Tig vs Mig Welding – A Complete Insight for Beginners

For most of the beginners, they find it terribly confusing while choosing Tig vs Mig welding. Although this discussion is lengthy, I have concluded it based upon its functionality and nature of the weld part.

tig vs mig welding, tig vs stick vs mig
                                                    Image Credits Boostinjay

In this full post, you will get a detailed comparison, thorough insight & applications regarding the welding types. After reading this, I am sure you will understand things pretty much clear, and your mind will be less fuzzy.

So, Let’s Start

1. Understanding the TIG Welding Technique!!

Gas tungsten arc welding or TIG welding produces very high-quality weld, and it involves the use of a non-consumable tungsten electrode, which provides the arc. But not filler metal and runs a current through the metal to be joined as electrode heats the metal and liquify, the filler is added manually or can be supplied as a separate rod or wire into the weld puddle, and welding of two pieces is done.

Inert gas flows through the electrode holder to provide shielding around electrode, arc, the pool of molten metal. The adjacent heat areas also CO2 is not added in this process because it provides inadequate protection for the tungsten electrode). Argon is the most widely used gas as it produces a smoother and stable arc; helium can be added to increase heat input (higher welding speeds and deeper penetration).

tig arc welding

Tig Arc:

For TIG, it is important to control arc length throughout the process, if hot tungsten electrode meets workpiece or molten pool, it can contaminate the electrode. Most common engineering metals and alloys can be welded through this process, and the use of inert gas makes it suitable for reactive metals such as aluminium, magnesium, and titanium as well as high-temperature superalloys and refractory metals.

Tig Electrode:

Composition, diameter, length, and tip geometry of Tungsten and its alloy electrode selected based on the material being welded, the thickness of the material, and the type of current used. For better current-carrying and electron emission characteristics, Tungsten is often alloyed with 1 to 4 % thorium oxide, zirconium oxide to increase the life span of the electrode. During the welding, the arc remains constant, stable, and easy to maintain.

As no flux is added, no special cleaning is done, or removal of slag required. However, pre surface cleaning should be done as surfaces to be weld must be clean and free of oil, grease, paint, and rust because inert gas does not provide any cleaning or fluxing action.

Filler Wire:

As I have stated above, Tig Welding involves a non-consumable electrode, so we have to add a filler material by some other means. While in this case, you have to feed the molten puddle employing your hand. To achieve, cleanness and superior weld, you must be very focused and have a fine grip over your hands.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Tig Welding:

Pros
  • Precision: TIG welds are more precise and have a higher overall quality than MIG welds.
  • Cleaner Process: The TIG process is cleaner and better for the environment.
  • No Filler Required: TIG welding doesn’t require filler material.
  • Greater Control: The pedal used allows for foot control to adjust heat input.
  • Lower maintenance: They do need to be cleaned between uses.
  • Perfect Aesthetics
Cons
  • More Expensive: The welding cost of TIG is higher than MIG welds because it’s a slower process and has low deposition rates. The welding deposition rates are measured in pounds-per-hour deposited at a welding current.
  • Clean Surface Required: The welding surface needs to be thoroughly cleaned before starting this method.
  • Difficult: TIG welding requires a more experienced operator because the welds are more complex to execute.

2.Understanding the MIG Welding Process!

Metal inert gas welding (MIG) or Gas metal arc welding (GMAW) is an arc process in which joining is done by producing heat or arc through the short circuit in the consumable electrode. The electrode can be a continuous, solid, or a hollow tube with powdered alloy additions in the center called a metal-cored electrode.

Along with an inert gas that melts the metal and allows them to join together. Once the heat is removed, the metal begins to cool and solidify, forming a new piece of fused metal.

application of mig and tig
                                                  Image Credits: Dane Deaner

Nature of Arc:

In the MIG welding process, there is no need to use volatilizing flux or slag forming agents for protection purposes. As shielding gas flowing through the torch becomes the source of primary protection for arc and molten metal. The arc is maintained between the workpiece and fed consumable wire electrode, which continuously provide filler metal.

Type of Electrode in Mig:

The electrode used in Mig is consumable, and during the operation, it melts with the spark and gets deposited over the surface. For higher strength and quality of welds, you should make apt the electrode the same; as the base material, this would also nullify the chances of the corrosion.

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Advantages & Disadvantages of Mig Welding:

Pros
  • Shorter time: MIG creates welds in a shorter amount of time.
  • Cost-effective technique
  • More accurate: It is easier to get an accurate bond with MIG welding.
  • Cleaner: This method produces a clean weld with little post-weld maintenance required.
Cons
  • Weaker Strength: MIG is typically not as strong as TIG welding.
  • Decreases Arc Stability
  • Poor Aesthetics
  • More Hazardous: MIG welding can produce heavy smoke and fumes, and potentially sparks.
  • Required Thickness: With thin materials, MIG welds could potentially burn through the metal.

