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How to Weld - MIG Welding

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This is a basic guide on how to weld using a metal inert gas (MIG) welder. MIG
welding is the awesome process of using electricity to melt and join pieces of
metal together. MIG welding is sometimes referred to as the "hot glue gun" of
the welding world and is generally regarded as one of the easiest type of

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Weld---MIG-Welding/

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17-Aug-15

How to Weld - MIG Welding

Page 2 of 11

welding to learn.

How to Weld - MIG Welding

by noahw (/member/noahw/)

**This Instructable is not intended to be THE definitive guide on MIG welding, for
(/id/Bruschetta-Recipe)
(/id/How-to-Weld---MIG-Welding/?download=pdf)
thatDownload
you might
want to seek out a a more comprehensive guide from a
professional.
Think
of
this
Instructable
as
a
guide
to
get
you
started
MIG
(/id/How-to-Weld---MIG-Welding/?ALLSTEPS)
11 Steps
(/id/How-to-Weld---MIG-Welding/step2/How-the-Machine-Works/)
welding. Welding is a skill that needs to be developed over time, with a piece of
metal in front of you and with a welding gun/torch in your hands.**
(/id/Woodworking-ProjectsCollection

If you are interested in TIG welding, check out: How to Weld (TIG)
(http://www.instructables.com/id/S0JB8K3F3R7AOJI/).

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Basics of MIG Welding


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MIG welding was developed in the 1940's and 60 years later the general
principle is still very much the same. MIG welding uses an arc of electricity to
create a short circuit between a continuously fed anode (+ the wire-fed welding
gun) and a cathode ( - the metal being welded).
The heat produced by the short circuit, along with a non-reactive (hence inert)
gas locally melts the metal and allows them to mix together. Once the heat is
removed, the metal begins to cool and solidify, and forms a new piece of fused
metal.
A few years ago the full name - Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding was changed to
Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) but if you call it that most people won't know
what the heck your talking about - the name MIG welding has certainly stuck.
MIG welding is useful because you can use it to weld many different types of
metals: carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum, magnesium, copper, nickel,
silicon bronze and other alloys.

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Weld---MIG-Welding/

17-Aug-15

How to Weld - MIG Welding

Page 3 of 11

Here are some advantages to MIG welding:

How to Weld - MIG Welding

by noahw (/member/noahw/)

The ability to join a wide range of metals and thicknesses


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All-position welding capability
A good weld bead
(/id/How-to-Weld---MIG-Welding/?ALLSTEPS)
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A minimum of weld splatter
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Here are some disadvantages of MIG welding:


MIG welding can only be used on thin to medium thick metals
The use of an inert gas makes this type of welding less portable than arc
welding which requires no external source of shielding gas
Produces a somewhat sloppier and less controlled weld as compared to TIG
(Tungsten Inert Gas Welding)

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Please be positive and constructive.

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rbusch (/member/rbusch/)

1 month ago

Reply

this is one of the better "how to welds" ive seen on the internet. most are so
errors and misconceptions or ignorance its crazy. good to see that you
did your homework. and took the effort to make a good instructible. :)

(/member/rbusch/)
full of

DaveyH (/member/DaveyH/)

4 months ago

Reply

This sounds like a great place to start for me. I've heard how much money
make and I wanted to get some sort of certification. If you say it's that
easy, I'll have to look more into it and see if there's a class nearby. Do you
think it's possible to learn this by myself though? I'd rather do that than have to
go to some sort of school.

