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This is a basic guide on how to weld using a metal inert gas (MIG) welder. MIG welding is the awesome process of using electricity to melt and join pieces of metal together. MIG welding is sometimes referred to as the "hot glue gun" of the welding world and is generally regarded as one of the easiest type of welding to learn.

**This Instructable is not intended to be THE definitive guide on MIG welding, for that you might want to seek out a a more comprehensive guide from a professional. Think of this Instructable as a guide to get you started MIG welding. Welding is a skill that needs to be developed over time, with a piece of metal in front of you and with a welding gun/torch in your hands.**

If you are interested in TIG welding, check out: How to Weld (TIG).
 
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Step 1: Background

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MIG welding was developed in the 1940's and 60 years later the general principle is still very much the same. MIG welding uses an arc of electricity to create a short circuit between a continuously fed anode (+ the wire-fed welding gun) and a cathode ( - the metal being welded).

The heat produced by the short circuit, along with a non-reactive (hence inert) gas locally melts the metal and allows them to mix together. Once the heat is removed, the metal begins to cool and solidify, and forms a new piece of fused metal.

A few years ago the full name - Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding was changed to Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) but if you call it that most people won't know what the heck your talking about - the name MIG welding has certainly stuck.

MIG welding is useful because you can use it to weld many different types of metals: carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum, magnesium, copper, nickel, silicon bronze and other alloys.

Here are some advantages to MIG welding:

  • The ability to join a wide range of metals and thicknesses
  • All-position welding capability
  • A good weld bead
  • A minimum of weld splatter
  • Easy to learn

Here are some disadvantages of MIG welding:

  • MIG welding can only be used on thin to medium thick metals
  • The use of an inert gas makes this type of welding less portable than arc welding which requires no external source of shielding gas
  • Produces a somewhat sloppier and less controlled weld as compared to TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas Welding)

Step 2: How the Machine Works

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A MIG welder has a couple of different parts. If you open one up you will be able to see something that looks like what is pictured below.

The Welder

Inside the welder you will find a spool of wire and a series of rollers that pushes the wire out to the welding gun. There isn't much going on inside this part of the welder, so it's worth it to take just a minute and familiarize yourself with the different parts. If the wire feed jams up for any reason (this does happen from time to time) you will want to check this part of the machine out.

The large spool of wire should be held on with a tension nut. The nut should be tight enough to keep the spool from unraveling, but not so tight that the rollers can't pull the wire from the spool.

If you follow the wire from the spool you can see that it goes into a set of rollers that pull the wire off of the big roll. This welder is set up to weld aluminum, so it has aluminum wire loaded into it. The MIG welding I am going to describe in this instructable is for steel which uses a copper colored wire.

The Gas Tank

Assuming you are using a shielding gas with your MIG welder there will be a tank of gas behind the MIG. The tank is either 100% Argon or a mixture of CO2 and Argon. This gas shields the weld as it forms. Without the gas your welds will look brown, splattered and just generally not very nice. Open the main valve of the tank and make sure that there is some gas in the tank. Your gauges should be reading between 0 and 2500 PSI in the tank and the regulator should be set between 15 and 25 PSI depending on how you like to set things up and the type of welding gun you are using.

**It's a good rule of thumb to open all valves to all gas tanks in a shop only a half turn or so. Opening the valve all the way doesn't improve your flow any more than just cracking the valve open since the tank is under so much pressure. The logic behind this is so that if someone needs to quickly shut off gas in an emergency they don't have to spend time cranking down a fully open valve. This might not seem like such a big deal with Argon or CO2, but when your working with flammable gases like oxygen or acetylene you can see why it might come in handy in the event of an emergency.**

Once the wire passes through the rollers it is sent down a set of hoses which lead to the welding gun. The hoses carry the charged electrode and the argon gas.

The Welding Gun

The welding gun is the business end of things. It's where most of your attention will be directed during the welding process. The gun consists of a trigger that controls the wire feed and the flow of electricity. The wire is guided by a replaceable copper tip that is made for each specific welder. Tips vary in size to fit whatever diameter wire you happen to be welding with. Most likely this part of the welder will already be set up for you. The outside of the tip of gun is covered by a ceramic or metal cup which protects the electrode and directs the flow of gas out the tip of the gun. You can see the small piece of wire sticking out of the tip of the welding gun in the pictures below.

