MIG welding, also known as Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) or Wire Feed Welding, is a versatile welding process that is relatively easy to learn. A MIG system includes a constant voltage welding power source, a wire feeder, torch, shielding gas, gas regulator, and welding wire. The process of joining metal using MIG is rather simple. When you activate the trigger on the MIG gun, three things happen: welding wire feeds out, the welding wire becomes electrically "hot", and shielding gas begins to flow. When the wire comes in contact with the metal to be welded, an electric arc in excess of several thousand degrees is created, melting both the wire and the base metal. Shielding gas, usually a mixture of argon and carbon dioxide, flows over the molten weld, protecting it from atmospheric contamination. When the weld cools, the joined metal together is as strong as the individual pieces.
- Easy to learn
- Relatively inexpensive equipment
- Welds most common alloys, including steel, aluminum, and stainless steel
- Produces cosmetically attractive welds
- Able to weld a variety of thicknesses, from 24 gauge sheet metal to material several inches thick