MIG welding has become quite a popular welding process in the recent years. However, to become affordable and sufficiently small for use by small shops and hobbyists, it took many years. Today, you can get MIG welding machines that are as small as a bread box offering plenty of power.
The best part of the MIG welding process is that it is very simple. All you have to do is point the gun’s tip wherever you require a weld and just pull the trigger. The welding gun starts the welding current, the shielding gas begins to flow and the filler wire is fed automatically. As soon as you stop pressing the trigger, the welding stops.
MIG welding guns make use of filler wire which is usually located as a spool inside the welding machine. Welding machines can accommodate between 1 and 10-lb spools and for automotive work, there are many wire sizes that can be used; however, 0.030” wire is suitable for most kind of welding applications. If you’re welding on sheet metal, then you may find that using a 0.023” wire can help you control it better. While many industrial applications make use of flux-cored wire, solid wire is preferred by truck builders, although solid wire needs the use of a gas shield.
Preparing to Weld
One of the most important factors while preparing to weld is choosing the correct wire, voltage and speed. Most welding machines come along with a chart that gives the recommended settings on basis of the thickness of the metal being welded and the diameter of the filler wire. Experienced welders usually make adjustments to the settings by looking at the weld bead and the sound of the welding arc. Some welding machines have an “auto set” feature that makes the adjustment of the welding parameters extremely simple. All you do is put in the thickness of the metal that is being welded and the diameter of the filler wire and you are all set to start welding.
Practice Makes Perfect
To get good looking and strong welds, the key is to master your torch handling technique. Making small modifications in the angle of the torch, the distance from the welding gun to the work and travel speed, all these factors will have a huge impact on the welding results. And, the best way to master the torch handling technique is through practice and the more the practice, the more consistent the welding results will be.
And finally, when you are welding, you should pay attention to following safe operating procedures. It is a good idea to inform yourself with all the dos and don’ts before you actually start welding so that you are safe and secure.