How Does A MIG Welder Work?

how mig welders work

MIG welding is a form of arc welding involving metal and inactive gases used to join two separate steel or aluminum pieces together using the transfer of heat. MIG stands for Metal Inert Gas. The process is sometimes referred to as GMAW in some circles, which stands for Gas Metal Arc Welding.

There are three things that need to be present for a weld to be considered MIG:

  1. An electrode to fill the joint between the two pieces of steel or aluminum to be connected.
  2. A source of power, typically a relatively stable and high-voltage power source to run a welding device.
  3. A shielding gas that works to protect the welds from getting into contact with airborne contaminants and dust.

Let’s take a deeper look into how MIG welders work, to better understand the mechanisms being manipulated and modified to join two pieces of metal into one uniform weld.

How MIG Welders Work

The processes of MIG welding is regarded as a semi-automatic process, as the outcome of a weld relies partially on the skillset of the operator to regulate the amount of welding being performed. This doesn’t mean that an unskilled welder is incapable of operating a MIG welder. After all, the process is relatively simple as far as ensuring the right settings: Set the voltage and use the right electrode. The skill level truly comes in with the quality of the weld. This is where the professionals are separated from the amateurs.

A MIG welder works by transferring the metal wire being used to the joint between the two pieces of metal (aluminum or steel). There are four ways to accomplish this process: globular, pulsed spray, short circuit, and spray:

  • In globular transfers, the welding material transfers across the arc weld in larger droplets. Generally, these droplets are larger than the diameter of the electrode being used in the MIG welding process.
  • In pulsed spray transfers, the power supply cycles between high spray transfer currents and lower background currents. This allows for super-cooling of weld pools in the background cycle.
  • In short circuit transfers, the electrode touches the metal and short circuits. This causes the metal to transfer as a result of the short. This typically occurs between 20 and 200 times per second.
  • In spray transfers, tiny molten droplets of super heated metal are sprayed across the arc. This works similar to the spray that comes out of a garden hose when the opening has been restricted.

 

how mig welder works

Let’s dive a little bit deeper into the three requirements necessary to form a MIG weld as outlined above:

MIG Welding: The Electrode Wire

Electrode wires used in MIG welding depend on the types of materials to join. While some welds come with the wire and flux fused together, others require feeding of the wires through a nozzle as you pull the trigger through the process. This is basically how a MIG welder spits molten metal out to weld two pieces of steel or aluminum together.

Setting up this electrode requires that the user begins an  arc by clamping it to the welding project, though. The metal is then held inside the welder itself, as MIG welding is classified as wire-feed type welding. Then, MIG welders allow users to adjust feed rates of wires. For this reason, users should first perform a test bead on a scrap piece of metal. This allows fine tuning of feed rates for the strongest results in the final weld. The most common electrode thicknesses for MIG welding work ranges between 0.023″ and 0.045″. However, some are thicker than this, especially if being utilized for heavy-duty or industrial applications.

MIG Welding: The Shielding Gas

There are two possible shielding gas sources in MIG welding:

  • The shielding gas can originate from chemical reactions in flux, or
  • The gas could come from a tank connected to the welder

The main source of the shielding gas in a MIG welder is the connected gas tank, which also contains mixtures of two inert gases: argon and carbon dioxide. This gases come from manufacturers. Yet, the main reason for using inert gases is so the gas doesn’t react with the metal, causing contaminants to compromise the structure and integrity of the weld.

When a user pulls the trigger on their welder, the gases are pumped through the welding cable, coming out the same nozzle where the welding wire is actively fed. Nevertheless, with this, the inert gas combination creates a type of shield, protecting the arc weld.

MIG Welding: The Power Source

MIG welders use DC (direct current) power sources to produce heat. However, how MIG welders work is dependent on the heat settings chosen. Yet, several voltage selections exist for users to select the option that will produce the best weld based on their needs. If a user selects a heat setting that is too high, they might find themselves with a burnt or unusable weld. This shouldn’t discourage these users, though. Even the most seasoned welding professionals make mistakes. Finally, these adjustments in heat rates for MIG welding power sources are made through modification of voltage rates to meet specific welding needs.

