Distinguishing Between Two Welding Technologies

Man welding with colorful lights

Welding is a process that is a popular choice for the joining of metals, plastics and ceramics. Major breakthroughs in welding mean that welders can now finish a project using a variety of techniques and materials.

Using the right welding technique helps ensure the durability of the finished product. Let’s look at the two common welding processes: metal inert gas (MIG) welding and tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding.

Defining MIG and TIG Welding

Both welding techniques use inert gas to prevent the corrosion of welding electrodes. The two methods also use electrical arcs to generate heat and fuse metals. Despite their similarities, they have different processes and produce different results.

In MIG welding, the welder feeds a solid wire through the welding gun to meld two metals. The MIG welding wire runs a filler material through the torch and through the liquefied weld. The shielding gas used to protect the weld is usually made up of carbon dioxide or carbon dioxide mixed with argon.

TIG welding uses a non-consumable electrode to run a current through the materials being bonded. After heating the metals, the welder immerses the filler material into the liquefied weld puddle so the two materials can join. This technique uses a mixture of helium and argon to protect the weld.

Considerations When Choosing a Welding Technique

Given the difference between the two processes, which one should you use? To choose a technique, determine the project’s requirements to achieve the best final product. Take into account the following factors before making a final decision:

Level of Welder Expertise

MIG welding requires you to continuously feed the spool gun with a wire electrode to produce the weld. The process is easier to learn, and it’s recommended for first-time welders and non-professionals. TIG welders require more precise control over the pressure, timing and electric current used on the weld. You have to use a torch with one hand while holding a separate material onto the weld with the other.

The Nature of the Project

Because of the level of precision needed, TIG welding is ideal for low-volume projects that require a cleaner and more visually appealing look. MIG welding process is faster and is typically used for large-scale productions.

Thickness of Metals

Man wearing safety gear while welding For thick metals like mild or stainless steel, MIG welding is a better choice. TIG welding is a finer and more delicate welding technique and is better on thinner materials or work which is more intricate.

Nature of Metals Being Bonded

It usually isn’t recommended to weld different metals, as it could cause issues such as weak bonds and weld corrosion. In unavoidable situations, use MIG welding, as it provides a filler material to create a bond. Make sure to choose a compatible filler material for best results.

MIG and TIG welding are two welding processes that are efficient depending on the nature of the project, the welder’s experience and the metals being bonded. Knowing what each method requires helps you make an informed decision about which type matches your project’s needs.

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