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Understanding The Difference Between TIG and MIG Welding

There are a number of ways to weld pieces of metal, such as TIG and MIG welding. What is the difference between these methods though? In the following article we will look at this in greater detail.

You can be forgiven for thinking they are the same thing, as both use electric arcs to produce the intense heat necessary and obviously both join metals together. Furthermore, they both use inert gas mixtures that stop the welding electrode corroding.

The differences between the two involve:

How They Work
How Suitable They Are For Objects Made From Thicker Metal
How Easy They Are To Use

How They Work

Metal inert gas welding or MIG welding for short, consists of the weld being made having a metal wire fed continuously into them. Gas Metal Arc Welding or GMAW for short, involves the use of a wire as a consumable welding supply as a material as filler for joining metals together.

Tungsten Inert Gas welding or TIG Welding for short uses a tungsten electrode that is non-consumable to pass the electric current over the metals that need to be joined and could involve filler material. This process is also known as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding or GTAW for short.

How Suitable They Are For Objects Made From Thicker Metal

Thicker metal object welds can be completed quicker using MIG welding than TIG welding, because the former uses a consumable filler material.

As a filler is not used, the metal pieces need to be hot enough to combine for TIG welding. Therefore, this is generally easier to accomplish with metal this is thinner.

MIG welding is generally the go-to choice for welding heavy duty or really thick materials and TIG is usually opted for when metal that is thinner.

How Easy They Are To Use

For easier results that are more consistent, automated TIG welding machines are preferred. MIG welding is usually chosen because it is relatively easy to work with. It is also more forgiving with regards mistakes than TIG, so non-professionals and newbie operators tend to opt for it.

With TIG welding, stricter control over the current, pressure and timing involved is necessary. CNC or computer numerically controlled machines are best used for TIG welding. These can perform the same welds time and time again, with greater consistency than a manual welder.

Regardless of if its a TIG or MIG automated machine, it is crucial to use the controls and adjust the settings correctly, or you will repeat the same mistake.

Which Is Best?

It really depends on the job you have to complete. As we highlighted further up the page, heavy and thicker welding is accomplished easier with MIG welding as it involves a filler material.

On the other hand, thinner pieces of metal can be joined more effectively together using TIG welding. Welding supplies involves less money because TIG does not require a filler for joining two metal pieces together.

Automated TIG welding equipment generally requires less maintenance, as the electrode is not being consumed during the process. The electrode though still needs to be polished and cleaned before and after it is used, particularly when working with stainless steel. See the new Parweld XTM Digital Welder.

With all of the above in mind then, the best form of welding for each job will differ. As is the way with many things nowadays, we are moving onto using digital welders because we feel they are more effective and efficient.

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