What Welder Should I Choose? MIG or TIG
MIG and TIG welders both have very different styles in how pieces of metal are joined together, they aren’t really used as an alternative to each other and the prices to purchase each of these welds differ substantially from each other. Depending on whether you go for a MIG or TIG weld all comes down o the type of metal and the precision that you need when it comes to welding them together.
In this article we are going to look at the two welders to give you more of an insight to which will work better for the project that you have in mind. Whether you are a novice or expert in the field of welding this article will come in useful for you.
A MIG Welder
MIG welders were first developed back in the early part of the 1940’s, and stands for Metal Inert Gas. A MIG welder is part of the Arc family of welders and these particular types of welders use high voltage electricity to enable high temperatures perfect to weld with.
The main difference between MIG and TIG is that a MIG welder uses a wire-feed, and the metal that is uses to create the weld material is held on a spool inside the MIG welder. Of course the material will vary depending on what metal you are looking to join together.
Now known as Gas Metal Arc Welding or GMAW for short, the MIG welder excels when welding together the likes of non-ferrous metals, but also welds steel faster than any other welder, and therefore MIG is now the most commonly used industrial welding process because of its ease of use, versatility, price, speed and automation.
A TIG Welder
TIG welders are used for more precise jobs where thin materials need to be joined up, and thus a a good TIG welder will usually set you back a couple of thousand so most people tend to look at renting one out rather than purchasing one.
It was first developed back in the early 1930’s making it a good ten years older than the MIG welder, and it was first used heavily in World War 2 helping to weld aircraft parts together.
TIG stands for Tungsten Inert Gas and you can use a TIG welder to weld the likes of copper pipes, titanium and some metals that are dissimilar to each other. The main use of a TIG over a MIG is that it’s used for tricky welds or welds that require accuracy to maintain a join. Rounded objects or s-curves are just some of the more common weld types where a TIG welder will excel over a MIG welder.
The heat from a TIG comes from an Arc, so just like the MIG we mentioned above, the TIG is also part of the arc family of welders. The heat created via the arc is created by electricity jumping from a tungsten metal electrode to the metal surface you are about to weld.
When you come to weld the heat can become intense so the argon gas cools and protects the weld puddle, which for a TIG welder needs to be pushed in the direction of the welder (a MIG welder requires the puddle to be pushed in the opposite direction away from the welder).
Alternatives to TIG and MIG
One other weld we haven’t mentioned that is the third welder in the Arc family is the durable Stick weld which can power through unclean metals that haven’t been grinded off properly. The Stick welder is also the cheapest on the market and is ideal for beginners looking to practice and get into the welding industry, whether as a hobby or following a career path. A Stick welder stands for Shielded metal arc welding or SMAW and this uses a manual arc welding process to weld, which means that it’s a much slower process to weld when you compare it to TIG or MIG welding.
The Stick welder is probably the oldest type of welding process, and can be traced back to the last 1800’s making it a good 30-40 years older than the MIG and TIG welder which came towards the beginning and end of World War 2.
Despite being the third most used welder it still gets it uses across the world, being used in the construction of heavy steel structures. Stick is used to weld iron and steels together as primary steels but you can also weld the likes of copper alloys, nickel and aluminium together using this welding process, so it’s quite a versatile alternative to the MIG and TIG welders.