If you’re planning to get into welding, you must choose the welding method that can fit your needs and help you do your job well. The MIG welding method is arguably the most convenient method to learn, especially if you’re starting your welding journey. The MIG welding process started its journey back in the 1940s in the aerospace industry. Whether you’re working in the automotive industry, heavy construction or fabrication, MIG welder does it all.
It’s the only welding method that you won’t have to change, no matter how big of a task you get. You can do sophisticated metal joints with the process, with or without gas shielding gas. Despite the easy process, you must know how does mig welding work and how you can start working with it properly. Stick to the article to know the benefits of MIG welding and how you can start working with it.
What Is MIG Welding?
MIG stands for Metal Inert Gas, which is also popular by the name “Wire welding,” or GMAW if you’re familiar with the American welding society. MIG welding method is by far the best option, no matter if you’re a professional in the welding industry or a beginner to it. With this process, you will join the metals with an arc welding system that meltdown and join with a filler metal.
It joints two metals with a solid fed-through electrode protected by a gas shielding, typically a mixture of argon and CO2 gasses. If you’re not familiar with any welding method, you can learn the MIG welding method easily compared to any other method.
How does mig welding work?
If you’re planning to start your welding journey with MIG welding, it can be a smooth journey to work with it. Here is how does mig welding work that can help you understand how to maintain the process:
Wire feeding process
With a MIG welding machine, you have to use it with a fed wire through a contact tip on the welding gun. The wire will meld down and joint the two pieces together when you’re joining them together. You have to put on the wire spool on the wire feeding mechanism in the back of the machine. Follow your manufacturer’s instruction to know how to feed the wire into the welding gun and how much you should have out of the nozzle. The wire or the consumable will go through a conduit liner, or a flexible tube into the welding gun itself before the nozzle.
Gas shielding process
The MIG welding process uses a layer of gas to protect the molten puddle from oxygen, water vapor, or anything else in the atmosphere. It protects the base metals, the puddle, the contact tip from oxidation, and lands a solid weld. You will use the gas from a high-pressure cylinder attached to the MIG welding machine using a pipe. There will be a valve where you have to attach the pipe to control the gas’s pressure. The valve will help you level the pressure to a usable level and make it easier to use for better control over the shielding for the weld.
Current settings and controllers
You will have regulators on the machine to control the electric polarity, voltage, and wire feed speed. These regulators will help you better control the weld you’re making on different metals using different electrodes. With MIG welding, the current is direct current where the workpiece is negative, and the electrode is positive. mostly its DCEP, and in some cases, it’s DCEN for some types of metals. You have to connect a ground cable to the workpiece coming from the MIG welder to complete the circuit.
The welding process
The MIG welding process is fairly simple, and it’s easier for the beginners to get used to it. You feed a consumable electrode on the wire spool, attach the gas, adjust the regulator to the proper settings, and run the welder. There is a switch on the welding gun under your pointing finger to execute the weld; it doesn’t work as a regulator. You have to adjust the speed, voltage, polarity on the machine itself, and the gas cylinder valve. It’s very important to match the wire feeding speed depending on the type of metal you’re working on.
Advantages of mig welding
MIG welding is a welding method that you can apply on almost any type of welding job to make firm joints on two metals. Here are the main advantages if you’re planning to start working with MIG welding:
- Controllable speed: MIG welding is way more versatile than the other welding methods when it comes to joining two metals quickly. You can adjust the wire feed speed, the voltage level, or use both polarity settings for different applications.
- Easy to use: MIG welding is the easiest welding method to learn, even if you’re a beginner to welding. It’s operable single-handedly and easier to control the maneuver of the welding gun on the metal bead.
- Better quality: Although the MIG welding method is faster than most of the other welding methods, it’s capable of landing better quality as well. MIG welding is free from slag and flux, so you won’t have to chip the flux after welding.
- Long passes: If you have a long joint to make in a single pass, the MIG welding method can offer you the convenience. As you control the amount of electrode you’re using, you can use it as a bigger wire spool you want for a long pass.
- Higher penetration: The MIG welding method is popular for a higher penetration with rapid heat and deep weld. It can give you a stronger weld no matter what type of metal you’re working on, mild steel, magnesium, or cinch. As you don’t have less starts and stops, you can easily get a solid, deep joint with higher penetration.
Frequently asked questions
Here are the most frequently asked questions about MIG welding method that you may have an interest in:
Is MIG welding strong?
MIG welding can give you a strong weld on moderately almost any metal. However, if your base metal is too thick like cast iron or too thin like thin aluminum, it can be harder to get a strong weld.
Do you push or pull when MIG welding?
If you’re using the machine without gas shielding, you can pull; but it’s not the same for MIG. With gas-shielded MIG welding, you will push the MIG gun to weld the metals together.
What gases are used in mig welding?
The common types you will use with MIG welding are Argon, Carbon Dioxide, and Helium. However, depending on the type of metal, you may use 100% Argon helium for different metals.
The MIG welding method is the most convenient one, as the process is pretty straightforward. It has less cleaning hassles and better penetration on the metal bead for a good joint. You can join pieces firmly if you know how does mig welding work and understand the speed settings on the machine. If you can keep the welding gun at a good pace and know when to start and stop, you will land a good weld.
However, don’t forget to have a proper setup for the MIG welder in your workshop. MIG wheelers make a lot of fumes and heat a lot, so you have adequate ventilation in the room. Use the proper gas for shielding, keep it steady while welding, and do a test weld before the main course.