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The manual metal arc welding also called the shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) is the most extensively used manual welding process which is done with stick (coated) electrodes. While its use is decreasing in comparison to the other arc welding processes in the USA, in India, it still is the most used arc welding process. This process is highly versatile and can be used extensively, for both simple as well as sophisticated jobs.
Further, the equipment is least expensive compared to that being used in other arc welding processes. Welds by this process can be made in any position.
Job of any thickness can be welded by shielded metal arc welding. But very small thickness esbelow 3 mm may give rise to difficulty in welding because of their lack of rigidity. Similarly very large thicknesses above 20 mm may take a long time for filling up the joint groove.
The shielded metal arc welding can be done with either AC or DC power sources. The typical range of the current usage may vary from 50 to 500 A with voltages from 20 to 40 V. Manual metal arc welding is normally used for the big project or equipment that it difficult to use the machine welding.