When you are a beginner in the world of welding, there are various terms that might confuse you at first, until you get to learn about them. If you are thinking about getting into welding, then one of the most important questions to ask is what welding goals you want to achieve before you start investing into any equipment.
Many welding equipments is able to make a solid joint in metals, although some are better at the job than others are. MIG is among the most applicable welding methods, as you can use it in a variety of situations, and it still remains friendly to a beginner.
What is MIG welding, anyway?
First off, you need to understand what arc welders are – they use electricity in high voltages to produce enough heat, which is then used to make a weld. There are several types – MIG, TIG and stick – with the distinguishing factor being how their gas shield works.
Also referred to as GMAW (Gas Metal Arc Welding), MIG uses an electrode that is continuously fed with strong electric currents, and its shielding gas comes from external sources. The electrode will melt and the machine deposits this metal in the joint to create a weld. The material that makes up the electrode is usually a metallic wire, which may contain some flux within it (especially for beginners).
The equipment that you use for the job will determine the electrical properties of that arc you are creating. You only need three manual controls – the torch/gun positioning, the travel direction, and the speed of current flows (voltage).
This form of welding can be useful for various metals, as well as varying base metal thicknesses. The successful application will depend on the equipment you are using, the type of shielding gas, the diameter and composition of the electrode, and other variables such as the voltage, current and travel speed.
Just like any good thing, there are disadvantages that are important for you to know. One of them is the sensitivity to contaminants, as the equipment can only tolerate moderate levels of surface contamination such as paint, dust, rust, and oil. The presence of these can make the finished product appear to have cracks, high porosity, and a general untidy appearance.
The equipment is also tricky to move around because of its weight, especially the shielding gas cylinders, so you need to exercise care. Sensitivity to wind is another issue, as the shielding gas can easily be blown away if you are outdoors and cause porosity.
MIG welding is a useful method you can employ when joining metals, but like all other weld methods, you need to know the advantages and disadvantages. The good news is you can use it for a variety of applications, and it is easy enough for a beginner to learn.