Welding is a process that knows no amateur or professional. Anyone can do it so long as you have everything right in terms of tools and basics. However, choosing which welding process can be quite a challenge for a beginner. Commonly, there are three types of welding processes namely; arc welding, metal inert gas (MIG), and Tungsten (TIG). The MIG process uses a continuously feeding wire while a TIG welder makes use of longer welding rods that are fed slowly into the welding puddle. The best process to choose between a MIG and a TIG greatly depends on the type of welding application.
MIG (metal inert gas)
The MIG welding process is a subtype of the GMAW (gas, metal, arc welding). It works in such a way that uses an incessantly feeding spool of welding wire that burns, melts and joins the base materials and parent materials together. This welding process can be used to perform tasks on a variety of materials i.e. steel (both mild and stainless) and also aluminum materials.
The MIG process comes with a number of advantages which are;
- MIG process is a very easy technique to master and make use of. With a little practice and consistency, even an amateur can make very great welds using a MIG machine.
- The above process can perform welds on materials with varied thickness. From light gauge metals to heavy gauge metals, the MIG process can handle them precisely.
- Allows users to carry out their welding operations in basically all positions. Overhead position is inclusive.
- There is no need to remove the flux, as an inert gas provides the shielding.
- MIG welds produce high speeds of welding thus reducing the time spent on constructions and repairs.
- It produces very clean welds with no spatter or plags.
Like other welding process, there are also some disadvantages associated with it. Some of the cons of the MIG technique include;
- It is more costly as it requires additional equipment like; a gas cylinder, welding cables, and a power supply, for a smooth operation.
- Have some limitations when working in outdoor applications since the air and breeze can cause porosity by blowing off the shielding gas from the puddle.
TIG (tungsten inert gas)
Known for its versatility, the TIG practice is a welding process that uses a tungsten electrode (that is non-combustible) and torch in operations. The weld area is protected from possible contamination by an inert shielding gas (mostly argon). Although some welds do not use it i.e. autogenously welds; other welds use fillers that are added by feeding a consumable rod into the welding pool. Electrical energy is produced by a constant current supply that is passed through a column of highly ionized gas and plasma, through to the arc.
TIG welds also provide you with added welding advantages;
- TIG welders produce very precise welds on thinner materials with minimal distortion during the procedure.
- Quality – with the operational control ability, TIG machines tend to produce very high-quality welding results on materials.
- Heat adjustment; A machine that is built with the above process provides the user with the ability to adjust heat input by using an amperage (foot or hand) control feature on the machine.
- You can perform fine hard-facing for mold and die work using the TIG process.
- Just like the MIG process, TIGs can be used to perform welds on a variety of materials like aluminum, steel, and other common metals.
- With a TIG welding machine, there is no need for grinding or smoothing. Also, it does not require any clean up after wielding as it leaves you with very clean results.
Machines with TIG technology tend to be very solid and high-tech, perfect for the professional welder.
- Relatively slow as compared to other welding processes.
- The operation is limited to materials with thinner gauges.
- Requires high skills to effectively use a TIG built machine.
- Provides greater user flexibility given that it combines TIG with some STICK capabilities.
- Costs more than other processes like MIG.
The choice of which type of process to choose for your welding greatly depends on the type of application you intend to do. As seen above, both processes provide you with some advantages and disadvantages of where both are usable but for different types of applications. However, for most home applications a MIG would work well while a TIG would work well in professional applications. Whichever process you choose ensure that is compatible with the material (gauge and type), time, and powers source.