The Ground Clamp

The ground clamp is the cathode (-) in the circuit and completes the circuit between the welder, the welding gun and the project. It should either be clipped directly to the piece of metal being welding or onto a metal welding table like the one pictured below (we have two welders hence two clamps, you only need one clamp from the welder attached to your piece to weld).

The clip must be making good contact with the piece being welded for it to work so be sure to grind off any rust or paint that may be preventing it from making a connection with your work.

Step 3: Safety Gear

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MIG welding can be a pretty safe thing to do so long as you follow a few important safety precautions. Because of MIG welding produces lots of heat and lots of harmful light, you need to take a few steps to protect yourself.

Safety Steps:

  • The light that is generated by any form of arc welding is extremely bright. It will burn your eyes and your skin just like the sun will if you don't protect yourself. The first thing you will need to weld is a welding mask. I am wearing an auto-darkening welding mask below. They are really helpful if you are going to do a bunch of welding and make a great investment if you think you will be working with metal often. Manual masks require you to jerk your head dropping the mask into position or require to use a free hand to pull the mask down. This allows you to use both your hands to weld, and not worry about the mask. Think of protecting others from the light as well and use a welding screen if it's available to make a border around yourself. The light has a tendency to draw on lookers who might need to shielded from being burned too.
  • Wear gloves and leathers to protect yourself from molten metal splattering off of your work piece. Some people like thin gloves for welding so you can have a lot of control. In TIG welding this is especially true, however for MIG welding you can wear whatever gloves you feel comfortable with. The leathers will not only protect your skin from the heat produced by welding but they will also protect your skin from the UV light produced by welding. If you are going to be doing any amount of welding more than just a minute or two you will want to cover up because UV burns happen fast!
  • If you are not going to wear leathers at least make sure that you are wearing clothing made from cotton. Plastic fibers like polyester and rayon will melt when they come into contact with molten metal and will burn you. Cotton will get a hole in it, but at least it won't burn and make hot metal goop.
  • Do not wear open toed shoes or synthetic shoes that have mesh over the top of your toes. Hot metal often falls straight down and I have burned many holes through the tops of my shoes. Molten metal + hot plastic goo from shoes = no fun. Wear leather shoes or boots if you have them or cover your shoes in something non-flammable to stop this.

  • Weld in a well ventilated area. Welding produces hazardous fumes which you shouldn't breathe in if you can avoid it. Wear either a mask, or a respirator if you are going to be welding for a prolonged amount of time.

Important Safety Warning

DO NOT WELD GALVANIZED STEEL. Galvanized steel contains a zinc coating that produces carcinogenic and poisonous gas when it is burned. Exposure to the stuff can result in heavy metal poisoning (welding shivers) - flu like symptoms that can persist for a few days, but that can also cause permanent damage. This is not a joke. I have welded galvanized steel out of ignorance and immediately felt it's effects, so don't do it!

Fire Fire Fire

Molten metal can spit several feet from a weld. Grinding sparks are even worse. Any sawdust, paper or plastic bags in the area can smolder and catch fire, so keep a tidy area for welding. Your attention will be focused on welding and it can be hard to see what's going on around you if something catches fire. Reduce the chance of that happening by clearing away all flammable objects from your weld area.

Keep a fire extinguisher beside the exit door from your workshop. CO2 is the best type for welding. Water extinguishers are not a good idea in a welding shop since you are standing next to a whole lot of electricity.

Step 4: Prep for Your Weld

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Before you start welding make sure things are properly setup at both the welder and on the piece you are about to weld.

The Welder

Check to make sure that the valve to the shielding gas is open and that you have around 20ft3/hr flowing through the regulator. The welder needs to be on, the grounding clamp attached to your welding table or to the piece of metal directly and you need to have proper wire speed and power setting dialed in (more on that later).

The Metal

While you can pretty much just take a MIG welder, squeeze the trigger and and touch it to your work piece to weld you won't get a great result. If you want the weld to be strong and clean, taking 5 minutes to clean your metal and grind down any edges that are being joined will really help your weld.

In the picture below randofo is using an angle grinder to bevel the edges of some square tube before it gets welded onto another piece of square tubing. By creating two bevels on the joining edges it makes a little valley for the weld pool to form in. Doing this for butt welds (when two things are pushed together and joined) is a good idea.

Step 5: Laying a Bead

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Once your welder is set up and you have prepped your piece of metal it's time to start focusing on the actual welding.

