How to Use a MIG Welder?

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MIG welding is a process that uses an electric arc to weld metals. When the metal is heated, it melts and fuses together. Some people refer to this type of welding as "stick" welding because the electrode doesn't have a filler wire and sticks out from the machine during operation. How to use a MIG welder? The following article will show you how.

What is a MIG Welder?

Metal inert gas welding is a process that utilizes wire as an electrode to weld two pieces of metal together. A shielding gas, which helps protect the weld pool from airborne contaminants and provides more reliable arc stability, accompanies this hot wire into the joint in order for it to take shape.

The shielding gas is typically an electric arc type. The metal to be welded must have a similar or the same thickness as the electrode wire, which will provide it with enough stability and mobility in order for the joint to take shape properly. Some other types of MIG welding include flux-cored arc welding (FCAW), where instead of using a continuous wire, one which is fed through the gun by means of a flux-covered cable.

The MIG or Metal Inert Gas welder works on metals with thin and thick plates alike as long as they are able to be moved together at the joint in order for it to take shape properly. This type of welding has been used extensively in automotive manufacturing plants all over the world due to its ability to weld these types of materials into place without any difficulty whatsoever.

Why use a MIG welder?

What if you could have a great weld without the hassle of all those pesky impurities? Well, now you can. The flux-less technique removes slag from the welding process and leaves behind high-quality welds in record time with increased protection.

We're using gas shields instead of flux to produce high-quality welds. It's not just safer, but it also produces better quality because there is no slag entrapment in the metal from lack of shielding gases like when you use traditional methods with an argon shield. is this possible? How does it work?

The fluxless technique relies on gas shielding, which means that the weld pool stays clean and free of impurities. The gas shields also provide a stronger base for welding than ever before. Gas-shielding allows you to weld with less concentrated heat input, so you can easily create high-quality welds at an increased rate.

So what are the benefits of using a MIG welder over another traditional process such as TIG or SMAW (stick)? Well, first off there's no slag! That really takes care of one major issue in welding: having to deal with splatter from dirty metal bits left behind after completing your welds. Another benefit is that when you use gas shielding you don't have to worry about burning or melting through your metal because it doesn't happen.

When you're using a MIG welder, the fluxless technique ensures that all of these issues are taken care of for you. There's nothing worse than having to spend time and energy cleaning up after yourself in order to produce high-quality welds quickly. This is why finding an easy way around those problems was such a big deal when developing this new process and why so many people are excited about it now...

Fluxless welding also means there’s no mess left behind on the workpiece from splatter (that would otherwise be covered with slag). You can see how much cleaner this weld looks, and this is a result of only using gas shields. No flux, no slag - just clean welds.

An additional benefit to the MIG welder, when compared with other welding techniques like TIG or SMAW (stick), is that you don’t have to worry about burning through your metal because it doesn't happen. The heat from shielding gases protects the base material and allows for cleaner welds without any messy splatter residue left behind.

The bottom line, when used correctly, a MIG welder can do what many would consider impossible. So let’s get started with How to Use A MIG Welder...

How to set up your welding equipment for the first time?

A MIG (Metal Inert Gas) welder is one of the most popular types of welders, but it may also be one of the hardest to use. To help you get started with this new machine and complete your welding project with ease, here are i will give you step by step procedure on how to use a MIG welder.


You need to set up your welding equipment for the first time by attaching the ground clamp and connecting it with an electrode holder or gun. You should also be sure that the gas is on at this stage as well so prepare everything beforehand. Make sure that all of these pieces are attached securely before moving onto the next step in order to prevent injuries from fire hazards later on.


Turn off both power switches after making sure that all metal has been disconnected from its respective cables and then start assembling them together again but this time attach one wire lead into each cable end instead of two wires like before. Ensure they are connected tightly because any slack can cause sparks which may ignite gas and create a fire hazard.


Disconnect the grounding clamp from your work surface or any other live electrical parts in order to avoid an accident. Make sure that there are no gaps in between wires because this can cause arcing as well which is another safety risk. This step should be done before turning on the power switch again so you don't have both of them at once but it is actually possible with some models of MIG welders.


