Metal Inert Gas welding, commonly abbreviated to MIG welding, is one of the easiest welding techniques available today. It involves the use of a metal wire electrode that is melted and fed through a welding gun to fuse the materials in the weld pool. The wire itself acts as the electrode and the filler metal. So, it is important to choose MIG welding wires carefully before you buy MIG welding wire.
A Brief Introduction to MIG Welding Wires
The type of wire used in the MIG welding process directly affects the quality, strength and durability of the weld. It also dictates the amount of splatter caused during the welding process. For these reasons, you should always pay attention to the type of MIG welding wire you purchase and feed into the welding gun.
Welding wires for the MIG process are available in different materials and sizes. The diameter can range from 0.8 mm to 1.60 mm. As for the materials used, they include various metals and alloys like aluminum, stainless steel, mild steel, carbon steel and more.
6 Different Types of MIG Welding Wire And Their Uses
To make the right purchase decision, the first step is to be aware of the different types of MIG welding wires and what they’re each best used for. Check out these details below.
MIG Aluminum Wires
Aluminum wires are best used to fuse aluminum and aluminum alloys. Since these wires have a higher melting point, using a spool gun makes the welding process easier and more controlled. Some common types of aluminum wires used in MIG welding include the following.
- ER4043 and ER5356: Used on weldable cast and wrought aluminum alloys
- ER5183: Suitable for heavy duty welding
MIG Carbon Steel Wires
Carbon steel or mild steel MIG welding wires are fairly common today. They are best used for welding different kinds of low carbon and low alloy steels. Depending on the composition and the diameter, carbon steel wires can be used in pipe welding, sheet metal welding, steel fabrication and even heavy equipment welding.
MIG Stainless Steel Wires
If you want to weld similar or different grades of stainless steel, these are the kinds of MIG wires you need. They are highly resistant to corrosion, so you can employ them in welding operations where the metal may be exposed to corrosive or oxidizing environments. Some types of stainless steel MIG wires may come with temperature limits, so remember to check and adhere to these restrictions.
Alloy-Based MIG Wires
MIG welding wires can also be made from copper alloys or nickel alloys. Copper alloy wires have good electrical conductivity and are ideal for welding copper with itself or with other copper alloys. Nickel alloy MIG wires are corrosion-resistant, and can be used to fuse nickel and nickel alloys at high temperatures.
Flux-Cored MIG Wires
Flux-cored MIG wires are used in welding processes where it is important to keep the spatter levels low. These wires have excellent mechanical strength and come with a rounder penetration profile. They are sometimes used in tank and shipbuilding procedures too.
Hardfacing MIG Wires
These MIG welding wires are extremely durable, strong and resistant to wear and tear. So, hardfacing wires are pivotal in industries that require sturdy welds, like construction, mining and other equipment manufacture operations.
This sums up the fundamentals of the different types of wires used in MIG welding. Before you buy MIG welding wire online, ensure that you have a clear idea of their end use and the types of metals being fused. This will help you make an informed decision about the type of welding wire required, its diameter, dimensions and other specifics. After all, choosing the right type of wire is paramount to ensuring the quality and strength of the weld.