TIG vs MIG Welding – Which is Right for Your Project?
Over the last century, welding has become one of the most essential technical skills in the metal fabrication industry. The process uses heat and/or pressure to fuse pieces of material together. Welders need specialized equipment to complete their tasks properly but must also decide on what technique to use depending on the demands of their assigned job.
There are two primary welding techniques used in metal fabrication: metal inert gas (MIG) and tungsten inert gas (TIG). There are similarities between the two methods, but each has its own purposes, advantages and limitations. At Badger Sheet Metal Works (BSMW), we weigh many different factors of the project at hand to determine the chosen technique and ensure we meet our client’s expectations.
Our commitment to customers extends to education, so we’ve put together a simple outline of the key differences between MIG and TIG welding.
TIG welding is a type of arc welding that fuses two metals using a non-consumable tungsten electrode and an inert or semi-inert gas mixture. Filler material may also be added to support the weld, depending on the project. TIG welding is commonly used on stainless steel, aluminum and other non-ferrous metals.
Advantages of TIG Welding
TIG welding is the more hands-on technique, giving the welder more control over accuracy and temperature. That control is preferred for projects with tight tolerances or precision requirements.
Greater Control for Thin Pieces of Metal
The precise control of the arc makes TIG welding the common choice for fusing thin, lightweight materials together.
As it’s being formed, the weld is protected from contamination by a shield of gas. The process produces limited sparks, fumes and splatter, creating a clean and top-quality weld.
Fewer Material Restrictions
Used frequently on steel, TIG welding is also known for producing excellent results with chromoly, aluminum, nickel alloys, magnesium, copper, brass, bronze, and even gold.
It creates a relatively small heat zone, even during slow, methodical passes, meaning the finished bead will have very little distortion.
Visible weld seams often need to be smoothly rippled in appearance, which can usually only be accomplished through TIG welding.
BSMW’s TIG Welding Team
TIG welding demands dexterity, precision, and strict control over the pressure and timing. It is a complex technique that requires specialized training, practical experience, and strong attention to detail. BSMW has TIG qualification for GTAW – SS, GTAW – Carbon, and GTAW – Aluminum.
At BSMW, TIG welding is often utilized when joining parts for the food and beverage industries, including components such as tri-clover fittings, couplings, and flanges.
Originally developed during World War II to produce weapons and equipment faster, MIG welding is widely considered the most common welding technique today. It’s characterized by sparks (weld splatter) flying off the weld point, and is the technique usually shown when someone is welding in a TV show or advertisement. In a process reminiscent of a hot glue gun, a wire electrode and gas are heated and fed into a weld pool using a welding gun, fusing the two base materials together.
The MIG welding method uses inert gas, like Argon, which makes it ideal for use with steel, stainless steel, and aluminum. It is the common choice for heavy machinery and rough industrial work.
Advantages of MIG Welding
The wire fed through the welding gun acts as both the electrode and filler material, so MIG welds can be completed faster than TIG welds. Their efficiency allows for a higher rate of production at lower costs.
Craftsmen turn to MIG welding when they are faced with thicker metals that require a heavy-duty bead. MIG’s use of filler material allows pieces to be fused together without heating them all the way through. The welder can also vary the welding current and speed, making the technique suitable for a wide range of metal types and applications.
Dissimilar welding refers to the process of connecting two different kinds of metal together. This is possible in MIG welding because the feed wire acts as filler material rather than only as an electrode.
MIG welding is easier to learn and is more forgiving of mistakes than TIG welding. Therefore, it can be used successfully by welders of all skill levels.
At BSMW, MIG welding is often utilized when joining parts for the mining industry, including components such as structural and plate steel.
Which Technique is Better?
The answer to this question is dependent on the project under consideration. It’s an important choice because there are clear differences in approach and expected outcomes that can make or break the success of your project. It’s essential to work with a metal fabrication partner with the reputation, experience and expertise to deliver a quality result regardless of which technique is required. BSMW is proud to deliver trusted guidance and welding precision to each and every one of its customers.
BSMW’s Welding Capabilities
BSMW offers MIG, TIG and seam welding services. Its welders hold AWS D1.1 (carbon steel), D1.2 (aluminum) and D1.6 (stainless steel) qualifications and have extensive experience adhering to custom weld qualifications requested by customers.
Two onsite Certified Welding Inspectors (CWIs) provide quality assurance throughout the production process. This eliminates the need to contract with third-party CWIs that can add cost and time to your project. Built-in stop points for quality inspections are also a part of the process.
Contact Badger Sheet Metal Works for more information about our welding qualifications and how they apply to your project.