While most welding machines can do a capable job of soldering or brazing metal, all of them can be better at some tasks than others. By far, the most universal welder is the MIG Welder.
MIG stands for “Metal Inert Gas” welding. Those who perform MIG welding are often referred to as wire-feed welders. The MIG weld process consists of a DC arc burning between a thin, bare metal wire electrode and the workpiece. The arc and weld area are contained within a protective gas shield. The wire electrode is fed from a spool into a welding torch that is connected to the positive terminal into the weld zone.
MIG welding is also referred to as “Gas Metal Arc Welding” (GMAW). It is preferred for its versatility, speed and the relative ease of adapting the process to robotic automation. Unlike welding processes that do not employ a shielding gas—such as shielded metal arc welding—it is rarely used outdoors or in other areas of moving air. A related process, flux-cored arc welding, often does not use a shielding gas, but instead employs an electrode wire that is hollow and filled with flux.
MIG is a versatile method that offers a lot of advantages. The technique is easy to use and there is no need for slag-cleaning. A MIG welding machine can be used to weld thin gauge sheet metal as well as heavy steel pipe. Professionals can make smooth, deep welds with a MIG welder, but even an inexperienced user can get an adequate weld out of a MIG welding machine.
Highly flexible and adaptive, MIG welding is used when you wish to obtain high productivity and high-quality results. This process is often used for manual welding or automated/robotized installations on low-alloy carbon steels, high-alloy stainless steels or nonferrous alloys such as aluminum or copper. For an auto body repair shop or a novice welder, MIG welding is a practical process.
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