TIG vs. MIG Welding: What’s the Difference?

What Is Tig Welding

If you’re trying to understand the difference between TIG and MIG welding, you’re in the right place. 

Welding is a fabrication process that involves the joining of two separate pieces of materials under the application of heat. Depending on the specifications of the process, you may decide to use different welding techniques to produce your desired result. TIG and MIG welding are some of the most common welding methods. 

This article provides insight into these two types of welding and compares them, outlining their various advantages, disadvantages, and typical industrial applications. 

If you need the help of a welding professional in the Brisbane area, we can cover all your metal and steel fabrication needs

What is TIG Welding?

TIG is short for Tungsten Inert Gas. It produces a weld with a non-consumable tungsten electrode; this just means an electrode that can withstand extreme temperatures with minimal melting or damage. The process is a suitable replacement for gas and manual metal arc welding.

A pointed tungsten electrode and workpiece in an inert gas atmosphere are used to produce an arc during the process. This small arc is perfect for high quality and precision welding. 

What Is TIG Welding Used For?

TIG welding is used in several industries but is best suited to high-quality welding that requires finesse. The modest arc is ideal for thin sheet material or controlled penetration during manual welding, as the deposition rate is minimal, meaning that it leaves clean, smooth weld marks.  

This type of welding is also valuable for mechanised systems with filler wire. However, the training required to become accustomed to TIG welding takes some time.

What is MIG Welding?

MIG or Metal Inert Gas welding is an arc welding process that joins two different metals. This arc is produced between the work surface and a filler electrode.

In MIG welding, a shielding gas protects the weld metal from reacting with elements present in the atmosphere. In addition, MIG welding requires a Direct Current Positive Electrode (DCPE). This just means the electrode is connected to the positive end of the power source, while the work surface is connected to the negative end. 

In MIG welding, an arc strikes between the end of a wire electrode and the workpiece, which can quickly melt both of them to form a weld pool. The weld pool is also protected from the elements in the surrounding atmosphere with a shielding gas. Selecting a shielding gas depends on the welded material and its various applications. 

MIG welding is a versatile technique used best with thick section components. The process offers high productivity because the wire is continuously fed, but the weld lines it leaves are quite apparent.

What is MIG Welding Used For?

Compared to other welding methods like TIG welding, MIG has benefits in flexibility, speed, and suitability for mechanisation. In addition, as the machine does all the wire feeding for you, the process is essentially semi-automatic, meaning that you can do lots of work in short periods of time.

TIG vs MIG Welding: Which Is Right for You?

TIG and MIG are two reasonably different forms of welding, and they both have their pros and cons. If you want to find out which of them is best for you, you will have to consider your project goals and what is necessary to achieve the final result. 

Some of the areas where TIG and MIG welding differ include:

#1. Technique

With TIG welding, the welder feeds a filler material onto the weld while working the torch with the other. Conversely, with MIG welding, a wire electrode is automatically fed through the spool gun to create the weld. This means MIG welding is a more straightforward technique to pick up. 

#2. Types of Metals

MIG welding works with different metals, including aluminium, stainless steel, and mild steel. On the other hand, TIG welding may be compatible with these metals but works best with thinner gauge materials.

#3. Size of Project

The size of your project is also a factor in deciding what welding method is best. For example, TIG welds are better for thinner metals and smaller projects because they produce precise and clean welds. On the other hand, MIG welds work better with larger projects that use thick metals that require long and continuous runs.

#4. Appearance

One major factor that many people love about TIG welding is its clean and beautiful finish. This type of welding is mainly used for artistic and ornamental purposes because of its attractive look.

#5. Speed

TIG may be a slower process, but it involves a higher level of detail. On the other hand, MIG is a faster method, making it perfect for projects requiring higher production rates.

#6. Costs

As earlier mentioned, the TIG method is more expensive than the MIG method.

#7. Equipment

The equipment used in both methods is also manufactured differently. TIG and MIG welds have unique designs and components that make them fit their specific jobs.

#8. Object Thickness

The MIG method can weld thicker metals faster than a TIG weld. So, if your most preferred metal is thin, TIG is a better option for you, and vice versa.

#9. Control

Every TIG welder needs to practice the timing and balancing of the technique, but once mastered, TIG welding gives greater control to the welder. The MIG method is easier to control and better for beginners.

#10. Difficulty

The TIG method requires you to hold the welding torch in one hand and the filler in the other. It is difficult to do, especially for those who haven’t spent much time with it already. However, the way the spool gun feeds the wire continuously in MIG welding makes it a more straightforward and less complicated technique than TIG.

Contact TNN Engineering for All Your TIG and MIG Welding Needs

When you want to compare the MIG and TIG methods, it is essential to know that they both have strengths and weaknesses. No process is better than the other because they have different purposes.

MIG welding is a good option for quick welding processes and low cost, especially with materials like steel and aluminium. On the other hand, you can use TIG welding to produce high-quality welds that are pretty slow and expensive. It may also be challenging to learn, but it becomes a very satisfying weld to perform once mastered well.

At TNN Engineering, we provide steel fabrication and welding to suit our customers’ unique requirements and time frames.  Our welding workshop in Brisbane is a well-equipped fabrication workshop where we can cut, crop, roll and bend steel so that it can be assembled and welded.  Machining, including high precision CNC milling and turning, can also be completed on-site for welded fabrications. Contact us today for your welding needs.

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