When it comes to welding, two of the most common techniques are MIG and TIG, but which is the best method for your metal fabrication?

As we’ve discussed, metal fabrication is a hugely diverse term that covers a range of different manufacturing processes.

One of the most common metal fabrication processes is welding, and even within that, there are dozens of different techniques that each have their benefits and own uses.

From spot welding to laser and plasma, depending on the materials that need to be welded, your choices may vary.

In this blog, we’re discussing both MIG & TIG welding, highlighting what exactly they do from a metal fabrication point of view and where the processes are best used.

That way, when it comes to selecting your metal fabricator, you already know the best possible welding for your products.

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What’s The Difference Between MIG & TIG Welding?

While there is a range of different arc welding processes, two of the more common ones are TIG and MIG. Both use a similar process of melting base materials using a combination of electrical currents, conductors, and gas, but provide different levels of finishing. This leads to them being used in a wide variety of metal fabrication processes.

Below, we discuss exactly what each welding process involves. 

What Is MIG Welding?

MIG or metal inert gas welding is one of the most common forms of arc welding which uses a combination of gas, metal, and electricity to join fabricated components.

Used for large sheet metal or thicker materials, it uses consumable wire made from a range of materials such as manganese and titanium and coated in copper. This wire then acts as the electrode, which helps create the arc and acts as the filler material.

The shielding gas which covers the arc helps protect the molten metal from oxygenation and other elemental impurities, creating a stronger weld.

More cost-effective than other varieties of arc welding such as TIG or plasma, MIG is a far faster process of metal fabrication, but one that is more for purpose than aesthetics.

This brings us to TIG welding.

an engineer tig welding a small metal plate

What Is TIG Welding?

TIG stands for tungsten inert gas and is a more concentrated form of arc welding, focusing on welding a much smaller area than that of MIG. Because tungsten is used, this non-consumable means that TIG welding can be used with or without a metal filler.

A much slower process that is typically used on thinner material, TIG welding creates less part distortion too. This is because of the much smaller size of the arc and the relative surface area it is working on.

TIG is also much more of a specialised welding process that requires a higher skill level of the welder and creates a finish of a much higher quality. Compared like-for-like, costs of TIG welding will be more expensive than MIG.  

Should I Use MIG or TIG For My Metal Fabrication?

Ultimately it depends on what exactly you need to do and what levels of quality you are looking for.

TIG is a much slower process that requires much more skill, but that is because it creates a more pleasing weld which is why it’s commonly used on products where welds are visible.

It’s also more aptly used on thinner materials. Because TIG welding is completed at a lower temperature and has a smaller surface area, the material won’t be distorted like it might with MIG.

But don’t let that make you think that MIG welding is a poorer choice, far from it.

If you’re looking at welding without too much concern about the aesthetics of the weld, MIG provides a strong weld that can bind thick steel and large sheets with minimal effort.

If you’d like to find out more, and discover what process is best for your fabrication, speak to our expert team today.

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As we’ve discussed, welding is one of the most important parts of the metal fabrication process, but there are a number of different processes.

MIG and TIG are two of the most common and are frequently used in countless areas of manufacturing, making them critical to understand.

What we’ve done is broken down exactly what each process involves and what that can mean for your metal fabrication.

If you’d like to learn more, get in touch with our welding and metal fabrication experts.