(/member/DaveyH/)
welders

http://www.williamsbroswelding.com.au

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Weld---MIG-Welding/

17-Aug-15

How to Weld - MIG Welding

(/member/rbusch/)
How to Weldrbusch
- MIG
Welding

Page 4 of 11

DaveyH
by
noahw (/member/noahw/) 1 month ago

Reply

you certainly can teach yourself. i did it... do a lot of research. get a few
books. practice practice. some areas are in such demand for
welders. that ive seen people get
in the door(/id/How-to-Weld---MIG-Welding/step2/How-the-Machine-Works/)
with hardly any
(/id/How-to-Weld---MIG-Welding/?ALLSTEPS)
11 Steps
experience. but if you keep at it and don't be afraid to ask others who
can weld better then you about their techniques. there are some states
I Made it!
Favorite
that require a certificate in the US bot only a few. collage is anCollection
option
but it can be done without. honestly ive met a lot of "welders" over the
years that went to school for welding and still cant weld worth a hoot.
the moneys okay but also veries a lot from region to region. and type of
welding most the high paying ones are traveling jobs TIG welding for
ethanol plants or oil pipelines. which then you are required to have
certifications. which are specifically dependent on the type of work.
some collages also offer 30 hour non credit corses. if you wanna try it
first. probably 300 to 500 bucks and you get to play with theire
equipment and get the basics instruction.
Download (/id/How-to-Weld---MIG-Welding/?download=pdf)
(/member/rbusch/)
welding

BallscrewBob (/member/BallscrewBob/)

DaveyH

3 months ago

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Mig welders don't tend to make much money. To get into the good
need to be able to do all position (6g) with almost any
medium but esp. stick.

(/member/BallscrewBob/)
money you

Also welders tend to die earlier than most as the fumes often carry
many toxic elements so remember to always use the correct PPE and
fume extractors etc. My son wanted to be a welder but thankfully took
my advice and picked another trade.
If you really want to do it and can get access to a welding facility to
"play" you can learn quite a bit on your own.
One of my early instructors always reminded us that "somebodys life
may depend on your weld" which I always stuck by when welding.

throwedoff (/member/throwedoff/)

BallscrewBob

3 months ago

Reply

All the welders that I have known that died early (before they were 70
were either heavy smokers or died in welding related
accidents. Where did you get your mortality information?

(/member/throwedoff/)
years old)

BallscrewBob (/member/BallscrewBob/)

throwedoff

3 months ago

Reply

There are a few sources. Try looking at the fume composition of


personal experience and a few of those were non
smokers too.

(/member/BallscrewBob/)
welding. Also

Until recently (maybe last 10 years) fume extraction had always been a
neglected subject and in the field its still a hit and miss affair.
http://www.ihdlnconference2014.org/abstract/Hardt
(http://www.ihdlnconference2014.org/abstract/Hardt)
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12109555
(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12109555)
http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/88-110/
(http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/88-110/)
The list is almost endless. Seen a few lesser injuries too from
components letting loose during setup of large parts as welders were
getting set up

echetto (/member/echetto/)

DaveyH

3 months ago

Reply

I work for a welding products manufacturer, and the company had also
certification site in my home country. This kind of welding, for
doing it properly, can't be learn just by yourself. From the quality of the
welding, to how to protect yourself from injuries, the training is a must if

(/member/echetto/)
a training

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Weld---MIG-Welding/

17-Aug-15

How to Weld - MIG Welding

Page 5 of 11

you want to weld for a living. I don't have a clue of the USA
marketplace,
in other places
the world
a highly trained and
How to Weld
- MIGbutWelding
by of
noahw
(/member/noahw/)
experienced welder can make more money than an engineer. I mean
Download (/id/How-to-Weld---MIG-Welding/?download=pdf)
gas pipe welders, the good ones, in example.
(/id/How-to-Weld---MIG-Welding/?ALLSTEPS)

11 Steps

randomprojectguy (/member/randomprojectguy/)

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2 months ago
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so much valuable info


(/member/randomprojectguy/)

RogerM6 (/member/RogerM6/)

3 months ago

Reply

noahw did a fantastic job with this instructable. @psik - because you don't
welding or the instructions in the article, doesn't make them wrong.