Looking to compare MIG welders? We feature six of the highest rated and best power-to-dollar ratio MIG welders on the market:

Lincoln 210 MP Review

lincoln 210 mp review mig welding

Lincoln Electric has long been an American manufacturer of solid electrical equipment. They have been well-known for their production of high quality TIG and MIG welders. The Lincoln PowerMIG 201 MP is no exception to this. It is known to be an extremely versatile welding tool. This is mainly due to a variety of factors, including a wide range of power options.

The Lincoln 210 MP provides a maximum duty cycle of 40 percent at 100 amps. Amongst the tricks of the trade for this welder include MIG, flux core, DC TIG and DC stick welding. It is truly a workhorse, and it’s no wonder why it’s referred to as a Swiss army knife of a welding machine.

The PowerMIG 210 MP can weld both steel and aluminum metals measuring up to 3/8 of an inch and 3/16 of an inch, respectively. Welding hobbyists, contractors, independent welders, and instructors will find this a useful welder. The 210MP is high performing in a wide variety of tasks. Our Lincoln 210 MP review focuses on the features, pros and cons of the PowerMIG 210 MP Lincoln welder. Our focus at Tool Guides Hub is always to assist potential buyers in making informed decisions.

lincoln 210 mp

Now is a great time to see why the 210 MP made our list of best MIG welders, and determine whether you want to pull the trigger on one today!

CHECK THE PRICE OF THE LINCOLN 210 MP ON AMAZON NOW

Lincoln 210 MP Review – Description and Specs

The PowerMIG 210MP measures 19 x 10.8 x 14 inches and weighs approximately 40 pounds. This makes the device compact and highly portable, simple to carry from job site to job site. It has dual voltage inputs, supporting both 120V and 230V. This makes it possible to use with any common power supply. For this reason, it can be used for welding tasks both in homes and at higher power industrial sites.

The welder has an intuitive push-and-turn digital control mechanism. This can easily reduce hassle of welder setup and usage. According to one Lincoln 210 MP review, the welder is more user friendly than other welders in its class due to the sheer ease of setup. This is also made possible by the presence of the Ready, Set, Weld feature that comes with all Lincoln welders.

The large color display on this welder easily walks new users through the setup process. This, in conjunction with its intuitive push-and-turn digital controls, makes the advanced options and setup for this welder simple to access and modify. As far as one Lincoln 210 MP review is concerned, the 210 amps of this welder provide the power needed to handle almost any job with ease.

MIG welding jobs, for example, can be performed on stainless steel wire measuring up to 5/16″ thick. The same can be done for aluminum up to 3/16″ thick. For flux core material, the Lincoln 210 MP can handle the largest jobs, and can handle up to 5/32″ stick electrodes. The DC TIG works through the welder’s Touch Start technology. Additionally, the 210 MP’s readiness for any material is also possible in part to its sturdy sheet-metal housing.

lincoln 210 mp review

Pros and Cons of the Lincoln PowerMIG 210 MP

The first advantage of this welder is its ability to tackle several different types of welding tasks. This makes it suitable for those who need to weld different types of metals with different strategies. Secondly, this welder is incredibly portable given its compact size and weight. It is, therefore, easy to carry around from job to job. This welder also comes with intuitive digital controls and a large color display that makes it easy to setup and operate.

What this all means is that the PowerMIG 210 MP does not require advanced skills to operate. This makes it suitable for a beginner to use quickly and efficiently. The adjustable power input makes it possible to use at any common plug at a home, or a heavier duty plug on an industrial site. The strong and sturdy metal build of this welder assures durability as well.

lincoln 210 mp tig review

However, no welding machine is perfect, although some come close. According to one Lincoln 210 MP review, the Power MIG is much higher priced when compared to other welders. Also, the performance of this welder in its TIG and stick welding is low in comparison to its MIG welds. Additionally, the fact that it does not have inverter technology means that you cannot power it with a generator.

The Lincoln 210 MP welder is more than suitable for hobbyists, educators, and contractors wanting a durable machine to handle different tasks. It is also a great choice for those anticipating more than just MIG welds.The 210 MP works great with TIG and stick welding as well. However, if your tasks are only centered on MIG welds, this might be too much for you, and it can be recommended to go for a more MIG focused welder, like one of the many models from Hobart Welders.

CHECK THE PRICE OF THE LINCOLN 210 MP ON AMAZON NOW