MIG Welding

MIG Welding Tip for Beginners: Push or Lead the Puddle?

MIG weld

Today’s post features a video by Kevin Caron, a self-taught, successful art welder in Arizona. He regularly posts videos to YouTube, and this video was done in response to a question he’d received on a previous video about whether to “push the puddle” or “lead the puddle” while welding. 

If you’ve done any MIG welding at all, you’ve worked with “the puddle” – whether you knew it or not. The puddle is the melted metal from the wire in your welder – the actual substance of the weld. As you know, in the process of welding, the puddle moves along the weld as you work. The angle of your welding gun determines whether you are “pushing” or “pulling,” and each technique has a different impact on your weld, both in the practice and in the result. 

Each MIG welder must decide for him or herself whether to “push the puddle” or “lead the puddle.” In this video, Caron clearly demonstrates each technique and then gives his own opinion of which technique to use, and why. This is a great demonstration for beginners, as it offers a quick new way to learn more about the craft while perfecting your own technique – and maybe making your own welding projects a little easier, and immediately. 

View the video to learn the difference between “pushing the puddle” and “leading the puddle” – and then let us know in the comments which one you prefer!

If you’re completely new to MIG welding or would like a basic refresher course, check out this video, put together by a high school welding shop instructor. It covers all the basics, from setup to safety to tacking and welding. 

Other Tips and Reminders for MIG Welding Beginners:

Be confident in your choice of wires and gases. MIG welders can weld any metal, but they require different supplies to give good welds. Check and double-check your materials before starting a new welding project. 

If you’re switching between machines to work on projects using the same materials (for example, if you’re welding in both a shop and your own garage), take notes. If you’ve got one welder running the way you want it to, write down all the settings so that you can get your other machine running the same way. 

Make sure you’re dressed properly, from a comfortable helmet (preferably a self-darkening one) down to steel-toed boots. You don’t want to get burned, so make sure all of your gear is heavy-duty enough to protect you. 

Keep your wire cutters handy. Those aren’t something you want to go searching for in the middle of a project. Nothing can be more frustrating than needing to trim your wire and not being able to find the wire cutter!

Don't discard any recent welds without checking their temperature first. It's a good idea to have a bucket of water to dip hot metal into to cool it down before discarding. And don't ever toss scrap welds into a container that can melt or catch fire. A metal bucket is generally a good idea.  

If you need any MIG supplies or welding gear take a look at all we have to offer here at Bakers Gas!


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