Word on the street is that MIG is one of the easiest processes to learn!
The buzz is right in our opinion. MIG welding is an easy process to master. Get you parameters such as amperage and wire speed right, select the correct consumables and all you really have to it control your torch to lay a nice bead.
Following these steps, most people can learn to run good beads with MIG in a few hours. But there’s more to great MIG welding than just running beads, isn’t there? Well, this blog series won’t focus on end goal, we’ll talk your through the process. It’s a bit like the cliche every sporting coach pulls out every week in their press conference – “We’re focussing on the process”.
In the first blog of our series, we’ll focus on how to get everything set up and ready to go with your MIG welder. Preparation is key people!
GET TO KNOW THE MACHINE
A MIG welder is made up of a few different parts and its important to at least know the basics of your machine. Otherwise, it’s a bit like getting in a car and having no idea what does what – Sadly, we’ve seen a few examples of this!-
The Welder: Contains a spool of wire and a series of rollers that push the wire out to the MIG Torch. From time to time, the wire feed might jam up. Don’t panic is this happens, but you do need to know how to fix the isse. Open up you machine and check inside to sort it out. The spool of wire should be held on with a tension nut, tight enough to keep the spool from unraveling, but not so tight the rollers can’t pull the wire from the spool.
The Gas Tank: If you are using a shielding gas with your MIG welder, there will be a gas tank behind the MIG. The gas will either be 100% Argon or a mix of Argon and CO2, which will shield the weld as it forms.
The MIG Torch: This is the business end of the welder. The torch comprises a trigger to control the wire feed and flow of electricity. At the end of the gun is a tip, which will vary in size to fit whatever diameter wire you are welding with. Tips are a consumable item and can cheaply be replaced.
The Ground Clamp: The ground clamp completes the circuit between the welder, the welding gun and the project. You only need one clamp from the welder attached to your piece to weld, or onto a metal welding table. Make sure it is making good contact.
KNOW YOUR TOOLS: This video about the Cigweld Weldskill MIG Series takes you through a typical set-up procedure for a MIG welder
MIG welding is a safe form of welding, so long as you follow these steps to protect yourself and your welder.
Wear a welding mask: Any form of arc welding produces an extremely bright light, so you need to protect your eyes. Make sure where a Australian Standard approved aut-darkening welding helmet. The auto-darkening feature will kick in as soon as your arc starts and will darken the visor on your helmet far quicker than you can blink, ensuring you will not suffer any damage to your eyes. Failure to properly protect your eyes can result in welder’s flash, which is not a good thing and can result in permanent eye damage. Ensure your helmet has a minimum shade rating of 11 when MIG welding. You may need to think about protecting others too. Ensure others in the room are wearing eye protection before you MIG weld, or consider purchasing welding curtains to contain the light. As with helmets, ensure your curtains are Australian safety standard approved.
Wear gloves and leathers: You need to protect yourself from molten metal splattering off of your work. Wear whatever gloves you feel comfortable with, as well as leathers to protect your skin from the heat. If not leathers, wear clothing made from cotton as this won’t burn or melt.
Wear boots: Do not wear open toed shoes or synthetic shoes – boots are the way to go.
Well ventilated area: Welding produces fumes, which you shouldn’t breathe in if you can help it. Wear a mask if it’s going to be a long job. Professional welders should consider a fume extraction system
Fire safety: Keep a tidy area for welding so you don’t risk fire from the molten metal and grinding sparks. Always keep a CO2 fire extinguisher in the workshop just in case.
LAYING BEADS: It’s important to safely clothe yourself and set up your area before you begin MIG welding.
STEP 3: PREP YOUR WELD
Next, it’s time to set up your welder and the piece you’ll be working on.
The Welder: Make sure the valve to the shielding gas is open and flowing through the regulator at the correct level. Turn the welder on, with the grounding clamp attached to your welding table or directly to the piece of metal. Then make sure you have the proper wire speed and power setting.
The Metal: For the best results, take a couple of minutes to clean your metal and grind down any edges being joined.
With everything set up, safely, you’re ready to weld. Stay tuned for part 2 where we’ll take you through the welding process step by step. Inspired to buy a MIG welder? Check out our full range at eWelders.com.au.
Need to weld aluminium but not sure where to start? You’re not the first. That’s why we’ve put together a 2-part blog series to help you get started.
Aluminium is no ordinary metal. Not only is it much softer than other metals but it is also a better conductor of heat. This means welding aluminium requires a few changes on the part of the welder, especially if you’re used to welding metals like steel.
