How To Use A Mig Welder

learning how to use a MIG welder is not as difficult as it may seem. It is the most likely the easiest method of welding and is a valuable skill to learn both for your personal use and projects or as a springboard to employment. When you Learn the skills required your home workshop will never be the same, you will be able to tackle all kinds of projects such as furniture, work benches, brackets, racks, chassis and frames, gates, repair broken parts and even larger projects such as house beams and steel deck framework.

how to use a mig welder

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Mig welding is commonly referred to as gas metal arc welding (GMAW), this type of welding is today the most popular and versatile method of welding. It is used in production and maintenance work and can be applied to heavy engineering, light engineering, and construction work to auto body work. For example production line robotic welders in auto manufacture are Mig welders. Mig welding is perfect for day-to-day factory work as well as ideal for the home or small workshop.

mig welding torch

Mig welding uses a power source and a wire feeder that feeds the wire electrode through the welding gun to the weld. The wire feed consists of a set of drive wheels for the wire and a constant-speed motor to turn the drive wheels. The wire electrode comes in various coil sizes, or spools depending on the welds to be performed. These spools can be mild steel, stainless steel, or aluminum in accordance with the job, and can contain hundreds and even thousands of feet/meters of wire. Most Welding machines have various functions allowing timed feeds and variable speeds.

The wire is fed through a cable that also contains a shielding gas hose and allows the electrode to run smoothly without bending or kinking. The shielding gas or inert gas protects the weld from contamination during the welding process. Welding wires can differ from solid wires used for aluminum, stainless steel, and mild steel, but also flux-cored wires are also used for use on heavy steelwork. A gasless wire is available for mild steel, this is useful in outdoor or on-site situations where a gas bottle is impractical or breezes are a concern by blowing away any protective gases.

MIG welder Gasses

Inert gasses are gasses that will not react with metals or other gasses. With MIG welding, Inert gases are used to create a protective bubble around the arc and molten metal while the welding is being done. This gas is generally pure argon gas for aluminum and argon shielding gas mix for mild steel applications.

Mig welding can be used to weld steel, stainless steel, and aluminum, all requiring slightly different gasses welding wires, and amperage settings. and due to the work requirements the heavier the metal being welded the more powerful the welding machine needs to be.

For home mig welders a machine rated between 140 and 220 amps is most likely the best choice. This would allow working on metal thicknesses from 1/16″ up to 1/4″ including pipes, tubes, flat bar, round bar, angle iron, sheet metals, and square hollow sections.

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Mig Welding Employment

If you seek employment, learning how to use a MIG welder gives you skills to open many new doors for you. There is a constant demand for semi-skilled and skilled welders in fields such as production work, light, and heavy engineering. Then there are the big-money welder jobs in the oil and mineral industries. Once you learn Mig welding you also have the opportunity to start your own business. You could start out working from home making small items of furniture to sell at your local markets, over time your name will get around and you will find you will get as much work as you want.

Do you Mig weld left to right?

You can MIG weld, either way, it doesn’t really matter, whatever is comfortable for you unless the process is pre-determined by the project designer. Sometimes welds are designed to close or pull together gaps by welding in a set direction. The main thing is to be consistent in your preferred direction.

What Mig welder for aluminum?

hobart handler 140 mig welder

The MIG welder needs to be Aluminium capable. Some welders are very basic and will only weld mild steel. The best machine would be a multi-process welder that can weld mild steel, aluminum, and stainless steel such as the Hobart Handler 140.

Can you MIG weld without gas?

forney flux-core welder

Yes. Most MIG welders can run using flux-cored wire which won’t need gas. This is because the flux-core wire contains the shielding gas component within the welding wire. These wires are different to standard solid welding wire. You can’t weld with solid welding wire without gas.
There are also stand-alone wire feed welders that are specifically designed to run flux-core welding wires only. An example of this type of welder is the Forney 140 wire feed welder.

Can you MIG weld galvanized steel

Yes, MIG welding galvanized steel is possible. The best type of welding wire to use is a flux-cored wire for welding galvanized steels. The process also produces a lot of fumes and smoke so it’s important to wear a respirator or welding mask and ideally weld in a well-ventilated area or outside.

Which MIG welder for beginners is best?

A standard 140 MIG welder is great for any welder just starting out. There are plenty of brands to choose from, it’s probably a good idea to find a reputable brand such as Hobart, Lincoln, Miller, Yes welder, or Forney. These are brands that will have good service and backup should any problems occur. Avoid any cheap no-name brands. You get what you pay for.

Do you push or drag a MIG weld?

You can push or drag using a MIG welder. The main thing is to make sure you are using the correct power setting for the metal being welded. Using a low power setting can produce cold welds which may look fine but in reality, have not penetrated the parent metal and are just sitting on top of what’s being welded. Be sure to follow the manufacturers’ power setting guides.

How to weld thin metal

MIG power settings

The main thing here is to check the welding machine’s power setting guide. Thin metal can be tricky and the power setting needs to be correct. Also if the weld is on very thin metal the weld can tend to blow through. If this happens use a stop-start spot weld technique and wait for a second or two between spot welds.

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