Want to perfect your MIG welding technique?
Then here is what you need to know. The reality is there are only 4 main techniques used:
- Side to side
Guess what? None of these effect the quality as much as:
- Joint preparation
- Machine set-up
- Getting comfortable
Most welders get so caught up in techniques that they over look the basic foundations of preparation. Once you spend enough time practicing your eye and hand coordination will do all of the work!Joint preparation
MIG welding requires a clean joint! If you have rust, mill scale, moisture, oils, paints or any substance that is not clean shiny metal then there is no welding technique that can help you! Remember welding is about following procedures and there is nothing more important then joint preparation. The World’s best welders cannot make a decent weld if the joint is not properly prepared. Take a robot that produces x-ray quality welds and then add a little grime to the weld area and all of a sudden that robot won’t be able to make a half decent weld!
If you don’t prepare your joint properly you will end up doing twice the work in repairs and it will never look right.
Machine set-up is the most important part for producing a good weld. Voltage and wire feed speed can make or literally break a weld. When learning how to weld the most important exercise you can do is learn how to set-up your machine. Better yet try a new machine every day you weld so you force yourself to learn proper machine set up. A good exercise is to take the MIG gun and weld on a scrap piece of metal without looking. The sound alone can tell you if your machine is set right. squeeze the trigger and listen. You want the sound of an egg sizzling on a hot frying pan. Play with both the voltage and wire feed speed until you master every combination possible. Don’t be scared and take some risks! Thats the only way you will learn. On a side note every welding machine runs a little different. You need to learn how to adapt.
When it comes to the actual welding technique there is one rule you need to follow! Get comfortable! Lean and brace yourself so your hands are rock solid. If you need to tack on a piece of metal to lean on then do that. I like to keep a channel lock that I use as a shelf to lean on. As time goes by and you break a 1000 hours of practice you will learn your body’s ability. For example when I weld regularly I can weld overhead left and right handed without looking and produce a picture perfect weld. When I started I could barely keep the arc lite because my arms would fall from the gravity pulling on them.
In the end it does not matter how skilled you are because you still need a clean joint, the right voltage and wire feed speed settings with the comfort to steady your body and focus on your eye and hand coordination.