MIG welder is an arc welding machine. Choosing the right MIG welder for your welding project can be tricky. There are certain factors one needs to keep in mind while buying a MIG welder for the first time. Purchasing the right one which will be suitable for your application requires basic knowledge. This article will assist you in gathering fundamental knowledge about how to choose a MIG welder.
The first fact that you need to decide while picking a MIG welder is the power output. The general rule is that a MIG welder needs around 30amps of power for every millimeter of the thickness of the material. For example, if you are aiming to weld 5mm material, you will need around 150 amps to be able to do that.
One should take the duty cycle of the machine under consideration to avoid overheating machine issues. It is a reasonable way to judge the robustness of the welder. It instructs you about how long you can use the machine and when you have to stop.
MIG welder having 110-volt can be used for light metal welding, which can also be plugged into a usual domestic electric socket. Heavy welding requires a 220-volt welder. Buy one that matches your intention.
It is equally important as the other factors to make the perfect combination of the gas to make the best use of your welder. The ideal combination is 25% of carbon dioxide and 75% of argon. 100% of carbon dioxide is needed for deeper penetration.
Consider your budget before you get to the market. Does it depend on what kind of welding you intend to perform? Yes, it is! If you are a hobbyist or someone who has simple welding operations to execute, it is better not to buy a super expensive one. If you are a beginner, keep your budget between 300 to 500 dollars. These can be the best welders for home use. For professional work, you can spend even more than 1000 dollars on a welding machine. It can serve you with fantastic performance. Choose the best welding machine that suits your goal. Know your purpose and set your budget.
It is an excellent guide to identify the quality of a welder. Generally, three years of warranty is good enough. It is one of the first layers of knowing how to choose a MIG welder.
Read more Basic MIG Welding Techniques
Some of the additional key elements of a MIG welder are-
Capabilities to handle short-circuit: Some welders can modify electric current when a short circuit is about to happen. Consider buying one of those to prevent spatter.
Spool gun: While welding with aluminum, a spool gun is a lifesaver. It feeds the aluminum filler wire directly into the gun. Standard wire feed spool can cause aluminum to get tangled.
Cooling mechanism: To prevent you welder from over-heating, you can include the feature called thermal overload protection. Again some of the MIG welders are air-cooled, and some are water-cooled. The air cooling system is sufficient enough for light jobs. Else choose a welder with a water cooling mechanism. It might be expensive.
A beginner might get puzzled while buying a MIG welder for the first time. It is better to dig a little bit about MIG welder before you hit the market. Having the basic ideas about how to choose a MIG welder will help you to figure out what is best for you. You will learn to trace more facts about a MIG welder once you buy it and start working with it. Because experience is the best teacher one can have.
How To Choose a MIG welder Lets watch a video
What Is The MIG Welding in a Nutshell,
Before you buy the equipment for welding, you need to ask yourself what kind of welding you want? There are different welding machines, and most of them are good at joining metal pieces, but some are better than the rest. MIG welding will be the best option for both the beginner and pros. It is a universal option to work with because it is simple to use once you learn the basics about the working process of MIG welding. This article will sort out all of the confusion and will give you the fundamental ideas about what is the MIG welding?
What Is The MIG Welding, What does MIG mean?
The full form of MIG is metal inert gas welding. It is also known as GMAW welding. GMAW means gas metal arc welding, which is the technical name for it. Some people call it wire welding too. It is a process of arc welding to joint two base materials together to form one single object.
Basic working procedure
A thin wire acts as the electrode, which is fed continuously through the welding gun by pulling the trigger. It comes out from the nozzle of the welding gun. When the trigger is pulled, it also supplies welding current and exhales shielding gas, which protects the weld pool from contamination. An electric arc is formed between your working piece and the wire once you start working with it. It heats both of the metal pieces above their melting point, causing them to melt and later solidify to make a single piece. The nozzle of the machine also releases shielding gas while working. It is the answer to what is MIG welding.
MIG welding is a versatile form of welding to use for a wide variety of metals. It can quickly produce high-quality welds. The shielding gas is beneficial as it protects the arc and the weld pool. It prevents the reaction between the metals and other components in the air. it’s easy to learn and use. It can come in handy in a lot of ways. it has different switches to control various factors.
