How to Weld With a MIG Welder? – [Know the Basics]

Learning how to weld can be quite frustrating.

Gladly, we’ve compiled this comprehensive tutorial for those looking to learn to MIG weld without going to class.

Welding With a MIG Welder

Be as it may, MIG welding is relatively easy to learn compared to other welding techniques.

This is because in MIG welding, starting the arc will only require pulling of the trigger as opposed to striking a match as we see in stick welding.

Secondly, the wire in MIG welding automatically feeds into the weld puddle, saving you from the hassles of manual feed.

Finally, the electrode in MIG welding does not burn away and become shorter. Instead, you’ll simply need to move steadily along a seam, while maintaining the same tip to arc distance.

Now, enough with the rambling, let’s get started on how to weld with a MIG welder.

Preparation for MIG Welding

Consider the Thickness of the Metal

Before using your MIG welder, you should first consider the thickness of the metals you intend to weld.

For instance, if you’re working on aluminum, the appropriate thickness is 14 Ga. or more.

Failure to that you might experience burning on your metal or weld puddle falling through fast, especially if you’re not quick enough.

The Shielding Gas To Be Used

Another crucial factor to be considered is the shielding gas.

The choice and combination of gases for your MIG weld will depend on the metal as well as its thickness.

Aluminum requires pure argon, while steel MIG weld, on the other hand, requires C25 gas. The C25 is a combination of 25% CO2 and 75% argon.

Type of Electrodes to be Used

Ideally, your choice of electrode should match the metal you’re welding. For instance, if you’re welding aluminum, we recommend that you use an aluminum electrode.

Beyond the electrode type, you need to consider the thickness of the electrode.

Thicker wires, for instance, are challenging to melt, while the thinner wires are hard to feed. Therefore recommend that you settle for the middle ground.

Polarity Settings

Always your tool polarity to DCEP when MIG welding

DCEP, popularly known as reverse polarity will guarantee an effective weld.

Practice Bead Laying

Practicing bead laying will provide you with a feel for the MIG setting, and determine whether they need a change.

Basics of MIG Welding

Assuming everything is set, you can now start to MIG weld. While at it, there’re various guidelines that you need to follow.

Here are some of them:

  1. 1
    While MIG welding ensures the wire extending from your gun is at least ¼ to 3/8 inch from the metal. This distance is close enough to allow the shielding gas to protect the arc, and at the same time, far away to avoid burning up tips.
  2. 2
    Use both hands when welding. One hand should be used to move the gun, while the other for steadying it — only weld when you're in a comfy and relaxed position.
  3. 3
    Always keep the wire pointed at the leading edge of the molten pool
  4. 4
    If you’re looking for greater penetration and narrow weld, pull the weld along the seam. For less penetration and wider bead, push the bead. If you’re in doubt pull on the heavier material and push on the lighter material
  5. 5
    If you’re welding overhead, keep the puddle small and try to use the smallest diameter. This keeps the weld in the crack as opposed to the floor.

Factors that Determine the Success of your MIG Welding

The three factors that will play a significant role in the overall success of your MIG welding are:

  • Wire-speed
  • Welder’s heat setting
  • Operator’s travel speed

If for instance, you notice you’re making many holes on your metal fabric, it either means the heat setting is too high, or you’re moving at a slow pace.

If, on the other hand, you're getting little to no penetration, it means you're traveling too quickly, or your heat setting is too low.

If the wire melts almost before it starts to work or it pulses in and out, it means your feed rate is too slow. Conversely, if the wire pushes the gun away from work, it implies your feed rate is too fast.

To know if you’re on the right track, your MIG weld should generate a nice and even bead. This bead should further be accompanied by a distinctive and soothing buzz sound.

While MIG welding, keep the wires as straight as possible. This should help to prevent the wire from tangling or misfeeding.

For the optimum efficiency, keep the gun tilted at 45-degree angle. This will allow you to easily see the puddle.


Learning how to MIG weld will require patience and persistence.

Take your time, and follow the laid out guidelines and with time, you’ll perfect your trade.

David Hughes

Hey, I’m David Hughes - a free spirit with a passion for power tools blogging. With more than a decade in the construction field, my mission is to help the everyday workers realize their dream by sharing on creative ideas, tips, and reviewing products.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: