Some Basics You Might Know
It’s always impressive to see a nearly flawless TIG weld on a completed product. An almost ideal TIG weld resembles a stack of dimes. Evenness and accuracy of the weld bead are indicators of the welder’s skill level. Nonetheless, a near-perfection MIG weld on a consumer product, such as a truck frame, demonstrates the efficiency and strength that MIG welding can attain.
MIG and TIG welding are two of the most frequently used welding techniques in a wide variety of sectors. MIG and TIG welding, or Metal Inert Gas (MIG) and Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding, are used in various industries, including automotive, marine, nuclear, aerospace, and oil. It’s beneficial to learn the fundamentals of MIG and TIG welding.
The more you understand, the more effectively you can select the most appropriate technology for your application.
Before we compare MIG and TIG welding, it is necessary to understand their definitions, similarities, distinctions, and history.
What is MIG Welding?
A method of welding in which an arc comes between a consumable wire and the workpiece. The welding arc melts the consumable wire. The wire continuously works via the handle, which the user triggers.
The consumable wire is fed into the weld pool and can be used to build up the weld to the appropriate specification, depending on the machine settings and operator technique. Utilize a shielding gas to ensure a clean weld. Carbon dioxide is the most often used shielding gas for MIG welding, mainly because it is less expensive than argon or helium.
What is TIG Welding?
A method of welding in which an arc comes between a tungsten electrode and the workpiece. The tungsten electrode is secured within the welding torch by a collet. The user maintains a distance of approximately an eighth of an inch between the tungsten electrode and the workpiece. It is to ensure that the arc continues to generate the weld puddle. The user has the option of welding with or without a consumable filler rod that is dipped manually into the weld puddle.
In this procedure, you manually take all controls, while skill and technique are critical for producing a visually pleasing TIG weld bead. At the same time, fusion TIG welding eliminates the need for filler. They are simply swinging the torch back and forth across the workpieces to be linked.
The foot pedal manages to weld with a filler rod, and the filler rod dipped into the weld puddle with one hand while holding the torch with the other. This approach demands the operator’s foot, both hands, and eyes to work in unison.
Some Similarities in MIG and TIG Welding
The MIG and TIG welding techniques share numerous commonalities. Welding current, welding material deposition, heat-affected zone, and applications are all significant commonalities.
Both MIG and TIG welding require a direct current, electrode negative. TIG welding can utilize alternating current to create an optimum weld puddle in aluminum. MIG welding is a process in which current flows through the welding wire and creates an arc between the wire and the workpiece. Similarly, while TIG welding, electrical current crosses through the tungsten electrode and manages between the electrode and the workpiece.
MIG and TIG welding methods both adhere to the same fundamental principles as conventional welding, which results in the formation of an electrical arc, which generates enormous heat. As a result, a controlled puddle of liquid metal is formed, which is then utilized to link metals together.
Both MIG and TIG welding processes allow for the addition of filler material to the weld bead. The filler strengthens the joint. MIG welding utilizes filler material by feeding the consumable wire into the weld puddle automatically.
TIG welding achieves weld build-up through the use of a filler rod. You need to dip the filler into the weld puddle by the user.
Heat Affected Zone!
It is known as the area of the workpiece which gets heat during the welding process. The heat impacted zone of the MIG and TIG processes can be identical. The exceptions include advanced TIG welding techniques such as micro-welding. Insensitive applications, design engineers may specify a specific heat-affected zone to avoid material fatigue.
A welding operator can manage the heat affected zone during the MIG operation by pulsing the MIG handle. It efficiently initiates and terminates the welding bead.
This pulse technique is frequently employed in the car repair sector to stitch weld sheet metal panels.
Since TIG welding is a considerably more controllable process, it is more suited for managing the heat-affected zone. The operator controls the arc’s strength using the welder’s foot pedal. MIG and TIG welding frequently comes in the same applications, including automobile sheet metal maintenance, automotive racing components, pipe fitting, and structural work.
Some Differences Between MIG and TIG Welding
While MIG and TIG welding has a lot in common, they also have some significant distinctions. These include shielding gases, application speed, automation, and precision. Both MIG and TIG welding require shielding gases, although the type of gas employed differs. The shielding gas insulates the weld puddle from the surrounding environment.
