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RentArc Welding FAQs: Understanding the differences between MIG and TIG welding?


Next up in our Welding FAQs blog series we are tackling the question:


What are the differences between MIG and TIG welding?


In the world of welding, MIG and TIG stand out as two of the most widely used and versatile processes. Each technique offers unique advantages and is better suited for certain applications over others. So you can choose the best method for your project, the Rentarc team have put together this blog to help you understand the main differences between MIG and TIG welding.


The Welding Process


MIG Welding, also known as Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW), involves feeding a continuous solid wire electrode through a welding gun into the weld pool, joining two base materials together. A shielding gas is also expelled from the gun to protect the weld pool from contamination.


TIG Welding, or Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW), uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to produce the weld. The welder manually feeds a filler metal into the weld pool if needed, which allows for greater control but requires more skill. TIG welding also uses a shielding gas to protect the purity of the weld.


Materials Compatibility


MIG welding is versatile and can be used on a wide range of materials, including steel, stainless steel and aluminium. It is particularly well-suited for thicker materials. TIG welding excels with thinner gauge materials and offers the versatility to weld more types of metals than MIG, including aluminium, steel, stainless steel, nickel alloys, copper, brass and even gold.


Weld Quality and Appearance


TIG welding is renowned for producing superior weld quality and appearance. The process allows for precise control over the weld, which results in clean, high-quality welds with minimal splatter. This makes TIG welding an ideal choice for projects where aesthetics are important, such as custom motorcycles or sculptures.


MIG welding, while faster and more efficient for larger projects, may not match the aesthetic quality of TIG welds. However, it still provides strong and reliable welds for most applications, including construction and manufacturing.


Ease of Use and Speed


MIG welding is generally considered easier to learn and faster to execute. The continuous wire feed and automatic shielding gas make it possible to lay down long welds quickly without having to stop and start. This makes MIG welding a go-to choice for production work and projects requiring efficiency.


In contrast, TIG welding requires a higher skill level, given the need for manual feeding of the filler metal and control of the heat and arc. The process is slower but offers unmatched precision, making it suitable for detailed work or when welding thin materials.


Cost Considerations


The initial setup cost for MIG welding tends to be lower than for TIG welding. MIG welders are generally less expensive, and the consumables—wire and gas—are more cost-effective for large projects. TIG welding equipment and consumables, including tungsten electrodes and filler metals, can be more expensive, but for projects requiring precision and high-quality finishes, the investment may be justified.


What Is Right For Your Project


Choosing between MIG and TIG welding depends on several factors, including the material being welded, the desired quality and appearance of the weld, the level of precision required, and the speed and efficiency of the welding process. MIG welding offers simplicity and speed, making it suitable for a wide range of applications. In contrast, TIG welding provides superior quality and precision, ideal for specialised projects and materials. Understanding these differences allows welders to select the most appropriate process for their specific needs, ensuring the best results for your projects.


As always, the RentArc team are always happy to help choose the right method and welding equipment for your project. If you have any questions, get in touch.


Call us on +44 (0)23 80 867 789 or email us at info@rentarc.com.

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