The difference between the two is the way the arc is used. MIG (metal inert gas) welding uses a feed wire that constantly moves through the gun to create the spark, then melts to form the weld. TIG (tungsten inert gas) welding uses long rods to fuse two metals directly together. Both types of welding processes are used in numerous industries. Both processes can be performed with many common metals. There are differences between the two. Let’s take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of both.

TIG Welding

TIG (tungsten inert gas): Gas tungsten arc welding, also known as tungsten inert gas welding, is an arc welding process that uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to produce the weld. The weld area and electrode are protected from oxidation or other atmospheric contamination by an inert shielding gas. The normal gas for TIG welding is argon (Ar). Helium (He) can be added to increase penetration and fluidity of the weld pool. Argon or argon/helium mixtures can be used for welding all grades. Within the copper collet, the many holes allow the transfer of the inert gas that will surround the tungsten during the welding process. This gas will not react with its surroundings and will protect the electrode from any contaminating particles that could ruin the weld. A foot pedal controls a TIG welding arc. TIG welding is a semi-automatic process. It is used principally in joining metal. It is ideal for critical joints and welding thin metal sections or thinner metals. However, the complexity of the TIG welding process and its cost are drawbacks compared to MIG welding. TIG welding requires more time and effort. You must do all your TIG welding in a well-ventilated area. If you are exposed to plenty of fresh air, you won’t be exposed to high concentrations of toxic fumes. You will also want to make sure that the metal surfaces that you are welding are clean. Any contaminants or impurities in or on the metal will affect the quality of your finished products.

MIG Welding

MIG (metal inert gas): Gas metal arc welding, sometimes referred to by the subtypes metal inert gas and metal active gas is a welding process in which an electric arc forms between a consumable MIG wire electrode and the workpiece metal, which heats the workpiece metal, causing them to fuse. MIG welding is a method of welding that utilizes electricity to join pieces of metal together. MIG is an arc welding method. Welding is just a giant hot glue gun, but with metal instead of glue. It combines a consumable metal electrode deposited as a filler and a shielding gas to cover and protect the welding area from contaminants. Can you imagine a world without welding? If our ancestors didn’t invest time and effort in this field, we wouldn’t have vehicles, bridges, or even the smallest kitchen utensils.

In the 1940s, gas tungsten arc welding was perfected thanks to Russell Meredith. He used non-consumable tungsten electrodes under the protection of helium, that’s why he called it HeliArc. Afterward, gas metal arc welding was invented. Similarly, it used helium as a shielding gas. A consumable and continuously fed wire was used as an electrode. This made the process much easier. A MIG weld requires a wire to be connected to a direct current source that acts as an electrode to join two pieces of metal as it continuously passes through a welding gun. A few drawbacks are that the MIG system is not very portable. A tank of gas can weigh a hundred pounds and spools of wire can range on an average from 10 to 60 pounds or more. And the welder is also heavy. A lightweight model can weigh in at around 65 pounds. MIG welding needs to be done inside so there is no wind. MIG welding creates fumes, sparks and smoke, making it a less clean process.

Technique Differences

The main difference between TIG and MIG Welding is the technique used. TIG welding requires the welder to feed a separate filler material onto the weld with one hand while operating the torch with the other. With MIG welding, a wire electrode is continuously fed through the spool gun to create the weld. MIG welding usually produces spatter. This causes the loss of costly filler metal, whereas TIG welding is mostly free from spatter. In MIG welding, the quality and appearance of weld beads are not very good. The TIG weld can easily produce defect-free reliable joints with good appearance. TIG welding can achieve a level of precision because the operator has more control over the gun versus MIG welding.

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About Palmer Tool

Palmer Tool completes critical jobs on-time and on-budget. Since 1966, Palmer has taken on jobs that other shops and contractors either didn’t want, or just couldn’t do. We can fabricate parts in our shops, visit you at your plant, or meet you at on-location (ie. logging, mining, construction, etc.). From the toughest repairs to the most complex new assembly, we’ve seen and done it all. Over the past 50+ years, Palmer has maintained our reputation as a trusted expert welder and fabricator of non-ferrous alloys in demanding applications (high pressure + high temperature chemical plants). Our hard-facing applications, and robust designs, have successfully extended the service life of countless industrial “extreme service” components, saving our clients’ money! Palmer Tool and Contractors provide on-call emergency services 24/7, because we understand that in manufacturing “the clock never stops”.