What is MMA Welding?

Manual Metal Arc (MMA) Welding

MMA welding, or more commonly known as stick welding, is one of the most versatile and commonly used arc welding methods. It involves making an arc between a consumable electrode and two pieces of metal to be joined. 

The MMA Process

It is a pretty straightforward process. Using an electrode holder to secure the electrode, the welder then lightly strikes the metal work-piece to start an arc. Once the arc is started, the electrode and work-piece melts to form a weld pool, and material from the electrode fills it, creating a solid consistent mass upon cooling. The electrode's flux coating also melts and creates a slag layer which shields the weld from atmospheric degradation during the process. After each weld, the slag must be chipped away to show the weld.

How is it used?

Widely versatile, MMA welding is employed in many industries, the most prominent being maintenance and repair industries. It can also be used in construction and fabrication jobs. MMA has also become portable thanks to inverter technology, hence it is frequently used for field and site activity. It is used to weld low and high alloy steel, cast iron, stianless steel, carbon steel and ductile iron. Nonferrous materials such as nickel, copper alloys and aluminum are also compatible.

Why MMA?

MMA welding has numerous advantages over other welding methods. It can generate more power than MIG welding, which means that it can weld stronger materials with an equal amount of amperage performance, providing better energy efficiency. Modern inverter equipped machines offer excellent characteristics and efficiency as power curves can be managed electronically for each operation, inverter equipped machines are usually also tiny and compact.

MMA machines and accessories are relatively inexpensive, their maintenance costs are also lighter than other welding methods. Furthermore, the equipment can be powered quite easily, and the welding technique is considered easy compared to other welding methods.

MMA Welding Equipment

Factors affecting the success of MMA welding depends on the following:

  • Preparation of the work piece
  • Selection of electrode material and sizing
  • Welding current and arc length
  • Arc length and travel speed

As with all welding, safety must come first. Welding gloves are neccessary to protect your hands from sparks and spatters. Welding helmet and eye protection is also required to shield your eyes from the high amount of UV light. In addition, a welding apron can also offer additional protection.