Comparing the Uses of Mig and Tig Welding
Mig and tig welding are two welding processes that have both similarities and differences. The differences are what determine the ways in which you can use each option. If you try to use mig welding when you should have used tig, the results will not be what you want. This is why it is important to not only understand what each process is, but also to understand the best ways to use each.
Mig Welding Explained
Mig welding is short for metal inert gas welding. It is done by using a spool of wire that is continuously fed as you work. This helps the process to go quickly, which is one of the benefits of this welding process. Mig welding does not require a lot of precision. Accuracy is also not as important in order to get a strong weld. All this means is that mig welding goes fast, making it the best choice for jobs when a lot of welding is required.
It is also very versatile. You can weld a wide range of metals with different thicknesses. It is good for heavy welding, but also works fine on thinner metals.
The electrode used in mig welding is completely consumed during the welding process. When you are done, it must be replaced. In addition, finishing is often required to make the weld look good. This also means there is usually quite a bit of cleanup involved.
Tig Welding Explained
Tig stands for tungsten inert gas. Tig welding is a more precise process than mig welding. It requires a careful hand. It is often used for items where visual appeal is important because it produces a clean weld that is not noticeable. There is very little cleanup required after a tig weld, and you usually won't have to sand or finish it as you would a mig weld.
Tig welding uses long welding rods, not a continuous feed. This means you have to feed them as you work. However, the electrode is not consumable. You can reuse it over and over.
This welding process is not as effective on heavier materials, being best suited to use with thinner metals. To weld heavier items, you have to have a unit with enough power, which can be tricky.
It is also more difficult to learn because it requires such precision and development of a strong technique. It cannot be rushed, making it a slow-going process.
Mig Versus Tig Welding
As you can already see, there are many key differences between mig and tig welding. Generally, mig welding is a less-refined form of welding, though it creates a strong hold and can be used for thicker metals. Tig welding is more artistic. It requires concentration and a skilled hand to get it right. Based on these points alone, it is easy to see how different these processes are, even though both are essentially a way to connect metal parts. Here's a quick comparison of the main differences between these two types of welding processes:
- Mig welding is faster than tig welding.
- Mig welds are bigger and more noticeable than tig welds.
- Tig welding depends heavily on the machine used, which dictates the types of metal that can be welded, while mig welding is highly versatile regardless of the machine used.
- Tig welding requires both hands to feed the wire while welding, whereas mig welding does not thanks to the continuous feed.
- Tig welding is more expensive.
- Mig welds are stronger and harder.
- Mistakes are more easily handled with mig welding than tig welding.
- Tig welding is more aesthetically appealing than mig welding.
- Mig welding is easier to learn than tig welding.
These differences mean that tig and mig welding are not usually used for the same applications. How you use each type of weld depends on the project, the materials and the finished look you desire.
Uses for Mig and Tig Welding
Because of the clean finish and the precision, tig welding is often used for projects in the home or for decorative items. It is artistic in its finish, which makes it ideal for metal lawn or home decor items, kitchen sinks or other items in which the weld is visible and needs to be neat and clean.
Tig welding is also the better choice when technical welds are needed. It allows for more skill and detail in the welds. However, remember that this type of weld is not as strong, which requires more attention to detail and slower work to ensure a strong hold.
In general, tig welding is for lighter metals. It can be used on heavier metals, but that requires more power and may slow down the process even more. If you lack the power needed, then the job simply cannot be done with tig welding.
Mig welding is quick and great for large jobs. If the actual weld does not need to be pretty, then mig welding is perfect. However, sanding and finishing the weld after it is complete can give a mig weld a tig-weld look. This does make the process longer, though.
The mig welding process also yields a stronger hold, making it ideal for tough jobs. You could use mig welding to attach a plow to a truck, or piece together steel support beams. It will give you a more reliable weld that will hold.
Tig Welding Project Ideas
There are many different projects you can do with a tig welder. This type of welding gives you a chance to practice your skills and technique. It enables you to hone your craft. So, here are some project ideas that require an artistic hand.
A metal gate is a nice yard piece that can add some beauty to a garden in its placement, or even be used as a support for climbing plants. You can create pretty much any design you want, but it all starts with a frame of some sort, which needs strong welds so it is sturdy. From there, you can let your imagination run wild as you add metal pieces to create designs, bars or scrollwork.
A shoe rack is a simple project. It can add a nice touch to an entryway in your home. You can make it as big or as small as you like. It is a great beginner project to let you work on your tig welding skills because it can be very simple. All you need is to weld together pipes to create the rack.
This is another creative project in which you can keep it simple or make it ornate. Most plant holders are simply a round holder for the plant with legs attached. From this basic design, you can then add more metal pieces, create designs on the legs or do many different creative things to make your plant holder original and beautiful.
Mig Welding Project Ideas
Mig welding is great for those projects that require a bit more heavy-duty weld. They can often be something rugged, or something that will be used a lot. Here are some projects that will let you try your mig welding skills.
A fire pit needs a strong weld that stands up to the heat of the fire that will be in it. That is why mig welding works well. In addition, you want to use a strong base metal for the pit so it doesn't fall apart. You can do many decorative things with this project, as well, such as cutting images or designs out of the metal base. You also do not have to make it round. It can be any shape you want, as long as it creates a closed space in which to safely set a fire.
Shelves are handy anywhere in the home or the garage. You just need the shelves and the braces. It is a simple project that can be done with many types of metal. You can customize them to your needs and the available space.
A metal table comes in handy in the kitchen or the garage. You can create one easily with welding. It is an easy project that just requires the tabletop and the legs. You may need support beams running between the legs to give it stability, but you can finish it in any creative way you want.
The Last Word
There are obvious differences between tig and mig welding. Often beginners start with mig welding because it is easier, faster and requires less skill. It can be a great way to build the skills needed to start tig welding. Mig welding is also cheaper, so it is a little easier on the wallet to learn using this method. However, tig welding can create beautifully stunning works. It is a great method to use for creating ornate decorative objects.
Any welding project can easily turn into some extra income, because the end result is strong and long-lasting. When you know how to weld, you can turn some simple metal pieces into something pretty or something very useful.
Because both types of welding processes are useful for a variety of projects, it is probably a good idea for every welder to learn both of them. This will help open you up to a world of welding in which you can tackle any project, regardless of the metal used or the finished results you want.