For most industries, MIG welding has been favored welding process for a lot of reasons. Learning the process can be as easy as 123. However, there is a great deal involved in setting up the MIG welder. It takes a process of discipline to accurately arrange the whole operation before commencing with the job. A proper setup ensures that everything will work in harmony, thus it is very essential to execute it accordingly. You can read more MIG welder reviews at here.
Setting Up Your MIG Welder
I. First and foremost, you have to make sure that you have the proper equipment, tools, materials and consumables. All of these must be in a good condition, otherwise you’ll be faced with bigger problems during the operation. The following are important items you should have to start MIG welding.
- MIG welding machine
- Spool feed MIG gun or Push Pull wire feed system
- Roller wheels (if you opt to use a Push Pull system)
- MIG wire
- 100% Argon gas, Argon-Helium Mixture for thicker metals
Spool Feed MIG GUN vs. Push Pull Wire Feed System
The choice between the use of spoon feed MIG gun or the Push Pull wire feed system is solely up to you. But remember these have their own are advantages and disadvantages. When you want a hassle-free MIG welding, then opt for the Spool gun. This allows a smooth wire feed speed and prevents having trouble with the contact tips. But, if you are going to weld heavy or large welding job, then the Push Pull system is much more convenient. You just have to make sure everything must be in perfect condition and never ever take the cheap route when it comes to this system.
When it comes to MIG wire to be utilized in the process, make sure that it matches the workpieces. The wire size is also very vital in the process. The rule is for thin metals, use a small diameter wire and for thick metals, of course use a larger gauge wire. However, depending on the capabilities of your MIG welding machine, there are instances that the job will require a smaller gauge wire to penetrate the deepest joints. Sometimes you have to be the judge of the wire to be used depending on the job at hand.
To achieve a quality weld, use 100% Argon gas. In some cases, especially when you will be welding metal sheets thicker than a half inch a mixture of Argon and Helium works best for the job. CO2 gas is good for deeper penetration, but the problem with this gas is that it can burn on lighter metals which can be a huge problem. Nevertheless, 100% Argon has proven to be the best shielding gas for MIG welding tasks.
II. Besides preparing all the things you need for the MIG welding, part of checking if everything is in perfect condition is whether all the joints are well cleaned. Workpieces or the joints must be free of dirt, oil, rust, paint and all substances or contaminants that should not be there. The use of a wire brush or a grinder is the best way to clean the weld zone down to bare metal. It is impossible to achieve a quality weld without cleaning your workpieces.
III. The biggest secret to a successful MIG welding is an accurate machine set up. MIG welding is either automatic or semi-automatic welding process, thus the MIG welding machine takes a vital role for the advancement of the operation. There are three major setting up to do that requires skills and knowledge of the welder. These are:
- Voltage and amperage
- Wire feed speed
- Shielding gas flow rate
- The three settings are dependent on the thickness of workpieces to be welded. Remember that thicker metal the more amps will be required and the wire feed speed will depend on the thickness of the wire in the MIG welding machine.
- Some MIG welding machines have a chart included, which can be used as a basis for the parameters to be used in setting up the machine. However, don’t be relying too much on this. As a good welder you have to have the eye and the skill of knowing what is the best set up for a specific welding job.
- The shielding gas flow rate must be accurate enough to protect the weld from any contaminants from the surrounding air.
Wrapping it Up!
As you can see, there is so much to consider when setting up your MIG welder. It can be overwhelming if you are new to the whole MIG operation. But with patience, practice and your willingness to learn, setting up and MIG welding will be a breeze once you get accustomed to it.