MIG weld shielding gas
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    MIG weld shielding gas

    Is it necessary to use shielding gas on metals 24 gauge thick to 18 ga. thick for mig welding. I'm asking because I'm trying to leanr about mig/wire feed welding. I don't see myself doing anything that requires shielding gas just to hold down the splatter. But on lighter stock between 24-18 ga. would I risk burning thru the metal without a shielding gas.

    Second question. Most common shield gas is 75% argon & 25% CO2. Is this gas mixed in one tank or do I need two individual tanks. I want to be able to weld 24 ga. up to 1/4" thick stock, but not looking to do any fine detail work so if I can eliminate the gas & get results that's all I'm looking for. I don't want to spend money on systems or consumables that are not necessary to my goals. My welding projects will be limited to myself. And with the cost of steel around here, I can generally buy a completed implement far cheaper than building it from the ground up. So this just makes welding for me a hobby rather than a necessity. Thanks

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    With my limited knowledge of MIG process welding I’ll offer the following:

    With solid wire shielding gas is required on all work pieces (regardless of thickness) as the gas keeps the weld area free of atmospheric gasses which would be incorporated and trapped in the weld metal thereby making it weak, brittle, unsound, lacking bond, poor penetration, etc.

    The proportioned gasses, Ar C02, Tri mix, etc used for welding MIG and TIG are sold pre mixed in the proper proportions for their intended application in a single tank by reputable welding suppliers. You will not have to buy separate tanks of each and try to mix and proportion them on your own.
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    Quote Originally Posted by balrog006 View Post
    With my limited knowledge of MIG process welding I’ll offer the following:

    With solid wire shielding gas is required on all work pieces (regardless of thickness) as the gas keeps the weld area free of atmospheric gasses which would be incorporated and trapped in the weld metal thereby making it weak, brittle, unsound, lacking bond, poor penetration, etc.

    The proportioned gasses, Ar C02, Tri mix, etc used for welding MIG and TIG are sold pre mixed in the proper proportions for their intended application in a single tank by reputable welding suppliers. You will not have to buy separate tanks of each and try to mix and proportion them on your own.
    Thanks for your reply. For some reason (maybe I read it somewhere) shielding gas is not necessary on thicker stock (18.ga & above. Your explanation above as to what the gas does is correct. But I think on heavier stock the gas may cause problems with weld speed, bead, etc. But on thin stock it allows the weld to be made faster & prevents burn thru of the stock. Now having said all that, I may be technically incorrect as I am trying to learn the basics of MIG/wire feed welding.
    I also have questions regarding TIG but for now Mig is enough. I'm also interested in old fashion stick welding. Everyone seems to have left stick welding behind but I think there are a lot of benefits to stick when it comes to heavy gauge stock.

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    Wondering if you have had experience buying shielding gas yet? I'm only on my second bottle and am using the local Tractor Supply where Thoroughbred is the brand sold. I've had no problems so far. The first bottle was expensive as I was not turning in an empty cylinder, but after that the cost and convenience were reasonable.

    Before I went with shielding gas I did a fair amount of internet reading, and evidently Thoroughbred has a lot of haters out there. It reminded me of on line reading about Titan implements. Evidently a lawsuit between Thoroughbred and AirGas about 10 years ago led to the exchange system they use now at TSC. But, I took a chance, just like I did with Titan.

    It would be nice to have a second bottle, as obviously you'll run out while welding on a project. But, the startup cost keeps me from keeping a spare.
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    There are lots of 110v MIG Paks out that are meant to be used with no shielding gas, with flux core wire. Flux core is more forgiving and versatile when metals are not clean, and they can be used in windy conditions out in the field. But flux core is messy. Another advantage of flux core is the ability to weld thicker material. Steel wire in .024 (using 75/25 gas) is ideal for the thinner stuff, 3/16" and below. it just takes a bit of time to get speed/power dialed in. That's when spot welds (or test on scraps of the same size. My method) come into play. All while focusing on the sound of the arch and wire speed to create a synchronous crackle. If that make sense. A dual role gas/flux core machine in a step up and allows more versatility. After that, the weld "pattern" determines the flow. Patterns of circle, C, and U give different types of flow. On thin material, straight, continuous line can also give nice satisfactory welds. Practice is everything. If I were have someone ask me my thoughts on which MIG to buy as a hobbyist/homeowner, I would suggest a box rated for 220v. They cost a little more from the start, but they're capable of better welds and can weld thicker materials. The bigger MIG units can be use for mild steel, aluminum, and stainless, with the right accessories. Something to consider now for a lesser expense in the long run. There are plenty of nice (Lincoln, Miller, Hobart) used welders out there to be had.