Using it in a vertical position can be difficult due to the production of high heat. this is a complex equipment itself. It is challenging to use in an outdoor environment as shielding gas can be easily blown away due to the wind. It can be difficult to move the gas cylinder. Proper care must be taken. It has fast cooling rates. Sometimes it can get hard enough to get the gun in the right places.
In MIG welding, all the machine controls are placed on the machine itself. One can control the polarity, voltage, and wire speed. It has several different heat settings, which helps you to set the right power to have deep welds with good penetration. Else you might struggle to get the correct heat settings. You can also control the speed of the wire. The gas is stored in the cylinder. A device called a regulator can control its pressure. The on and off switch for the machine is the trigger on the gun.
MIG welding machine consists of the following equipment-
- Welding gun
- Wire drive system
- Power supply
- Shielding gas supply
- Wire drive system
Some welding machines can have a source of cooling water to reduce the heat of the machine. MIG rod oven can be used for the proper storage of wires. Before starting, take the equipment preparation. Check your cables and tension. Set gas flow and polarity for electrodes. Keep your area of welding neat and clean to avoid unwanted accidents.
Using a MIG welding process might seem complicated at the initial stage. But it gets easier once you gain basic knowledge about what is the MIG welding. It is a useful element to have. One can control the polarity, wire speed, and voltage using these switches. There are different MIG welding techniques. Figure out which is going to work for you. Before starting your work, make sure to have the proper safety apparel.
How Does MIG Welding Work- Working Process Of MIG Welding
Are you looking for equipment to merge two metal pieces? MIG welding is an arc welding process used for joining two based material together. The full form of MIG welding is Metal Inert Gas welding. Another name for it is GMAW (Gas Metal Arc Welding), which is its technical name. Some people also call it wire welding. It might come in handy for you if you are an artist, farmer, bike-sports enthusiast, hobbyist, or someone who loves DIY and making things. This article will help you to know about how does MIG welding works?
How MIG welders work?
how mig welding works
A thin electrode wire is fed from a spool attached to the welder machine. It comes out of the nozzles of the welding gun. The wire is fed continuously on pulling up the trigger. Once you pull the trigger, it also supplies welding current and shielding gas. Between the workpiece and the wire, an electric arc is formed. It keeps heating the metals to their melting point, causing them to melt and joint. The metal to be joint is called base metal, and the metal that comes from the melting wire electrode is known as filler metal. MIG always adds filler to the joint.
MIG wire goes through the wire feeder to enter into the conduit liner. The liner goes through the welding lead to the nozzle. A contact tip is connected with the nozzle from where the wire comes out from the welding machine. Shielding gas is also fed continuously through the welding lead. It is often a mixture of argon and carbon dioxide, which protects the melted metal from the components in the air to avoid an unwanted reaction.
If you want to know about
Equipment to function it
To perform MIG welding one needs to have these following equipment-
The typical MIG welding gun has several vital features, including control switch, contact tip, power cable, gas nozzle, electrode conduit and liner, and gas hose. Usually, the contact tip is made of copper. It must have proper size as it will pass the electrode wire and maintain the electrical contact at the same time. The gas nozzle handles the task of supplying shielding gas evenly to the working area. Larger nozzles are preferable for the high current welding operation. Sometimes a water-cooling system is built into the gun to maintain the cooling system of the machine itself.
Wire feed unit:
The wired feed unit supplies the electrode to work.
The constant-voltage power supply is needed to perform this operation. It is directly related to the length of the arc. Changing arc length can adjust the intensity of the heat input and current. Shorter arc length can result in much higher heat input. Sometimes a constant power source is used in combination with this to achieve a similar effect. Alternating current (AC) is rarely used with MIG welding. Instead, direct current (DC) is employed.
Electrode also addressed as MIG wire is a metallic alloy wire. It has a significant contribution to the quality of welding. There are different types of electrode wires. One needs to be careful with wire selection. Usually, these are made of deoxidizing metals such as manganese, titanium, silicon, and aluminum to prevent porosity that can be caused by oxygen.
