MIG / MAG welding machine test
With a MIG / MAG welding machine the so-called arc welding is carried out. Here, an endless wire electrode slowly melts away under a shielding gas cover. The gas protects the electrode from the influence of the surrounding air and prevents the molten metal from oxidizing. The process is very versatile and is suitable for both thicker and thinner sheets.
What is a MIG / MAG welding machine?
Gas-shielded metal arc welding using the MIG or MAG process is a type of arc welding in which a melting welding wire is fed by the motor of the welding device. When a piece of wire is used up at the front, new wire is fed in automatically. The wire diameters are usually between 0.8 and 1.2 mm. With the wire feeder, the area above the nozzle is also surrounded by a shielding gas.
The gas protects the now liquid metal from oxidation and thus from losing its stability and durability. Optionally, the use of cored wires is also possible. These tubular wires serve the same purpose as the coating of the rod electrode. The ingredients contribute to the weld volume and protect the seam. The joint becomes stronger and more durable.
How does a MIG / MAG welding machine work?
A MIG / MAG welding machine consists of a feed device which pushes the wire further and further forward. The wire melts during welding and forms the seam on the workpiece and thus the desired joint. A contact sleeve surrounds the wire on the device and the shielding gas prevents unwanted oxidation of the new seam, which would significantly reduce its quality. The shielding gas is therefore emitted by the MIG / MAG welding machine simultaneously with the melting of the wire and envelops the tip of the wire as well as the new seam.
Steels without alloy are mainly welded with active gas, i.e. carbon monoxide. This is called metal active gas welding (MAG). High-alloy steels, aluminium, nickel and magnesium as well as titanium, however, are welded with an inert gas such as argon. “Inert” means that argon is relatively stable and reacts only slightly with the atmosphere. This is where metal inert gas welding (MIG) is used.
Joining thinner sheets, which are only 0.8 mm thick, is possible with gas shielded arc welding, as well as welding thicker sheets, which are 10 mm and more thick. MSG welding can be used with a torch, which is guided by hand, and fully mechanised systems (robots, gantries). Possible applications can be found in pipe construction, container and apparatus construction as well as in automotive repair.
Suitable for whom?
A MIG / MAG welding machine is suitable for numerous applications and is relatively easy to operate. It can be used in a professional environment – for example in industrial production – as well as by private and hobby users. The latter prefer models that are held by hand. In manufacturing, on the other hand, robot systems are used that are guided by machines. A MIG / MAG welding machine has the advantage that both processes are available here, so that both welding with inert gas and welding with active gas are possible. Depending on the material to be processed, the user can therefore choose the appropriate process.
What can be welded with a MIG / MAG welding machine?
Thinner sheets as well as thicker materials can be welded with a MIG / MAG welding machine. The thickness of the wire is decisive. The performance and amperage of the device also influence the result. Steel, aluminium, magnesium compounds, nickel and titanium are welded with an inert gas. This often occurs in pipeline construction because the pipes are made of different alloys. Steel that does not have any alloys, on the other hand, can be welded with active gas, the MAG process. Such unalloyed steels can be found in vehicles, in container construction or in the manufacture of various metal products such as fences or gates.
Working with the MIG / MAG welding machine is one of the most widely used methods and therefore also correspondingly simple. First the welding wire is inserted. To do this, the user must insert the wire reel into the holder on the device and loosen the end of the wire with pliers. The end must be held firmly so that the wire does not become loose. Then loosen the pressure wool and push the beginning of the wire through the middle of the wire feed nozzle. Furthermore, the wire is pushed over the feed roller into the inlet nozzle. It is important that the diameter of the wire matches the diameter of the feed roller.
Then connect the device to the power supply. Craftsmen connect the earth cable, connect the gas cylinder and adjust the gas flow at the manometer. Usually this should be between 10 and 12 l/min. The firing pack and burner are assembled. The knob on the burner activates the wire feeder. Depending on the welding machine, users have the choice between 2 cycle or 4 cycle operation. 2 cycle means that the wire runs as long as the button is pressed. 4 cycle means that the wire runs after the button is pressed for the first time until the button is pressed again.
The torch should be held about 15 degrees against the welding direction. The wire diameter multiplied by 10 gives the distance to the sheet metal which should be kept. In fillet welding the torch is held at an angle of 45 degrees to the throat. In general, a smooth and even guidance of the torch is important for an optimal result.
