This article will look at the three common systems and processes of welding - Mig welding, stick welding and Tig welding. We will review all three of these processes. Before looking at these processes, let us quickly note the common characteristics of each process.

Every welding process has the following three basic elements:

  • Heat source
  • Filler metal
  • Shielding gas or flux

Mig Welding

In mig welding, the filler metal is the electrode. It rests on a spool of wire. It is also a shielding gas process.

Advantages of Mig Welding

Mig welding is easier to learn because you can preset all of your parameters. It is going to be cleaner without any slag process. You can hit a wide variety of metal thicknesses. It is suitable for welding indoors. If you’re working in a shop or a garage, then it’s a great process to use.

Stick welding

Stick welding is a flux-based process. It is a good choice for outdoor use. Wind doesn’t affect it as much, making it better-suited for windy, outdoor conditions compared to Mig and Tig. Additionally, stick welding is effective on thicker metals as well.

Stick welding is more forgiving when welding dirty or rusty metal. It is a good choice for welding farm equipment or a gate. It can be used in your driveway. Rust and debris don’t affect it as much as the other processes.

The downside of stick welding is that it results in more spatter and fume and hence cannot be used indoors. The welds aren’t as clean either. If you’re working on aircraft or automotive frame mounts, then you shouldn’t expect the cleanest or the prettiest welds.

When working with frames, it’s better to choose mig or tig welding processes.

Tig Welding

Tig Welding yields the highest quality welds. It has aesthetically pleasing weld beads. It will also give you the most precise welds. It works great on thinner metals.

Tig welding allows the adjustment of heat input through hand/foot control.

It's difficult to control because you're controlling all three elements of the process:

One of your legs controls the heat, the opposite hand controls the filler element deposition rate, and there's a non-consumable tungsten electrode that is creating your arc as you move through the heat.

For the same reason, tig welding is a slower process which requires more skills and practice to master over the other processes. Tig welding is great for frames of aircrafts and automobiles.

What metals can you use for each process?

Mig welding is suitable for the following metals:

  • Steel
  • Stainless steel
  • Aluminum alloys

Stick welding may be employed for the following metal types:

  • Steel
  • Stainless steel
  • Cast iron

Tig welding can be used to weld any metal that conducts electricity, including:

  • Steel
  • Stainless steel
  • Aluminum
  • Copper
  • Brass
  • Chromoly
  • Exotic metals like magnesium and titanium

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