Turn on the welding machine's power supply by flipping the switch after making all necessary preparations beforehand including attaching ground cables and wire leads properly. After waiting for around 30 seconds without touching anything else while letting everything warm up you will then be able to start welding now! Just remember to wear all the necessary safety gear and to follow safety precautions so you don't get hurt.


A MIG welder uses a constant current that comes from an electric wire in order to fuse metal together. This is done by first attaching one steel end of your workpiece onto the grounding clamp for easy access and then holding it up against another piece of metal while waiting for them both to heat up before welding or melting them together with help from electrical fluid (that's what makes it possible). You will need some sort of filler material like flux cored solder or aluminum oxide if there are any gaps between pieces of metal because this helps welds stick better too.


After finishing welding, make sure that everything cools down before touching anything because hot metal can cause severe burns and injuries.


Remove the grounding clamp from your work surface or any other live electrical parts in order to avoid an accident.


Turn off both power switches after making sure that all metal has been disconnected from its respective cables and then start assembling them together again but this time attach one wire lead into each cable end instead of two wires like before. Ensure they are connected tightly because any slack can cause sparks which may ignite gas and create a fire hazard.

The above steps should give you idea on how to use a MIG welder effectively. Your welding project will be done with ease if you follow these eight easy steps so good luck.

Tips and tricks on how to weld with a MIG welder

MIG welding process needs to know some tips and tricks. How to use a MIG welder and what are the most important tips?

Let’s dig into it…

01. Collect Safety Clothing and Tips before Welding

Before preparing to weld, understand safety tips and have safety equipment to protect yourself from injuries. The safety equipment includes; leather gumboots, safety pants, gloves, welding face masks, and a whole protective outfit. The welding tips include;

Ensure you cover the whole body to prevent the occurrence of Arc eye due to exposure to welder torch or Ultra Violet rays.

Secondly, use a vapor mask to avoid inhaling hazardous vapors during the welding process, mainly if you use a poorly ventilated room. Also, it is advisable to weld in a well-ventilated room.

Cover your hands with gloves to protect them from melting metals.

Bring along a fire extinguisher to use in case of fire emergencies. If there is no fire extinguisher, ensure you have a basin full of sand.

02. Choose the Recommended MIG Welding Gun

MIG guns exist in different models. For instance, there are MIG guns with pistol design while others have torch design such as the welder's torch. Before welding, choose an appropriate MIG gun that suits the type of work/project.

03. Locate the Welding Area

First, choose an appropriate area for the welding process. After choosing, prepare the area by covering the welding area with curtains to protect nearby people from exposure to UV lights. Also, ensure there are no flammable materials on the working site.

04. Choose the Correct Welding Wire

First, select the wire that matches the welding material. For instance, use thin wires when welding light metals and thick wires when welding thick materials. Also, wiring thick wires require more giant MIG welding machine gun. It is advisable to use steel in most welding circumstances because it is cheap, does not accumulate rust, and is durable.

Finally, choose the appropriate amount of wire that fits your welding torch. If the wire is too long, trim it using a wire cutter to recommended wire length.

05. Trim the Reel Properly

Using a wire cutter, prepare the welding wire by trimming it to its appropriate shape and using. Prepare the welding reel by tightening it to ensure the wire is straight during connection.

06. Use Correct Tension

After inserting the wire through the welder, adjust the tension settings and use recommended tension to avoid bending and damaging the welder. It is advisable to use low tension as possible for both reels and line feeders.

07. Plant the Welding Machine Polarity

The most preferred polarity is reverse polarity. Therefore, ensure you set your machine in reverse polarity to obtain the best and accurate results.

08. Use the Correct Electrode Length

While welding the wires and the components together, ensure you keep electrode length consistent with the welding contact tube. Also, ensure you use carbon(IV)Oxide to allow the welding wires to move deeper on the steel. If you use improper welding gas, the cables will accumulate rust. Also, use gases such as argon for thin steel materials.

09. Weld All Materials

Weld all components together using the recommended technique or the best technique that suits your project type. Also, you can weld the materials in any position. For instance, you can weld flat, horizontal, vertical, or overhead.

