What is MIG welding (or GMAW welding)?
MIG welding stands for Metal Inert Gas welding. Another name you may come across is GMAW welding, which is the abbreviation for Gas Metal Arc Welding.
This is how MIG welding works:
With the semi-automatic welding process of MIG, a solid wire along with a supply of shielding gas to protect the weld area from contacting the surrounding atmosphere is fed through the welding tool or torch. To setup, the welder sets the variables of the MIG welding machine: i.e. the feed rate of the wire, the flow rate of the gas and the arc volts.
Once the settings are in position for the welding task at hand, the welder pulls the trigger on the welding torch maintaining a constant distance between the electrode and the workpiece (= arc gap) for a stable weld. Guiding the welding pistol in a controlled manner results in a straight puddle and weld buildup and a practically slag-free finished weld.
In the industry, MIG welding is the most commonly used among many types of welding, because it has the advantages of being all-round utilizable at a reasonable speed and convertible to an automated process. Also for long stretches of welds, a MIG welder is the recommended machine.
MIG welding supplies include the following elements:
- Welding machine. Consider a machine that supplies a high voltage, usable for any metal type and thickness.
- Most machines include a spool feeder (add-on). Other options are a spool feed gun or a suitcase wire feeder for multi-purpose processes.
- A MIG gun or torch
- Shielding gas supply including a gas regulator
- Personal safety equipment
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