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A post below by Camachinist stated that he liked TIG for thin sheet metal better than MIG, although MIG was better at thicker metals (>3/16"). I'm confused...everyone says MIG is the way to go for sheet metal and general car welding, and it is easier. I've found in my welding class that MIG machines will do well with thin sheet metal, but their wire speed and voltage is near the bottom range of the machine, and that they have lots of potential at thick stuff, at least up to 1/2" or more. I thought TIG was for heavier metals than car sheetmetal...Am I learning on the wrong kind of machine???

http://clubs.hemmings.com/baymustang/platesmall.jpgLet me check your shorts! My multimeter is just a-waiting! Formerly known as Midlife in the old VMF.
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I'm no expert, but I used a MIG for my floors and frame repair on the coupe with no problems, it worked quite well and I got a model that just plugged into a typical home outlet.

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I think that the MIG welder is what is used at 95% of all body shops, a TIG is better suited for alloys, aluminum, and thicker steels....IMHO. I enjoy TIG welding, easier to control the heat and does a beautiful job.


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TIG - Tungsten Inert Gas welding. Also called GTAW (Gas Tungsten Arc Welding) and Heliarc® which was Linde's trade name for the TIG process when it was introduced many years ago. The arc is started with a tungsten electrode shielded by inert gas and filler rod is fed into the weld puddle separately. A slower process than MIG, it produces a more precise weld and can be used at lower amperages for thinner metal and can be used on exotic metals. TIG does require quite a bit more time than MIG to learn. It is similar in technique to gas welding.
MIG - Metal Inert Gas welding. Also referred as GMAW (Gas Metal Arc Welding). The "Metal" refers to the wire which is what is used to start the arc. It is shielded by inert gas and the feeding wire also acts as the filler rod. A semi-automatic process, it is fairly easy to learn and use.

Tig welding can be used for joining practi-
cally all metals and alloys in various thicknesses
and types of joints.
Also see:
http://www.ridgenet.net/~biesiade/weld.htm

Greg B
 

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The post you alluded to was my response to Charlie Jones lamenting the mediocre performance of his inexpensive MIG welder...

In my work, I would say I use the MIG 80-90% of the time...it is an all-purpose piece of equipment that can weld almost anything and do it fast...
It also should be said that it cost nearly 3000.00 20 years ago....commercial quality MIG machines with the ability to stitch and spot weld and push flux core as well as hard wire just can't be bought for under 500.00, regardless of technologies improvements....

Charlie has a MIG...with some tweaking, it can do probably everything he needs one to do...
I suggested the TIG because, if I predominantly worked on race car stuff for myself, that's what I would own (it was my first welder purchase)....For someone who doesn't weld every day, it is much more forgiving of control and technique errors....if everything isn't just right on the MIG, it's real easy to botch a job....especially on thin material...

As an example, if I was to go from welding 3/8" wall hydraulic tubing to welding 16 or 18 guage with the MIG, it would require a feed roller, guide tube and tip change from .035" to .020 or .025".....that takes time and costs money to inventory the required parts...
With the TIG, just turn down the volume and/or insert a smaller tungsten electrode and go to work....I often use 1/16" or 3/32" rod for everything from 18 ga to 1/4" when using the TIG...

Also, with the TIG, there is fine control of the weld puddle and you can actually see the quality of the weld as you lay it...for many years, NHRA would only accept TIG welding of the 4130 tubing used in certified chassis. I'm not sure if that has changed in the last few years since I raced actively but my opinion is that it was required because a TIG gave the purest weld of the alloy material in an application that saw extreme stresses at the joints...

I've welded up enough roll cages inside of race cars to know how much easier it is for me to weld with a TIG vs MIG....oil pans too....
Years ago, before I lost my job, I even had a portable generator driven TIG welder and did chassis repairs for my racing buddies and provided support at the track...

