Last updated: August 12, 2021

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Welding is a process present in various objects and devices in our day to day life. Whether you are a professional in the area or simply someone who occasionally does home repairs, understanding this activity is important. Today, we will talk about a very useful tool: the MIG welding machine. Welding is the process responsible for joining materials permanently.

To do this, it is necessary to generate enough heat to melt the parts to be joined. With a MIG welding machine you can do it at home or professionally. And, in this article, we'll tell you everything you need to know to choose the best tool!




Summary

  • Welding is a very important process in the modern world and can be done by various processes. Nowadays, MIG (Metal Inert Gas) is one of the most used.
  • When handling a MIG welding machine, do not forget the protective equipment. Your safety must always come first.
  • The main advantages of the MIG welding machine are the speed with which it produces the weld and the practicality of reaching difficult places and being portable. It does not give as good a final finish as some other tools

The Best MIG Welding Machines: Our Picks

Buying Guide

An important tool like the MIG welding machine needs to be well chosen. But how to buy the right one? What are the differences between this equipment and others? What are its advantages and disadvantages? How to make perfect use of it? Sit down and get ready to calmly read our Buying Guide, where we will delve into these questions!

Imagem mostra uma pessoa praticando solda em um objeto no alto.

Welding deals with high temperatures and requires protective equipment. (Source: 526663 / Pixabay.com)

What is a MIG welding machine?

If you need to join two parts, one or both being metal, the welding machine is the best solution. From the heat, it will make the permanent fusion. Since the welding process was discovered by mankind, many techniques have been developed to try to make the process easier and safer and more accessible. MIG is one of the most used today as it comes close to perfection. The acronym MIG stands for "Metal Inert Gas".

Its main component is an electric arc, which generates the heat required for the melting process. A consumable metal, the wire, is responsible for the union between the parts. And the gas, which must be inert, such as argon or helium, serves as a protection system. The MIG process is mainly recommended for welding non-ferrous materials, especially aluminium, copper and bronze.

Did you know that the electric arc was the invention needed to perfect the welding process? It is responsible for producing all the heat that radiates and is able to melt metals that require very high temperatures. The electric arc was first mentioned in 1801, by Sir Humphry Davy, in a philosophy publication. Since then, it has been perfected more and more. But nature provides the best example: There is no arc as perfect as? lightning!

What are the advantages of the MIG welding machine?

The MIG welding machine has several advantages. It allows the welding process to be carried out in any position, so that hard-to-reach places can be reached. Its equipment is smaller and lighter, which helps with transportation. The combination of these two factors shows why MIG welding is such a popular welding model: practicality, accessibility and ease of movement make the process much more smooth. In addition, the speed is higher, there is no need for finishing and there is a good range of materials that can be welded with a MIG machine.

This also makes it the preferred machine for large-scale industrial processes. Other welding processes are more suitable for ferrous materials. They also have the advantage of giving a more professional look to the end result of the weld and are easier to maintain. Here are the main advantages and disadvantages of the MIG welding machine:

Advantages
  • It allows welding in any position
  • It allows welding in places of difficult access
  • There is no need for finishing
  • The speed of the welding process is much higher
Disadvantages
  • It produces greater loss of materials
  • The final aspect is less professional
  • It cannot be applied to ferrous materials
  • The maintenance cost is higher

What are the differences between the MIG welding machine and the others?

The welding processes are many. The MIG is one of the most popular, but we can still cite countless other names: MMA, inverter machines and oxygen, for example. But the type that disputes space in the market with MIG is TIG. TIG stands for Tungsten Inert Gas and, as its name says, instead of doing the melting through a consumable metal that is melted and serves as "glue", it does it through tungsten, a chemical element rarely found in nature. TIG welding is difficult to operate and should only be done by professionals.

It requires experience and skill. The main difference between the two processes lies in the need for the result: MIG welding is recommended when you need either a simple weld, or speed and agility. TIG welding, on the other hand, is employed when there is a demand for beauty and perfection in the union between the pieces. Below is a table comparing the two types:

MIG welding TIG welding
Operation Uses a simple consumable metal Uses tungsten as consumable metal
Advantages Speed, practicality, ease of use Perfect quality in the finish of the parts
Recommendations Welding in difficult places, simple welding indoors, industrial process Welds that require a perfect finish

How does a MIG welding machine work?

It is essential to use all protective equipment when handling a MIG welding machine

The first fundamental thing when using a MIG welding machine is to use all the protective equipment: Goggles or welding mask, gloves, apron or jacket and ear protectors are the most important. Have a fire extinguisher nearby. To start welding parts with a MIG welding machine, you need to set the current and voltage, regulate the gas tank, prepare the wire roller and position the objects to be fused optimally.

How does the MIG welding without gas work?

Despite contradicting the very name of the machine, gasless MIG welding has also seen its popularity increase in recent years. In it, there is no shielding gas for the consumable metal. The cost is much lower, both for the equipment and because a cylinder is not required. But there are also several disadvantages. Because there is no protective gas, the quality of the weld is much lower. It is practically impossible to have a good quality finish. And in addition, the control of the process is minimal, with the trigger serving only to regulate the advance of the consumable metal. See the advantages and disadvantages of MIG welding without gas:

Advantages
  • Equipment cost is lower
  • Eliminates the use of gas cylinder
Disadvantages
  • Finishing much lower than the model with gas
  • Less control of the welding process

Purchase Criteria: How to compare MIG welding machines

Now that you know why you should buy a MIG welding machine, we will help you choose the perfect model. To do so, we have selected a few criteria:

Below, we'll go into detail about each of them!

Duty cycle

A MIG welding machine works with extreme heat to perform its function. To avoid overheating, it needs to be switched off for a considerable time in order to recover. But what is the ideal ratio between operation and inactivity? This is expressed by the duty cycle. For example, a machine that runs 60% on 55 A current needs to be switched off for 4 minutes every 6 minutes of use if used on this current. If the value is 30% @ 100 A and you regulate such current, use for three minutes and switch off for seven. Read the working cycle indications, make the correct adjustments and avoid accidents!

Imagem mostra uma pessoa fazendo processo de solda.

Never forget to avoid overheating your MIG welding machine. (Source: gabrielroma / Pixabay.com)

Power

The power relates directly to the electric current selected for the use of the welding machine. The higher it is, the more speed it will apply to the work, but it will also ask for a decrease in the cycle, spending more time off. The ideal for large-scale productions is to find a model that can operate at higher powers without reducing the work cycle. If you are only going to do domestic repairs or quick uses of the equipment, this is not so important.

Portability

We mentioned that one of the main advantages of the MIG welding machine is its portability and practicality to reach difficult places and to be taken to remote areas.

Pay attention to the dimensions and weight specifications!

So choose a model that emphasises this positive feature. The more compact and lighter it is, the more it will help your ability to reach difficult places! Pay attention to the dimensions and weight specifications!

Extra items

When buying a MIG welding machine, check if it has extra items that can make your work easier and even increase its cost-effectiveness. Among the main ones, we can mention protection equipment and accessories such as wire rolls and nozzles. This way, besides not having to make new purchases for such equipment, you will probably also get a discount because they are already built into the price of the machine!

(Source of the highlighted image: ÐнÐ'рей аÐ'ченко / 123rf.com)

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