Due to the oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen in the air, the air around us can contaminate the weld. Occasionally, shielding gases require weld purity, and the weld carries out inside an enclosed inert gas atmosphere.
It would help if you used it when welding titanium. CO2 gas is ideal for standard MIG welding applications. And because the gas is abundant, it is the most cost-effective and popular choice for MIG welding.
Helium, argon, and oxygen are less frequently employed shielding gases in MIG welding. It gives high-performance metals such as titanium and aluminum. Moreover, to protect the welding puddle, TIG welding almost invariably uses 100 percent argon gas. In some instances, such as when welding metals with high nickel content, a mixture of helium and argon is employed.
It is where the term “heli-arc welding” originated. Most of the time, the mixtures of argon with hydrogen or nitrogen are used. These are used exclusively for TIG welding certain types of stainless steel. Another distinction between MIG and TIG welding is the rate of application of the weld. Whereas TIG welding requires continuous manual rod application, a MIG welder can rapidly lay down a weld bead.
- You can utilize Stick welding regardless of whether the welding spot is painted or corroded.
- You can use a ground clamp to secure the metal in a location other than the welding spot.
- It is effortless to change or replace rods when welding special metals such as cast metals or stainless steel.
- Stick welding produces a large arc that is insensitive to wind and temperature.
- Provides practical welding indoors and out
- Welders employing direct current (d/c) can adjust the electrode’s polarity to lessen the risk of burn-through on thinner metals.
- You will occasionally need to replace the rod, which will interrupt the welding operation.
- It is challenging to stick weld metal that is less than 18 inches thick.
- After creating a junction, stick welding leaves a slag layer on the metal. Before painting or further welding, the slag must be chipped or scraped away from the welds.
- Additionally, some spatter occurs during stick welding. Stick welding with Direct Current (DC) produces less spatter than welding with Alternating Current (AC).
- MIG welding is exact; it can weld metal as thin as 24 gauge (0.0239′′).
- MIG welding is extremely clean, and it allows for the production of attractive, smooth, slag-free, and nearly spatter-free welds.
- You do not need to interrupt MIG welding to replace the stick rod because it works on a spool.
- MIG welding is a relatively simple process to learn and use. Even a complete novice can become proficient at MIG welding in a matter of weeks.
- It enables you to make complicated welding designs of the highest quality.
- Additionally, you can use MIG welding equipment for flux-cored welding jobs.
- It is possible to attain breakneck welding speeds, and MIG welding is frequently known as the most productive method.
- It is necessary to clean the metal surface thoroughly. Even a trace of rust, paint, or pollution will result in porous, weak welds.
- If you use ground clamps, you must place them on bare metal and close to the welding spot.
- Even the slightest breeze or fan might cause interruption to the shielding gases, resulting in porous, weak welds.
- Although you do not need to replace the stick during welding, you must change the complete spool of wire when welding different metals.
- Because MIG welding requires pressurized bottles of inert gas, it isn’t easy to utilize in the field.
High-Quality or High-Speed (Which One to Prefer?)
A highly competent TIG welder can quickly build a weld bead. However, a TIG welder is rarely faster than a MIG welder in a MIG welding application. Due mainly to the TIG welding process’s manual nature. Because the MIG technique produces a weld quickly and consistently, it frequently comes in automated welding procedures. MIG welding’s automation stands in stark contrast to the exact human TIG welding technique. TIG welding might be helpful in actual applications. For example, in a helicopter engine or the exhaust of a space shuttle.
Background of Techniques
MIG welding technological breakthroughs occurred as a result of the Post-War era’s increased demand for commodities. After World War II, factories were able to create the large amounts of automobiles, ships, and buildings that were required. Because of the progress of MIG welding technology, in part.
MIG welding became the preferred welding technology in the 1950s with the development of CO2 as a shielding gas. In the late 1950s, ideally, flux core welding was a viable alternative to the growing popularity of MIG welding.
Flux core welding utilizes a tubular welding wire that contains a flux substance. It is advantageous when shielding gas is unavailable. Because flux core welding does not generate as clean a weld as MIG, it is not as beneficial as MIG.
TIG welding became an official welding method in the 1940s. The technique was initially called “Heli-arc” after the shielding gas used in the process, helium. Initially, the form starts in a DC Electrode Positive manner. However, subsequent technological advancements reversed the current, enabling DC Electrode Negative (DCEN) operation.