3.MIG vs TIG vs Stick welding:

In MIG, TIG, or stick welding technique, the way of arc use is different. In MIG welding, feed wire continually moves through the gun to create a spark and melts to form the weld by short-circuit and inert gas shield them.

While in TIG, welding long rods are used to fuse two metals, and filler material is separated from the rod, sometimes filler material is not required and in TIG spatter doesn’t produce. Tig cannot be used for aluminium welding because of Ac & DC limitations.

In stick welding, the electrode is usually flux coated metal. During the process, both the electrode and the metal workpiece melt, forming a weld pool the molten metal then cools to create a sturdy joint between the two metals. But all these welding techniques heat the metal until it reaches a liquid state, and filler material is used to join the metals, and both require clean surfaces to get the best results.

 

Advantages & Disadvantages of Stick Welding:

Pros
  • Stick welding doesn’t require gas tanks or any special knowledge about welding gases.
  • It can be used for iron, steel, aluminum, nickel and copper alloys.
  • It can create effective bonds on rusty or unclean surfaces.
Cons
  • Poor Quality Weld.
  • Spatter and porosity are hard to avoid.
  • Requires Polishing
  • Time Intensive

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4. A Quick go-through to comprehend Mig vs Tig Welding with various Metals:

Which kind of Welding Technique is best for Stainless steel?

It depends on the requirement. Stainless steel can be welded with shielded metal arc welding (MIG), gas tungsten arc welding (TIG), and stick welding, and each of the processes yields a slightly different result.

If artistry is paramount, then the finesse of TIG welding could be a good fit, but if speed and efficiency are a priority, then your choice should be Mig.

Why is Welding Stainless steel so difficult?

During welding, Stainless steel can store heat and acts as a reservoir, so during welding, the temperature rises between the torch and the workpiece exponentially. So when the piece is cooled, its shape becomes distorted, and its aesthetics are no longer alluring.

Stainless steel weld through TIG:

TIG welding is known for its precision, so for work that demands cleanliness, controlled welds, especially on less-forgiving materials like stainless steel alloys or Aluminum. Although it produces beautiful welds, it is also the slowest welding process, requiring an experienced welder with excellent technique. Distortion to control is easiest in TIG.

Mig & Tig for automotive parts:

The most common types of welding techniques for automotive parts are Gas, Stick, MIG, and TIG. Among these four, Mig is the winner. You can almost use it for every application in cars and other automotive parts. But as mentioned above, it is inadequate for precision, so you have to be focused on the torch. With this, you can try many little experiments of yours in your garage.

Gas welding is the oldest form of welding. Having an Oxy-Acetylene set-up in your home garage allows you to heat stubborn bolts and pre-heat parts. Having a rosebud tip allows cutting through thick metal. However, gas welding is hard to learn and challenging to weld thin metal.

Stick Welding for automotive parts

Stick or Arc welding is easy to learn and doesn’t require a gas tank but does require a lot of clean-up. It is excellent for all kinds of projects, but not the right choice for thin sheet metal.

TIG Welding for automotive parts

Tig welding has less penetration, but it is highly recommended when you are working on an expensive car project or motorcycle frame. The welds are of superior quality & offer high strength.

Which technique to choose between Tig vs Mig Welding?

It entirely depends on the type of materials and how fast you want your job done. For Aluminum and steel, Mig welding would be preferable, and it is also a low cost. While Tig can also be for Stainless steel & Aluminum, the weld quality would be charming, but it will take a longer time, and it is costly too.

Conclusion:

Now you know all the merits & demerits of both Tig vs Mig welding. MIG is faster, cheaper, and more comfortable than TIG welding, and it is used for automotive welding. But if you want something that can withstand with standards, then you know the second option.

Many beginners try to master first in the Mig welding, which is a great idea, and when their passion excels, then they eye for the Tig Welding. Safety is also essential see our best welding helmet 2020.

TIG welding is the primary method used in the aerospace industry. TIG is more costly, time-consuming, and difficult while it produces high-quality welds, which are cleaner and more precise welds than MIG or other arc welding techniques, making it more efficient and higher in quality.

 

 

Hello Everyone, I am James from Kentucky and been into this welding fiasco for 13 years in that time I have worked as a private welder and did most of the auto restoration work. In this recent, COVID-19 outbreak I decided to start a welding blog and share welding tips along with product reviews.

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