What are the Pros and Cons of MIG Welding?

17 December 2018

Metal inert gas welding, using its shielding gas and wire-feed electrode, is believed to be one of the easiest welding techniques to learn. That’s an immediate advantage. Expect hobbyists and motorsport enthusiasts to own a MIG rig. Stored in their garages, the equipment is pulled out everytime a big weekend project comes around. Meanwhile, for professional welders, there are other pros to list, plus a few cons.

MIG Welding: Listing the Many Pros

Some trainers say they can teach a student how to use MIG welding equipment in under an hour. That may be true for a weekend warrior, but experts require years of training to get the most out of their tools. Still, that’s a notable benefit. The training is carried out, the welder becomes familiar with the equipment, certifications are issued, and another welder enters the field. Of note, there’s still a need to clean the weld site. Next on the list, then, because of the wire feed system, Metal Inert Gas work is fast. There’s no pausing to grab more consumable materials, more welding rods, no stopping to clean away slag. When the welder gets going, a streamlined workflow comes naturally. Here’s a bulleted list of some more productivity-enhancing advantages.

  • A slag-less welding method
  • Shield gas stops atmospheric reactance
  • Features feed-wire efficiency
  • Produces clean, uninterrupted welds
  • Suitable for thinner sheet metals

The Cons of MIG Welding

It’s hard to imagine any drawbacks, especially after examining the above list, but there are a few disadvantages, some of which can be inferred simply by reading deeper into the pros. For instance, that thin metal suitability feature means MIG tools aren’t very good at fusing thick metal workpieces. Also, there are problems to mull over when the weld pool forms. It’s a liquid pool, so it’s not going to form properly if a weld is executed on a vertically oriented join. On the equipment side of things, there’s the shield gas bottle to lug around, plus wire and nozzles to replace. Still, considering the number of pros, this welding equipment more than earns its good name.

Most drawbacks are easily resolved. If the shielding gas is being blown around by a fierce wind, then a shelter of some kind will blunt this effect. Welders can establish artificial shelters in minutes. They ask for assistance, and the extra muscle builds the shelter. Then, if the equipment isn’t producing clean seams and uninterrupted welds, do remember that MIG welding is a cleanliness sensitive field. Clean the surfaces in and around the join.

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