Proper MIG Welding Techniques Explained

MIG welding is also known as gas metal arc welding or metal inert gas welding, or the welding of metals with the use of inert gases and a continuous wire electrode. Simple to learn and effective, MIG welding requires attention to safety as well as attention to the processes that make the welding more efficient.

Safety First

As with any process which uses electricity, MIG welding requires some safety precautions. Firstly, the eyes should be protected from the UV light that is given off during the welding process. Wearing a helmet with self-darkening materials helps to protect the eyes and to keep the face from being damaged. Traditional sunglasses are not effective at shielding the UV light from the retinas. Too much exposure to UV light can cause permanent damage to the eyes. In addition, your skin should be completely covered up during the welding process. UV light can damage skin cells, just as it does out in the sunlight. Closing your eyes or leaving skin exposed for short periods of time is not recommended. Heavy leather gloves and heavier clothing pieces are recommended as well. Extraction fans can keep you from inhaling dangerous chemicals and vapors in the work area. If the ventilation is not good, try using a respirator designed for welding. Though it may seem unnecessary, it is going to protect your lungs from damage. Finally, when MIG welding, keep things which are flammable away from the welding area. To be safe, make sure you keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case of an accidental fire. A fire blanket is also a good idea for smothering a fire in your workshop.

Be Efficient

MIG welding can be tricky at first since you are in control of how much wire is being fed during the process. To be efficient, you need to make sure you are only feeding what you absolutely need, no more and no less. Ideally, when welding, the wire should be welded so closely that it leaves an indentation. There should be some roundness to the welded pieces. This will help the pieces stay together as more heat is applied. However, you should not use too much wire either. To make sure you're using the right amount of wire, you should keep the stick out distance consistent. This is the distance between the contact tip and the working area. In doing so, you will maintain evenness and not use more wire than necessary. Holding the gun at a 45-degree angle will help make this process smoother. Finally, keep the wire directed at the leading edge of your weld pool. This will prevent too much weld beading. Using the smallest wire possible for the project is also going to help keep the process efficient.

Whether you are an expert MIG welder or someone who has just begun to weld, knowing how to be safe and efficient is essential. These tips will ensure you're able to weld for years to come.