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6/3/2017 Stickvs.MIGvs.TIG:WhichProcessisRightForYou?

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Stick vs. MIG vs. TIG: Which Process is Right For You?
We all know the importance of selecting the right tool for the job. When it comes to welding, the
process you choose is every bit as important as the tools themselves. Using the wrong welding process
for a certain task can be like trying to saw a 2x4 with a screwdriver. Good luck with that.

If youre new to welding, there is a lot to consider before just jumping in. Different metals will require
different techniques or materials, and some methods are far more suited to certain jobs than others.
How can you know which method is right for any given job?

Thats where this post will come in handy.

The three most common welding processes today are Stick, MIG and TIG. Each process has its own set
of benets and limitations. Choosing the correct process will save you a great deal of time and
frustration.

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-ts-all welding process. There are some situations that simply
demand the clean, intricate work of TIG. Other times, the scope of the job is far too large and a simpler
method like MIG or Stick works better.

To get a better idea of which process is most benecial to you in any given situation, you need to
understand each process inside and out. Lets break down each of these three processes to help you
decide which method is right for you.

Stick Welding: (Shielded-Metal Arc)

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Stick welding is the oldest, simplest, and most cost ecient of the three processes discussed in this
post. Because of this, it is one of the most popular welding methods and a common choice for the
beginner or hobbyist welder.

How it works: In stick welding, a consumable ux-coated rod called an electrode is used to lay the weld.
During the process, both the electrode and the metal workpiece melt, forming a weld pool. This molten
pool then cools to form a sturdy joint between the two metals.

Benets: Stick welding is fairly versatile as it can be used to weld iron, steel,aluminum, nickel, and
copper alloys. It can also be performed outdoors or in windy conditions, and has the rare ability to
create an effective bond on rusty or unclean surfaces.

Additionally, unlike in MIG and TIG processes, no shielding gas is needed in stick welding because the
ux coating on the electrode disintegrates during the process, emitting vapors that protect the weld
from atmospheric contamination.

Downside: The major downside to stick welding is the fact that the nished product is not nearly as
neat as with other methods. Molten splatter is a common occurrence and requires a fair amount of
cleaning and sanding when the weld is nished. This leads to more signicant cost and work time.

The stick welding process is also very inecient when it comes to a welders time. Between frequent
electrode changes, intensive post-weld cleaning, and other similar factors the welder spends only an
estimated 25% of their time actually laying weld.

Summary: Stick welding is great for beginners and hobbyists because its easy and affordable. The
nished result wont be very clean, but if you need a quick weld that isnt highly visible and doesnt
require a neat bead, stick is your choice

Recommendations:Welding Supplies from IOC stocks a hugeselection of stick welders and accessories
from the industry's top brands.

Check out the MILLER MAXSTAR 150 S for maximum portability and performance in the most
compact stick package in the industry. Miller is the most trusted name in welding.

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Or for portable Stick and TIG capabilities, check out theTHERMAL ARC 95S TIG AND STICK
WELDER. Ideal for home applications, utility/farm work, and maintenance and repair jobs.

MIG Welding: (Metal Inert Gas)

Mig welding is a relatively easy process to learn, commonly requiring only about a week or two to
master basic technique. The two most complex aspects of MIG are selecting the correct shielding gas
and setting the parameters on the machine. However, once these things are taken care of it becomes
largely a point and shoot process, often referred to as the hot glue gun of welding.

How it works: MIG welders use a tool called a spool gun, which feeds a spooled wire electrode at a
constant speed pre-selected by the operator. The gun also emits a shielding gas as it lays the weld. This
gas protects the weld area from atmospheric gases such as nitrogen and oxygen, which can cause
some serious problems if they come in contact with the electrode, the arc, or the welding metal.

Benets: The MIG process can be used to create a high-strength weld with great appearance and little
need for sanding or cleaning. The use of a shielding gas allows the welder to operate at a continuous
rate, making the process fairly quick. MIG welding can be used on any metal surface and has the
capability to weld materials as thin as 26-gauge.

Downside: The equipment used in MIG Welding is fairlydicult to use outdoors due to the gases
involved.While all types of metal can be welded with the MIG process, different materials require
different wire and gasses. Accordingly, a welder using a MIG machine must know what combinations to
use and must set his machine accordingly. This is why welding machines with auto-set features save a
ton of time and hassle.

