The Differences Between Welding and Metal Fabrication

If you work in an industry that requires the use of a lot of metal, you might be familiar with the terms welding and fabrication. While many people use these terms interchangeably, the fact is that they are two completely different things. At Aaron Machine Shop, we pride ourselves on a history of creating quality machine parts for anyone who comes through our doors. Let us walk you through the main differences between welding and metal fabrication.


Welding

The term welding refers specifically to the process of joining one piece of metal to another. There are many different types of welding used for different jobs and in different environments. The process, however, is more or less the same for each in that they all use heat to fuse metal components together. Three of the main types are:

  • Arc welding: this type uses an electrical current to melt down and join various metals. It’s a low-cost option and remains one of the most popular welding techniques to date. 
  • MIG (metal inert gas) welding: this process uses an inert gas (like argon) to heat up both metals and join them together at their base. It’s often used in the industrial welding process and most effective with mild metals like aluminum. 
  • TIG (tungsten inert gas) welding: this type is used for welding together thick sections of stainless steel and other non-ferrous metals. A tungsten electrode is used to fuse the two pieces together. It is by far the most time-consuming methods of the three listed in this blog. 


Fabrication

Metal fabrication is a much broader term than welding. It refers to the complete process the metal goes through to become a finished product. The best way to distinguish the two is to say that welding is a single part of the largest beast that is the fabrication process. The process includes design, cutting, bending, shaping, etc. 


Fun facts

  • Did you know that without the earth’s atmosphere, two pieces of uncoated metal would naturally join together to form one bonded piece? Our atmosphere creates a thin layer of oxidized material that keeps the pieces from bonding. 
  • Welding has an incredibly long history. The first recorded instance was more than 2,000 years ago in the Bronze Age, where they used a hammer and heat to fuse together pieces of gold to create small circular boxes. 
  • It takes roughly 950 hours of welding to produce a single Nascar ready to hit the pavement.


For metal fabrication in Calgary, visit the Aaron Machine Shop. We’ll make sure your project is completed with diligence and speed. Call us today or visit us here to find out more about our services.