How To MIG Weld: A Guide To MIG Welding Techniques

For more information on welding, be sure to check out the How To Weld blog.

While it may be properly called metal inert gas welding, MIG welding is a type of gas metal arc welding (most commonly referred to as GMAW).  MIG welding applies a electric current to provide a electrical arc between a wire electrode (which is consumed) in the welding gun and the pieces that you are working with.  In addition to this, a shielding gas is simultaneously employed in order to protect the weld from atmospheric gases that may interfere with the quality of the weld.

You may ask wow long has MIG welding been around?  It was first produced in the 1940’s as a way to easily and efficiently produce equipment and weapons during World War 2.  It was (and still is) most commonly preferred in welding shops because of the ability to learn how to MIG weld quickly, and also the low cost and time tied in with it.  Somebody with an introductory understanding of welding should be able to learn how to MIG weld and run good beads with just a couple of hours of practice.  Another reason that MIG welding is quite popular because of it's low investment cost – a new, quality machine for your garage or workshop prices approximately $500.

Now that you have a basic understanding about MIG welding, I feel that it's time to go on to some MIG welding techniques.  As important as background knowledge is once you're discovering how to MIG weld, it needs to be accompanied with practice.  These MIG welding techniques will get you well on your way to creating very strong, visually aesthetic welds.

For someone first figuring out how to MIG weld, a zag weaving design is probably the best starting point of the MIG welding techniques.  The zigzag pattern can either be done as push (welding away from you), or pull (welding toward you), and are executed precisely as it sounds.  Your intention is to make even, steady zags across the joint of the two workpieces.  This is an absolute easy design to learn and get quite effective at very quickly.  Using this MIG welding technique, you would normally wait at the end of each zigzag (on the sides of the joint) for a brief moment in order to help spread out the weld.  The key to these are to make certain that you get a steady motion going when working with equally thick workpieces.  Once you have become quite familiar with this welding design, you are ready to move on to how to MIG weld using a slightly more advanced MIG welding technique.

The next technique that I choose my educatees to acquire is a circular design.  For someone who is learning how to MIG weld, this technique is still relatively basic.  It does take a little bit more practice and concentration than the zigzag pattern, but it is still a very achievable figure.  For this process you'll weld in slow, circular motions.  Depending on the workpieces, and the weld you'd like to create, you'll be able to either use small, tight circles, or a larger, more covering pattern.  After a tad bit of practice with these MIG welding techniques, you be know how to MIG weld nearly any basic project that you wish to do.

While no single article can teach you all of the information you need to know about how to MIG weld, this should have been a good basis for your entry into the world of MIG Welding.  For more detailed information, images, and diagrams, I strongly recommend checking out Welding Secrets Revealed.  Pat, that put together that website, has been an industry-friend of mine for many years, and has helped me with quite a few questions and problems I have had over the last twenty years.