When it comes to welding, there’s a lot to know. You may have seen the acronyms MIG and TIG come up in your research. But what actually are MIG and TIG welding? What are the differences between MIG and TIG welding? And is MIG or TIG welding better for my project? Let Ometek bring you the answers.
Yes and no. MIG and TIG welding use the same general process, but achieve their results in different ways. Both MIG and TIG used heat created from an electrical arc to melt and fuse metal pieces together. MIG welding does this by feeding a metal “filler” wire between the two pieces to fill or connect the weld. TIG welding may or may not use a filler to complete the weld. Both types of welding also use a shielding gas, though each needs a different type of gas.
MIG stands for Metal Inert Gas, a type of welding process. This type of welding uses a filler material to fuse metal parts. This thin, metal wire is fed in between pieces and joins them together. This is also sometimes referred to as GMAW (Gas Metal Arc Welding).
TIG Welding stands for Tungsten Inert Gas Welding. It can also be found listed as GTAW (Gas Tungsten Arc Welding). Similar to MIG welding, TIG uses an electrical arc—this time specifically created by a tungsten electrode—to heat each metal piece. When the edges have melted, the welding machine either places the filler metal between or simply fuses the two parts together.
Since TIG welding does not necessarily require filler, you can often save on material costs. The trade off is that the process of welding is slower than MIG (though not inefficient!) which can increase the cost of machine time usage. TIG is great for thinner metals and parts requiring precision and decoration.
Making a decision between MIG and TIG welding can be difficult. An experienced team, such as our Ometek technicians, can help you determine which is best for your needs. However, you can keep these particular project aspects in mind when debating between TIG and MIG welding.
Thickness: This one’s simple. Thicker metals do better with MIG welding while thinner metals work best with TIG welding.
Material: Both MIG and TIG can work with a wide range of metals. However, TIG is more efficient with thinner pieces of metals. Electrical conductivity of the metal being fused must also be considered. For example, filler is not necessary when welding electrically-resistant materials, making TIG a good choice.
Dissimilar Welds: Need to weld two pieces of different metals together? Filler material is necessary for these types of pairings, which often makes MIG the better choice.
Finishing: MIG welding produces splatter which causes an uneven surface. For finished products requiring smoother surfaces (or to cut down on finishing time and costs), TIG welding would make a cleaner choice.
Timing: If you need mass production on a tight schedule, MIG welding can perform for you. But TIG will always be better for detail-oriented projects requiring more time.
Ometek has capabilities for both TIG and MIG welding. We can fuse anything from the thinnest aluminum to the thickest and strongest steel pieces. Our welders are AWS-D1.1 certified and we provide quality assurance certified by ISO 9001:2008. No matter what you need welded, Ometek has the MIG and TIG capabilities to get it done.
Our machines provide maximum efficiency with full operator control from our experience technician team. We offer robotic welding systems, spot and stud welding, and a variety of welding machines so we can match your project to the best-suited machine.