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How to Get MIG Welding Right the First Time

Old timers and rookies can both forget to take important steps that can make a significant difference in the quality of their welds. Sometimes you’re rushing on a project during the weekend or a busy day in the shop can result in making a mistake that could damage the metal, ruin your weld, or lose a lot of time in having to clean up the finished weld. If you run your own welding business, you especially want to get the weld right the first time since the last thing you want to do is spend time regrinding a piece of metal or cleaning up a sloppy weld.

Take a Dry Run Along Your Weld

Many welders say that it helps them to take a dry run along the weld joint where they imagine their travel speed and technique. They often move the torch with the same exact motions, whether that’s cursive e’s, cursive u’s, or a forward and back movement. When the arc is sizzling and the metal is melting, you want to make sure you know exactly what to do, and a dry run is the best way to prepare.

Work on Your Hand and Body Positions

As you prepare with your dry run, also look at the torch angle and how you can position your hands and move your body as you work along the weld joint. This will be especially important if you’re working on an out of position weld joint. A good hand prop will give you the stability you need to make a clean, straight weld.

Ground Your Metal Properly

One of the easiest things a welder can overlook is proper grounding while working. You need a good bit of copper exposed to the metal you’re working on in order to get the highest quality ground. Without a sufficient ground, your welder may make a loud backfire sound and your weld quality will suffer.

Practice Your Technique for Better Weld Quality

While it’s important to get your metal nice and hot while welding, some techniques such as spray transfer may create so much heat that you end up with a sloppy weld. However, you also don’t want to end up with a weak weld that doesn’t penetrate deep enough into the metal. This is where your technique is so important. You won’t need to blast the metal with too much heat if you know how to position the angle of your torch and how fast to travel along the metal as you weld.

Test Your Welder’s Settings

Before you begin MIG welding, take some practice runs and test the quality of your welds in order to figure out the best settings. This will also give you an opportunity to experiment with your techniques.


Most of these tips about getting your weld right the first time involve taking time for preparation and practice. While this may take a lot of time at first, you’ll be able to create better welds on the first pass without having to regrind or replace your metal. 


Ed C.


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