If it's your first time welding you might want to practice just running a bead before actually welding two pieces of metal together. You can do this by taking a piece of scrap metal and making a weld in a straight line on its surface.

Do this a couple of times before you start actually welding so that you can get a feel for the process and figure out what wire speed and power settings you will want to use.

Every welder is different so you will have to figure these settings out yourself. Too little power and you will have a splattered weld that won't penetrate through your work piece. Too much power and you might melt right through the metal entirely.

The pictures below show a few different beads being laid down on some 1/4" plate. Some have too much power and some could use a little more. Check out the image notes for the details.

The basic process of laying a bead is not too difficult. You are trying to make a small zig zag with the tip of the welder, or little concentric circles moving your way from the top of the weld downward. I like to think of it as "sewing" motion where I use the tip of the welding gun to weave the two pieces of metal together.

First start laying beads about an inch or two long. If you make any one weld too long your work piece will heat up in that area and could become warped or compromised, so it's best to do a little welding in one spot, move to another, and then come back to finish up what's left in between.

What are the right settings?

If you are experiencing holes in your workpiece than your power is turned up too high and you are melting through your welds.

If your welds are forming in spurts your wire speed or power settings are too low. The gun is feeding a bunch of wire out of the tip, it's then making contact, and then melting and splattering without forming a proper weld.

You'll know when you have settings right because your welds will start looking nice and smooth. You can also tell a fair amount about the quality of the weld by the way it sounds. You want to hear continuous sparking, almost like a bumble bee on steroids.

Step 6: Welding Metal Together

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Once you've got your method tested out a bit on some scrap, it's time to do the actual weld. In this photo I am doing just a simple butt weld on some square stock. We've already ground down the edges of the surfaces that are going to be welded so that the seem where they meet makes a small "v".

We are basically just taking the welder and making our sewing motion across the top of the seem. It's ideal to weld from the bottom of the stock up to the top, pushing the weld forward with the tip of the gun, however that isn't always comfortable or a good way to start learning. In the beginning it's perfectly fine to weld in whatever direction/position that is comfortable and that works for you.

Once we finished welding the pipe we were left with a big bump where the filler came in. You can leave that if you like, or you can grind it flat depending on what you are using the metal for. Once we ground it down we found once side where the weld didn't penetrate properly. (See photo 3.) That means that we need to have more power and more wire to fill in the weld. We went back and redid the weld so that it was properly joined.

Step 7: Grind down the weld

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If your weld isn't on a piece of metal that will show, or if you don't care about how the weld looks, then you are done with your weld. However, if the weld is showing or you are welding something that you want to look nice then you will most likely want to grind down your weld and smooth it out.

Slap a grinding wheel onto an angle grinder and get started grinding on the weld. The neater your weld was the less grinding you will have to do, and after you have spent a whole day grinding, you will see why it's worth it to keep your welds neat in the first place. If you use a ton of wire and made a mess of things it's ok, it just means that you might be grinding for a while. If you had a neat simple weld though, then it shouldn't take too long to clean things up.

Be careful as you approach the surface of the original stock. You don't want to grind through your nice new weld or gouge out a piece of the metal. Move the angle grinder around like you would a sander so as not to heat up, or grind away any one spot of the metal too much. If you see the metal get a blue tinge to it you are either pushing too hard with the grinder or not moving the grinding wheel around enough. This is can happen especially easily while grinding thing sheets of metal.

Grinding welds can take a while to do depending on how much you have welded and can be a tedious process - take breaks while grinding and stay hydrated. (Grinding rooms in shops or studios tend to heat up, especially if you are wearing leathers). Wear a full face mask when grinding, a mask or respirator, and ear protection. Make sure that all your clothing is neatly tucked in and that you don't have anything hanging down from your body that could get caught in the grinder - it spins fast and it can suck you in!

When you are done your piece of metal might look something like the one in the second photo pictured below. (Or maybe better as this was done by a few Instructables Interns at the beginning of the summer during their first welding experience.)

Step 8: Common Problems

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It can take a good amount of practice to start welding reliably every time, so don't worry if you have some problems when you first stop. Some common problems are:

  • No or not enough shielding gas from the gun is surrounding the weld. You can tell when this happens because the weld will start splattering little balls of metal, and will turn nasty colors of brown and green. Turn up the pressure on the gas and see if that helps.
  • Weld is not penetrating. This is easy to tell as your weld will be weak and won't be fully joining your two piece of metal.
  • Weld burns a while right through your material. This is caused by welding with too much power. Simply turn down your voltage and it should go away.
  • Too much metal in your weld pool or the weld is globy like oatmeal. This is caused by too much wire coming out of the gun and can be fixed by slowing down your wire speed.
  • Welding gun spits and does not maintain a constant weld. This could be caused because the gun is too far from the weld. You want to hold the tip of the gun about 1/4" to 1/2" away from the weld.