In this 2-part blog series, we’ll look at how to use MIG and TIG welding for aluminium, starting with the easiest welding process around – MIG welding.
MIG Welding Aluminium
Metal Inert Gas (or MIG) welding is an arc welding process. It uses a constant consumable wire feed as the welding electrode along with shielding gas to protect the weld puddle from those atmospheric gases that can weaken the weld.
The process for MIG welding is simple. The wire electrode comes on a spool and sits inside the MIG welder. This wire is fed through a gun when the trigger is pulled.
However for aluminium, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:
For thicker metal, you need a more powerful welding machine. A 115-volt MIG welder can handle aluminium up to 3 mm thick with sufficient preheating, and a 230-volt MIG welder can weld aluminum that’s up to 6 mm thick. As with all welding machines, you also need to consider how frequently you’ll be welding. If you’ll be welding aluminium daily, look for a machine with an output of more than 200 amps.
The correct shielding gas is critical. Whereas steel can use a blend of Argon and CO2, aluminium needs a shielding gas of pure argon, or Argon gas with a small percentage of helium. The good news is you shouldn’t need any new hoses, though you will probably need to replace regulators. Click Here if you’re in the market for an Argon Shielding Gas.
Wire and Gun selection
One of the most important differences when welding aluminium is the Wire used. Aluminium MIG Wire is softer than the Wires used on other Metals such as as Mild Steel and is designed to fuse at a temperature appropriate to the aluminium melting point. Selecting the wrong metal will lead to poor weld quality. TO view a range of MIG wire appropriate for Aluminium Wire - Click Here. Because Aluminium Wire is softer than other wires, it will not feed through most ordinary MIG Guns. You therefore need to look at investing in a Spool Gun which are designed specifically for wleding with aluminium wire. Make sure that if you plan to MIG weld aluminium your machine is spool gun ready before you purchase it.
For high-end welding and professional result on thin aluminium sheets when welding equipment such as boat trailers, a push-pull Gun may also be an option. A push-pull system is general only suitable for higher end welders. It utilises dual motors: an assist motor that pushes the electrode from the feeder, and a primary motor that is located in the gun that pulls the electrode. in essense this will offer you the best of poth worlds when welding aluminium. It can accomodate any type of aluminium wire, and it offers the feeding performance of a spool gun.
Make sure you feed the electrodes using an aluminium feeding kit, as this will allow you to feed the softer wire. These kits feature larger holes on the contact tips, since aluminium expands more than steel when it’s heated. At the same time, the holes still need to be small enough to provide good electrical contact.
The aluminium feeders should also use drive rolls that won’t shave the softer aluminium wire. And non-metallic liners will also reduce as the wire goes through the feeder.
Once you’re ready to go, aim to keep the gun cable as straight as possible so the wire feeds correctly. The most important thing to be aware of is that the softer aluminium wire is more prone to kinks during feeding.
Remember, MIG welding is one of the easiest ways, if not the easiest, to learn how to weld. So it’s a great place to start if you’re welding aluminium for the first time.
Stay tuned for part 2 where we’ll look at how to weld aluminium using TIG welding. Ready to get started? Check out a wide range of MIG welders at eWelders.com.au.
There’s no one size fits all when it comes to welding. So it pays to know the difference between the key types of welding and which is best for your application. Here, we delve into the pros and cons of gas and gasless MIG welding.
MIG welding is not only one of the simplest forms of welding, it delivers great results when done right. There are two types: gas shielded (gas) and self shielded (gasless). As you might have guessed from their names, the gas shielded requires external shielding gas, while the self shielding doesn’t. Instead a gasless welder using a flux-cored wire relies on a continuous, tubular wire feed. The flux includes vapour-forming compounds that provide the gas shield needed to protect against oxidation.
While this sounds simple enough, the presence of gas makes a difference to the welding process and result – so it’s worthwhile taking the time to choose the right type for your application.
Take a look at the pros and cons of a gas and gasless welder for various factors:
Unlike their gas counterpart, gasless MIG welders don’t require external shielding gas. This makes them a good choice for welding out of doors or on the move, as you don’t need an external gas tank. Also, gas MIG welders are not suitable for windy locations, as any loss of shielding gas will create porosity in the weld bead and impact its integrity. So if you’re welding out of doors, gasless MIG welding may be your better bet. You don’t need to set up any windshields as the shielding gas is conveniently generated from the burning flux.
It is important to consider your location when weighing up which welding process to use.