Although DCEN provided cleaner welds in ferrous materials, it wasn’t accessible to weld non-ferrous materials. That is, until the invention of TIG welding with alternating current. The high-frequency arc starter was the final extensive development. No longer is it necessary for the operator to strike the tungsten electrode against the workpiece to initiate the arc.
It frequently results in contamination of the weld or damage to the electrode.
Now that you’ve learned about MIG and TIG welding let’s look at applications, equipment, and potential applications.
Applications of MIG and TIG Welding
MIG and TIG welders are widely accessible for both residential and industrial use. There are several significant distinctions between welding applications in the home and on an industrial job site. Residential service can include mending a backyard fence, a damaged lawn care gadget, or even a broken truck bumper mount.
As you can see, household repairs necessitate the use of a lighter-duty welding machine, such as a MIG or TIG. In comparison to domestic applications, industrial applications come in shipyards, aircraft or automotive manufacturers, aviation or automobile repair shops, mine sites, nuclear power plants, building structures, and oil fields.
All of these industrial applications place far greater demands on a welder than a domestic use ever could. Whereas a domestic application requires economy and convenience of service from a welder, industrial applications require durability, extended duty cycles, and an inspectable final weld bead. It is understandable given the fact that human lives depend on the quality of the weld.
What Equipments to use?
In general, the domestic user and the hobbyist welder demand different welding features than an industrial worker. The average household user is typically interested in features such as an easy-to-use user interface on a welder.
Possessing the capacity to operate on a domestic electrical current is also a significant bonus. A 220v MIG welder with a bottle of CO2 shielding gas is a frequently purchased welder for the home user or enthusiast. You can easily plug this welder into a 220v outlet already installed in a residential garage for a washing machine or dryer.
This sort of welder can produce excellent, clean welds in a variety of light-duty applications. Additionally, they are reasonably priced. Lincoln Electric, Miller, ESAB, and Hobart are all well-known manufacturers in this area.
Industrial applications may require a variety of configurations of MIG or TIG welders. Heavy-duty MIG welders have oversized MIG filler wire spools, increased duty cycle capabilities, rugged components, and, in some instances, a built-in generator to power the welder.
Welding equipment designed for industrial application must endure frequent use in hostile settings. MIG welders frequently face job sites that involve mining, pipe fitting, and steel construction. Generally, where working conditions are suboptimal. In the case of an earth-moving job site, a welding outfit may come in to repair an earthmover in the field.
It is a circumstance where time is money, and the quickest approach to complete the repair is using a welder mounted on a work truck equipped with an integrated generator. Alternatively, you can consider TIG welders in nuclear, aerospace, marine, and automotive industries, where machines are continuously in use.
TIG welders are frequently water-cooled to endure continuous use in an industrial application. It prevents them from overheating and becoming damaged. TIG welding (or MIG welding with an aluminum spool gun) is known to join railings, deck plates, or hull reinforcements in maritime applications where aluminum is ideal for weight and corrosion reasons.
Since TIG welding aluminum with AC generates enormous heat due to aluminum’s higher melting point, a water-cooled TIG torch is required.
Future of MIG and TIG Welding
According to an article on aws.org (American Welding Society), the welding sector will continue to increase in size and strength in the future because welding is the ideal way of combining materials. Slow, steady progress will continue to emerge in the form of technological advancements.
Particularly in the aluminum welding category, moreover possibly in the composites sector as well. Additionally, you can anticipate the growth in emerging markets undergoing industrial revolutions. Additionally, there is a home market for welding automation. Further, the article speculates and suggests that friction stir welding and laser beam welding will become more widespread in the future.
While NASA is developing friction stir welding, a sort of progressive metal joining, and laser beam welding, commonly used to join sheet metals, the most widely utilized technologies will continue to be MIG and TIG welding. MIG welding has experienced significant advancements in automation in recent years.
Automobile assembly plants have consistently been at the cutting edge of assembly line welding automation. Not only does the push for welding automation aims to increase profit margins, but automation also has the potential to improve weld quality, as welding robots never become exhausted in the same way that human operators do.
