What is the Difference Between MIG and TIG Welding?
MIG and TIG welding are the two popular welding processes we have.
But between the two, which is better?
Well, none is better, and their suitability will depend on your welding needs.
If you’re still unsure of what welding type to choose, we shall compare both of them and list their differences below.
But before then, let’s understand the working mechanisms of each arc welding type.
MIG welding is an abbreviated to metal arc welding (GMAW)
MIG welding uses an electricity arc to create a short circuit. In turn, the short circuit generates heat and no reactive gas.
The heat is then used to melt metals.
TIG Welding (Tungsten Inert Gas)
TIG welding uses a non-consumable electrode to generate an electric arc for your weld.
TIG welding is known for delivering clean, smooth and appealing welds.
- Also read: Best Multi-Process Welders
Comparing MIG and TIG welding
Ease of Control
Prone to mistakes
Free from spattering
Flexibility with other metals
Differences Between MIG and TIG Welding
Ease of Control
Generally speaking, MIG welding is more often than not recommended, especially for beginners. This is because it’s more tolerant to mistakes.
TIG, on the other hand, is fairly a technical process, and it requires a refined technique. To TIG-weld, for instance, you need to hold the torch as a specific angle and be extremely careful.
However, the TIG process offers cleaner and more visually appealing results. The strict control on the timing, control, and pressure deliver an aesthetically appealing weld.
Remember that we’ve already mentioned that TIG welding requires precision, meaning it cannot be rushed.
Therefore, it’s not a suitable option, especially if you’re doing a high volume of welding.
MIG welding, on the other hand, is a suitable candidate for large scale welding as it does not require accuracy.
A second reason why you would want MIG welding for large projects is that an MG gun is designed to run continuously.
TIG is described as a slow process that is focused on a higher level of finishing and detail as opposed to speed and volume.
TIG welding is more superior when it comes to the number of metals it can work on. However, the diversity of TIG welding can only go too far as it’s limited in its effectiveness on the thicker metals.
MIG welding, on the other hand, can work on a variety of metals and every thickness. So, whether you're looking to weld a 26-gauge sheet of metal or the heavy-duty structural plates, MIG welding is up the task.
What makes MIG welding such as diverse option is that the wire feed is more than an electrode but works as a filler.
This means thicker metals are easily fused without the need of heating them.
Reiterating on what we’ve mentioned above, a MIG welder features a consumable electrode.
A consumable electrode is one which is melted by arc heat and deposits filler during welding.
What this means is that the electrode is continuously fed into the welding zone at a pre-defined rate.
On the contrary, TIG welding is performed using a non-consumable electrode. This means that the electrode does not melt to supply filler.
Filler material should be compatible with parent material. Otherwise, the weld becomes a defect.
Now, given that MIG welding often results in the generation of filler material from the electrode, it's therefore necessary that the electrode is chosen depending on the base metal.
If you are going to work on aluminum, it’s recommended that you choose an aluminum electrode.
TIG weld, on the other hand, is always made from tungsten.
TIG, as we've already discussed, is ideal for the thicker welding, and as it follows, it should have a sturdy electrode, and with a high melting point, which tungsten does.
Spatter is small droplets of molten filer.
Spatter is often generated due to the scattering of the arc.
The emergence of spatter destabilizes the arc and results in non-uniform deposition rate.
Spatter distorts the appearance of a weld and might even require grinding after welding.
MIG welding does generate a lot of spatter, and this is one more reason why it not suitable for the clean weld. Even if the parameters are set optimally, MIG welding will still result from spattering.
TIG welding, on the other hand, is free of spatter unless the material is not clean. As a result, the welds generated by TIG are smooth, clean, and appealing.
MIG welding processes are generally faster and therefore, more cost-effective.
Also, unlike TIG, MIG parts and welders are less expensive and more readily available.
Each welding process has its own merits and demerits.
Which one between the two do you think fits your welding needs?