Welding is the process of joining separate parts together with heat and/or pressure, and it’s commonly used on metal, wood, and thermoplastics. Many welding processes, including arc welding, use fillers to help form the weldment. Two common types of arc welding are MIG welding and TIG welding, and each offers advantages in specific applications. We’ll discuss those unique advantages and disadvantages here, as well as distinguish the two processes to help you determine which one is best for your project.
What Is MIG Welding?
MIG welding, or metal inert gas welding, is also known as GMAW (gas metal arc welding). This type of arc welding uses a consumable electrode wire that creates an arc with the workpiece and melts to form the filler. To protect the weld pool from contamination, MIG welding uses a shielding gas like argon, helium, carbon dioxide, or oxygen.
MIG welding is fast and efficient for welding a variety of metals, including stainless steel, aluminum, and carbon steel. This is the most popular type of welding because it’s easy to learn and delivers high-quality results. This process commonly produces automotive and piping products.
What Is TIG Welding?
Tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding is also called gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW). Instead of using a consumable wire, TIG welding applies a tungsten electrode to melt the workpieces together directly or with a handheld filler rod. The shielding gas for TIG welding is typically argon.
The TIG welding process is more complex than MIG welding, so it requires a highly skilled and experienced technician. The resulting welds are exceptional in strength and aesthetics.
What Are the Basic Differences Between MIG and TIG Welding?
There are some key differences between MIG vs. TIG welding, and those differences determine which technique is best for a particular application:
- Training: MIG is easier to learn, while TIG takes more time and practice to master.
- Materials: MIG welding works well with most metals, including aluminum, stainless steel, and copper. TIG welding can work with these materials too, but it cannot be used for ferrous metals.
- Shielding gas: The right shielding gas varies according to workpiece material and type of welding. The gas for TIG welding is typically 100% argon or argon with a small amount of helium or hydrogen. The gas for MIG welding is usually 75% argon with 25% carbon dioxide. MIG welding on aluminum requires 100% argon shielding gas.
- Speed: MIG welding is generally faster than TIG welding.
- Strength: Though TIG welding is often believed to create stronger joints, both types can produce strong, durable welds with the right technique.
- Heating process: In the TIG welding process, the welder can control the amperage with a foot pedal, precisely adjusting the heat in real time.
MIG Welding vs. TIG Welding: Pros and Cons
A comparison of MIG welding and TIG welding reveals certain benefits and drawbacks that may have varying degrees of importance to your application:
- Speed: MIG welding can create welds faster than TIG welding, resulting in faster production cycle times.
- Complexity: TIG welding is complicated and requires more cleaning, but it provides deeper material penetration than MIG welding.
- Aesthetics: MIG welding generally produces a less tidy weld than TIG welding, but this may not matter if the weld is hidden from view or appearance is not important to the application.
- Cost: MIG welding is less expensive, mostly because it takes far less time to do.
- Sealing efficacy: TIG welding is preferred for sealing welds.
Ultimately, the best choice between MIG and TIG welding depends upon your materials, budget, aesthetic requirements, type of weld, and timeline.
MIG Welding and TIG Welding Services From TBSI
At Taylor Business Strategies, Inc. (TBSI), we offer a variety of welding services, including MIG, TIG, robotic, grid, dual shield, pulsed, and spot welding. To learn more about welding or our other capabilities, request a quote today.