Finally, it is highly recommended that the MIG process be performed on the cleanest surface possible.
This means that before laying any weld, the welder must insure that any paint, rust, and other debris is
scraped from the workpiece.

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Summary: MIG welding is a fast, ecient, and easy process thats perfect for most applications. Its not
as clean as TIG, but not as messy as stick. If you have a few bigger projects around the house or shop,
or if you are a professional welder looking to get into some freelance work on the side, a MIG machine
is probably the best choice for you.

Recommendations: Welding Supplies from IOC carries MIG welders from the top names in the industry
including Miller and Lincoln Electric.

Check out the MILLER MILLERMATIC 211 for what is quite possibly the best selling and most
trusted MIG welder ever made.

Or the LINCOLN POWER MIG 180C for an affordable yet very powerful machine with a forgiving
arc, excellent out-of-position arc action, low spatter and a wide voltage sweet spot.

TIG Welding: (Tungsten Inert Gas)

TIG welding is often considered the major league of welding. As far as clean, ecient, and beautiful
welds go, the TIG process simply cannot be beat. Artists and ornamental welding professionals often
prefer this process for its precision and overall clean look.

How it works: Instead of a metal electrode, TIG welding makes use of a non-consumable tungsten
electrode. Tungsten can be heated to a very high temperature before melting, so TIG welding requires
additional ller be applied.The operator feeds this ller into the weld area with one hand as he
operates the torch with the other. He will also use one foot to operate a control pedal that dictates the
heat input as he welds.

Benets: The TIG process provides the cleanest, most aesthetically pleasing work possible. The process
grants the welder a great deal of control over the weld, allowing for stronger, higher quality welds.

Downside: TIG is much harder to learn than the other methods. It requires a highly skilled operator, as
it demands the simultaneous use of both hands and a foot. TIG welding is also signicantly slower than
either MIG or stick, and demands that the surface of the workpiece be absolutely immaculate. All paint,
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rust, and debris must be removed, and the weld area should be clean enough that you could eat off it.

Summary:When it absolutely has to look perfect, and you have some time to put into it, TIG welding is
far and away the preferred technique. TIG is perfect for artwork, ornamental designs, stainless steel,
and automotive applications.

Recommendations: Welding Supplies from IOC is your TIG welding headquarters. From big name
welding machines to accessories and protective gear, weve got you covered.

Check out the MILLER MULTIMATIC 200 for an incredibly versatile welder. Weighing only 29
pounds and running on either 120 V or 230 V, the Multimatic 200 can go anywhere.

Or The Lincoln Power MIG 210 MP Multi Process Welder is designed for the hobbyist and
contractor alike who wants to do MIG, Stick, TIG and ux-core welding.

In Summary:

Stick Welding

Simple and cost ecient

Better suited for windy, outdoor conditions

Works on dirty or rusty metal

Requires more post-weld sanding and cleaning

Result is less neat

Not as ecient of other methods

MIG Welding

Easiest process to learn

High welding speeds/longer welds possible

Very neat welds possible with little post-weld cleaning

Must clean workpiece of all paint and rust before welding

More dicult to do outdoors than stick

TIG Welding

Provides highest quality, very precise welds

Highly aesthetic weld beads

Much harder to learn/master

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Requires great deal of skill and patience

Much slower process overall

Work surface must be immaculately clean

Categories: General Posted On: February 25, 2015 Posted By: Kenton Anderson

4 Comments
Bob Lowe
June 23, 2016 at 10:08 pm

Thanks for the post. This is really helpful. I denitely think MIG welding is probably the easiest to learn with. I like
that MIG welding can offer strong welds even in bad circumstances. Especially when your new to what your doing.

Reply

Jasper Whiteside
November 23, 2016 at 7:27 pm

Welding to me seems to be almost an art form. Especially the way that TIG welding is pictured here. It would be
really hard to get the little drops of molten metal to be uniform like they are in the picture. I would also be curious
to nd out how long the supplies like gas and ller rod last.

Reply

Anu
February 9, 2017 at 9:39 am

Nice explanation of TIG & MIG (Types of welding)

Reply

Leviticus Bennett
February 28, 2017 at 8:42 pm

It's really neat how many different ways there are to weld in order to suit different circumstances. Since I'm very
aesthetic-oriented, TIG really appeals to me. I like how you mentioned what the work environment for each
welding type must be like as well.

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