The 4 most common types of welding rods (and how to choose)

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Welding rods will be a familiar sight for nearly any manufacturing company. They have a wide range of applicability and, depending on the type of business that you run, might be one of your biggest expenses. Welding rods come in all shapes and sizes, as well as different types. Which type you choose has a big effect on the job, so here’s a rundown of the most popular choices.

#1 Steel

Steel is the most widely sold type of welding rod simply because most machines are made from and designed to work with steel. This makes the rods suitable for most jobs. Steel generally creates a solid weld, and, owing to how common this type of rod is, it isn’t usually expensive. There is one big caveat, though. Steel is an extremely broad classification that incorporates everything from mild to stainless steel and a vast range of alloys. You need to be extra careful when selecting a rod and ensure that it matches your steel type. Moreover, the type of alloy can have a big (and sometimes detrimental effect) on the quality of the weld. As such, steel welding rods always require a little research.

#2 Plastic

The most frequently cited advantage of plastic welding rods is their price: they’re much cheaper than their steel counterparts. That isn’t the only advantage, though. Plastic welding rods are extremely resistant. They’re fantastic for electrical insulation, are highly resistant to chemicals as well as things like mold, algae, and moisture. Better still, they offer easy bonding, and their dimensional stability is the best in class. Although it doesn’t (on paper at least) sound like it will provide welds as strong as steel, a plastic rod can offer extreme strength. Welds tend to be much quicker, too. This combination of price, durability, and ease of use makes plastic welding one of the most popular choices.

#3 Bronze

One of the more specific types of welding rod, bronze, is used solely to join copper with other, normally incompatible metals. Since the melting point of bronze is substantially lower than many other metals it’s also used in the process of brazing. Brazing is an essential part of the manufacturing industry. It’s one of the more versatile joining processes and is used to connect different types of metals and alloys. Bronze’s usefulness in this area makes it particularly important. Of course, bronze welding rods are also used to repair bronze workpieces.

#4 Aluminum

Aluminum welding rods are becoming more common, although you should exercise a degree of caution when using them. These rods need to be matched carefully to the weld for the best results. That said, aluminum rods are compatible with most non-ferrous metals, so they are a flexible choice with a wide range of applicability across the industry. The multipurpose nature of aluminum welding rods accounts for their burgeoning popularity. As well as pure aluminum welds, they can also be used with welds of different aluminum alloys.