MIG and TIG Welding: What are the Differences?

22 June 2018

Clear distinctions separate MIG and TIG welding techniques. MIG (Metal Inert Gas) welding can be recognized by an industry insider just by viewing the operation. Standing nearby, wearing tinted welding goggles, of course, a wire electrode is being fed continuously towards the weld pool by the expert technician. TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welding technology approaches the same circumstance quite differently, although the procedure does still require a shielding gas.

Sharing Key Procedural Commonalities 

TIG is a difficult to master welding technique, but it does still use a shielding gas. That’s an immediate common factor. After all, MIG welding equipment also requires an inert cloud of carefully discharged gas. The goal is to stop water and oxygen and other atmospheric gases from contaminating the weld puddle. However, because TIG welds are more challenging, argon is the standard choice, although helium is a potential second option. As for MIG welds, argon is the go-to solution, but there are also several semi-inert options here, including carbon dioxide. Other common features include the need for a high-voltage arc and an aptitude for joining differently graded alloys.

Conspicuous Process Differences 

First of all, check out the workpieces these welding guns are moving across. MIG equipment serves us best when it’s used on thin gauge metal sheets and structural elements. At its best, one of these equipment rigs will weld moderately heavy stainless steel components. The consumable gas-shielded electrode is rolled onto a spool, fed through a contact tip, and delivered to the arc. By contrast, a non-consumable tungsten rod replaces the consumable wire when we switch to the TIG kit. Remember, that rod doesn’t burn, so how does a weld pool form if nothing is consumed? To answer that question, we turn to filler rods, the material that the TIG welding kit uses to weld two or more surfaces in place. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, TIG is a welding solution that’s best reserved for heavy gauge alloys. Employ tungsten welding when dense steels and heavy metals require clean, high-quality weld seams.

It’s not like MIG, also known as Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) is like a simple soldering setup. The torch burns bright, and a great deal of training is required before the equipment can be used properly. However, TIG, also known as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW) is regarded as the heavy-duty welding method. Trained extensively in this discipline, TIG welders can join two surfaces or employ a filler rod to really reinforce the finished joint. At any rate, there’s more to the issue than consumable wires and non-consumable tungsten rods.

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