As cool as MIG Welding looks with its colorful bouts of flare, the process of arc welding can be tiring and even disastrous if you are not acquainted with some basic ground rules. MIG welding is a process of submitting a solid wire electrode to the weld pool for joining two base materials together. It serves the purpose of welding and repair of materials from 24-gauge up to ½ inch thick.
From professional mechanists to DIY enthusiasts, everyone has seen MIG welding in motion at least once in their lives. If this is your first time holding a welding gun or want some useful insight to improve your welded quality, read our article to find out simple MIG welding tips and tricks.
Simple Reminders for Beginners
Wear Protective Gear
Before picking any welding equipment, you must remember to don protective apparel to shield yourself from unwanted injuries. The gases are strong enough to permanently scar any exposed skin. Without welding glasses, you are susceptible to injuring your eyesight. This includes a helmet, gloves, safety glasses, leather boots, and full-sleeved flame-resistant jackets and pants.
Use Clean Equipment
Porosity is a leading cause of welding failures, mostly from welding on a dirty and oil surface. For this reason, you must make sure that the weld is clean, and the surface is free from rust, paint, dust, and other contaminants.
Keep a Solid Ground
Ever heard an obnoxious amount of sound coming from your welding? That’s what happens when the ground isn’t firm. Uneven ground will also make the welding gun sputter all over the place. To keep the weld in place, you must have a steady ground for which you can take the help of ground clamps, preferably ones made of copper.
Technical Tricks for All Welding Enthusiasts!
Use Both Hands
You want to make sure you are holding the gun in place because steady hands will generate steady results. Let the crook of the gun neck rest in one hand and grasp the portion with the trigger on the other hand. If you need to take your prop hand close to the weld, don’t hang back. Remember to wear a flame-resistant, thick welding glove to shield your hands from injury.
Although downhill welding is preferable for thinner surfaces, whenever the surface is thicker than ¼ inch, it is best to weld uphill to ensure smooth welding. Uphill welding can take more time, and the chances of burn through are significant, but it produces the sturdiest results, and the weldment is good-looking and sound.
The distance between the MIG welding tip to the arc is the stick distance, and this distance can have the greatest impact on the welding outcome. Shorter sticks, between ¼ and ⅜ inches, are preferred for better penetration. Smother welding as long ones can make the weld pileup.
Holding the gun at a perpendicular angle, between 5 to 15 degrees, is known as welding using a travel angle. It is the most suitable angle for normal welding conditions. Buttweld (90 degrees), T-joint (45 degrees), and Lap Joint (60-70 degrees) are some other angles useful for filling large gaps and avoiding uneven weld beads and undercut.
Choosing Your MIG Welders
Power Source of the MIG Welders
Installing the perfect electric outlet can make a huge difference in your welding performance. Most households have 110v outlets, but your amperage will be limited to this one. If you work with heavy metals, go for the top rated 220v MIG welders.
220v MIG welders are far more powerful and can work on a ½ inches thick metal in one go.
If you normally work with automotive repairs, you don’t really have to worry about this feature in a welding machine. We recommend purchasing welders that come with fans, regardless of their amps, as they tend to have a higher duty cycle.
Gas or Gasless
MIG welders require shielding gas for keeping oxygen away. You can pick a flux-cored wire or a gas shielded welder for this purpose. The flux-cored wire splatters a lot, so you won’t be able to clearly see what you’re doing. On the other hand, the gas-shielded welders splatter less and are simpler to use. If you’re a beginner and don’t favor the gasless welder, we recommend the gas shielded one for you.
Three things to keep in mind before choosing a MIG Welder
Aside from price, size, weight, portability, input voltage, weight, and duty cycle, there are key things you need to know before buying a MIG welder.
You must know what purpose the welder is going to serve. MIG Welders are great for Construction, Automotive, Farm, Metal art, Maintenance, and DIY. However, they are not suitable for outdoors, precision welds, or aviation.
2. Weldable Metals
MIG welders can weld Steel, Stainless steel, Chrome-moly, and Aluminium. If you are operating on metals like brass, bronze, or copper, MIG welders might not work for you.
3. Metal Thickness
Keep in mind that MIG welders can typically weld materials from 24-gauge up to 1/2-inch thick. Anything less or more thick may require different types of welders.
What makes someone a good welder?
The first step is to always guard yourself against possible accidents. Safety doesn’t have to be expensive; you can find budget welding helmets in any store easily! Always wear the full safety gear, including goggles, jackets, and gloves, to keep yourself safe.
Welding is no doubt a task that requires careful detailing and utmost attention. Clear your schedule, take your time and be as precise as possible!
Patience and Practice
When you start out, welding might seem difficult, but with regular practice, you can easily master the art of welding.
Our article’s sole purpose was to educate our readers on the basics of MIG Welding. We have stated crucial information on how to keep yourself safe. In contrast, welding, how to weld better, and we have provided recommendations for protective gear for the newbies in MIG welding. We hope our readers, from home enthusiasts to professionals, will be able to relate to our content and benefit from it.
Welding is a rather enjoyable task for many people, but to do it well is not for everyone; that does not mean you can’t learn. Go through our tips and trick to be a better welder. Good luck!
Interesting related article: “Planning a career in welding?“