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Get Started with MIG Welding This Spring

Get Started with MIG Welding This Spring

With all of the MIG welders on sale at Baker’s Gas and Welding this Spring, now is the perfect time to learn about MIG welding machines, how to set up your MIG welder in the garage, and strike an arc. However, before you get to work, you’ll want to learn some basic MIG welding techniques. Here is a run down of some essential MIG welding tips that will help you get started when you strike your arc.

How To MIG weld

Perfect Your Wire Speed

Running your wire too slow through a MIG welder will leave your weld weak
since it won’t have enough filler metal and the arc will be erratic. You’ll have
a much harder time getting your travel speed right if your MIG welder torch is
jumping and bouncing around while you weld.

However, if the wire speed is too fast, you’ll have sparks and a big messy
weld puddle that will be extremely hard to control. The sound of the welder will
be much louder when compared to the gradual hiss that you would expect when the wire speed is correct. Some welders compare the sound of the correct wire speed and amperage to the sizzle of bacon frying.

Don’t Forget the Shielding Gas

Shielding gas will keep your weld free from contaminants and will keep your
arc running smooth. You can pick up flux cored MIG wire if you’d rather not mess with shielding gas, but don’t try MIG welding without a way to keep your weld puddle clean.

Ground Your Welder

If you can’t get your MIG welder to run smooth, your problem could come from
your grounding clamp and not necessarily any of your settings. A solid ground
will keep your arc from jumping or spattering while you weld. Cleaning the metal you ground off to can also help a lot with this. Dirty metals with rust, paint or oil will not be good materials for grounding.

Don’t Skimp on Safety Preparation

Welding will send sparks and chunks of metal into the air. Always wear
clothing that is either flame resistant or at least clothing that is cotton that
won’t catch fire like synthetic clothing. A welding helmet will be essential for
protecting not only your eyes but your face from heat and sparks, and if you want to cut or grind your metal before striking your arc, you can pick up an auto-darkening helmet that will make it significantly easier to prep your metal on grind mode before striking your arc and engaging the shade on your helmet.

MIG welding gloves are also essential for safely welding since the heat and
sparks could damage your hands, as well as protecting your hands from
ultraviolet light beams.

Keep a Steady Travel Speed

If you’re new to welding, it will be especially hard to keep a steady, and
straight travel speed while you weld. You’ll have enough things to keep track of
while you work that you’ll have to think of ways to keep your travel speed
steady and your MIG torch zeroed in on the weld joint without drifting out of

The best way to start is by using a simple motion with your torch as you
weld. Welders recommend moving the torch in a slight circular motion or a kind
of back and forth motion that overlaps. Doing this effectively may require
propping your torch slightly with your thumb or free hand depending on the
relation of your metal work piece to your welding table.

Don’t Be Afraid to Run a Little Hot

You’ll find amperage setting instructions on the inside of your MIG welder’s
spool door, and they will help you figure out the best amperage, shielding gas, and wire speed that matches your metal type and metal thickness. However, you’ll
usually have to tweak your settings. In fact, welders tend to run better if you
can keep the amperage a little hot. That doesn’t mean you should really crank it
up—that will just leave you with a mess.

However, a tight arc and a hot amperage will make it possible to create
strong welds in a shorter amount of time. If you do run your welder too hot,
you’ll notice that the arc and weld puddle will be hard to control, so you’ll
need to keep an eye on that. You don’t want to end up with a sloppy weld.
However, when it comes to creating a strong weld, a little extra heat will go a
long way.

Let us know if you have any questions!

Hopefully this helped out if you are just getting into welding. Feel free to shoot us an email or give us a call if you are looking for some expert advice! Baker's is always here to help.

Ed Cyzewski


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