(/member/RogerM6/)
understand

I will clarify some basic things for you though since you don't understand what
the rest of us do.
1) The electric arc is caused by a short circuit. That's what electric welding is;
a controlled short circuit.
2) CO2 is used a shielding gas, even with pure steel. Oxygen prevents a
proper weld, so inert gas is used to push it away.
3) When he said to increase the pressure, it means increase the gas flow.
Increasing the pressure of the gas is achieved by turning up the flow.
Do try in the future not to insult someone else's work simply because you
misunderstand it.

psik (/member/psik/)

3 months ago

Reply

Although it is very helpful, this Instructable has many erroneous information


(/member/psik/)
like:

- heat is generated by short circuit - not true, electric arc is a heat source in
welding
- 100% Argon or a mixture of CO2 and Argon is used as a shielding gas - not
true, for steel pure CO2 is mainly used to heat up the arc. It's also much
cheaper than Argon
- you have to increase pressure when there is not enough shielding gas - not
true, you have to increase gas flow instead

anode505 (/member/anode505/)

3 months ago

Reply

Nice write up!


(/member/anode505/)

Now for fun, here a video of how NOT to weld.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Us7VDZT-NcQ

BornOnFire (/member/BornOnFire/)

4 years ago

Reply

In regards to Gas Tank Regulator Valves, An oxygen setup should always be


(/member/BornOnFire/)
opened completely so as to seat the stem of the valve against the packing.
Failure to seat the internal stem's packing will likely cause a leak-resulting in a
potential large scale explosion. The potential of a leak is more common than
one would think. Imagine your garden spigot that you water your pansies with.
Open it all the way and it usually works fine. Turn it a just few times and,
usually, it drips-not a big deal. It's just a little water right? Apply this situation to
your stuffy garage. You are welding a few things and the phone rings. 30
minutes later, your garage is a blasting cap just waiting for ignition. You get
back to your work, strike an arc, and all of a sudden, you see a white light and
your late grandmother welcomes you "Home" into God's kingdom. Now, we all
would like to see Grandma again but I'm sure she can wait a few more
eternities before you show up. Now, I'm not saying all regulator setups will
blow you into grandma's arms again, but the Oxy-Acetylene setups are
potential fatalities- now you know.

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Weld---MIG-Welding/

17-Aug-15

How to Weld - MIG Welding

Page 6 of 11

(/member/F300k/)
How to WeldF300k
- MIG
WeldingBornOnFire
by noahw (/member/noahw/)3 months ago

Reply

i was reading the comments just to see if someone let them know that
Download (/id/How-to-Weld---MIG-Welding/?download=pdf)
(/member/F300k/)
the value should be open all the way, can be very dangerous. the value
works both way up and down 11 Steps
(/id/How-to-Weld---MIG-Welding/?ALLSTEPS)
(/id/How-to-Weld---MIG-Welding/step2/How-the-Machine-Works/)

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3 months ago

Blackie Ray (/member/Blackie+Ray/)

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HG, I hope you defied them at your high school and took welding anyway.
about women and painting in the early part of the 20th
century when women were expected to do pastels and water color. Oil was
deemed to difficult for women to undertake.

(/member/Blackie+Ray/)
Recently reading

Taykaim (/member/Taykaim/)

3 months ago

Reply

The 20 CFH you mention is a very good starting flow and the correct default
for most mig welding. Depending on gas mixture, stickout and nozzle
position relative to the tip you might go as high as 25 cfh, but any higher and
you risk getting a venturi effect that sucks in room air and further decreases
weld quality.

(/member/Taykaim/)
setting

cammers (/member/cammers/)

Taykaim

3 months ago

Reply

Interesting point. Thanks.


(/member/cammers/)

BTW I think that converts to just over 9 l/min for the rest of the world.

cg2 (/member/cg2/)

3 months ago

Reply

3 months ago

Reply

Great instructable, thanks for putting all this info together


(/member/cg2/)

HandiGirl (/member/HandiGirl/)

