Arc Welder vs MIG Welder – Differences You Should Know

There are a lot of aspiring welders who are feeling a bit confused about Arc welding and MIG welding. Some would even assume that they are the same in the beginning. They have some similarities but you should also be familiar with their differences so that you will know which one to pick depending on the welding project that you are planning to do.

What is Arc Welding?

Some people refer to arc welding as shield metal arc welding. This is a welding process wherein there are different items that are joined together with the help of electricity. The electricity will be able to provide the right amount of heat that will melt the welding rods. The welding rods will be used to fuse the items together.

The heat that can be generated in order to melt metals can be very high. Some would even reach up to 7000 Degrees Fahrenheit so it is important that people will wear the right protective gear when they do welding. This type of method can use both AC and DC. There are certain types of electrodes that are used specifically for this type of welding.

When Should You Use Arc Welding?

Arc welding is normally used by people for different types of welding projects. This can be effective for thick metals. People use this type of welding because this is one of the easiest to learn. Some of the common projects that would require arc welding are the following:

  • Laser cutting
  • Machine tending
  • Mining
  • Grinding
  • Pressure Vessel Fabrication

People who would need to do some agricultural projects will also find this type of welding helpful.

What is MIG Welding?

MIG stands for Metal Inert Gas Welding. Some people refer to this simply as gas welding. This type of welding process will require the use of metal and wire electrodes. The wire electrode will be melted in order to join two different types of metals together.

In order to make this welding process effective, a wire electrode should be continuously placed on the welding gun so that it will melt and allow two types of metals to be fused together. There is also a shield bubble that will protect the different components while the welding process is taking place.

There are various things that you need to ensure that MIG welding can be done correctly:

  • You need electricity like with arc welding to provide heat that will melt metals.
  • There is a need for the right electrode that will be fed through the welding tool that will be used.
  • The protective gas is also needed to ensure that the various components will not be altered due to the gases that are also found in the environment.

One thing that you should remember if you plan to do this type of welding is you should always do it indoors. When you allow the wind to penetrate the weld, it will become solid before it can be clean.

When Should You Use MIG Welding?

MIG welding is the type of welding used when you want to weld thin metals into thicker metals. This can be used when you are trying to repair an item that has lost a piece or would need to be strengthened.

For example, one of the legs of a metal bed may have been removed and would need to be welded so that it can be in one piece again. This process will be effective in connective the removed leg to the rest of the bed. Other times when this welding process is used are for the following:

  • Pipe joints
  • Reinforcing some rail tracks
  • Building bridges

Some Differences You Should Know

You probably know a lot of details about arc welding and MIG welding now. The question is, what are the differences between the two? First of all, MIG welding is considered to be a simpler welding process as it would not require a lot of actions all at once in order to do. As long as you have the right tools and machines, you can do your welding project easily.

Needed Materials

The materials that you will need to do these two welding processes will differ. With MIG welding, you just have to choose materials based on how thin or how thick the items that you are going to weld are. If you use materials that are too thick, you may ruin the tools that are normally used for welding. Arc welding will be perfectly fine with different types of materials. This is the welding process that can be used for welding aluminum. It will require more skill and precision to do.

Take note that the quality of the tools that will be used will also matter a lot. MIG welds will need clean materials. If you use anything rusty, it will show through the welds. Arc welding can be done with the use of different materials and you are still more likely to have a smoother weld after.

Indoor and Outdoor Use

MIG welding cannot be done outdoors because of the different things in the environment that can change the quality of the welds that you do. It should be done indoors at all times if you want to do it right. Arc welding can be used no matter where you want to do it. Although it is more ideal that you weld in a comfortable place, you can do this type of welding even when you are outdoors and it is raining.

Weld Appearances

MIG welds are known to be more pleasing to the eye and would not require a lot of touch-ups. This will be highly different from arc welds that will require a lot of cleanups before they can look presentable. Arc welding will usually have a lot more sparks and debris which can make the welds not very appealing.

Final Thoughts

You should remember to use the type of welding process that is needed depending on your project. It will also help if you would do enough research about the different welding rods that you can use, the gases that are needed, and so much more. Hopefully, you have already learned enough to guide you for your welding project.