Using a mig welder isn’t exactly easy if you’ve never done it before. It’s going to require a bit of work and effort, but you’ll be able to accomplish quite a lot once you figure it out. The only thing is, you need to make sure you understand the safety aspects before you jump in with both feet. You want to be sure you’re using it properly and that no one (yourself included) is going to get hurt in the process. If you do, you’re going to be surprised just how great things go and what you end up with.
Keep Your Pieces Close
You’re working with something that is extremely hot, so you want to make sure you have a good surface to be using it on. You’re welding two pieces together and that means they need to be close enough that they will join together when you start to melt them. If they’re not you end up making the edges very hot and you haven’t done anything. This can actually be dangerous if you overheat the pieces or if you’re then trying to weld them together again with the pieces too hot.
Remember, in most instances you aren’t going to want a gap between the items that you are welding together. That means you want to keep them as close as possible to get rid of any type of crack or seam. You want to make sure your connection is going to be tight and sturdy.
Keep Your Hands and Loose Items Away
Again, you’re working with something that is very hot. That means you want to keep everything away from it but the material that you’re actually welding. If you get your hands too close or any flammable materials, even if they’re not actually in the path of the beam, they could get too hot and that could result in a huge amount of danger to you, your project and the items that you’re burning. You want to make sure that you keep everything safe and that you’re only heating objects that you want to weld together.
Anything that doesn’t need to be welded together is going to need to be kept far away from your mig welder. You want to make sure there is never a chance that something will catch on fire because of the heat that’s coming off the unit and that means keeping it stored safely away from flammable items as well.
Use the Right Wire
There are different sizes of wire that you can and will use when you’re welding, but you want to make sure that you’re using the right one at all times. That means making sure you know what size you’re going to actually need and not just picking out one that will work. A larger wire is going to take a lot more heat, and when it’s not necessary it’s just something dangerous you don’t need to be doing. You also leave the possibility for warping the pieces that you’re welding, so make sure you know what you should be using.
You’re also going to want to make sure that you don’t get a wire that’s too small as this could result in an incomplete or uneven weld. It’s going to take some practice to understand the perfect wire size, but you’re definitely going to be able to accomplish it.
Travel at the Right Speed
You’re going to want to get all of your settings just right while you’re welding too. It’s not just about the ‘travel’ but it’s definitely going to be a part of the process. You want to make sure that you’re slowly moving your bead across the surface, but if you go too slowly you can end up damaging the pieces as well. The key is making sure that you get just the right speed to get a good quality weld without damaging the pieces from speed or lack thereof. It’s going to take a little bit of practice to get it completely right.
Another aspect of this is that you want to check the voltage and the WFS as well. Either of these things being too high or too low also affects the type of weld that you get. Too low voltage or WFS results in a thin line, too high results in a too thick line. Make sure you get a good balance between the two to get the results that you’re really looking for and get a good weld throughout.
Keep the Electrode the Right Length
Your electrode is what’s giving you the heat that you need, so you want to make sure that it’s just the right size for what you’re trying to do. If it’s too short you won’t get a good connection. If it’s too long you could end up overdoing it. So you want to make sure that you’re carefully choosing the electrode you’re going to use based on the tools you have and the materials that you’re going to be welding. The best bet is to have something that sticks out from the tip of the welder about ¼ to 3/8 of an inch. That way you get the best balance.
If you’re not sure about the electrode for your machine just make sure you’re checking the measurements. You can take a minute to do this before you start up your machine and it could save you a lot in the long run when you get the job done right the first time, especially since welding isn’t an easy task to try to ‘do over.’
No matter what you’re doing the key is to make sure that you and everyone around you is going to be safe. The next most important thing is making sure that you get the job done the right way. So make sure you’re keeping these two points in mind while you get started and then make sure that you’re not going to end up with a poor job in the end. Welding may take some time and effort to get used to, but you definitely can do it.