order new replacement parts directly from manufacturers than to have something repaired or custom made in a welding shop. Most welding shops will advise consumers when it would be more economical to order a new part.
There are many times individual homeowners and other consumers need to contact a welding professional to have something repaired or made of metal. Commonly, consumers need repairs on metal furniture, both indoors and outdoors, lamps, bikes, hand railings, fireplace grills, etc. Custom weathervanes would be another reason to contact a welding shop.
Another frequent request is to attach hitches and build and install racks on vehicles, including cars, trucks, trailers and recreational vehicles. Consumers also request metal racks to be fabricated for their garages and work shops.
Rural applications could include fabrication or repair of farm animal enclosures.
The welding process best suited to joining two pieces of metal depends on the physical properties of the specific metals, the specific use to which they are applied, and the production facilities available. Welding processes are generally classified according to the sources of heat and pressure used.
The original pressure process was forge welding. Forge welding was practiced for centuries by blacksmiths and other artisans. The metals are brought to a suitable temperature in a furnace, and the weld is achieved by hammering or other mechanical pressure. Forge welding is used rarely in modern manufacturing.
The welding processes most commonly employed today include gas welding, arc welding, and resistance welding. Other joining processes include thermite welding, laser welding, and electron-beam welding.