For a flat weld, position all materials directly into the welding joint using a method that suits the type of your project at an angle of 90 degrees using the back-and-forth method. When making a horizontal weld, use a lower angle than 90 degrees. Lower the welding gun to prevent the welding filler from sagging and losing its shape. Use the best method to cover all gas, and the recommended method is the back-and-forth weave method.

For vertical welding, begin welding from the top to prevent the arc from entering the material for thin materials. Begin from the bottom to the top for thicker metals.  Finally, for overhead welding, use the recommended technique, which is the standard technique with high travel speed.

10. Adjust the Wire's Speed

After wiring the components, adjust the speed of the wires to the recommended lowest rate.

11. Close the Valve of the Gas Cylinder

Tighten the welding gas cylinder valve tightly for an efficient welding process by turning closing the hand wheel. Loose closing of the valve hinders the proper functioning of the gas cylinder.

12. Complete the Welding Process

Finish the welding process by grinding extra welding filler. If you are unable to make a welder, contact skilled personnel for help.

13. Screw All Screws Using a Screwdriver

Using a screwdriver, screw all areas tightly and avoid using too much force to damage the screws or the parts being screwed.

14. Remove Welding Materials from the Table

After successfully welding all materials, remove equipment such as ground clamp from the table and coil all wires welded carefully and neatly. Remove any dirt around the welding room using appropriate tools. Finally, reassemble all equipment.

Common mistakes when using a MIG welder and how to avoid them

Some welders make some mistakes at the time of MIG welding, as a professional MIG welder, you have to know about that mistakes and ways to avoid the mistakes.

  • Wrong electrode gap adjustment. When the wrong size of electrodes are inserted into the gun, it will cause problems with wire feed and arc voltage control;
  • Feeding in an incorrect direction. The wire should be fed away from both nozzle and workpiece to avoid weld pool build up on either side of the joint (this is called "back feeding"). If the wire is fed towards either nozzle or workpiece, it will cause a build-up of weld pool on that side and can lead to arc blow out;
  • Improper shielding gas flow. Shielding gas should be set at 25% for mild steel welding and 60% for stainless steel welding (this is called "back burning"). If there's no proper setting, the process may not complete successfully with great risk in porosity and bubbling coming up from within the metal surface;
  • Matching wrong size electrode tip. A smaller diameter MIG gun requires a finer quality electrode than does a larger diameter one - typically 80/20 rather than 70/30. The smaller electrodes have a higher tensile strength so they don't bend under heavy welding currents.
  • Improper electrode selection for the different thicknesses of materials;
  • Insufficient clearance between the workpiece and shielding gas nozzle or gun tip. This will cause the shield to be blown away from the weld pool, decreasing the quality of welding;
  • Working on thin material without having a backing pad in place before starting to MIG weld. The lack of a backing material can result in poor penetration as well as an increased chance of porosity forming at the bottom edge of the joint due to inadequate heat flow through the base metal below (this is called the "puddle effect"). How does it happen? A small amount of molten steel would normally run off during welding and become solidified below by contact with a thicker slag layer near the root side which results in a weld with good penetration and no porosity.
  • Improper shielding gas flow adjustment, resulting in too much or not enough heat input to the workpiece;
  • Insufficient arc voltage for the thickness of material being MIG welded. How does it happen? The thinner materials require more current than thicker ones do because they have less resistance to heat conduction which is why lower amperage should be used when welding thin metals (like iron) while higher currents are needed on thicker metal surfaces like steel - due to their greater resistance to heat conduction);
  • Lack of proper positioning between both pieces that need welding;
  • Poor contact at root side of joint. How does it happen? If any area underneath the molten pool is cooler than the root side, this will cause poor penetration and porosity at the surface. How does it happen? The thin material would be pulled away from a thicker slag layer near the root side which results in a weld with good penetration but may have no porosity;
  • Insufficient contact between electrode and workpiece when welding without backing material (i.e., if using too short of an arc length). How does it happen? A small amount of molten steel would normally run off during welding and become solidified below by contact with a thicker slag layer near the root side which results in a weld with good penetration and no porosity.
  • Improper grounding technique that doesn't provide sufficient protection for those who are nearby to electric arcs or lightning;
  • Lack of proper grounding technique. How does it happen? The person working on metal (called "welder") has to be grounded at all times while the ground wire from the welding machine should go through a connection box and then into the earth;
  • Working in an area with poor ventilation or too much ambient moisture can lead to risk of being exposed to toxic fumes, gases, dusts, etc., which may cause health problems for welders over time. How does it happen? Poor ventilated areas will contain more pollutants than well-ventilated ones do because they won't get enough oxygen flow that removes these harmful substances before they turn into aerosols - either water droplets suspended in air or solid particles floating around).
  • Improper selection of welder power source. How does it happen? In general, the thicker and heavier material requires a more powerful MIG machine - that is why you will notice most simply hold around 25-150 amps while those with greater capacity for welding on thick materials (like steel) go up to 300/400 amps or higher.

