Despite the similarity between the two acronyms, MIG welding and GTAW have quite different characteristics.
Both are processes that use gas to do the welding work, but there is one major difference: the use of a coil of wire as a filler material.
MIG vs TIG Welding: what changes?
We have already addressed the specifics of TIG welding and the differences between MIG and MAG welding; we will now compare the various components of MIG and TIG welding to highlight what distinguishes the two processes.
It often happens that a precision mechanics operator has to alternate between MIG and TIG welding during the production of a workpiece. It is not necessary to use two different machine tools: MIG and TIG welding can be performed using a multi-process welding machine, which is capable of performing both processes.
Both processes use cover gas to protect the weld from oxidation. In the case of MIG welding, which stands for Metal Inert Gas, an inert gas is used in the process: this carries the current more easily, as it does not react with the weld pool.
An inert gas is also used for the TIG welding process; the acronym, in fact, stands for Tungsten Inert Gas. The most commonly used inert gases are argon and helium, which are perfect for deoxidising certain materials such as aluminium.
The welding machine used for MIG welding involves the use of a wire feeder, as it is fed by the input of a continuous metal wire. In contrast, the filler material of a GTAW welder, when used, is inserted in the form of metal rods.
Consequently, a GTAW process will require the operator to use both hands, one to use the torch and the other to insert the rod.
The Contributing Material
As mentioned, a spool of wire is required for MIG welding. This type of filler material is very productive: the coil's autonomy runs out with it, and is usually quite long. As for TIG welding, the sticks do not have a high autonomy and must be replaced several times during machining.
For an amateur operator, the easiest and most effective welding solution is definitely MIG welding: the process is simpler and requires less manual dexterity, thanks to the continuous wire. It becomes almost 'automatic' welding. A well-done TIG welding job requires more manual dexterity and experience.
MIG and TIG Welding: Final Considerations
Finally, MIG and TIG welding are extremely productive and aesthetically pleasing processes. In particular, TIG welding is a longer and more complex process that usually it does not require finishing.
However, the difficulty with GTAW welding is the insertion of the filler material: the operator has to use both hands and in a coordinated manner. In contrast, the MIG welding process is also suitable for less experienced hands as the coil wire flows independently.
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