Gas MIG welders are good to use in out-of-position applications. For example, when welding overhead or vertically upwards, the gas shielded flux cored wire has a flux coating that solidifies faster than the molten weld materials to create a shelf that holds the molten pool.
A gasless MIG welder provides excellent penetration and longitudinal strength. However the result will depend on the MIG machine you choose. Some go down low enough to weld very thin materials and some don’t.
Gasless MIG welders don’t have as a fast a deposition rate as those using a shielding gas. The welding speed is similar to that of arc welding.
There’s no dount that a key selling point of Gasless MIG welding is its convenience. Not only is it more portable, but you also don’t have to make your materials clean and shiny before welding. Thanks to the extra goodies in the flux, gasless MIG welders let you weld straight through surface rust, paint, galvanized surfaces and so on. This makes it a good option for industry applications. Also there’s no need to rent a gas cylinder.
You might notice gasless welding creates more fumes, but this is easily handled with the right protection.
The bottom line?
A gasless MIG welder is a great tool to have in the workshop – convenient, easy to use and did we mention convenient? But for overall weld quality most serious welders will tell you that Gas MIG product better results. THe ideal option is to have a welder the can do Gas and Gasless and the good news is that there is a huge range of gas-gasless machines on the market these days.
Click this link to have a look at our single-phase MIG welders, most of which will do gas and gasless MIG welding.
What welding processes do I need my welder to perform?
This is probably the most commonly asked question among beginner welders, and it is often the subject of confusion. But don’t be daunted when trying to to decide whether you need, TIG function, MIG function, MMA function or all three.
Welding is a complex skill but the following information will give you a basic overview in the main welding processes. Keep this information in mind when making your choice but If you require more detailed advice after reading this information, don’t hesitate to give us a call and we can assist further with advice in choosing your welder. It is important to note, that no one welding process is perfect for all welding applications, so if you’re looking to perform a versatile range of applications, you may wish to purchase a multi-purpose welder, capable of performing MIG, TIG and MMA function.Click here to view our multi-purpose range.
Here is a basic guide to the three main welding process (MIG, TIG and MMA):
MMA (Stick/Arc) Welding
MMA welders use an electric current flowing from a gap between the metal and the welding stick, also known as an arc-welding electrode. This form of welding is great for welding most alloys or joints. It can be used indoors and outdoors and is a good choice if you plan to weld in potentially windy conditions. It is effective on rusty and dirty metals.
A key to Stick welding is learning to strike and maintain an arc. This can be a challenge but once mastered it is a very effective form of welding on many metals. It is generally suitable for welding metals no thinner than 1.02mm (18-gauge). Welds should be cleaned upon completion. It is an economical form of welding and is is great for welding thicker metals of 6mm or more. They are a good choice for farmers, hobbyists and home maintenance chores.
Key MMA welding points
- Great for windy conditions
- Effective on thicker metals
- Effective for welding dirty or rusty metals
-Good for general DIY jobs, home maintenance and farmers
Click here to view our range of MMA (Arc) welders
TIG welding is an arc welding process. It uses a non-consumable Tungsten Electrode to produce the weld. This weld area is protected from contamination by a shielding gas, along with a filler metal. TIG is an extremely precise form of welding and gives the welders great control and stronger welds than other processes.
It is most commonly used to weld thin sections metals, including alloy steel, and stainless steel, because of the precision it gives the welder. It is also an ideal process for non-ferrous metals such as aluminum, magnesium, and copper alloys. It is a more complex form of welding and will require more time to master. But once you’ve got the hang of TIG welding it is a brilliant process.
Key TIG welding points
- Extremely precise, and produces strong welds
- Precise results on thin metals.
- Ideal for allow steel, stainless steel, aluminum, magnesium, copper alloys.
Click here to view our TIG inverter welders
MIG welders use a wire welding electrode on a spool. The spool is fed automatically at a constant pre-selected speed. The arc, created by an electrical current between the base metal and the wire, melts the wire and joins it together with your base metal.
MIG welding is clean, and it is great for thin and thicker metals. It is easy to master as long as you don’t rush in without doing your research. MIG welding is effective on a wide range of metals including steel, aluminum and stainless steel. It is effective on metals as thin as 0.4mm
Key MIG welding points
- Easy process to master Very clean welds
- Effective on a wide range of metals including steel, aluminum and stainless steel
- Great process for welding thin metals with precision
Click here to view our compact MIG welders
Metal chart. This chart provides you with a useful guide of which process are suited to which metals.
|Exotic (Magnes, Titanium)|