Safety tips when welding with a MIG welder

The wire feed welding process is relatively safe, but the MIG welder can cause harm to your body. You need adequate protection for these consequences and should always have a pair of safety goggles on hand when you are performing this task.

Moreover, you'll need to wear appropriate protective gear. The welding process can also cause harmful fumes or radiation burns if not done correctly. To protect yourself from these hazards, be sure to bring the right equipment: gloves and goggles for shielding your hands while holding the torch; leather clothes so that when sparks fly they don't burn into the skin; eye protection in case metal falls on it

Also, you should always be aware of the dangers and never underestimate them.

Welding can be dangerous. The following safety tips should always be adhered to.

  • Ensure all your equipment is in good working order. A faulty power lead can cause injury if it snaps back into the face of the user or vice versa.
  • Make sure you are wearing appropriate clothing, such as steel toe boots and heavy-duty gloves to protect against molten metal splatter. Long-sleeved shirts and trousers will also help stop corrosion from copper wire burning onto skin after prolonged exposure at high temperatures. It would be worth investing in anti-glare glasses too for further protection while welding outdoors on sunny days - where there could be considerable visibility issues without them!
  • Never touch any live electrical parts during an arc flash - this includes light switches and water taps which may be live.
  •  Always wear ear defenders and a face mask when welding to protect from long-term exposure to high volumes of noise, as well as the harmful fumes are given off by metal being welded together at very high temperatures.
  • Make sure you have glasses with correct lenses fitted for your eye protection before work starts - without them it is easy to damage one's sight due to prolonged unprotected viewing of bright lights reflected in molten metal or sparks created during cutting or grinding operations. You should also ensure that any prescription eyewear has been taken into consideration prior to fitting safety goggles over these (a clear lens will not offer enough defense for eyesight). Safety goggles that do not fit correctly could easily slip down while working leading to molten metal entering the eye.
  • Ensure that you are well hydrated before starting work - this will help to avoid any heat exhaustion which could lead to dizziness and even fainting when overheated, particularly if working in an enclosed space with poor ventilation or outside where the sun rays can hit hard on unprotected skin.
  •  Always make sure all live electrical cables have insulated sheaths fitted over them at all times of use for your own safety as well as other people around you (those who may come into contact with exposed wires). Whenever possible wear rubber gloves while handling power leads so they do not get tangled up in tools such as screwdrivers etc., something which is often difficult to notice during work!


You've now learned everything you need to know about how MIG welders work, their benefits and drawbacks, what equipment is needed for the best results, safety tips when welding with a MIG welder. If you're in the market for new tools or are looking to take up an interest in metalworking or fabrication as a hobby - this article has been designed specifically for people like yourself. We hope that it's helped answer some of your questions on this topic.

If your hobby is welding, consider following the above steps to use a MIG welder without difficulties. Also, ensure you consider safety tips such as covering your hands before beginning the welding process. Finally, follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to handle the welding components.

During the welding process, you may experience some problems such as welding wire not penetrating, no shielding gas, etc. if you experience such issues, consider troubleshooting them using recommended steps or contacting the service for help. Further, service your MIG welder frequently to improve its performance.

Last Updated on July 10, 2021 by weldinghubs

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