TIG and MIG Welding are two common welding processes with several differences that give distinct results. The two processes are associated with TIG and MIG welders. Both TIG and MIG have unique properties that give rise to their pros and cons.
That said, knowing each type will allow you to choose the best welding type that suits your needs.
What are TIG & MIG Welding?
TIG is short for Tungsten Inert Gas, and in some cases, is called Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW). In some places, it is simply referred to as gas welding. TIG welding uses a machine that produces heat by an electric arc which is ignited between the workpiece or the base metal and a non-consumable tungsten electrode.
In this type of welding, tungsten is used due to its higher melting point. TIG welding electrodes that fail to melt during the welding process are said to be non-consumable; however, this does not mean that such electrodes will last forever. It simply means that they don’t melt to become a part of the weld.
On the other hand, MIG is short for Metal Inert Gas, also called metal arc welding (GMAW). In some places, it is known as wire welding. The electrode in this type of welding is a thin wire fed from a spool attached to a gun using a flexible tube with a nozzle on the end.
During welding, the wire is usually fed in a continuous manner once the welder pulls the welding gun. When the welding process is started, an electric arc is formed between the electrodes and the workpiece heating the two metals above the boiling point.
Both parts will consequently solidify, joining them together. The parts that are joined are known as the base metal while the metal that comes from the melting electrode is referred to as the filler metal.
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Differences Between TIG and MIG
The main difference between TIG and MIG welders is that TIG utilizes a thin wire electrode that is continuously fed to the welder. Meanwhile, MIG uses long rods that are separate and fed to the welder puddle. Another difference is observed in the metals that are ideal for each welder. TIG is ideal for thin and soft metals like aluminum while MIG is used for thick and hard metals including thick plates and metals used in the automobile industry.
The main focus of MIG is a strength instead of accuracy or aesthetic purposes, making it ideal for large scale work. On the other hand, TIG is a more technical process that requires effective skills to hold and touch the electrode at a specific angle. It also requires skills to control pressure, timing, as well as control of the electric current during the welding process.
These controls are more complicated in manual settings, unlike the automated controls that are easily set by the user. It requires a lot of care and accuracy. The results are usually clean and smart; however, it is slow and can’t be used in large-scale production like in the case of MIG. In essence, TIG is more of aesthetic welding while MIG focuses on the strength of the product.
The shielding gas between the two welding types is also different. TIG mainly uses a mixture of argon and helium gases while MIG uses a pure carbon dioxide or a mixture of carbon dioxide and argon.
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Pros & Cons of TIG Welding
TIG has both advantages and disadvantages which are outlined below:
- TIG is equipped with inert gas shield molten metal; therefore, it doesn’t need any flux. This setting ensures that TIG has no difficulties with the slag. It is ideal for quality finishes.
- The excellence of the process provides neat and ideal joints that don’t require further finishing process.
- TIG can be used on a wide range of materials.
- It requires less fame and sparks.
- It has a small heat zone that reduces distortion during the welding process.
- It is ideal when working with thin sections since less heat is used in welding.
- It is not ideal for thick metals, and you can only use it on thin materials.
- It will take a lot of time to weld. The speed of the welding process is slow compared to others. It also has a lower filler deposition rate.
- It is expensive to use. This assumption means that the cost of production can be increased which is not ideal for businesses.
- TIG is more complicated and not suitable for beginners or inexperienced persons. In most cases, it is only used by experienced and professional welders. This restriction means that you might have difficulties training using the TIG machines.
Pros & Cons of MIG Welding
Just like TIG, MIG also has its pros and cons which are as follows:
- Contrary to TIG, MIG has a faster speed. This means that a piece of work will be completed in less time to ensure the efficiency of the work done. This advantage makes it ideal for bulk welding, especially during works that require mass production within a short time.
- It is essentially easy to learn the process and operate the MIG machine compared to TIG. This means that it can be used by inexperienced welders and is ideal for training newbies.
- You can easily produce smart and appealing work with less effort since MIG is efficient with clean products that are more attractive to the eyes.
- MIG is extremely versatile, allowing you to work on a variety of materials using the same welding machine. It is ideal for use at homes as well as for commercial purposes.
- Unfortunately, it is not ideal for outdoor work. This means that it is more suitable for working indoors, thereby significantly limiting its usability. This might force you to look for alternatives when doing work that is not housed in a structure.
- It is time-consuming during the preparation of the metal stage. The process demands efficient preparation of the material before the commencement of the welding process. The overall welding process could use more time where a higher proportion of the time is consumed during the material preparation stage.
- In some instances, the cost of MIG can be higher depending on the welding demands. For example, materials that require efficient preparations will definitely increase the cost of welding.
- Newly welded materials have a high cooling rate that can affect the quality of the product.
Both TIG and MIG are different welding processes that use distinct welders. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Hence, it is upon you to know which best suits your work to maximize the benefits of each process.