MIG Welding Basics

MIG welding stands for metal inert gas welding. It was originally used to weld non-ferrous metals such as aluminum. It eventually was used on steel too. It is a quicker method of welding as compared to other methods of welding.

mig weldingSome of the advantages of MIG welding include the speed of the welding process. It has the ability to weld many metals and many thicknesses of metal. The biggest advantage to MIG welding is that it can be automated so that the human element can be removed all together. That’s why robotic mig welders are commonly found is on an assembly line in an automobile factory. As mig welding machines utilize a wire feed system this makes them ideal for robotic purposes as they can carry a great amount of filler rod or wire.

Mig welding utilizes a wire feed technique which feeds a wire electrode from your welding handgun to the weld. This wire electrode is available in numerous coil capacities or spools dependent upon the welder sizing, that may contain 100s and perhaps 1000s of feet/meters of wire. The actual wire feed includes a pair of drive wheels to the wire plus a continual speed electric motor to move the drive wheels. The majority of Welders contain numerous features enabling timed feeds together with adjustable speeds.

You need the right safety gear. This includes a face mask to protect your eyes and skin. You also need to have a heavy leather jacket. Keep the jacket fastened all the way up. You need to wear heavy cotton pants and close toed shoes. Heavy work boots are best. Make sure that you are welding in a well ventilated area, and that you have some kind of barrier between you and others, and you have a warning sign that advises people to avoid the area.

When you start welding you need to make sure that you have the valve on the machine for the shielding gas is open. Your welding machine needs to be on, and the grounding clamp either on the metal or on your welding table.  Make sure that your metal is clean and sharp edges are ground down. Clean edges make your welds better. You can bevel the edges to create a valley for the weld if you choose to, this is more important on thicker metals.

After you have done that and set your machine up, it’s time to start welding. You want to make a zig zag or concentric circles with the tip. It’s smart to practice before you start welding. Make sure the mig welding machine is at the right setting. If you are getting holes in your workpiece your setting is too high. Your settings are too low if your welds are being formed in spurts. You have the right settings when your bead is nice and smooth.

How To Mig Weld

how mig to weldLearning how to Mig weld is probably the easiest of all the welding processes. There are basic fundamentals to understand but once mastered you will be able to weld most metals in various positions with a mig.

The act of welding is simply fusing two metals together with the aid of a filler material. You first need to get enough heat into the metal to begin the fusion process. For this the power of the welder needs to complement the job to be done. For example it will be difficult to bring 1 inch steel to any sort of melting point with a 120 Amp welder.The more power in the mig welding machine the thicker the metal you can weld.

Filler materials or welding wire in the case of MIG welders will need to be the same as the work to be welded, e.g. welding aluminium requires aluminium welding wire. Also the wire gauge should also complement the work to be welded. For light welding of sheet metals you would use a .08 mm wire gauge. For thicker metals you will use 1.2 mm wires.

The basic set up with a mig is that the welding wire is fed through the welding cable to the welding gun; pull the trigger of the gun and the wire feed pushes wire to the job. The power level and wire speed must be consistent with the job to be done. Getting the two synchronised can be a challenge when you are learning how to mig weld. Once the combination is right the welding will be smooth and relatively quiet without splattering.

The power of the welder in relation to the work is most important, especially when the job being done could be a safety issue if the welded joint is not fused properly. A poor weld is often referred to as a cold weld or cold lap. A weld such as this can look perfectly fine but have no strength at all due to lack of penetration.

To prevent poor weld penetration the power of the welder must be sufficient to melt the parent work and fuse the metals together. Always weld with as much power as you can to ensure correct fusion of the joints.

How to mig weld with Gasless wire.

Mig welders will generally require a shielding gas however gasless wires are commonly available. Gasless wire is excellent for the welding of galvanized iron. Gas-less wire is also convenient where portability is needed or for site work when wind and breeze can blow away the shielding gas from the work.