It is mandatory to prevent atmospheric gases to avoid fusion defects or porosity. Shielding gas is a compulsory element stored in high-pressure cylinders. A device called a regulator can control pressure. Gas is supplied to the nozzle from the tanks of shielding gas. It is employed to protect the weld. The choice of welding gas depends on the material type of the object being welded. For nonferrous welding, argon and helium are used. Again carbon dioxide is used to achieve deep penetration. It is suggested to use 75% of argon and 25% of carbon dioxide.
The working procedure of MIG welding might seem complicated, but once you start working with it, it will get as comfortable as using a glue gun. The underlying structure of the machine can be complicated, but it is super simple to use once you know how does MIG welding works.
Learn How to Use a MIG Welder in Minutes
Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding is a popular form of welding. It uses an arc of electricity to create a short circuit between the gun and the metal, which produces heat.
This heat, alongside a non-reactive (inert) gas, melts the metal. The metal is then allowed to cool, which causes it to solidify and fuse.
While that is the basic outline of MIG welding, there is a lot more to it, which this article will cover as well as teach you how to use a MIG welder.
What Are MIG Welders Used For?
These welders are used for smaller manual welding done inside factories or metal workshops. MIG welding has a less steep learning curve than other types of welding that are practiced and, as a result, is a good starting point for novice welders and is also used by hobbyists for small-time projects.
As it has been stated, MIG welding is used for small structures and is generally fast while producing excellent quality. However, it should be noted that MIG welding cannot be used outside, as it is very susceptible to draughts. Workshops will require windscreens to ensure proper welding.
What Is MIG Welding Used For?
MIG is also heavily used because it works well with lots of different metals. To list a few, MIG is used to weld carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum, magnesium, copper, nickel, and silicon.
What Benefits Do You Get from MIG Welding?
MIG welding has several advantages, which makes it a terrific choice for your welding needs. In case you were confused about whether or not MIG welding is for you or not, then it might help to look through the several advantages it has.
Speed of Welding
It goes without saying that MIG welding is fast. While it also depends on the complexity of the joint or fusion, in most cases, you will find that MIG takes the least time. This is attributed to the continuously feeding electrode, which ensures a fast and smooth process.
Quality of Welding
Alongside being fast, MIG produces very high-quality welding. This form of welding offers good weld pool visibility alongside great control due to the auto-feed wire.
All these work in tandem to provide a simple, efficient, and high-quality weld when working with the large variety of metals MIG welding is compatible with.
Clean and Efficient
MIG welding uses a shielding gas to protect the arc. What this does is reduce the loss of alloying elements and prevents the formation of slag and other waste products.
Furthermore, this ensures high uptime, and there is very little clean up to do. This makes the process fast and less tedious.
Easy to Learn
Despite all these advantages, MIG welding is quite easy to do and teach. In many workplaces, it is very easy and cheap to provide sufficient basic training to employees that will allow them to perform properly.
It is also very easy for people to pick up and use for their projects. Simply having someone demonstrate it or watching a video tutorial is often enough.
Disadvantages of MIG Welders
MIG welders have numerous advantages, but they are not perfect. In fact, they have some issues that people working with them should be aware of.
Can’t Be Used Outdoors
MIG welding is very susceptible to draughts. If your workshop isn’t well built to reduce the wind, you will find the quality of the weld will heavily suffer,
Draughts will also affect the shielding gas and thus make your welding process much messier. This weakness to flowing wind does limit some applications of MIG welding and puts some pressure on the user to find some proper counters to this obstacle.
It goes without saying that MIG welding can be quite expensive. While the initial cost of a MIG welder is not quite that expensive, it should be noted that a MIG welder comes with lots of parts that need replacing at times.
These parts include shielding gas, electrodes, and muzzle tips whose costs can very well pile up and prove to be a hefty expense.
Can’t Be Used for Thicker Metals
While MIG welding can be used for a variety of metals, most of them are comparatively thin metals. MIG welding does not possess the penetrating power to be able to work with and weld thicker metals. This rules out MIG welding in most heavy-duty work.
How to Set up a MIG Welder?
Here’s the process for setting up a MIG welder.
Before you can begin the welding process, it will help you a lot to make sure some things are properly in place. Make sure to go through the list of precautions below before using your welder.