In the final analysis, it comes down to the individual's needs and budget....I do all forms of welding except the exotic stuff like laser so I have the requisite equipment....does a hobbyist need that...? No way....

Of course, considering the accutrements of your new garage, maybe I should re-consider...*G* Now, if you really want something cool, get a plasma cutter....I can't imagine how I lived without one....my poor welding gas supplier won't be selling me much oxygen or acetylene anymore...*G*

Pat
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The Lincoln Electric MIG Pak10 has an optional device you can purchase - a stitch weld timerl - which is a timing device. It shuts the current off at a set interval of seconds so you don't burn through the thin metal. It is supposed to allow you to replicate factory spot welds. I think it costs $60.

sure it's fun, but it's only a car.
 

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It melts metal with that often misused component of blood....*G*

Seriously, it's a piece of equipment which utilizes the fourth state of matter, the plasma state...

Utilizing 90psi dried, filtered shop air, the machine forces it through an small orifice in the presence of an arc which accelerates the air to the plasma state....
This high speed gas will cut through almost anything, including your fingers if you're not careful *G*.......really, any metal is severable with a plasma cutter, including stainless, aluminum, cast iron and titanium...

It's like a really versitile cutting torch that never runs out of gas, well almost....oh, you can also use bottled nitrogen with it as well for use in the field without an air compressor...

The Hypertherm Powermax 900 I bought can sever 1 1/8" material, continuously cut 3/4" and is adaptable to CNC cutting.....

Midlife would have a ball with one....*G*

Pat
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Excellent accessory....I recomend it if one welds thin sections with their MIG often...
It should control on time, off time and burnback....gas continues to flow as the welding current is cycled on and off, protecting the puddle as it momentarily solidifies before being re-melted by the next pulse...
For that price, no one with a MIG should be without one...

FWIW, I'd never own any other brand of welding equipment other than Lincoln......although I've only owned their commercial welders and generator/welders...

Thanks for the tip....

Pat
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Discussion Starter #10
I'm considering the Lincoln Powermaster 255 MIG...about $1600. If this is a once-in-a-lifetime buy for quality gear, why was the dealer trying to sell me a much smaller unit for $375? Very strange...

I see that TIG will allow dissimilar metal welding, but MIG is similar metals. I'll be using it for sheet metal, frame rails, and building shelving using angle irons. I can't envision working on stainless or AL much...I hope I'm doing the right thing by going MIG.

BTW, MIG is quite easy to learn, but I gotta say, butt welding on 18 gauge sheet metal is quite a challenge...just started this, by welding dremmel cuts in a dodge panel. I've got some more practicing to do. The heavier stock is relatively easy, and I've become "competent" in just 3 months of twice-weekly 3 hour classes (only $97 so far).

http://clubs.hemmings.com/baymustang/platesmall.jpgLet me check your shorts! My multimeter is just a-waiting! Formerly known as Midlife in the old VMF.
King of the Old Farts *struts*
 

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Randy,
If you set your MIG up for working thin material and get the model with the built-in stitch and spot timers, you'll be set....I'd suggest the Tweco 400amp gun for the model you're considering...since you'll likely be running argon or an argon mixed gas....they don't cool the gun the way CO2 does but they do cut way down on spatter and make welding light guage material much easier...the excess capacity in the gun will come in handy if you push flux core or go to .035 to weld thicker stuff like a trailer or garden furniture..*G*

BTW, TIG does not allow me to marry steel and aluminum....sounds like an overzealous salesman to me...*G*...
Closest I've come is welding steel to cast iron with nickel steel filler...or stainless and steel....or moly steel and steel, etc...

Sounds like you've made excellent progress....!



Pat
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A plasma cutter is the only way to cut out sheet metal. With a good steady hand, you can make a but joint that is so tight, any gay man would squeal with envy. I use a Hobart mig that retails for about $450.00. I am doing pretty darn good on the thin floor pans, and I have seen my Brother-in-law weld up 1/4" thick tubing with the same unit.

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