Step 9: Wire Fuses to Tip/Change the Tip

Sometimes if you are welding too close to your material or you are building up too much heat the tip of the wire can actually weld itself onto the tip of your welding gun. This looks like a little blob of metal at the tip of your gun and you'll know when you have this problem because the wire won't come out of the gun anymore. Fixing this is pretty simple if you just pull on the blob with a set of pliers. See photos 1 and 2 for visuals.

If you really scorch the tip of your gun and fuse the hole closed with metal then you need to turn the welder off and replace the tip. Follow the steps and the overly detailed photo series below to see how it's done. (It's digital so I tend to take too many pictures).

1. (Photo 3) - The tip is fused closed.

2. (Photo 4) - Unscrew the welding shield cup.

3. (Photo 5) - Unscrew the bad welding tip.

4. (Photo 6) - Slide a new tip into place.

5. (Photo 7) - Screw the new tip on.

6. (Photo 8) - Replace the welding cup.

7. (Photo 9) - It's now good as new.

Step 10: Replace Wire Feed to Gun

Sometimes the wire gets kinked and won't advance through the hose or the gun even when the tip is clear and open. Take a look inside of your welder. Check out the spool and the rollers as sometimes the wire can become kinked in there and need to be re-fed through the hose and the gun before it will work again. If this is the case, follow these steps:

1. (Photo 1) - Unplug the unit.

2. (Photo 2) - Find the kink or jam in the spool.

3. (Photo 3) - Cut the wire with a set of pliers or wire cutters.

4. (Photo 4) - Take the pliers and pull out all of the wire from the hose through the tip of the gun.

5. (Photo 5) - Keep pulling, it's long.

6. (Photo 6) - Unkink the wire and feed it back into the rollers. To do this on some machines you have to release the tension spring holding the rollers down tight on the wires. The tension bolt is pictured below. It's the spring with the wing nut on it in it's horizontal position (disengaged).

7. (Photo 7) - Check to make sure the wire is properly seated between the rollers.

8. (Photo 8) - Re-seat the tension bolt.

9. (Photo 9) - Turn on the machine and depress the trigger. Hold it down for a while until the wire comes out of the tip of the gun. This can take 30 seconds or so if your hoses are long.

Step 11: Other resources

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Some of the information in this Instructable was taken from an online Mig Welding Tutorial from the UK. A bunch more of the info was gathered from my personal experience and from an Instructables Intern welding workshop that we held at the beginning of the summer.

For further welding resources you could consider buying a book about welding, reading a knowledge article from Lincoln Electric, checking out the Miller MIG Tutorial or, downloading this beefy MIG Welding PDF.

I am sure that the Instructables community can come up with some other great welding resources so just add them as comments and I will amend this list as necessary.

Check out the other how to weld instructable by stasterisk to learn about MIG welding's big brother - TIG welding.

Happy welding!
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rbusch1 month ago

this is one of the better "how to welds" ive seen on the internet. most are so full of errors and misconceptions or ignorance its crazy. good to see that you did your homework. and took the effort to make a good instructible. :)

DaveyH3 months ago

This sounds like a great place to start for me. I've heard how much money welders make and I wanted to get some sort of certification. If you say it's that easy, I'll have to look more into it and see if there's a class nearby. Do you think it's possible to learn this by myself though? I'd rather do that than have to go to some sort of school.

http://www.williamsbroswelding.com.au

rbusch DaveyH1 month ago

you certainly can teach yourself. i did it... do a lot of research. get a few welding books. practice practice. some areas are in such demand for welders. that ive seen people get in the door with hardly any experience. but if you keep at it and don't be afraid to ask others who can weld better then you about their techniques. there are some states that require a certificate in the US bot only a few. collage is an option but it can be done without. honestly ive met a lot of "welders" over the years that went to school for welding and still cant weld worth a hoot. the moneys okay but also veries a lot from region to region. and type of welding most the high paying ones are traveling jobs TIG welding for ethanol plants or oil pipelines. which then you are required to have certifications. which are specifically dependent on the type of work. some collages also offer 30 hour non credit corses. if you wanna try it first. probably 300 to 500 bucks and you get to play with theire equipment and get the basics instruction.

