Difference Between MIG And TIG Welding

MIG welding and TIG welding are two of the most widely used welding processes in the world. They are popular for their flexibility and ease of use. However, both of them have their core technical differences that make one distinguishable from the other.

This article is going to shed light on all the possible differences between MIG and TIG welding and how each process works.

So let’s begin:

What Is MIG And TIG Welding And How Each Process Works?

MIG Welding:

MIG Welding
MIG Welding

MIG welding is also known as Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) that uses a continuously fed electrode wire in order to join the base materials together. Apart from that, the process also provides shielding gas to the weld area through the same welding gun so as to keep it away from environmental contamination. The process is very easy to execute in compare to other welding processes and only a few numbers of materials are required to carry out the task.

In order to do MIG welding, you’re going to need a welder, a gas tank, a welding gun, and a ground clamp. However, some safety gears are always required before carrying out any welding task which includes gloves and welding masks. Now, it’s time to start the welding task. Prior to that, a grinder or a metal brush can be used over the weld metal to prevent atmospheric contamination especially over the butt joint which will ensure a strong and thicker weld.

As DC polarity is required for MIG welding, make sure the cables and connection have been fitted strongly and the tension settings are in an appropriate manner. Apart from that, the shielding gas flow should be between 20 to 25 cubic feet. A 75/25 combination of argon and carbon dioxide should exist inside the shielding gas to ensure strong penetration.

Now let’s talk about weld bead manipulation. Basically, the flatness of the weld bead mostly depends on two welding techniques which are known as the push and pull system. Push produces wider bead and does low penetration whereas the pull technique produces stronger penetration but narrower bead. Now either of them can be chosen for MIG welding which is also a matter of convenience to the welder.

Finally, it’s time to select the correct working angle. There are basically four types of positions by which MIG welding can be performed. They are flat, vertical, horizontal and overhead. In brief, it will depend upon the actual welding position that will determine which of the following work angle or the positioning of the gun will be used.

Now it’s time to go into action. Considering all the factors discussed above, a welder prepares himself to carry out MIG welding and performs the overall task while maintaining a proper travel speed.

TIG Welding:

TIG Welding
TIG Welding

Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding is a welding process that uses a non-disposable electrode which is made of a tungsten rod. The process also uses shielding gas and filler rod to prevent it from metal contamination as well as recovering the gap of a consumable electrode.

Now, the process is quite different from that of MIG welding as it uses a different shielding gas and filler metal is used to cover the gap. In fact, it is quite complex to carry out the whole process and the task requires more time than MIG welding.

There’s an air-cooled electric torch that can be disassembled when needed. You’ll have the ability to sharpen the tungsten rod on demand by opening the back cap of the torch. There’s a ceramic cup that comes in different outlet diameters which can be unscrewed when needed. Besides, the collet body consists of a large number of holes in order to efficiently pass shielding gas over the weld area.

Now, this process usually has a special amperage control system that can be operated by using only foot and can be soft start or stop when needed. This allows the welder to soft start the process and slowly provides heat over the weld area in order to ensure a strong combination of the joints.

One of the most important settings in TIG welding is the ability to control the balance of penetration and cleaning. This allows the welder to narrow down the heat affected zones as well as provide more heat wherever necessary.

Now, one of the key benefits of using TIG welding is the ability to perform the task using both AC and DC polarity which consequently allows the welder to have more flexibility. In theory, the DC polarity is usually used over steel materials whereas the AC is used for aluminum.

When To Use MIG Vs TIG Welding?

There is basically a number of factors play in terms of selecting the appropriate welding process in order to carry out a welding task. In general, there are three key factors that determine the type of welding to be used. Let’s learn about them:

  1. The thickness of the weld metal: We all know that joining thicker materials is a pain in the back in compare to fusing materials that are thinner. This way, using a tungsten electrode can take a hell lot of time to melt the weld metals which make it suitable for thinner particles. On the other hand, MIG welding has the capability to effortlessly melt highly thicker particles that makes it suitable for welding that type of metals.
  2. The electrical resistance of the metal: Now the thing is metal ductility plays a big role in terms of how quick the metal can be welded. As a rule, metals that are ductile require more time to become heat whereas electrically resistant metals can be heated quite faster than the others. Consequently, they don’t require any filler metal to cover the gap.
  3. Surface smoothness: Welding that requires filler metal which is fully vulnerable to weld spatter and subsequently requires remedial steps to make the surface smooth again. As a result, it takes the welder more time to successfully complete the task.

Explanation Of The Difference Between MIG And TIG Welding

So far you have gathered an extensive idea about how each welding process works. Now, you are going to learn about the Core difference between these two welding processes. Let’s dive in:

MIG weldingTIG welding
  •  The electrode and workpiece is made of metal
  • Fast and continuously feeding wire is used as an electrode
  • Type of metals can be welded are aluminum and stainless steel
  • Suitable for thicker metals
  • Uses a consumable electrode
  • Dc polarity is generally used
  • Using filler metal is mandatory
  • Faster welding process
  • The electrode is made of tungsten rod
  • Consists of slow feeding welding rods
  • Types of welding metals are car fabrication, toolboxes, kitchen sinks and etc.
  • Suitable for thinner metals
  • Uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode
  • Both Ac and Dc polarity are used
  • Using filler metal is optional
  • Slower welding process

Which One Is Better? MIG or TIG

If you have gone through the whole article, you’ll see each of the welding processes has its own benefits and flaws. Generally speaking, selecting the best one will solely depend upon the type of metal you are going to weld. However, in terms of overall benefit and efficiency in cost and time, MIG welding can be a better choice over tungsten inert gas welding as it introduces more benefits to the welder. Let’s learn about some of them in brief:

Diversified metal selection

In MIG welding you can effectively weld almost all types of metals which is not possible with TIG welding. Hence, using thicker metals aren’t a concern for MIG welding.

Welding speed

The MIG gun has the ability to continuously run for a long time without sacrificing its efficiency. Besides, it can be performed way faster than TIG welding which gives it a competitive advantage.

Simplicity

MIG welding can be easily learned and master by any beginner welder which is comparatively difficult in terms of TIG welding.

Cost efficiency

The overall initial setup and instrumental cost of MIG welding are very cheaper than that of TIG welding that gives it the ultimate advantage.

Final words

We believe this article has provided you with all the information regarding the details and difference between MIG and TIG welding, alongside which one would be best in terms of its overall performance and efficiency. Thanks for reading the whole post. We are in a process of updating our site with all sorts of welding related guides and articles that will be helpful for all ranges of beginner to a professional welder.

Stay tuned with us.

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Gary Hargrave

Gary Hargrave

My name is Gary P. Hargrave. I started this website to enlighten and help train the thousands of potential welders out there on the nitty-gritties of this job. In this industry, I believe that passion is everything.

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