Thankyou for sharing this info about welding! When I went to high school in
Canada welding, carpentry and electricity plus drafting was
offered in school. I had a space in my schedule that would accommodate
these interesting "crafts". However, I was mocked and jeered for putting my
name on the list SINCE I WAS A GIRL. Hesketh, the principal of my Junior
High School, laughed and mocked me in an all school assembly. I felt very
ashamed that I had made the request. He singled me out for wanting to learn
the basics of "manly crafts". At the time, I was unaware that my Father's family
had for generations in Canada and Eastern European been noted craftsmen in
this field of interest. It was within me. Nevertheless, after that public
humilation, 20 girls signed up for the same courses. Unfortunately, I was
leaving the Junior High School and entering the Senior High School, where
same stupid policy was in place. So, thankyou once again for sharing. Some of
us, are just born with the natural yearning to learn these so called "manly
crafts" as well as being an expert on vacuuming, washing the dishes, laundry
and crafting a decorative 4-5 layer sponge cake. I can also plough a field and
milk a cow. And, I have changed the oil in my car several times including
changing the filters. Handigirl.

(/member/HandiGirl/)
British Columbia,

Kevanf1 (/member/Kevanf1/)

HandiGirl

3 months ago

Reply

Handigirl, the way you were treated is nothing short of disgusting! Ones
not matter whatever the craft or skill. My god, where would
we have been if not for all the wonderfully skilled women mechanics,
welders, lathe operators and engineers during World War 2? I am a 52
yr old male who does not underestimate the power of any other man or
woman. I can weld (gas, MMA and MiG) but I can also sew and love it.
I also bake a very nice coffee cake :) These are all human skills not
male or female skills.

(/member/Kevanf1/)
sex should

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Weld---MIG-Welding/

17-Aug-15

How to Weld - MIG Welding

Page 7 of 11

How to Weldjstevenson12
- MIG Welding
by noahw (/member/noahw/)
(/member/jstevenson12/)
HandiGirl
3 months ago

Reply

Handigirl, good for you! I would be proud of any of my daughter's to


Download (/id/How-to-Weld---MIG-Welding/?download=pdf)
(/member/jstevenson12/)
take on that task. Btw my Mom (Mum for our friends in Canada) was a
(/id/How-to-Weld---MIG-Welding/?ALLSTEPS)
Stepsother women.
(/id/How-to-Weld---MIG-Welding/step2/How-the-Machine-Works/)
welder during WWII along with11
many
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4 months ago

edanb (/member/edanb/)

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I took a course on TIG welding a couple weeks ago and found it to be too
for me, I have since stopped welding, but after reading this I realized I
should probably have started with MIG. Do you think it would make sense to
take a month-long course? They are not so cheap and I don't want to waste
my time. I was also told I should get a welding helmet
(http://weldinghelmetpros.com), but wouldn't the instructor have to supply me
with one? I'm a little concerned about the safety issues. Thanks!

(/member/edanb/)
difficult

Taykaim (/member/Taykaim/)

edanb

3 months ago

Reply

I forgot to mention, TIG has (IMO) the steepest learning curve. While it
just one hand for autogenous welds, it can involve up to both
hands and a foot, so if you weren't a drum set player in another life, it
might be a tough thing to get started with. Stick isnt bad once you learn
to strike the arc, but IMO again, mig is by far the easiest to pick up for a
beginner. Worth trying that in a class next time around.

(/member/Taykaim/)
can be

Taykaim (/member/Taykaim/)

edanb

3 months ago

Reply

Most courses require but do not provide PSE (Personal Safety


Which is honestly good for you, as the class would be
much more expensive if they did. In my experience for a mig class,
you'd be expected to show up with a pair of safety glasses, helmet,
vice grips or pliers, mig pliers (AKA welpers) a steel brush, mig/stick
gloves and a jacket or at least long sleeve shirt. Some also require or
recommend a welders cap. For what its worth, starting with TIG IS
probably the hard way, and both mig and smaw(stick) are though
different from each other, easier to pick up than TIG.

(/member/Taykaim/)
Equipment).

Lastly, a word regarding cost. When you price out buying/renting a tank
of gas, a professional level wirefeed unit, a high quality power source, a
decent mig gun, the regulator/flowmeter, an endless supply of coupons
(metal pieces to weld together for learning), the consumables such as
tips, nozzles etc, the spool of (presumably) ES-70-6 or similiar for mild
steel that you might use up or more often make welding classes a real
bargain. And any PSE you buy you keep for after the class.

