Q: What are the advantages of MIG welding?
A: It’s easy to learn how to MIG weld – with a little practice, even a first-time user can achieve a good-looking weld
- MIG welding is a much faster process than Stick welding
- The operating cost of MIG welding is lower than Stick welding because of the time savings, and because there’s virtually
no waste of filler metals (50 lbs. of MIG welding wire yields approximately 49 lbs. of deposition, as compared to Stick welding
where as much as 25% of each electrode is discarded as stubs.)
- In general, thinner materials can be welded more easily with MIG versus Stick welding
- MIG welding is a clean process and does not require chipping slag off the weld as in Stick welding.
Q: What are the disadvantages of MIG welding?
- Initially, it costs more to set up a MIG system than a Stick welder, because of regulators and shielding gas
(some MIG welding is done with self-shielding flux core which does not require gas or a regulator)
- Strictly looking at dollar per amp, Stick welding is cheaper
Q: What types of material can be welded with MIG machines?
A: Virtually all types of material can be welded with a MIG machine. However, in the MIG process different materials
require different wire and gases. For instance mild steel can be welded with either self-shielded wire, (which does not require
separate shielding gas) or with CO2 or a CO2 mixed gas. Aluminum material requires the use of Argon gas.
Q: What material thicknesses can a MIG machine weld in a single pass?
A: Typically, less amperage is required to weld thinner material and more amperage is required to weld thicker material.
A general rule-of-thumb is, one ampere for every .001″ of metal thickness. For example, 10 gauge (or 1/8″) material equates to .125
decimals or 125 amps.
Q: Can MIG machines weld through dirty materials?
A: It’s always advisable to weld on the cleanest possible material, so for best results scrape off paint, rust or other debris where the weld is being made.
Self-shielding wires will help in poor conditions.
Q: What types of projects can I weld with a MIG machine?
A: MIG welding is great for a variety of applications, including:
- Trailer hitches
- Auto body repair and restoration
- Farm/ranch equipment
- Hobby or household projects
- Repair of wheel barrows, bicycles, etc. The key is to make sure you match the metal thickness of the item to be welded with recommended amperage output.
Information courtesy of Miller Electric