This Is What MIG Welder Pliers Are Used For

When it comes to welding, you need a wide variety of tools on your belt to ensure that you are prepared for every eventuality. Many of these pliers come with built-in wire cutters for more utility, but on their own, MIG welder pliers are designed to function in specific tasks in MIG welding. 

MIG welder pliers are a variation of needle-nosed pliers. They are used when a task requires textured surfaces for increased friction and manipulating things that have been welded together.

With their long, textured tips, these pliers can grip even the tiniest surfaces. Those tips are what separate MIG welder pliers from standard pliers and are also what allow you to perform many tasks that could not be accomplished with ordinary pliers. If you have been learning about welding, you know the right tools can make all of the difference in a job. 

What Are MIG Welder Pliers Used For?

To explain what MIG welder pliers are used for, you will need to understand more about MIG welding. The pliers are made to accomplish any one of the multiple tasks associated with MIG welding, but that information does not do you any good if you do not know the basics involved in MIG welding.

Welding is a process through which two different metal surfaces are joined together through heat. Essentially, you are heating the two surfaces enough to make the metals melt slightly. This is facilitated through torches that apply the flames and heat the metal. However, there is a fine line between melting the metal enough to weld and bending it entirely out of shape.

In order to accommodate different types of metals and their applications, welders use various methods. One of those methods is known as MIG welding. MIG stands for metal inert gas. MIG welding is a variation of arc welding, which uses electricity to force the metals to weld together. MIG welding is commonly used for very thick metal surfaces.

MIG welding does not just involve the two metal surfaces being welded together, though. MIG welding also needs a type of welding wire used to fill the tiny gaps between the two metal surfaces. Therefore, MIG welder pliers need to account for the use of metal wire and function as wire cutters. 

Nozzle Maneuvers

Underneath the pliers’ pivot point, a small circular area is perfect for clamping onto nozzles. MIG torches have notoriously tiny nozzles that are hard to grasp and turn, but MIG welder pliers are made for the job. With your pliers, you can either tighten or loosen the MIG torch’s gas nozzle. The nozzle is crucial for channeling the gas into the welding zone. 

Any kind of blockage can change the gas flow and not protect the area. The gas is there to shield the welding area, so you want to take good care of your gas nozzle. 

Contact Tips

When contact tips wear out, they need to be replaced. Like MIG torch nozzles, contact tips are exceptionally small and difficult to clamp down on. You will need to firmly grasp these contact tips to either exchange it for a new tip or tighten a contact tip after installing it. The contact tip is often made of copper and can be treated to reduce weld spatter.

Measuring 1/4th Of An Inch

Instead of needing to have an extra set of hands and wire cutters, the MIG welder pliers can function in their place. When you turn the pliers in your hands, you will be able to see that there is a notch on the cutting edge. If you lay it flush against a gas nozzle, that notch will always mark out one-quarter of an inch when you cut the welding wire.

Having a tool that functions as a plier and wire cutter is already cool, but beginners can get into welding with ease when the wire cutter also has a convenient marking for measuring out one-quarter of an inch for the welding wire. Since it is impossible to do any MIG welding without the welding wire, your pliers need to be able to cut the wire when you complete a project.

Additionally, as you continue with the welding process, you will need to draw out more wire. These pliers have enough of a grip on their nose that you can easily grip the wire and draw it out, then cut it. Being able to do all of that one-handed is a crucial part of the process because you always want to have a free hand when you are playing with fire, so to speak. 

Slag Hammer

Although slag is not usually produced in MIG welding, these pliers can be used in all kinds of welding processes. Suppose you decide to perform a different variety of arc welding, known as stick welding or shielded metal arc welding. In that case, you will notice that the flux used to facilitate the heat transfer to the metals creates a slight residue called slag.

When the flux melts on the weld zone and does not fill in the gaps between the metals being welded together, that excess flux dries into slag. This can greatly mar the appearance of the joint you are welding and can reduce the aesthetic appeal. Also, if you plan to weld another level on top of your current welding, you will need to remove the slag.

Even if you do not plan to add a second layer, anyone who is hoping to paint over the joint will want to remove the slag because it stands in the way of the paint coating and will cause the paint to not adhere to the metal joint as well. MIG welder pliers function as a small hammer to chip away at the slag and break it up to come off the joint. 

Weld Spatter

Weld spatter is every welder’s worst nightmare. It gunks up the gas nozzle, which stops the flow of gas. That build-up can even short out the contact tip when you go to weld something if you are not conscientious about cleaning out the weld spatter after using the torch. Luckily, the MIG welder pliers can be a great cleaning tool.

Weld spatter is the result of using molten metal in a project. During the welding process, small bits of molten metal gather around the welding arc as bits of waste material. If you are not vigilant about cleaning it up, it can clog up your welding nozzle. A far worse outcome will be if some of the spatter burned you, which is why you should be very careful cleaning. 

All you have to do is take off the nozzle after you have finished welding for the day, and you can use the end of the MIG welder pliers to clean out any small specks of weld spatter. If you remember to do that after every welding session, you will be able to make your contact tips last longer before they need to be changed.

Some people prefer to use their MIG welder pliers to clean out the nozzle before they start welding in order to ensure that the welder has had time to cool off sufficiently before the cleaning process. You should always give it ample time to cool in order to prevent yourself from getting burned or melting the grip on the pliers.

In Conclusion

If you have been learning about welding and think you want to give it the old college try, you should always prepare adequate safety measures by having the right tools on hand. MIG welder pliers are used for all of the small tasks involved with MIG welding, like cutting the welding wire, removing weld splatter, and clamping down on the nozzle.

Sources

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Alexander Berk

A bit about myself: I am a certified international welding engineer (IWE) who worked in different welding projects for TIG, MIG, MAG, and Resistance Spot welding. Most recently as a Process Engineer for Laser and TIG welding processes. To address some of the questions I frequently got asked or was wondering myself during my job, I started this blog. It has become a bit of a pet project, as I want to learn more about the details about welding. I sincerely hope it will help you to improve your welding results as much as it did improve mine.

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