BallscrewBob (/member/BallscrewBob/)

edanb

3 months ago

Reply

Almost all welding requires a proper welding helmet / goggles. Most


own but in any classroom they should be available along
with proper FRC coveralls.

(/member/BallscrewBob/)
guys buy their

TIG needs a little more co-ordination than mig or stick but I would have
stuck with it if I were you as once you master that the other forms of
welding would have been much easier.

doctorlock (/member/doctorlock/)

3 months ago

Reply

Sorry but o2, oxy is not flammable but an oxidizer which helps things burn.
(/member/doctorlock/)

Cueball21 (/member/Cueball21/)

3 months ago

Reply

Great 'ible' Thanks for taking the time.


(/member/Cueball21/)

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Weld---MIG-Welding/

17-Aug-15

How to Weld - MIG Welding

Page 8 of 11

(/member/BallscrewBob/)
How to BallscrewBob
Weld - MIG
Welding by noahw (/member/noahw/)3 months ago

Reply

Great
intro.
Download
(/id/How-to-Weld---MIG-Welding/?download=pdf)

(/member/BallscrewBob/)

Only exception I have is the all position comment.

(/id/How-to-Weld---MIG-Welding/?ALLSTEPS)

11 Steps

(/id/How-to-Weld---MIG-Welding/step2/How-the-Machine-Works/)

Sure if you are not too bothered about integrity but for a fully qualified weld I
would say no. I have some great pictures of overhead welds done with mig
Collection
that look fine for profile etc. etc. done buy welders with years of experience,
but all of which failed. v-up gives better pen. but v-down with mig is often just a
cosmetic weld that can be useful as a cap for a v-up.

I Made it!

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It sure is easy to learn though. Back in the 70s my instructor told me "Ya can
teach a monkey to mig weld"
Its also great for large gap / bridge welds to lay down something to backfill
where stick would not cut it or you don't have something to use as a filler
bridge.

Graham Leach (/member/Graham+Leach/)

3 months ago

Reply

I think this article is really well done. You did a super job of it and this should
into MIG quickly, and easily. The only caution I would sound is
that you made it sound SO easy people may not think that having an
experienced welder around the first couple of times is needed. I do think it's
needed. You can make a friend, get some tips & tricks and keep it safe...all at
the same time! Find your nearest Maker/Hacker Space, check it out and see if
they've got this gear already for you try before you buy, with an experienced
facilitator at your elbow. Once you've got your "sea legs" underneath you, the
sky is the limit!

(/member/Graham+Leach/)
bring people

pigpigpig (/member/pigpigpig/)

3 months ago

Reply

4 months ago

Reply

(/member/pigpigpig/)

ken.downer.7 (/member/ken.downer.7/)

Having just read the instructions for MIG welding I have to say it is a load of
do people think they can weld when it is very clear they cannot. I
speak as a teacher of fabrication and welding (15yrs) my first year students
after correct instruction would lay a weld 100 times better than what has been
shown here. You guys out there that want to weld correctly, take the time and
do an evening course at your local college.

(/member/ken.downer.7/)
rubbish. Why

william.obanion.7 (/member/william.obanion.7/)

5 months ago

Reply

Always clean your nozzle after every weld and when changing your tip. A
(/member/william.obanion.7/)
clean nozzle prolongs the life of your tip and ensures a quality weld. A clogged
nozzle also restricts your gas flow causing porosity.

JamesL19 (/member/JamesL19/)

6 months ago

Reply

I'm
(/member/JamesL19/)
struggling

to choose my first welding equipment. Been searching the web for


reviews etc. There's plenty of pages like at here (http://pickwelder.com/how-tofind-best-mig-welder.html) but I'm not sure if a
$300-$500 is good enough for my household needs.

DaveyH (/member/DaveyH/)

6 months ago

Reply

I've gotten burned before by a welder, and let me tell you, it's not fun in the
It was actually a 3rd degree burn for me. Anyway, since then I
learned then to wear gloves and be a little more careful.

