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How to Avoid Common MIG Welding Mistakes

How to Avoid Common MIG Welding Mistakes

When it comes to short circuit MIG welding (GMAW), there are many mistakes that are quite easy to make that could lead to a weak weld or cold lap that will get your weld flagged every time by a welding inspector or lead to a broken weld that could put yourself or others in danger. By understanding the ways MIG welding can go wrong, you’ll save yourself from significant problems down the line.


Set MIG Welding Standards

The best place to begin with MIG welding is with your standards for MIG settings. Test out your wire speed and voltage settings so that you get enough heat and filler wire into your weld joint. Test them out on a piece of scrap metal.

MIG welders will run a weld bead even if you have the settings set way too low. Welding Tips and Tricks even recommends having your test welds evaluated with an x-ray in order to make sure you’re creating the strongest possible weld when you set your standards.

Protect Your MIG Wires

A jammed or contaminated MIG wire can eat up a lot of time and make for a particularly aggravating time. Keep your spool of wire wound tight so that it doesn’t run off the spool and get tangled. In addition, if you live in a hot and humid area, don’t leave your wire spool in your MIG gun for a long time. If you’re not welding on a regular basis, remove the spool of MIG wire from the welder, place it in a bag, add a box of open baking soda, and tie up the bag tight.

Humidity can cause MIG wire to rust, which will contaminate your weld and cause jams in your feeder. In addition, keeping wire in a bag will prevent dust from accumulating on it.

Move Uphill for a Stronger Weld

Welding downhill provides a cleaner, faster weld, but for metal that is 1/4” or thicker, downhill won’t allow enough time for penetration and fusion. Downhill welds on thick metal can be weaker.

The solution is to weld uphill. While this method is slower, it allows enough time for the metal to heat up and for the metal to penetrate the joint. As long as the arc traces the front of the puddle, you’ll have a strong enough weld.

Regular MIG Maintenance

One of the easiest ways to make your MIG gun run smoother is to replace the liner. Oftentimes a wire will start to jam or to at least run less smooth than before. However, if you keep a few liners handy, you’ll be in good shape to drop a new one in when you need it. The loss of weld quality, loss of time on task, and aggravation of having a wire bunch up make the $15 investment in a new liner well worth it.

Also take time to clean out spatter from your MIG gun and to replace the torch tip as needed. MIG welding works best when you can keep a steady flow of electrode into the weld puddle.

 

There are plenty of things that can go wrong while MIG welding, but by putting these tips into practice, you’ll place yourself in a good position to avoid some of the most common aggravations and mistakes that come up while MIG welding.

     

    Ed

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