    I have a large bottle, with a small bottle for back-up. Those can be found for a good price too, with some patience.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RetiredDoc View Post
    Wondering if you have had experience buying shielding gas yet? I'm only on my second bottle and am using the local Tractor Supply where Thoroughbred is the brand sold. I've had no problems so far. The first bottle was expensive as I was not turning in an empty cylinder, but after that the cost and convenience were reasonable.

    Before I went with shielding gas I did a fair amount of internet reading, and evidently Thoroughbred has a lot of haters out there. It reminded me of on line reading about Titan implements. Evidently a lawsuit between Thoroughbred and AirGas about 10 years ago led to the exchange system they use now at TSC. But, I took a chance, just like I did with Titan.

    It would be nice to have a second bottle, as obviously you'll run out while welding on a project. But, the startup cost keeps me from keeping a spare.
    I'm not at all familiar with buying shielding gas because I currently have no equipment at all. However I am aware that the first time around I will have to either buy the tank or "Rent" the tank & get it filled. I have a couple of places here besides TSC. I have AirGas & another one & a couple of independent dealers as well. In my situation a small tank of gas will probably last a long time or me-months-maybe a year plus.

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    The term “MIG” means Metal Inert Gas, which is another term for GMAW or Gas Metal Arc Welding and is ALWAYS done with an inert gas, there is no such thing and MIG welding without gas. If your using solid core wire, then you MUST use a gas regardless of the thickness of metals your welding.

    Welding with flux core wire is called FCAW or Flux Cored Arc Welding and uses a different machine setup.
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    Really have to look just get a mig welder and go and play around with some scrap to get a idea if running a shielding gas is worth the investment or can you get by with just core flux.

    I've always toyed with the idea of running gas through my mig welder but I have found for the majority of all my work core flux and it's sheer versatility seems to be all that I really need.

    On really thin gauge metal I can usually get a decent weld with flux if I run it on a very low setting and pretty much pulse the wire onto the metal. I have to let the metal cool down a second or two otherwise it will start to burn. Run a wire brush over it to clean it once in awhile and keep right on a going. Is it as fast as running a shielding gas, no way but for the little bit of thin gauge welding I do I can deal with it. I prefer running flux on my implements just because if I have to weld something I prefer to do it outside just because there is usually grass or grease residue on the thing that always seems to readily want to light up.
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    As Kenny said, if there isnt a shielding gas present, its not MIG welding. Heck, most processes use a shielding gas.
    There are many reasons for it, but several were mentioned above. Weld strength, appearance, etc.
    Without the gas, yes you can "weld", but you will have more problems than not.

    This applies to all thicknesses of metal. There isnt a gauge or size that can be welded without it.

    Now, you dont necessarily need bottled gas to accomplish this, flux core wire does the same thing, but requires a bit more finishing work to the weld.
    You need to chip/brush off the residue when done. Its best to do this before each pass if you need more than one.

    Bottled gas is nice if you are working indoors mostly, as it needs a fairly wind free environment to work as intended, or youll need to turn up the pressure to compensate.
    Flux cored wire works anywhere, but works excellently in windy, outdoor conditions where the gas would be blown away too quickly to do much good.

    As a sort of side note, ARC welding also has shielding gas in the form of coated rods like the flux core MIG wire.
    TIG welding also uses shielding gas.
    The gas is important to all types as it has a great effect on the weld itself. Keeps it from cooling too fast, keeps airborn contaminants out (even the air itself can be a contaminant), along with a lot of other things. Without it, you end up with a really ugly, really weak weld that is extremely prone to failure.

    All that said, Im no professional, and I didnt sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night, but I have been welding for a while now for my own needs and others too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boonie View Post
    There are lots of 110v MIG Paks out that are meant to be used with no shielding gas, with flux core wire. Flux core is more forgiving and versatile when metals are not clean, and they can be used in windy conditions out in the field. But flux core is messy. