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SMAW/GTAW/GMAW , which has the brightest arc?

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  • SMAW/GTAW/GMAW , which has the brightest arc?

    During a discussion in our morning toolbox, we began discussing which welding process would have the brightest arc. There were several different opinions, but I'm looking for some facts. I always thought it was SMAW...

  • #2
    Of the three processes you mentioned, GMAW would have the "brightest" arc. With SMAW, the flux itself will shield the arc a little bit, along with the smoke dulling the arc. But with GMAW there is no shielding at all. Carbon air arcing (gouging) also has an extremely bright arc. Ask anyone who has ever gotten a really bad flash in a shop environment and they will likely tell you it was from a MIG welder.

    Most welding manuals will have a table in them with the recommended helmet shade #s to use for different processes. While they do very with voltage/amperage settings the following are pretty typical recomendations. For SMAW usually a shade #10 lens is recommended while with GMAW It's a #11 or #12 (up to #14 for Carbon Arc processes).
    Last edited by wronghand; 01-16-2009, 09:47 AM. Reason: additional info
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    • #3
      Technically, they are all the same 'brightness', tít for tát, a GMAW arc is just as bright as a SMAW arc at the same voltage and current. Just as a GTAW arc would be as bright as a CAC-G arc if you TIG welded at those amperage's and voltage.


      Now UV and 'blue light' emmissions are a horse of a different color.

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      • #4
        Brightness :

        In my experience I would say Mig Welding, For Sure !!

        ........... Norm :
        www.normsmobilewelding.blogspot.com

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        • #5
          "Norm: Not As Bright................."

          As Arizona Sunshine 78F!

          I'll be quiet now............

          Dave
          "Bonne journe'e mes amis"

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          • #6
            Sunshine !!

            Hey Dave ;

            Bright and Sunny in Southern Ontario Too, -35C

            In My Shop +20C ( 80F ) I'm Staying Inside !!

            ................ Norm :
            www.normsmobilewelding.blogspot.com

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            • #7
              My $.02, TIG on Aluminum or stainless.
              Be safe
              Jeff

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              you will get more than ya need.
              This is true for the good and bad
              that life puts out.

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              • #8
                There is allready some confusion here I think. Could you clarify what you mean when you say "bright".
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                • #9
                  It turn out that, for a variety of reasons, at a given current, stick is more hazardous to eyes and exposed tissue than TIG, and a bit more so than GMAW. See Welding Hazard Index

                  http://www.michigan.gov/documents/ci...2_137274_7.doc
                  https://www.jlab.org/ehs/ehsmanual/6430T2.htm

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                  • #10
                    I would have to say that GMAW is the brightest light, with duel shield wire. When i use it I have to set my lense to 13. Short arc, I turn it down to 10-11. And TIG 10.
                    Last edited by steelwelder22; 01-16-2009, 08:59 PM.
                    welder22

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by redintn View Post
                      My $.02, TIG on Aluminum or stainless.
                      Ditto! Bigger the amps the brighter!
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by enlpck View Post
                        It turn out that, for a variety of reasons, at a given current, stick is more hazardous to eyes and exposed tissue than TIG, and a bit more so than GMAW. See Welding Hazard Index

                        http://www.michigan.gov/documents/ci...2_137274_7.doc
                        https://www.jlab.org/ehs/ehsmanual/6430T2.htm
                        Nice info if the OP meant UV or blue light brightness, which I doubt.

                        The visible light brightness of an arc (air gap) is the same for all processes using the same voltage and amperage (wattage).
                        Just as the visible light from a 2800° steel bar is the same as a 2800° monel bar as is a 2800° tungsten bar.

                        The illumination produced is different, just as if you were comparing a flashlight bulb to a household light bulb. If both filaments are heated to 3500° they are the same brightness, but the luminosity is vastly different. The same applies to welding arcs, a 3/16" E6010 SMAW arc at 48k watts will produce more light (luminosity) than a 1/16" FCAW arc at the same wattage.
                        This is due to the size of the arc, not it's 'brightness'.
                        The SMAW has a much larger arc than the flux core, same as the household light bulb has a much larger filament than the flashlight bulb.

                        So, all arc processes, whether welding or not, are the same 'brightness', but due to their differing arc sizes produce varying amounts of light.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by redintn View Post
                          My $.02, TIG on Aluminum or stainless.
                          Esp when inside a box made out of real shiny stuff no matter what the process....just got reminded of that this week when spoolgunnin' inside of an aluminum box.

                          For getting flashed, my #1 vote is for spray arc and #2 is smaw

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                          • #14
                            I would say Arc and Mig have the same heat 9000 degrees, Tig is in the range of 12000 degrees.

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