- Proper Clean up
Make sure the metal you’re working on is free of any paint or rust. MIG welders do not interact well with rust or paint on the metal, and as such, you should take time to scrape the paint and remove the rust. You can use a rust remover to help you.
- Inspect the Power Source
Prepare the power source. Keep it close by and check to see if it is properly working or not. Power source failure midway can be very dangerous, and so you should be very careful.
- Welding Wire
Check the welding wire you’re using. Make sure it is not damaged or susceptible to anything. Check it’s stability before use. When choosing a welding wire, remember that as a general rule of thumb, thicker metals will require thicker wires.
- Use Ground Clamp
Attach the ground clamp to the work surface. Make sure it is properly attached as your welding relies on it.
- Wear Protective Equipment
Make sure you have a welding mask, jacket, fire-resistant safety pants, and gloves. Welding produces harmful fumes that will cause health hazards. You should take measures to protect yourself as best as you can.
To ensure that the MIG welder works properly, there are some parameters that you should be aware of. If you’re using a MIG welder, you’ll need to know about these parameters and how much you need to vary them for different scenarios. Some of the parameters are:
- Select the Appropriate Shielding Gas
With the G in MIG standing for gas, you can probably guess how essential the shielding gas is for the process to work. The most common gases used C25 gas and Argon gas. Steel requires C25, while aluminum requires Argon gas.
- Voltage Setting
MIG welders make use of DC voltage, and the voltage setting, in particular, determines the penetrating power of your welder. Having a high voltage setting will allow you to penetrate thicker metals, but if it is too high, you might mess up your weld.
There’s no hard and fast rule that you can use to determine which metal joint requires what Voltage. Your best bet is to refer to the manual of your particular welder and experiment. Most manuals will give you a table that will provide you with a rough idea.
The rest you will need to test and experiment using scrap metal.
- Wire Feed Setting
Wire feed setting is often a difficult setting to correctly set up, especially for beginners. This setting simply determines the amperage (current setting) for your machine. The unit of measurement is IPM (Inches Per Minute).
Having too high a wire feed setting will cause the welder to burn through the metal, and having too low a setting will create a loose and weak joint. Similar to the voltage setting, there are usually manuals dictating what setting to use for different thicknesses.
However, picking the right wire feed setting is much more difficult as you will need to adjust the voltage in tandem to ensure proper welding. There are more comprehensive tables that can help you.
- Gas Flow Rate Setting
This setting controls the amount of gas released during the process. A higher gas flow rate setting will exert more shielding gas and thus protect the weld area. However, too high a setting might cause contamination in the joint, thus weakening it.
In most cases, people using MIG welding prefer to use a setting of 15 to 25 CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute). You can then experiment for better results.
Installation and Welding
After taking the necessary precautions and learning the proper settings to use, you can slowly begin to assemble the welder.
- Set the metal down properly and use a ground clamp. The clamp is necessary for welding to work.
- Install the wire. To do this, simply remove the nozzle and open the holding cabinet of the machine. You will see a screw. Unscrew it and then insert the wire into the opening. Adjust the wire as necessary.
- Check the gas cylinder and make sure the wire is firmly connected to it and that there are no leaks.
- Check and adjust the settings. These include –
- Voltage Setting (Use the gauge on the welder)
- Wire Feed Setting (Use the gauge on the welder)
- Gas Pressure and Flow Setting (Make use of the adjusting screw beside the cylinder)
- Make sure your welding torch has the appropriate amount of wire. If it is too much, you can cut off some of it.
- Proceed to weld bead the metals. If necessary, practice by performing small beads or circular motions using the welder to get accustomed to the feel of your machine.
- After welding is done, lower the gauges to zero.
- Use the depressing trigger on your welding mig gun to lower the CFH levels.
Things to Keep in Mind
- You can make use of a fume extractor to remove harmful fumes. Investing in one is recommended for MIG welding as you’ll be welding inside a room, and thus, fumes can prove very harmful.
- Make sure your wires are straightened out before you begin welding. Bent wires can cause the gas pressure to build up and accidents to occur. When not in use, neatly coil the wires to avoid tripping on them.