MIG Nozzle Cleaning Tool




About: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying posting things I have learned and done since I got my first ...

I needed a tool for cleaning spatter and soot from the nozzle of a MIG. I have several pliers that can cut wire, like the needle nose pliers in the photo. That pliers also has a gripping area between the hinge and the upper end of the handles that can easily grasp a copper tip for removal from the MIG gun. All I really needed is a tool for reaching between the inside of the nozzle and the tip. I made the tool in the photo.


  • 1/4 inch steel rod
  • Parts of two hardened square cut concrete nails


  • Hacksaw
  • Angle head grinder and cutting wheel
  • Bench grinder
  • Spring clamps
  • Aluminum angle
  • Welder

Step 1: Tip Size

Copper gun tips for wire feed welders are 1/4 inch in diameter. I used a drill index to check the size.

Step 2: The Setup

I will weld tips of the square cut nails to a 1/4 inch rod shank. I used two pieces of steel 1/16 inch thick to raise the nail tips off of the aluminum work surface so they are not lower than the center of the 1/4 inch rod. Spring clamps hold the pieces in place.

Step 3: Place the Nail Tips

I use square cut concrete nails to make a Jerusalem wall cross. Some of the nails are deformed and not useful. Those become raw material for other projects, like this one. I rested the nails in place without clamps.

Step 4: Tack Weld the Nails

I tack welded the nail parts by beginning the arc on the 1/4 inch rod and moving it to the joint between the rod and the nails. Although the nail parts were not clamped, this strategy kept the nail parts in place until welded. Then I finished welding on both sides.

Step 5: T-handle

I cut another piece of 1/4 inch rod for a T-handle. I centered it, aligned it to be square with the shank, and welded it on both sides.

Step 6: Grind and Use

I needed to grind the nail points to fit the nozzle opening. The nail points had pulled together during welding, so I had to remove a little material between them. I also had to grind a little from the outside edges so the tool fit the nozzle. And, I ground away any rough or sharp edges, particularly where they might come into contact with my hands.

This tool works well. I looked at on-line reviews of a known brand MIG pliers, but it was made overseas and does not cut wire very well. Although the handles on my needle nose pliers are not large, I did add a holder for the pliers that makes it easy for me to reach them while wearing heavy gloves.



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    5 Discussions


    2 years ago

    I've been dipping my mig nozzle into new engine oil for years, and as long as the nozzle is greasy, nothing will catch onto it. Just shake oil off the nozzle so it doesnt drip everywhere and you're good to go


    2 years ago

    nice, I may skip getting mig pliers and do this instead

    1 reply
    Phil Bardnon

    Reply 2 years ago

    While I used hardened cut nails, I do not think hardened steel is necessary. Mild steel should be hard enough. The nozzle appears to be copper, which would be softer than the mild steel.

    After reading reviews about a set of MIG pliers that performed poorly at cutting the MIG wire, I am quite content to use a set of pliers I already have that cut wire well. I know commercial MIG pliers can be used as a hammer, but I have not needed that feature and do not expect to.


    2 years ago

    that's pretty useful. normally I just take a pair of needle nose pliers to the inside of the tip, but this seems more efficient. at first I thought it was for cleaning little Slag beads up from either side of the weld.

    1 reply
    Phil BWolfbane221

    Reply 2 years ago

    Real MIG pliers have square tips for better scraping, while needle nose pliers are rounded smooth on the upper surface. Perhaps a needle nose pliers could be ground to have an upper surface more suited for scraping without wearing the pointed tips too much.