Performance characteristics of the welding equipment are welding with different amperage levels, about 200 or 450 amperes. Additional basic material curves and panel functions extend the performance spectrum, especially for professional applications. The wire feeders can be equipped with a selection of welding curves or offer tailor-made welding processes with additional selection functions.
- for private and commercial useWelding possible in almost all positionsWelding zone is protected from the effects of ambient airApplicability to various metalsSimple and widely used welding process
- Consumption of welding rod equipment often not intended for mobile use
What is tested?
When testing the MIG / MAG welding equipment, the price-performance ratio is important. Devices which offer many possibilities for regulation, which allow both MIG and MAG welding and which can use higher maximum amperage are usually more expensive. If you are only a private user looking for a MIG / MAG welding machine, you usually do not need this high range of functions. Before buying, several offers should be compared.
Some manufacturers offer additional services, such as free delivery of coils of wire for the first use when craftsmen purchase a new tool. The handling of the models should be simple and easy to understand. Large displays make them easy to read, and well-written instructions allow even laymen to familiarise themselves with the use of the equipment – even if they have no prior knowledge.
Care and cleaning
Some models require little maintenance as they have a sealed housing and therefore cannot collect dust inside. Here it is only important to clean the nozzles with a welding protection spray. Grease and oil that is left on the welding equipment when working should be wiped off after use. Metal dust can be removed with isopropanol. This is important because the dust can conduct electricity.
Who repairs MIG / MAG welding equipment?
If the welding equipment is defective, the dealer is the first point of contact. Within the warranty period, the repair costs can be covered by the manufacturer. Customers are therefore best advised to contact the dealer. Many dealers also offer the repair of older welding equipment and companies that specialise in welding equipment also offer the maintenance and repair of the models.
How many amperes a MIG / MAG welding machine has, determines its performance. The more amps it uses, the thicker the plates the model can weld. Devices up to 200 amperes are common and widely used in the do-it-yourself sector. These are sufficient for most applications. Manufacturers often specify not only the maximum amps but also a range within which the user can adjust the power – around 170 to 280 amps. Professional devices offer up to 400 amps and are used in the automotive industry, for example.
What does a MIG / MAG welding machine cost?
MIG / MAG welding machines are among the more economical models and are available in different price ranges. Smaller versions are available from 200 euros and those who look for bargain offers will also find models that are even less expensive. More sophisticated MIG / MAG welding machines cost on average between 400 and 600 euros.
5 major manufacturers
Various manufacturers offer MIG / MAG welding equipment in different price categories. The assortment ranges from models for do-it-yourselfers to professionalized offers for the industry. Some companies have specialized in the welding equipment. Others offer other tools and equipment.
- Einhell, for example, is very well known. The German company has been manufacturing industrial products since 1964 – first electrical engineering, later gardening tools and equipment. The French company GYS also specializes in welding equipment and can look back on several decades of experience. The company’s offer is aimed more at professional users and it cooperates with car manufacturers and garages using GYS welding machines, while Itmati is aimed at private users. The manufacturer of technology for home and garden produces equipment that is easy to use and does not confuse the user with a multitude of functions. If you are looking for a solid model, you have come to the right place, and do-it-yourselfers will also find the right welding machines. The company has been in existence since 1979 and cooperates with DIY stores and various retailers who sell Güde products. The company is specialized in welding models for industry and would like to address mainly corporate customers. Own special productions, which are to improve the quality of the welding, belong here to the assortment.
What accessories are available?
When welding, it is not only the correct procedure that is important, but also the protection of the user. Therefore, safety clothing is considered an important accessory. These include gloves, fireproof trousers and jackets as well as safety goggles that protect against the bright light that is generated. Other accessories are the welding and cored wires, the torch and electrode holders as well as dryers, testing tools and slag hammers. Pliers are also helpful for precision work and hanging the welding wire.
What to look out for when buying?
Before a user buys a machine, he should consider which materials he wants to weld. For example, if you want to weld aluminium, you need a machine that not only welds MAG, but also MIG. If, on the other hand, you only want to weld steel, a MAG machine will do. If you are welding different materials, then combination models make sense.
The material thickness is also important, as it determines the required performance of the welding equipment. If you often work with different sheets and thicknesses, you should choose a welding device that can be infinitely adjusted. Those who rarely weld, usually simple and therefore cheaper variants are sufficient. Finally, one should consider whether to choose a feature-rich, but usually heavier model or a light welding device.
5 good reasons for MIG / MAG welding equipment
- MIG / MAG welding machines are flexible.they can be used in numerous positions.welding of different metals is possible.the machines are easy to operate.moreover, even fillet welds can be welded.