Mig welders don't tend to make much money. To get into the good money you need to be able to do all position (6g) with almost any medium but esp. stick.

Also welders tend to die earlier than most as the fumes often carry many toxic elements so remember to always use the correct PPE and fume extractors etc. My son wanted to be a welder but thankfully took my advice and picked another trade.

If you really want to do it and can get access to a welding facility to "play" you can learn quite a bit on your own.

One of my early instructors always reminded us that "somebodys life may depend on your weld" which I always stuck by when welding.

All the welders that I have known that died early (before they were 70 years old) were either heavy smokers or died in welding related accidents. Where did you get your mortality information?

There are a few sources. Try looking at the fume composition of welding. Also personal experience and a few of those were non smokers too.

Until recently (maybe last 10 years) fume extraction had always been a neglected subject and in the field its still a hit and miss affair.

http://www.ihdlnconference2014.org/abstract/Hardt

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12109555

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/88-110/

The list is almost endless. Seen a few lesser injuries too from components letting loose during setup of large parts as welders were getting set up

echetto DaveyH2 months ago

I work for a welding products manufacturer, and the company had also a training certification site in my home country. This kind of welding, for doing it properly, can't be learn just by yourself. From the quality of the welding, to how to protect yourself from injuries, the training is a must if you want to weld for a living. I don't have a clue of the USA marketplace, but in other places of the world a highly trained and experienced welder can make more money than an engineer. I mean gas pipe welders, the good ones, in example.

so much valuable info
RogerM62 months ago

noahw did a fantastic job with this instructable. @psik - because you don't understand welding or the instructions in the article, doesn't make them wrong.

I will clarify some basic things for you though since you don't understand what the rest of us do.

1) The electric arc is caused by a short circuit. That's what electric welding is; a controlled short circuit.

2) CO2 is used a shielding gas, even with pure steel. Oxygen prevents a proper weld, so inert gas is used to push it away.

3) When he said to increase the pressure, it means increase the gas flow. Increasing the pressure of the gas is achieved by turning up the flow.

Do try in the future not to insult someone else's work simply because you misunderstand it.

psik2 months ago

Although it is very helpful, this Instructable has many erroneous information like:
- heat is generated by short circuit - not true, electric arc is a heat source in welding
- 100% Argon or a mixture of CO2 and Argon is used as a shielding gas - not true, for steel pure CO2 is mainly used to heat up the arc. It's also much cheaper than Argon
- you have to increase pressure when there is not enough shielding gas - not true, you have to increase gas flow instead

anode5052 months ago

Nice write up!

Now for fun, here a video of how NOT to weld.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Us7VDZT-NcQ

BornOnFire4 years ago
In regards to Gas Tank Regulator Valves, An oxygen setup should always be opened completely so as to seat the stem of the valve against the packing. Failure to seat the internal stem's packing will likely cause a leak-resulting in a potential large scale explosion. The potential of a leak is more common than one would think. Imagine your garden spigot that you water your pansies with. Open it all the way and it usually works fine. Turn it a just few times and, usually, it drips-not a big deal. It's just a little water right? Apply this situation to your stuffy garage. You are welding a few things and the phone rings. 30 minutes later, your garage is a blasting cap just waiting for ignition. You get back to your work, strike an arc, and all of a sudden, you see a white light and your late grandmother welcomes you "Home" into God's kingdom. Now, we all would like to see Grandma again but I'm sure she can wait a few more eternities before you show up. Now, I'm not saying all regulator setups will blow you into grandma's arms again, but the Oxy-Acetylene setups are potential fatalities- now you know.
F300k BornOnFire2 months ago
i was reading the comments just to see if someone let them know that the value should be open all the way, can be very dangerous. the value works both way up and down
Blackie Ray2 months ago

HG, I hope you defied them at your high school and took welding anyway. Recently reading about women and painting in the early part of the 20th century when women were expected to do pastels and water color. Oil was deemed to difficult for women to undertake.

Taykaim2 months ago

The 20 CFH you mention is a very good starting flow and the correct default setting for most mig welding. Depending on gas mixture, stickout and nozzle position relative to the tip you might go as high as 25 cfh, but any higher and you risk getting a venturi effect that sucks in room air and further decreases weld quality.

cammers Taykaim2 months ago

Interesting point. Thanks.

