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What is MIG welding?
MIG (Metal Inert Gas) welding is also known as gas metal arc welding, often referred to as GMAW (Gas Metal Arc Welding) welding.
It is a welding procedure where an electrical arc forms between an active, non-active, consumable MIG torch wire electrode and the Workpiece metal, which fuse with the metal and heat the Workpiece. In most cases, the MIG torch is held in one hand while the wire electrodes are placed on the other hand.
This method is commonly used for welding small joints. The welding process feeds power to the weld chamber continuously and propels the wire to a usable temperature.
This welding method has many advantages over the traditional process of welding, like TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas).
One significant advantage is that it can be started and stopped with little or no energy used, eliminating energy wastage. Another advantage is that the welder continuously maintains a constant weld pressure without changing it, enabling the welder to use less energy while welding.
There are two primary types of MIG welds; wet and dry. A wet mig is initiated through a continuous plugging motion.
To start the process, a small amount of inert metal gas (shielding gas) is supplied to the welding joint by way of a feeding plug, followed immediately by a high-speed, pulsating electric current. As the weld pings and the wire start to arc, the shielding gas becomes increasingly heated, and the process continues until the weld is complete. For the dry MIG welding project, this is done by initiating the arc through compressed air supplied from a shop vacuum.
Both wet and dry MIG welding machines have specific essential components. The electrical motor, which is generally located near the center of the device, supplies electrical power to the machine’s various parts. The shielding gas and a shielding rod are provided to the weld.
MIG welding machine controls provide the necessary commands to enable proper feeding and shielding of the material and shielding. MIG welding guns give the user a hand-held, consumable gun similar to a drill press.
The primary wire used in MIG welding requires pre-manufacture metal shielding for safety. The user does this by feeding the wire through a welding machine gun and hitting a trigger.
The trigger activates a magnetic field that draws on the metal shield, forcing it into a tight spot. As the electrode cools, the magnetic field loosens, enabling the wire to be fed through the filler wire feed as usual.
In addition to pre-manufactured metal shielding, MIG welding guns may use standard wire. In a typical MIG welding gun, the wire is fed by hand from the attachment at the welder’s end.
It is essential to read and understand the manufacturer’s instructions using standard wire in a MIG welding gun. Because the weld is not entirely complete, additional heating input may be required. This is known as an induced weld.
When an accurate welding angle is obtained, this added heat input is unnecessary, which can help keep the cycle time and overall welding output down.
An alternative method of shielding is available in a direct current (DC) power source. When using a DC source to induce welding heat onto the wire, the inert shielding gas and the filler wire do not require any shielding.
The DC is fed through a welding machine gun, which continuously provides the wire. Because this type of welding process does not require any shielding gas or filler wire, the wire can be of any gauge size and any thickness.
As with the DC power source, it is essential to fully understand all the welding process steps to ensure correct placement and operation.
A MIG welding machine can offer the user a variety of options when it comes to shielding. When selecting a shielding type, the user should consider the wire’s application needs and the kind of power supply used with the machine.
In the case of a DC power supply, it may be best to use a direct current supply to reduce any potential losses from possible shorting or wire burning.
In the case of a MIG welding gun, you can place the wire directly in the center of the arc, and a conductive material such as insulating foil can be placed around the outer edge of the arc.
This provides a controlled yet inexpensive way to protect the welded areas from the harmful effects of carbon dust.
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