To learn how to MIG weld, you have to know the basic process. There are different types of MIG welding tools, but the procedure is the same. You use a machine to feed a wire into the welding tool.
The welding tool or gun has an electrical charge which moves the current in the tool into the wire. Once an arc between the base metal and arc is set, welding can begin.
Gather Your Welding Tools – Safety Equipment, Materials & Supplies
Assemble the tools and materials you’ll need. Wear your safety gear, i.e. gloves, shoes, headgear and other protective attire. Inspect your gear for any holes or defects before using them.
Use the Right Wire
The wire material has to be of the same type as the material you’re going to weld. If you’re welding stainless steel, the wire needs to be stainless steel as well. There are two kinds of wire used for steel welding, AWS ER70S-3, and AWS ER70S-6.
Your wire diameter should be based on the thickness of the steel you’re welding, i.e. thin wire for thin metals, thick wire for thick metals. The thicker the wire, the more powerful your welding tool must be.
Feeder and reel tension
Tighten the reel’s tension to keep the wire from unraveling. Make certain the wire’s first 7.6 cm (3 inches) are straight to prevent damage to the line feeder. Cut the wire with a wire cutter. Next, place the wire in the guide tube and start feeding above the roller.
Make certain the wire doesn’t have any grease or rust or it’s going to affect the results. After you insert the wire in the wire liner, turn on your welder, pushing the wire in via the feed mechanism.
When the wire has been fed, you have to make adjustments to the tension.
Don’t apply too much tension because it will affect the mounting and damage the machine. Try to keep the tension level to a minimum but still allows for line feeding. As long as the tension on the feeder and reel are low, you’re doing fine.
Create the Weld
Set your welder to DCEP and start welding. Make sure the electrode length is consistent, around ¼” and 3/8” from the tube, so welding is smooth and clear. For the best steel penetration, you should use carbon dioxide as a shielding gas.
The drawback with carbon dioxide is it may be too much for thin metal. If you’re going to work with thin metals, use a mixture of carbon dioxide (25%) and argon (75%). This is also the ideal choice for aluminum welding.
You should weld joints using the push or drag method, but make sure the angle doesn’t go beyond 10 degrees regardless of the method.
Drag welding pulls the tip with the bead, providing a narrow head and deeper penetration.
Push welding, on the other hand, pushes the tip and bead for wider beads.
Make sure the wire remains at your weld tool’s front edge, so you have maximum control.
• To create a flat weld, use the welding tool to directly put material onto the joint, and a back and forth technique is going to fill the gaps. To get the best flat joints you just have to set the angle at 90 degrees.
• For a horizontal weld, set the MIG gun angle low slightly, so the filler doesn’t drag. Use the same pull or push angle and fill up the gaps with a back and forth movement.
The amperage level needs to be the same as that of the flat weld.
However, you’ll need to make the diameter a bit smaller, so the weld pool doesn’t get too big.
• To make a vertical weld from thin metal, start at the top. Allow the weld to go down, so the arc keeps piercing the material.
If you’re working with thick metal, begin from the base and reduce the amperage by 15% to fend off gravity.
• For an overhead weld, use the typical welding methods but boost up your travel speed.
You should also amp up the gas flow rate, so the filler doesn’t come out. For the best results, the nozzle must be clean. Otherwise, it’s going to affect the welding.
Once you’re done welding, remove the extra filler. If you followed the steps above your weld should come out fine.
Take a look at this video made by Jody Collier from weldingtipsandtricks.com
Some safety tips before you learn how to MIG weld
Read the instructions on how to use the welding tool. Don’t use the tool for any job it’s not intended for. Following the instructions also ensures you don’t end up damaging the welding tool or the material you are working on.
Inspect the tool and all its components regularly.
Don’t use the welding tool if it doesn’t function like it used to as it could be indicative of a problem. You should also make sure your skin is fully protected from UV rays.
Your headgear/mask must have a shade level of at least #10, so you don’t end up with an arc eye.
A few more safety tips.
• Keep the work area clean. Don’t let any person come near unless they’re wearing the appropriate safety gear. Remove any combustible or flammable material in near the work area.
• Weld only in well-lit areas. Even experienced welders will tell you to always well with appropriate lighting to avoid mistakes and accidents.
• Always be on the lookout for gas leaks and stop work immediately if you see one.
• Never use a MIG welder if the electrical cord has been compromised.
• Even if you’re wearing safety gear, it’s still good practice to have a first aid kit nearby. You should also have a fire extinguisher nearby just in case.
Conclusion for How to MIG Weld
The information given above gives you a general idea of how these devices work, but your MIG welder’s instruction manual should be your first option.
Welding might take a little getting used to, but after a while, you’ll get the hang of it.