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MIG or TIG welding: which is right for my project?

May 17, 2021

The type of welding used in a product can greatly influence both the final result of a product and the time it takes to complete the job.

What is MIG welding?

Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding is also known as Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW). It’s a process where the weld is between a consumable wire which is melted into the workpiece or two metals. It uses a shielding gas such as carbon dioxide or argon to achieve a clean result as the wire constantly feeds through the gun to create the spark and melt to form the weld. It works in a similar way to a glue gun.

What is TIG welding?

Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding is also known as Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW). It’s a welding process where a tungsten electrode fuses two metals together as opposed to melting a wire like MIG welding does. It is a more intense and slower process of welding as both hands and a foot pedal to control amperage are used during the weld. The result tends to be more focused on detail and finish and because of the time consumed using that precision it also tends to cost more than alternatives.

Why choose MIG welding over TIG?

MIG welding is best used on thicker jobs because the feed wire acts as a filler on metals such as stainless steel or aluminium. Thicker pieces can be fused together without having to heat them all the way through. A MIG gun is also designed to run continuously and this method can be learnt after just a few hours of instruction. It is also cheaper than TIG welding because it is less time consuming due to requirements being more about structural integrity than aesthetics.

Why choose TIG welding over MIG?

The one major limitation of MIG welders is they are not very portable and cannot be used outside because wind can be a problem with the gas shielding. TIG is best used when the focus is on the appearance of the finished product. It is also the most versatile because it can weld most metal types of any thickness. It also requires more skill level and while a slower process it delivers a more visually pleasing result. 

Overall, when deciding on which type of welding to use there are many factors to consider:

  • What materials or product am I welding?
  • Is this a workshop job or is it remote (for example, machinery in a paddock)?
  • How much do I want to spend on the project?
  • What sort of finish is required on my product?
  • How quickly can the project be delivered?

These questions can be answered by the Rapid Fab team. They are always happy to assist with any questions you may have about welding so contact the team on (07) 5529 2622.