BTW I think that converts to just over 9 l/min for the rest of the world.

cg22 months ago

Great instructable, thanks for putting all this info together

HandiGirl2 months ago

Thankyou for sharing this info about welding! When I went to high school in British Columbia, Canada welding, carpentry and electricity plus drafting was offered in school. I had a space in my schedule that would accommodate these interesting "crafts". However, I was mocked and jeered for putting my name on the list SINCE I WAS A GIRL. Hesketh, the principal of my Junior High School, laughed and mocked me in an all school assembly. I felt very ashamed that I had made the request. He singled me out for wanting to learn the basics of "manly crafts". At the time, I was unaware that my Father's family had for generations in Canada and Eastern European been noted craftsmen in this field of interest. It was within me. Nevertheless, after that public humilation, 20 girls signed up for the same courses. Unfortunately, I was leaving the Junior High School and entering the Senior High School, where same stupid policy was in place. So, thankyou once again for sharing. Some of us, are just born with the natural yearning to learn these so called "manly crafts" as well as being an expert on vacuuming, washing the dishes, laundry and crafting a decorative 4-5 layer sponge cake. I can also plough a field and milk a cow. And, I have changed the oil in my car several times including changing the filters. Handigirl.

Kevanf1 HandiGirl2 months ago

Handigirl, the way you were treated is nothing short of disgusting! Ones sex should not matter whatever the craft or skill. My god, where would we have been if not for all the wonderfully skilled women mechanics, welders, lathe operators and engineers during World War 2? I am a 52 yr old male who does not underestimate the power of any other man or woman. I can weld (gas, MMA and MiG) but I can also sew and love it. I also bake a very nice coffee cake :) These are all human skills not male or female skills.

Handigirl, good for you! I would be proud of any of my daughter's to take on that task. Btw my Mom (Mum for our friends in Canada) was a welder during WWII along with many other women.
edanb4 months ago

I took a course on TIG welding a couple weeks ago and found it to be too difficult for me, I have since stopped welding, but after reading this I realized I should probably have started with MIG. Do you think it would make sense to take a month-long course? They are not so cheap and I don't want to waste my time. I was also told I should get a welding helmet, but wouldn't the instructor have to supply me with one? I'm a little concerned about the safety issues. Thanks!

Taykaim edanb2 months ago

I forgot to mention, TIG has (IMO) the steepest learning curve. While it can be just one hand for autogenous welds, it can involve up to both hands and a foot, so if you weren't a drum set player in another life, it might be a tough thing to get started with. Stick isnt bad once you learn to strike the arc, but IMO again, mig is by far the easiest to pick up for a beginner. Worth trying that in a class next time around.

Taykaim edanb2 months ago

Most courses require but do not provide PSE (Personal Safety Equipment). Which is honestly good for you, as the class would be much more expensive if they did. In my experience for a mig class, you'd be expected to show up with a pair of safety glasses, helmet, vice grips or pliers, mig pliers (AKA welpers) a steel brush, mig/stick gloves and a jacket or at least long sleeve shirt. Some also require or recommend a welders cap. For what its worth, starting with TIG IS probably the hard way, and both mig and smaw(stick) are though different from each other, easier to pick up than TIG.

Lastly, a word regarding cost. When you price out buying/renting a tank of gas, a professional level wirefeed unit, a high quality power source, a decent mig gun, the regulator/flowmeter, an endless supply of coupons(metal pieces to weld together for learning), the consumables such as tips, nozzles etc, the spool of (presumably) ES-70-6 or similiar for mild steel that you might use up or more often make welding classes a real bargain. And any PSE you buy you keep for after the class.

Almost all welding requires a proper welding helmet / goggles. Most guys buy their own but in any classroom they should be available along with proper FRC coveralls.

TIG needs a little more co-ordination than mig or stick but I would have stuck with it if I were you as once you master that the other forms of welding would have been much easier.

doctorlock2 months ago
Sorry but o2, oxy is not flammable but an oxidizer which helps things burn.
Cueball212 months ago

Great 'ible' Thanks for taking the time.

BallscrewBob2 months ago

Great intro.

Only exception I have is the all position comment.

Sure if you are not too bothered about integrity but for a fully qualified weld I would say no. I have some great pictures of overhead welds done with mig that look fine for profile etc. etc. done buy welders with years of experience, but all of which failed. v-up gives better pen. but v-down with mig is often just a cosmetic weld that can be useful as a cap for a v-up.