Arc data monitoring may be a part of the future of welding automation. A human welder could previously identify faults with the weld puddle and make minor adjustments to the weld settings. In theory, robots may ultimately perform these tiny modifications.
What to Consider Before Choosing?
Stick and MIG welding both have distinct advantages for welders. Whichever one you should select is determined by your requirements and the nature of the project.
For instance, if you’re going to work outside, stick welding is the superior option because it enables you to create a sufficiently intense arc unaffected by wind conditions. However, if you’re working with thin metal less than 1/8th of an inch thick, MIG welding is the preferable alternative?
Consider the following variables when determining the type of welding to use.
Penetration of Weld Joints
Stick welders penetrate metal far more quickly than MIG welders. You’ve probably noticed that simply maintaining the arc requires an increase in the welding machine’s amperage input. If you’re working with thick metal that requires greater arc penetration to make strong connections, use a stick welder instead of MIG because MIG is incapable of forming solid melds.
MIG welding allows you a significantly more significant margin of error than stick welding, limiting your ability to make precise calculations. MIG welding provides more options and settings for tailoring the machine to a specific welding task. It could be viewed positively or negatively, depending on your perspective.
You can make some Adjustments to the MIG welding equipment based on amperage, electrode wire out, shielding gas flow, torch angle, grounding, and technique, among other variables. While this improves the versatility of MIG welders, it also raises the likelihood that you will make an error and ruin your welding project.
It means that you must know the instructions and settings for your MIG welder to prevent making a mistake. With MIG, you can achieve the precise power and arc required for work that you cannot achieve with a stick welder.
Operating costs can be a significant factor for professional welders who work on a variety of projects daily. The overall cost of the two types of welders is significantly different.
The stick welder is a relatively simple machine to use. All you need is the feeding rod and the clip-on electric charge. There are very few moving parts that could jam or break, resulting in a malfunction. While the arc does require a high current, the size may vary via the dial. In most circumstances, you can work faster with a stick welder because there are fewer settings to learn and maintain a good level of productivity.
MIG welders require additional preparation work, such as setting up the arc and power supply before beginning the welding process. Additionally, MIG welders require shielding gas, often a mixture of helium, carbon dioxide, and argon. Additionally, they consume wire during operation. Thus welding with MIG welders is usually slower.
If you’re seeking the cheapest solution, a stick welder is preferable. If you want to work on various projects and meet multiple setup requirements, the MIG welder is the best choice.
Both types of welders have unique safety problems. Stick welders can burn to a high temperature and become quite hot. When the arc makes contact with the metal, these welders produce spatter, which can cause burns if you are not wearing a helmet and protective clothing. To avoid harm, protect your hands, forearms, and upper body.
The MIG welder is also not entirely safe. While it produces less spatter than a stick welder, it can become rather hot at higher temperature levels. Additionally, you can control the shielding gas according to your preferences. Utilize high-quality valves and maintain an eye on your gas lines when welding. When dealing with flames and sparks, it is essential to avoid pumping additional gas into the workspace.
Both types of welding machines create a high-quality welding finish if the surface is clean. On the other hand, MIG welders are a much better alternative in this situation since they produce excellent, crisp welds with minimal slag on the metal surface. MIG’s high quality is most visible when working with thin metals.
While stick welders are excellent for heavier plates, they are not appropriate for thin metal tasks. Additionally, they generate significantly more slag on the joint surface in a puddle. You may have some Slag as a result of the rod used in stick welders.
Both E70s6 bare wire for MIG welding and 7018 stick wire for stick welding is equally vital. They have a tensile strength of 70,000 psi, which is more vital than most steels you would work with.
The Different Metals
You will most likely be working with steel, stainless steel, cast iron, or aluminum in most cases. Stick welding is ideal for the first three, whereas MIG welding is more suited to aluminum applications than cast iron. This chart serves as a reference for welders.
Now that you have a firmer grasp on the MIG and TIG welding processes get out there and weld something! If you’ve read this and are now interested in learning how to weld using the MIG, TIG, or other procedures, the next step is to try it out.
Additionally, you can learn more about welding and practice the processes by visiting a local welding store and speaking with a friendly salesperson. Alternatively, you might enroll in a welding course at a community college near you. There are several opportunities to learn about and practice welding. Your next step should be to choose and test one of those options.