Many experienced and professional welders are well aware of the welding process. They also know that there isn’t just one simple method for welding that works for everyone. There are several different types of welding that exist to get the job done well, one of those is TIG welding.
It is highly recommended to use wires made specifically for TIG welding. If you can’t find wires this thick, however, it is possible to use MIG wire instead.
How can you use MIG wire for TIG welding? Since MIG wire is available mainly in spools, making them curved and TIG welding requires straight wires, they can only be used in place of TIG wire if they are properly straightened well.
There is a specific method required for using MIG wire for TIG welding. I’ve decided to provide you with a step by step guideline to help you learn more about how to perform this task in a precise manner.
How to Correctly Use MIG Wire for TIG Welding
Though it is possible to use MIG wire, there is a certain way the wire must be straightened in order for it to work well with the TIG welding technique. Follow the steps below to learn more about how to straighten this wire and use it in the TIG welding tool.
1.) Grab the MIG wire and a large clamp
2.) Clamp the edge of your MIG wire to the working table you are using to weld
3.) Locate a pair of your safety wire pliers
4.) Place your safety wire pliers on the opposite end of the clamp on your MIG wire
5.) Begin pulling the rod from your safety wire pliers to start twisting it ten times in a row to start straightening the wire
6.) Remove the safety wire pliers. You’ll see that the wire now looks straight.
You’re now able to trim the wire; however, you need to begin getting it ready for TIG welding.
When Should I Use This Method?
Even though the steps above have proved that this is doable, it isn’t highly recommended. MIG wire is available in stores as large spools, but can sometimes be more expensive than TIG wire. TIG wire is normally less expensive and isn’t as time-consuming and difficult to straighten as you’ll find MIG wire to be.
Since you’ll need to straighten it one string at a time, many people find this extremely tedious and tiring. The best time recommended to straighten MIG wire is when you have run out of TIG wire and need to complete a TIG welding project that you’re almost finished with. If you have MIG wire handy and laying around, then many welders believe that to be the best time to use it.
The Difference Between TIG and MIG Wires
TIG (tungsten inert gas) welding wire is known more as filler wire. This wire comes in a straight form and is able to be immediately used as soon as it comes out of the store. TIG wire is straighter and thicker than MIG wire. Normally, TIG welding requires a thicker wire, so this is why welders would rather use TIG specific wire in their work.
The official wire number if you’re purchasing it in a store is one of the two:
It can also be available as E308L, which may end up being the same number you can find MIG welding as.
MIG (metal inert gas) welding wire is incredibly similar to TIG wire. This is located on a spool, so it is naturally curvy and twisty to fit more of the MIG welding technique. This wire has more silicon involved in its material, which is the main factor that differentiates it from TIG wires.
MIG wires can usually only be used as a substitute for TIG wires if it’s steel MIG wire and is doubled up in size to provide more of a thickness that the TIG wire has.
What to Consider When Deciding Between TIG and MIG Welding
Since both of these welding methods are considered to be rather similar to each other, there are differentiating factors between the two that can impact your choice of whether to use one or the other.
The Types of Metals Being Welded Together
If you’re working with metals that are known to be a lot thicker than most, the best type of welding technique would be MIG welding. It’s tricky to get these thicker pieces to weld together, especially if you’re not using a strong heat to get them together.
If they’re thicker, it means you need to use strong heat with strong energy. TIG welding becomes less intense as it uses more energy to heat.
How Smooth You Want Your Welding Surface
MIG wires useless filler material than TIG wire. MIG will usually utilize filler rods when welding. This decreases the chance of spatter being seen on your surface after you’ve finished your welding job.
If you end up leaving an excessive amount of splatter, then you’ll have to put more energy into smoothening them out properly to make sure it’s all removed and looks clean. This is why TIG maybe your best option.
What Can Other Shielding Gases Be Used For TIG Welding?
Any welder who has used a TIG welding technique knows that argon is the main gas used on a TIG welding machine. Some may not realize there are other gases you can use as well. If you’re working on a welding project that is almost complete but has run out of argon, you can use helium to help move the welding project along.
Argon and helium mixed together work better with TIG welders that contain smaller inverters limited to approximately 200 amps. You can even use a mixture of argon and helium if you’re working with thick aluminum measuring to be more than .063 inches. You won’t need to use this helium and argon mixture on anything under that amount of thickness.
Additionally, if you’re working with any aluminum castings that are also incredibly thick, a mixture containing 75% helium and 25% argon is perfect for welding it more efficiently. If you’re hoping to weld copper that is pure along with bronze on DCEN (Direct Current Electrode Negative), this is a great method to try as well.
What Angle Should My TIG Torch Be While Welding?
Welding with a TIG torch is different from welding with other types of torches. If you angle it too much, this could result in the heat being deflected and the rod melting. If your rod melts, it will begin to form a ball shape; then it will become a blob and sink into the puddle.
To prevent this from happening, hold your torch at an angle of 10 degrees or less to prevent any torch melting occurrences.
Using MIG Wire For TIG Welding
When welding, it’s important to use the right kind of wire for each different type of technique you’re planning to utilize. Sometimes when working, you may run out of the wire needed to complete your project. This is when it’s the best time to use any leftover wire you may have, such as MIG wire.
Using this in place of TIG wire is totally doable if it is straightened out the proper way. If done correctly, you’ll be able to provide an impressive welding project and have it completed in an appropriate amount of time. It may take extra time and manpower to straighten it out, so prepare to add on extra time to welding if this is the case.
Is One Better Than The Other?
When it comes to if one method is better than the other, I think there is a distinctive answer. However, before I say that, I will say that each method has its perks and benefits to them, so I wouldn’t say that one should 100% replace the other as of now.
However, when you look at the main categories, one welding method sticks out over the other, and that method is MIG. For one, MIG is much more cost effective and easier to find. Finding any way to reduce costs is worth it, and if MIG has many benefits and comes at a lower cost, it is hard to argue against that.
Also, MIG can be used for stronger material as well, meaning that if you are working on larger projects, then MIG should be your best bet as well in that area. TIG can get used for stronger material as well, but I consider MIG to be overall stronger welding method.
Finally, another benefit I think that is quite important is how it is a time-saver. The MIG welding method works considerably quicker than its TIG counterpart, and we all know that time converts into profit. It also runs for much longer time periods as well, which not only will cut out time, but also save money as well, as I mentioned.