The skill of welding can take many years to perfect, but if you’re a regular Joe working out of your garage, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll get enough “stick-time” to become an expert. The wide ranging choices of welding processes, welding wire and even the different shielding gasses is so large that the task of choosing the best consumables for the job can become confusing.
To help all of us “handyman” do-it-yourself restoration guys out, Lincoln Electric has developed a series of short videos that explains the selection process of different aspects of welding for the best chance at getting a solid weld. Our friends at Lincoln Electric alerted us to one of their most recent “How-To” videos: Shielding Gas Selection for MIG Welding.
Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding uses a continuous solid wire electrode for filler metal and an externally supplied gas to shield the molten metal from atmospheric contamination while it cools. The molten metal is very reactive to oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen in the atmosphere, and if exposed to these elements, will produce a weak weld. However, when done properly, MIG welding can produce a very strong weld with a great weld appearance.
A properly made finished MIG weld has no slag and virtually no spatter. MIG welding may be used with all of the major commercially available metals, including low carbon steel, low alloy steel, and stainless steel and aluminum with potential for excellent success by a novice. This has made MIG welding one of the most popular choices with the DIY crowd.
MIG welding with gas shielding produces an electric arc that is soft and less likely to burn through thin material and is one of the easiest types of welding to learn. The forgiving nature of MIG welding allows the operator to be less precise in arc length and travel speed to produce a quality weld.
One of the key issues that an operator has to be clear with is the proper selection of shielding gas. As the Lincoln Electric video demonstrates, selecting the right shielding gas is not as difficult as it may sound when faced with the many options available. After picking up a couple of quick tech tips from the video, you’ll be welding like a pro in no time.