MIG Welding 101: Functioning, Usage, Pros & Cons

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You may have a plethora of options while choosing a welding process for your welding task. But, each welding process is best suitable for a few particular metals. That’s where MIG welding beats them all being a universal welder effective for both thin and heavy metal pipe, sheet, etc.

MIG stands for Metal Inert Gas. This semi-automated welding process is rocking the welding industry since 1940, and winning the MIG vs TIG battle by a mile. Wondering how does MIG welding work so comprehensively? Well! Read on to unfold the mystery.


How Does MIG Welding Work: The Secret to Beautiful Weld Joints 

A MIG welder incorporates mainly three things to help the users get precise and beautiful weld joints- electricity, electrode, and shielding gas. Electricity works as the power source and produces heat, the electrode fills the metal joint, and the shielding gas to prevent the air from getting affected by the air.

You should understand the parts of a MIG welder to know how MIG welders work. The four main components of a MIG welder are as follows.


1.The Welder:

There is a preinstalled spool of wire with a set of rollers to push the wire towards the gun. There is a tension nut to keep the spool tight so that it doesn’t unravel.

2.The Gas Tank:

As a MIG welder involves the use of shielding gas, there will be a gas tank consisting of 100% pure Argon or a blend of Argon and CO2. This gas protects the weld joints.

3.The Welding Gun:

This is a crucial part of a MIG welder as you will be working closely with this one. It comes with a trigger allowing the user to control the electricity flow and wire feed. The gun has a copper tip to guide the wire. The tip is then coated with a metal or ceramic cup to protect the electrode and direct the gas flow.

4.The Ground Clamp: It works as the cathode and completes the prime circuit with the gun, welder and your project. It is usually clipped to the metal piece which is to be welded.


The Simplified Mechanism 

When you operate the tool by squeezing the trigger of the MIG welding gun, electricity transmits to the electrode and charges them. It feeds the consumable wire through the MIG welder. As soon as the wire meets the electrode and the target metal, it starts to melt the metal joint and the filler metal consequently.

In the meantime, the shielding gas is transmitted through the welding gun nozzle. This gas protects the welding joint and puddle from the reactive elements of air. Thus, welding with a MIG welderbecomes a piece of cake even for amateur welders.


How to Weld with a MIG Welder? 

How do you MIG weld? It depends on your experience as a welder. Since MIG welding is a semi-automated welding process, there’s still a lot to do manually. You have to develop expertise gradually. Here is a step-by-step basic guide given for the beginners.

1.Ensure the Safety:

A welding project has the potential to cause health hazards to the welder. Ensure that you have all the safety gears before delving into the welding process. The basic safety gears for welding includes flame-resistant safety jacket, full pants, leather gloves and shoes, safety glasses, a cap, and a safety welding helmet.

2.Prepare the Equipment:

Check all the cable connections to see if they are tight fitting or susceptible to any damage. Select the electrode polarity as per the sign engraved inside the machine. Then, set the correct gas flow and inspect the hose to find out if there is any leak. Keep the gas flow rate ranging from twenty to twenty-five cubic ft. per hour.

3.Keep the Proper Stick-out:

Stick-out refers to the length of the unmelted electrode that goes past the edge of the welding gun contact tube and it the arc length is excluded from stick-out length. Generally, the proper stick-out length ranges from 3 to 8 inches. Don’t keep the stick-out too long as it will produce a sound like that of sizzling bacon.

4.Choose the Technique: Push or Pull:

The push technique implies that you are pushing the welding gun away from weld joints. It results in lower penetration, which consequently produces wider and flatter beads.

Pull technique refers to the backhand technique where the gun is dragged opposite to the deposited metal. It produces deeper penetration resulting in narrower beads.

5.Keep Practicing:

Practice makes a welder perfect! With the passage of time, you will learn to adjust the travel speed of the welding gun along the welding joints to maintain deeper or lower penetration to create both wide and narrow beads as intended. Keep practicing, gather more practical experience. Choose your welder from these top-class MIG welders, you’ll surely be creating high quality, good looking MIG welds with the right equipment.


MIG Welding Pros & Cons

Like every good thing on earth, MIG welding also has a few drawbacks. The pros and cons of MIG welders are enumerated below.


  •         A MIG welder produces less smoke.
  •         The weld joints are clean and high-quality.
  •         One can perform long welds with it at a stretch.
  •         It is easy to operate for all levels of welders.
  •         It works excellently for tack and spot welds.
  •         MIG welding is suitable for a variety of metals.
  •         The shielding gas prevents the loss of the alloying elements.


  •         You always have to keep a bottle of gas around.
  •         A MIG welder includes a set of complex equipment.
  •         The welding process must take place near the core MIG machine.


Now that you knowhow MIG welders work, hope it will help you perform the welding task more efficiently than ever. You will be able to operate the machine well if you understand the basic mechanism of MIG welders. Enough with the learning, let’s get into work and make an educated decision before striking the arc every single time.

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