MIG welding is probably the most used type of welding today. This is due to several reasons. First and foremost GMAW is a very easy and smooth welding method which allows both experts and novices to quickly learn to use a MIG. Another reason is the welding speed. MIG welding is significantly faster than TIG or MMA, which also makes it a good economical alternative. In another area where the GMAW process works well is within robotics and automation industry.
The terms behind MIG welding
MIG stands for metal inert gas, the technical term for this is gas metal arc welding (GMAW) and sometimes MAG (metal active gas) is also mixed in here. However, there is a difference between MIG and MAG. MIG uses an inert gas like argon or helium or a mix between them which protects the weld. The shielding gas itself adds nothing to the weld except that it keeps impurities and contamination’s out, while MAG welding uses an active gas such as carbon dioxide or oxygen. This gas reacts with the weld arc and ”helps” to make the weld. The shielding gas in MIG welding makes the welding process clean which means a fancy bead, while also protects it from oxygen etc. that can give the welled a worse durability. MIG welding is a semi or automatic arc welding process, meaning then you can use both your hands to hold the MIG welding gun with. You don’t occupy you other hand for holding a filler rod, and compared to stick welding (MMA), you don’t have to change an electrode, you will not have any slag and in comparison a lot less splatter.
Advantages of MIG welding
An advantage of the MIG welding process is that it can be welded at the different positions. However, as we usually want to weld the horizontal or vertical (downhill). It is also possible to weld uphill, which is actually preferable because welding downhill with thicker material can cause problems. The weld may be difficult to reach in every corner of the weld. Uphill welding is somewhat more difficult when you constantly fight with gravitational. But by adjusting the settings, this is quite doable. With a MIG welder you can weld a large number of metals. It won’t compare to a TIG welder but for a welder or company that don’t specialized in only high alloy metals a MIG welder will do that job perfectly. Join both thin and thick work pieces is no match with the MIG welding techniques. With everything good comes some bad, less bad in this case. Because of the shielding gas GMAW is not to prefer outdoors. Any wind can push away the shielding gas and decrease the quality of the weld. There is also a tendency in the case of MIG welding that if you find any problems with the weld at e.g. x-rays, this can sometimes mean a greater problem. Gas metal tungsten welding can be inexcusable when it comes to improper beneficial uses of the equipment. This can be hard to see with the naked eye, and if the welder has used the equipment e.g. bad angle of the welding gun, cracks and the like will likely be all over the welders work.
The basic equipment you need: MIG Welding Gun and Torch, Power supply, Electrode and Shielding gas.
If you see the MIG welding machine as a body the power supply would be the heart, the MIG welding gun is the brain, or the other way around. By using the trigger it initiates the wire feed process and together with the electric power and the shielding gas it causing an arc to be struck. The welding electrode that the MIG wire feeder ejects is decided depending on material/thickness and what type of weld design that is used. It comes in different sizes and also determined by the feeder is used. Different wire feeders can use different thickness of the electrodes.
While MIG welding has its downsides, it is a great welding process. The ease of use, speed and economic benefits makes it the most used welding process today.The techniques from person to person can differ. It’s a quite easy process to learn. There is no rights and wrongs, just a matter of trying until your welding techniques working. Both for you and the examiner.