Joining metal together is a skill – you can’t exactly stick it together with some Pritt stick or cello tape. It just doesn’t work. You need to create a strong bond. You can do this using MIG welding.
If you work in an industrial sector then you have probably heard of MIG welding under its new name of Gas Metal Arc welding (GMAW). Many people however will remember it as the former so for the sake of this blog we shall call it MIG and answer all your questions about how to MIG weld like a champion.
What is MIG Welding and How Does it Work?
MIG welding has been around since the 40’s and has changed very little since then. MIG welding uses an arc of electricity and makes a short circuit between a wire-fed welding torch and the metal being welded. In scientific terms it connects a continuously fed anode to a cathode.
This circuit will produce heat and gas which will melt the metals making them join. When the metals cool they will solidify to form a solid bond. MIG welding is commonly used as it can be used to bond many different types of metal.
A MIG Welder
If you were to take a look at a MIG welder you would see a few key elements, the welder itself, the gas supply, the torch and the earth clamp. Take a look at the welder and make sure the wire feed is not jammed as this may stop the machine from working. The spool of wire should be held on with a tension nut and be loose enough for the spool to unravel but tight enough so it doesn’t come off.
Many welders will have a shielding gas of argon and CO2 which prevents the weld from looking brown and splattered. The gauge should read between 0 and 2500 PSI with the regulator between 15 and 25 PSI. This gas pressure may need to be higher however in a windy environment such as outside.
The earth clamp is the cathode which completes the circuit and will be clipped directly onto the metal or to a metal welding table. If you are about to weld something make sure that this is rust or paint free for best results.
Advantage and Disadvantages
You now know how MIG welding works but why would you use this process? Here are a few of the advantages and disadvantages of this joining process:
• MIG welding can join many metals of varying thicknesses.
• Capable of all-position welding
• Minimum splatter
• Easy to learn and do
• It cannot be used on very thick pieces of metal.
• Not easily portable due to the use of inert gas and is not as controlled as some other methods.
If you are thinking of doing some MIG welding then make sure to get a lesson from the experts, wear the correct safety gear and use only the best welding machinery. There is a real art to MIG welding and you could soon be an expert!