Difference Between MIG Weld & TIG Weld

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Modern welding was developed in the late nineteenth century and was often used by the military. There are many types of welding nowadays and it is used in many fields, including the automotive industry. Each type of welding has its own benefits and purpose. MIG welding and TIG welding are two types of welding that utilize gas to block gases that may harm the welding pool.


Metal inert gas (MIG) welding, also known as gas metal arc (GMAW) welding, was developed during World War II as a way to produce weapons and equipment more quickly. MIG welding uses an arc of electricity that creates a short circuit amidst a constant anode and a cathode. The short circuit produces heat and a non-reactive gas. This melts metal, enabling it to be mixed together. After the heat is removed, the metal cools down and then solidifies, creating a new fused metal. This type of welding can be done either semi-automatically or automatically. Automatic MIG welding can be done with a robotic arm, while a person is needed to guide the gun during semi-automatic welding.


Tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding utilizes a non-consumable tungsten electrode that produces the electric arc for the weld. Unlike MIG welding, TIG welding does not require additional metal to be added. However, it can be added via a separate filler rod. TIG welding is performed via an electric current that is released through the metal tip of the electrode. TIG welding can be done either manually or automatically.


The pros and cons of TIG versus MIG welding is a commonly debated topic. Although TIG welding is used more often, both types of welding have their benefits. MIG welding enables you to weld a wide variety of metals. This form of welding also allows you to weld thin metal to medium/thick metal. TIG welding creates a more accurate, neater look than MIG welding. However, MIG welding is easier to learn because it adds its electrodes to the weld. TIG welding requires you to hold two items. However, it produces a clean weld. According to the Miller Electric Mfg. Co., TIG is used to weld more metals than any other welding process. In addition, TIG does not produce any sparks or splatter. The argon used in TIG welding also protects the welding puddle so you don't need to obstruct your view by using a slag.


Although both TIG and MIG welding have their advantages, they are not interchangeable. The two methods are used under different circumstances. TIG welding works well for projects that are smaller. This includes gunsmithing or welding a bicycle frame, lawn mower or fender. TIG welding also works better on exotic metals, including alloy, nickel, brass and gold. MIG welding works best for larger projects, such as fixing patches on vehicles. In fact, it works best for most vehicle bodywork. This is particularly true because TIG is a slower, more intricate process.


About the Author

Christine DiMaria began writing in 2001. She has written for Blue Mountain and various online publications. DiMaria is pursuing an Associate of Arts in health-care administration from the University of Phoenix.

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