The MIG (Metal Inert Gas) is the easiest welding solution, especially if you’re a beginner at welding. It’s the welding solution that you can get to understand with only a few hours of practice. Apart from being the easiest welding method to learn, it is also one of the cheapest solutions. The consumables it uses come in cheap, so you can weld without burning a ton of money into the mold.
However, no matter how convenient, cheap, or how easy to learn it, you must know how to use it. I will take you through the process of how to use a mig welder and why it’s better for you. Stick to the article if you’re trying to get started with welding and MIG welding is your welding method of choice.
Why is MIG Welding Better Than TIG Welding?
MIG welding is a new concept with new features if you compare it to TIG welding. Like everything else, newer inventions are more efficient in technology. The advantages of mig welding with some impressive features make it better than TIG, such as:
- Sticking electrode: The electrode in the MIG welding method never sticks to the base metal, so it’s easier to weld with MIG. On the other hand, The electrode in TIG welding tends to get stuck to the base metal.
- Difficulty: The MIG welding process uses continuously fed-through wire; it’s easier to handle. With the TIG welding, you will face difficulties to handle the torch and the electrode at the same time.
- Metal thickness: MIG welding can handle almost any thickness on the metal and weld faster than TIG welding, yet it can deliver a better finish than TIG.
- Cost: MIG welding consumables are way cheaper than the consumables of the TIG welding method, yet it can work on bigger base metals.
- Longer passes: With the MIG welding method, you can have long passes because of the nearly endless electrodes. But the TIG welding method requires you to have smaller single passes because of the shorter electrodes.
How To Use A MIG Welder
Using a MIG welder comes with very minimal requirements and very few things to master. To know how to use a mig welder, follow these tips and rules, including the safety precautions:
Put on your safety gear
When you’re working with metal and flame, both are highly dangerous if you don’t take prior precautions to stay safe. Before you start working with your MIG welder, make sure you’re prepared with your safety gear. Put on safety clothes like a welding helmet, a non-flammable jacket, a pair of steel-toe boots, welding gloves, earplugs. Make sure the PPEs are all flame-resistant as you’re working with a flammable electric arc.
Prepare the electrode
Pick up the right electrode, such as the gasless flux core wire or a gas -shielded filler metal reel. Once you have the right electrode, put the reel on its designated place inside the hood. Get the right spool size; if it’s not a bigger project, you can go for the 2-pound reel, or a 10-pound one would be preferable. Mind the diameter of the electrode as well, select it according to the application, 0.30 to 0.36 inch.
Prepare the mig gun
Once you have placed the electrode reel to the spool feed, now it’s time to prepare your MIG gun. Feed the electrode through the MIG gun and keep the wire out of the contact tip for about 1/4 inch. You can make it smaller or longer, depending on the application difficulty and type, such as a narrow joint. Check if the onboard switch of the torch is properly working and the gas lead is working fine as well (If you’re using a gas shield).
Use the proper gas composition
If you’re using a gas-shielded welding method, you have to use the right composition for the gas mixture. You have to use a 25% Carbon dioxide with 75% Argon gas if you’re welding thin, mild metal. For welding thin aluminum, you have to use 100% argon gas for the safe shielding process for the mold. Welding thicker aluminum will require different compositions, and it will take 20-75% of helium with argon. Different types of metal require different types of a mixture, and some will take pure CO2 or Argon, some will take a mixture of them.
Set the proper polarity
The polarity setting is the driving force for the proper electric pass through. It controls the electronic signal and hits up the filler rod and melts it to the molten puddle. There are two different settings for polarity, Direct current electrode positive and Direct current electrode negative. With different types of metal, you have to use either of them. Welding aluminum will require you to use the DCEN, where you need light penetration.
Prepare the area and the metal
Once you have prepared the MIG machine, it’s time to prepare the area you’re welding on and the base metals. Remove all the flammable components of the area and see if the surface is safe to use. Try to use a table with a metal top to use the ground clamp directly to it. For the base metal, the preparation is straightforward, cleaning it if there is any stain or paint on them. Remove them with a wire brush and make sure the core metal will contact the filler metal from the MIG torch.
Benefits Of MIG Welding
Using MIG as your welding solution comes with many added benefits that can get you some impressive results. Here are some of the most anticipating benefits that you will appreciate if you use MIG welding:
- Productivity: MIG welding can help you get higher productivity in the welding process as it takes less time for high-quality weld. It doesn’t leave slag behind to chip off later and welds faster.
- Easy to learn: If you’re a beginner in welding, MIG welding can be a method you can learn pretty fast. All you need to learn is how to set the things right and handle the MIG torch correctly.
- Faster single-pass weld: The MIG welding method allows you to weld a bigger piece of metal with a single stroke or pass. You can work faster as it uses a continuously fed electrode without buffering.
- Versatile welding: With MIG welding, you can weld almost any metals or alloys from mild steel to thick metal. If you ask, can mig welder weld aluminum? The answer would be yes, MIG welding can weld from 14 ga aluminum to thicker aluminum with proper shielding.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about MIG welding that you should know:
What can I weld with a MIG welder?
Do you have to use gas with a MIG welder?
Can you mig weld stainless without gas?
When it comes to MIG welding, you can weld with or without gas shielding if the metal supports both. This convenience allows you to get either a fast welding solution or a professional clean welding bead by skipping the slug. Now, as you know how to use a mig welder, take your safety precautions seriously.