What Is MIG Welding?
MIG welding is the process of joining metal parts by melting the base metal and fusing it with a filler metal. The name is derived from the phrase "Metal Inert Gas," which is commonly used. The process involves using an arc between an electrode and the workpiece, which melts the base metal and fuses it with the filler metal.
Mig welding is an extremely versatile process that can be used to create virtually any shape or configuration of the welded joint. You can also use it for many different metals, including low carbon steel, stainless steel, and aluminum alloys.
Mig Welding Equipment
The MIG welding equipment you'll need includes:
The torch supplies the heat needed to melt the wire. It has a handle, an on/off trigger, and a tip where the wire feeds. The torch also has an air regulator that controls how much oxygen is mixed with natural gas going into the burner head (the part of the torch where you attach your wire). You need to use this setting depending on what type of metal you're working with.
This holds the compressed gas used as fuel for the welding process. Welding torch to combust inside and heats up when activated by pressing down on your trigger switch or button. You'll also see these bottles or tanks. Still, they're all essentially identical in function—they vary slightly in size based on their gas capacity.
Protects your eyes from any spark produced by friction during MIG welding processes such as spatter creation during stick electrode usage.
The thickness of welding wire is measured in thousands of an inch (thou) or mils. The most common sizes of welding wire are as follows: 22-gauge (0.023"), 24-gauge (0.024"), 26-gauge (0.025"), and 28-gauge (0.028")
The gauge refers to the thickness of the wire and the higher the number, the thinner it is and the less heat it can take before melting or burning out on you when you're trying to weld with it.
MIG Welder Settings
You can adjust these settings to improve the quality of your weld or reduce the amount of heat you apply to the weld.
Welding Wire Diameter
This controls how much material is deposited in each pass and determines how much heat will be required to melt it. A smaller diameter wire requires less energy and produces a cleaner weld, but it also requires more passes to build up a good bead.
This is how quickly you move through the molten pool when welding; too fast and you'll get porosity; too slow and it may take longer than necessary for each pass due to poor cooling.
With the Right Equipment, You Can Get Started on Some Solid Metalwork
MIG welding is a great way to get started in welding. It's really easy, and it's safe for beginners. You can use Mig welding for various projects, including light steelwork, ironmongery, and aluminum.
Mig welders are versatile, meaning they can handle almost any metal you want to weld with their different settings. They also include gas supplies that provide the shielding gas needed during the process, which makes them good value for money compared with other welder types.
Mig welding is a skill that anyone can pick up with only a little time and practice. If you're interested in learning how to weld but don't know where to begin, here are a few options:
- You can start with instructional videos on Youtube; many makers have uploaded videos that walk new welders step-by-step. The most famous one is *How To Weld Like A Pro - Using Gas Metal Arc Welding (Mig)*, by the YouTube channel OneMinuteUkeleleLessons.
- Consider finding an experienced professional welder who's willing to teach you one-on-one. Most welders are happy with any excuse to talk shop! They'll give you tips that you couldn't find even in the most detailed book.
- Take a course at your local community college or trade school. This could be an excellent way of getting basic hands-on experience in ideal conditions before moving on to more difficult tasks.
MIG Welding Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Use a TIG Welder as a MIG welder?
Yes, you can use a TIG welder as a MIG welder. If your TIG welder has adjustable amperage, you can follow the steps listed above. TIG welders tend to have higher amperage settings than MIG welders, but they still require the same power as a MIG welder. Since a TIG welder is more versatile, it's worth investing in one if you're regularly using welding equipment or want more control over your project.
How does a flux core welder work?
The machine uses a hollow wire and is filled with flux. Flux is the material that covers the weld and protects it from contamination when welding. You can use a flux core welder outdoors because the wind doesn't affect the weld because of the flux inside the wire. A flux core welder can also be used indoors with no gas if welding thicker materials (1/2" or less). It isn't recommended to use these machines for thinner materials on higher amperage settings, as there will be too much spatter and smoke
Does a MIG welder need gas?
This is a common question, and the answer is: yes, but it depends on the type of wire you are using. Flux core wire doesn't need shielding gas, while solid welding wire does need shielding gas.
The type of work you do will determine whether you need a machine that uses shielding gas or flux core wire. For example, if you are working outdoors or inside with wind, you can use flux core wire since it does not require an external gas cylinder.