It sure is easy to learn though. Back in the 70s my instructor told me "Ya can teach a monkey to mig weld"

Its also great for large gap / bridge welds to lay down something to backfill where stick would not cut it or you don't have something to use as a filler bridge.

Graham Leach2 months ago

I think this article is really well done. You did a super job of it and this should bring people into MIG quickly, and easily. The only caution I would sound is that you made it sound SO easy people may not think that having an experienced welder around the first couple of times is needed. I do think it's needed. You can make a friend, get some tips & tricks and keep it safe...all at the same time! Find your nearest Maker/Hacker Space, check it out and see if they've got this gear already for you try before you buy, with an experienced facilitator at your elbow. Once you've got your "sea legs" underneath you, the sky is the limit!

pigpigpig2 months ago
ken.downer.74 months ago

Having just read the instructions for MIG welding I have to say it is a load of rubbish. Why do people think they can weld when it is very clear they cannot. I speak as a teacher of fabrication and welding (15yrs) my first year students after correct instruction would lay a weld 100 times better than what has been shown here. You guys out there that want to weld correctly, take the time and do an evening course at your local college.

Always clean your nozzle after every weld and when changing your tip. A clean nozzle prolongs the life of your tip and ensures a quality weld. A clogged nozzle also restricts your gas flow causing porosity.
JamesL195 months ago

I'm
struggling to choose my first welding equipment. Been searching the web for
reviews etc. There's plenty of pages like at here but I'm not sure if a
$300-$500 is good enough for my household needs.

DaveyH5 months ago

I've gotten burned before by a welder, and let me tell you, it's not fun in the slightest. It was actually a 3rd degree burn for me. Anyway, since then I learned then to wear gloves and be a little more careful.

http://www.gemstatewelderssupply.com/Products/

ColinB47 months ago

I have written so many articles on welding procedures
but after reading this article felt like never knew anything about MIG welding.
Great job author.

www.red-d-arc.com

This has been so helpful to me. I'm a freshmen in high school and I take welding class, I have gotten past my other 1st year class mates and I moved onto mig welding and this has helped me greatly.

AdeelR8 months ago

@weldpedia

This article is best for newbies. A very good briefing on MIG welding basics; equipment, mechanism, technique etc. Find more on

http://www.weldpedia.com/search/label/MIG

ncblu6 years ago
i weld for a living. folks before you spend large amounts of money on a welder, make sure you are willing to spend the time practicing, thats the most important thing, practice, practice, practice. start running straight passes, no weaving or sewing or circling. when running a bead remember - where you point the tip is where the weld will be. if you're using gas, watch for porosity because you pulled the tip back too far and contaminated the weld. dont grind your welds - it's a bad habit, even if your welds arent pretty, they will be in time. speed is very important, constant steady speed. the welders you buy at harbor freight or walmart are fine for tack welding, but i wouldnt put it to use on a trailer or something that could have bad results if a weld cracks. if you run without gas you will get lots of spatter, even with anti spatter dip. prep is the most important, make sure your metal is clean and bevels should be between 25% and 50%. when making t-welds or perpendicular welds remember the metal will contract TOWARD the weld bead, not away from it ( i know this is contrary to popular belief and highschool science but it will happen ). never weld in a down direction, never drag the bead like you would in stick welding, always be pushing the puddle in the direction you want to go. most of all practice, practice, practice
ncblu ncblu6 years ago
one more thing, if you want to make a living as a welder, do not weave or circle or sew - you likely wont make it through to morning coffee break. also be prepared to weld out-of-position, this is welding on any surface that isnt sitting flat on a table ( which actually is harder to do properly than it sounds ). you might be welding upside down with hot metal dropping in your shirt.
GabrielleC1 ncblu9 months ago

thanks for all the excellent tips!! A few questions…is it possible to find a 110v MIG that actually penetrates? I am a home/garage hobbyist looking to weld materials averaging around no more than 3/16-1/4" thick, mostly for art projects, making lights etc…I have more experience with arc welding on thicker materials. I have heard that you can't really weld with 110 but I see a lot of machines out there… I am also considering going for a lincoln 225, I see a lot of them on CL, but I am not sure if that will be more power than I need. What do you suggest?

HI There Can you tell me how close i should hold the tip from my work.
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