It’s an established truth that MIG welding is the fastest yet high-quality welding method. Although MIG welding produces the cleanest and most aesthetic weld, it gives you a very straightforward welding process.
The MIG welding method was actually originated to weld aircraft metal and do high-end, sophisticated welding jobs. That’s why there is a complex science behind the welding guns of high-quality MIG welders.
Learning to weld can be a daunting job unless you’re starting with a MIG welder as your first welding machine. MIG welders come with far less learning curves than any other welding methods. Practicing for a few hours can give you an excellent MIG weld with a clean and flawless metal bead. Stick to the article to know how to use a mig welder.
What Are The Advantages Of Mig Welding?
Working with a MIG welding machine comes with some extraordinary features that make the metal jobs easier. Here are some of the key Advantages of mig welding:
- MIG welders can join a wide variety of metals and alloys such as mild steel, nickel, copper, aluminum, and some other difficult metals as well.
- MIG welding requires the least amount of learning curves and allows you to master the process in a very short time.
- When using the MIG welding method, you’ll notice the welding takes significantly less time than any other welding method.
- It offers a long pass welding capability as it uses a whole electrode wire spool without any breaks in between. Be sure to ensure the size of the spool according to the workload.
- The MIG welding process produces a very high-quality weld with the cleanest metal bead ever. It leaves no slag behind for you to clean after the welding.
What Equipment Is Needed For Mig Welding?
MIG welding is a very straightforward method, and it doesn’t require too much equipment to weld. Once you’re ready with your set up, you’ll need the following equipment to start welding:
- A protective welding leather jacket.
- A pair of thick leather gloves.
- A Welding Helmet with a wide viewing angle.
- The MIG welding cart for the Welder and the Cylinder.
- A Consumables kit to store your little welding items like contact tips.
- Some spare contact tips.
- An extra Spool for the electrode.
- MIG welding pliers.
- Welding blanket to put underneath.
- MIG light for tighter joining areas.
- A protective cover for the Welder and helmet.
How To Use A Mig Welder For Beginners?
As I mentioned earlier, MIG welding comes with very few learning curves, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to know anything about welding. Here is how to use a mig welder, including the things you must know before starting MIG welding:
Your safety comes first
Before working with a MIG welder, you must get the equipment that will ensure your safety measurements. Get a sturdy jacket, a pair of welding gloves, and a pair of welding glasses to keep out of fume. Have a pair of steel-toe boots and a welding helmet to protect your eyes and an earplug to protect your ears. Make sure the helmet has a wide viewing angle, and the clothes are not flame resistant.
Prepare the welding area
Before you can weld, you have to prepare the are of welding, which includes the welding table and the metal you’re welding. Be sure to remove all the flammable things from the table surface to be full-proof with the safety measurements. You can put your ground connection directly onto the table if the table is made with metal, professionals prefer this. Now Prepare the metal you’re welding, remove all the rust and stain off the area you’re going to weld.
Prepare the electrode reel
Get the correct electrode diameter that your machine supports, such as 0.30 or 0.32. Take the electrode spool you’re going to use and place it in the designated place with the right alignment. Make sure you have the correct size of the spool for the machine as well. If your machine doesn’t take in more than 8 pounds spool, don’t give it a 10-pound one.
Feed the wire to the torch
After placing the spool, get the tip of the electrode and feed it through the welding torch through the feeding hole. Generally, the hole will indicate to you the way you should feed the wire using the right manner. Feed the wire until it’s out from the other side of the torch, which is the contact tip. Once the wire is out from the contact tip, wait until the wire is out for about quarter on an inch. If you’re going to weld a narrow joint, you can go up half an inch for a better reach.
Adjust the feed tension and speed
Once the wire is in its place, you need to adjust the tension of the wire with the tensioner located on the reel feed. You also have to adjust the feeding speed for the wire both in the reel and the line feeder. Too much tension will bend the mountings, and less tension may damage the Welder. Make sure the speed of both ends has a consistent speed.
Use the proper gas
When you’re done with the wire feeding, it’s time to pump in the gas to protect the molted puddle on the weld. Different types of metal require different types of gas shielding, either CO2, Argon, or a mix of both. IF you’re welding aluminum, use 100% argon and a 75% argon with 25% of Carbon dioxide for thin metals.
Set the polarity
The polarity of a Welding machine plays the biggest role, especially while welding with MIG welders. You must set the polarity negative or DCEP (Direct current electrode positive). It is the reverse setup for DCEN (Direct current electrode negative).
Make some test welds
Before you get on with your real project, make sure you do some test welds on scrap metal. It will give you a clear idea if you’re using the right settings and the right speed to the wire. Doing a test weld will give you a chance to make adjustments to the machine and correct it if anything is wrong.
Welding from different angles
While you’re welding on a piece of metal with a flat surface where you need to lean onto the metal, it’s the best position for MIG welding. You need to hold the torch at 90° and tilt it back for 10° to have the best penetration. For a T-joint or a vertical weld, hold the torch at 45°, keeping an equal distance from both the workpieces. For horizontal welding, hold your gun upwards with 10-15° from the bottom to use the gravity as your helper. For horizontal, you should turn the machine parameter down to 15-20% for a better weld.
Why Is Safety Important In Mig Welding?
While doing any type of work that includes fire, fume, or metal, you must take safety precautions. There are some legit reasons why it’s sometimes even illegal to do such works without safety gear on.
- Getting safety gear on will help you comply with both the law and ethics. Under the OSHA act 1970, you have to provide safety necessaries to your employees as well.
- By putting on safety gear and following the precautions, you can avoid potential injuries and health hazards.
- Getting safety precautions will increase your confidence while working. It’ll also boost your productivity as you can go closer to the workpiece.
Making the best use of your welding machine requires a machine that has the best voltage certification with it. To find the safest welding machines, you can have a look at this review of the best dual voltage mig welder.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most common questions with the answers that people ask about MIG welders:
Is MIG welding bad for your health?
No. But you have to use the proper safety gear and adequate ventilation in the workplace.
Do you have to use gas with a MIG welder?
Yes, you have to use gas to shield the molten puddle from oxidization.
What type of gas do you use with a MIG welder?
You can use either 100% Argon gas or 75% argon with 25% CO2.
Using a MIG welder requires very few steps to learn, but none of them are skippable to start MIG welding. After reading the above guide on how to use a mig welder, you’re ready to weld with your MIG welder safe and efficient.
However, never forget to take the safety measurements seriously and put on your safety gear before starting to weld. And, above everything, make sure you have the right MIG welder to work for you and don’t use a faulty MIG welder as it can be dangerous. I hope your MIG welding journey be safe and successful.