Welding with efficiency requires you to have good protection for the molten weld on the joint. Using gas with a MIG welder means the gas will protect the mold from the atmosphere from oxidation. If you don’t use any protective layer around the puddle, it will cause a problem called the porosity. Without a protection layer, it will make the joint weak and make a lot of pinholes to make its rigidity close to nothing.
However, making the protective layer doesn’t always have to be with an expensive gas cylinder. If you’re a beginner in the welding world, learning the process makes it more likely for you not to have a gas supply in the first place. In this article, I’ll help you understand how to use a mig welder without gas and still be able to land a great welding bead.
Are gasless mig welders any good?
Using a MIG welder without a gas shield means you have to use a Flux core wire to do the welding. The wire is hollow with flux inside that makes a layer on the molten puddle to protect it from oxidation. Some impressive advantages refer to the gasless flux core welding a piece of cake. The first noticeable thing is its convenience of transportability without any extra trailer.
You must use a little triller if you use the welding rig with a gas cylinder, which is not necessary with a flux core. Using a Gas MIG welder outside is not an option, but with the gasless flux core, it’s fairly easy to use in a high wind! So, considering all the conveniences, gasless MIG welders are the best option if you’re looking for better usability, especially as a beginner.
Can I use a mig welder without the gas?
MIG is the acronym of Metal Inert Gas, which as a welding method, it needs some gas to protect the mold. When you’re joining two pieces of metal, you have to protect it from porosity and to make the joint super strong. There are two ways of protecting the protective layer if you choose the MIG welding method, with or without gas.
If you don’t have access to a gas cylinder or have to keep on the go, you can go for a gasless MIG welding method. With the gasless method, you have to use a special wire that has a protective mechanism integrated into it. Flux core wires containing flux inside it to make the protective cover on the mold. However, they will produce slags that you have to chip off later.
How to Use a MIG Welder Without Gas?
Using a MIG welder to weld without using GAS requires some extra preparations and processes. Here is the step by step process of how to use a mig welder without gas and land a very professional weld:
Take the safety measures
You’re not using gas, so you’re already getting good safety in a sense, but there are other things to keep in mind. First, make sure you’re wearing personal protective equipment such as full-length pants and a jacket. You have to wear good gloves and a welding helmet with a pair of steel-toe shoes. All of them should be safe from fumes and sturdy and have good ventilation in the place you’re welding. Flux core welding methods will produce a lot of smoke around; good ventilation can pass them out.
Prepare the equipment and the metal
The flux core welding method requires some specific equipment such as a wire brush to chip the slag off. Get the right type of flux core wire, depending on what type of metal you are welding. Get a plier to hold on the base metals if you need one and prepare the metal. Clean if there is any stain, paint, or rust before you start to weld on the metal. A rusty metal won’t be so helpful with the welding gun that you won’t have a strong joint if you don’t clean it.
Prepare the welder machine
Preparing the welding machine requires you to know about the machine first. The first thing you want to do is setting up the right current flow. Make sure the machine runs on DC as flux core welding requires so. For a gasless flux core, you should set the current flow on polarity negative on the machine. Be sure to go through the manufacturer’s manual to know what type of setup they refer you to.
Set up the wire feed
As you’re working with flux core wire, you have to feed the wire before welding. Select the right type of wire depending on the metal you’re welding on and select the right diameter. Feed the right amount of wire; if it’s a small project, you can use a 2-pound spool. But, if it’s a big project to cover in a single turn, go for a 10-pound spool or bigger. Feed the wire by following the onboard instruction and let it come out of the gun for about 1.5 inches off the tip.
Give it the right speed and voltage
While welding with flux core wire, setting the right wire feeding speed is important for the amount of voltage. Usually, there are two knobs on the machine to control them with different levels imprinted on them. Match up the wire feeding speed and the speed you’re at while welding. Generally, the speed you’ll weld is one inch per 20 seconds, and that depends on how much speed you’ve set on the knob. If you get molten balls, too much slag, or uneven weld, that’s because of unmatched speed.
Weld correctly and chip off
Once the machine is ready with the right wire feed, start welding in the right direction. Hold the gun with two hands, one hand for making the gun steady. Keeping the gun steady and running it in an angle will help you get less slag to chip off later. You have to pull the gun inward instead of pushing it forward. You can also go a little zigzag if you’re doing a wide and big weld for a big joint.
Frequently asked questions
Here are the most frequently asked questions about gasless MIG welding that you must know about:
Can you weld aluminum with a MIG welder without gas?
Can you mig weld stainless steel without gas?
If you have a MIG welding machine that can’t hook up a gas cylinder to it, you can use a flux core. The same applies if your machine can do both with or without a gas shielding process. Using flux core can be a great money-saver option if you have enough time to chip the slag later.
Furthermore, using a gasless welding solution saves you on portability as you can take it anywhere without getting a crate to carry the cylinder. As you now know, how to use a mig welder without gas, you can use it to do beginner to professional welds.