(/member/DaveyH/)
slightest.

http://www.gemstatewelderssupply.com/Products/

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Weld---MIG-Welding/

17-Aug-15

How to Weld - MIG Welding

Page 9 of 11

How to Weld - MIG Welding

by noahw (/member/noahw/)

ColinB4 (/member/ColinB4/)
Download (/id/How-to-Weld---MIG-Welding/?download=pdf)

7 months ago

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I have written so many articles on welding procedures


11 Steps
(/id/How-to-Weld---MIG-Welding/step2/How-the-Machine-Works/)
never
knew anything
about MIG welding.
Great job author.

(/member/ColinB4/)
(/id/How-to-Weld---MIG-Welding/?ALLSTEPS)
but after reading this article felt like

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www.red-d-arc.com

8 months ago

jake.burton.9406 (/member/jake.burton.9406/)

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This has been so helpful to me. I'm a freshmen in high school and I take
I have gotten past my other 1st year class mates and I moved
onto mig welding and this has helped me greatly.

(/member/jake.burton.9406/)
welding class,

8 months ago

AdeelR (/member/AdeelR/)

Reply

@weldpedia
(/member/AdeelR/)

This article is best for newbies. A very good briefing on MIG welding basics;
equipment, mechanism, technique etc. Find more on
http://www.weldpedia.com/search/label/MIG

6 years ago

ncblu (/member/ncblu/)

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i weld for a living. folks before you spend large amounts of money on a welder,
sure you are willing to spend the time practicing, thats the most
important thing, practice, practice, practice. start running straight passes, no
weaving or sewing or circling. when running a bead remember - where you
point the tip is where the weld will be. if you're using gas, watch for porosity
because you pulled the tip back too far and contaminated the weld. dont grind
your welds - it's a bad habit, even if your welds arent pretty, they will be in
time. speed is very important, constant steady speed. the welders you buy at
harbor freight or walmart are fine for tack welding, but i wouldnt put it to use on
a trailer or something that could have bad results if a weld cracks. if you run
without gas you will get lots of spatter, even with anti spatter dip. prep is the
most important, make sure your metal is clean and bevels should be between
25% and 50%. when making t-welds or perpendicular welds remember the
metal will contract TOWARD the weld bead, not away from it ( i know this is
contrary to popular belief and highschool science but it will happen ). never
weld in a down direction, never drag the bead like you would in stick welding,
always be pushing the puddle in the direction you want to go. most of all
practice, practice, practice

(/member/ncblu/)
make

ncblu (/member/ncblu/)

ncblu

6 years ago

Reply

one more thing, if you want to make a living as a welder, do not weave
(/member/ncblu/)
or circle or sew - you likely wont make it through to morning coffee
break. also be prepared to weld out-of-position, this is welding on any
surface that isnt sitting flat on a table ( which actually is harder to do
properly than it sounds ). you might be welding upside down with hot
metal dropping in your shirt.

GabrielleC1 (/member/GabrielleC1/)

ncblu

10 months ago

Reply

thanks for all the excellent tips!! A few questionsis it possible to find a
that actually penetrates? I am a home/garage hobbyist
looking to weld materials averaging around no more than 3/16-1/4"
thick, mostly for art projects, making lights etcI have more experience
with arc welding on thicker materials. I have heard that you can't really
weld with 110 but I see a lot of machines out there I am also
considering going for a lincoln 225, I see a lot of them on CL, but I am
not sure if that will be more power than I need. What do you suggest?

(/member/GabrielleC1/)
110v MIG

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Weld---MIG-Welding/

17-Aug-15

How to Weld - MIG Welding

Page 10 of 11

How to WeldBeausejour
- MIG (/member/Beausejour/)
Welding by noahw ncblu
(/member/noahw/)

6 years ago

Reply

HI There Can you tell me how close i should hold the tip from my work.

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(/member/Beausejour/)

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17-Aug-15

How to Weld - MIG Welding

How to Weld - MIG Welding

Page 11 of 11

by noahw (/member/noahw/)

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(/id/How-to-Weld---MIG-Welding/step2/How-the-Machine-Works/)

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17-Aug-15