Many say that MIG welding is the easiest form of weldin […]
Many say that MIG welding is the easiest form of welding. I have to agree. Below you will find an in depth analysis of what MIG Welding is.
What is MIG welding
MIG or Metal Inert Gas welding is the process of welding pieces of metal together using a current of electricity . It is usually considered the easiest type of welding for one to start out engaging in only because of the somewhat straightforward nature of the machine’s functionality.
History of MIG welding
MIG welding otherwise known as GMAW welding was first developed in the early 1940’s. As mentioned in the above section it is the process of using an arc of electricity between a positive and negative (anode and cathode) to form a weld. The heat necessary to weld the metals together is produced by both the arc and inert gas involved in the process.
Works with a wide range of different metal types
Easy to learn
Splatters very little
Doesn’t work very well with thick metals
Less portable than welding types that don’t require an external shielding gas
Less controlled than TIG welding
The great thing about the whole MIG welding process is that it is fairly simple. The part that makes it so simple is that it doesn’t require very many parts-there’s just 4.
First you have the actual welding machine. The welder carries with it a spool of wire (consumables) and a variety of rollers which puch the wire out of the welding gun. Before you begin welding it helps to actually go through your machine and make sure you have a solid understanding of it’s inner workings. The type of wire loaded into the welder depends on the type of material that will be welded. For instance, if you’re trying to weld aluminum, then you will load aluminum wire into the machine.
This is what the actual MIG welding machine looks like
Next we have the gas tank. The tank will be filled with either entirely Argon or wil contain a mix of C02 and Argon. The purpose of this mixture is pretty straightforward-it’s meant to protect your weld from the harmful contaminants in the environment. Before you begin to weld it’s important that you open up the machine and check that there is some actual gas in the tank. It’s a good rule of thumb to make sure that your gauges are reading somewhere between 0 and 2500 PSI and that your regulator reads between 15 and 25 PSI.
The most important part of the welding machine isn’t the machine itself it’s the gun – this is where the business actually starts. The welding gun is made of a trigger that handles both the wire feed and the current of electricity. Make sure that the outside of your gun is covered by either a ceramic or metal cup which will protect the electrode and direct the flow of gas out of the gun.
Lastly we have the ground clamp. The purpose of the ground clamp is to provide a negative charge (cathode)( to the welding proejct. This item should be clipped onto either the project or directly on a welding table- just be sure that it maintains some kind of connection with your work.
This is what a ground clamp looks like
Safety is of the utmost importance when MIG welding
One of the outstanding myths that surround the MIG welding professions is that it’s extremely dangerous. Yes, that can be true, if you don’t have the proper safety gear when you participate in the activity. That brings us to the next part of the guide, ensuring that you have the correcty MIG welding safety gear.
Since MIG welding is a light intensive activity it can be incredibly harmful to one’s eyes and skin if they are not properly protected. The first piece of gear that every welder shoudl have (regardless of the activity) is a welding helmet. The most effective type of weldign helmet is the Auto Darkeing welding helmet because of it’s ability to automatically adjust to the bright flares of light that will likely occur when you begin welding.
Here are a few good welding helmets
Next we have the welding gloves. These are important because of the splattering that will occur when you begin welding. The thickness of the gloves is entirely up to you but, it’s important that your goves are made from some type of leather material.
Here are a few examples of feasible welding gloves
As for body gear it doesn’t matter if you wear leathers or not – just make sure that whatever clothes you do wear are flame retardant. At the very least wear clothing that is made from some type of cotton material.
Don’t forget to prep
As for footwear all I can say is make sure it’s made from a leather material and is thoroughluy layered. SHoes that are made from a synthetic material or contain a mesh of some type will likely be destroyed as splatter falls on them.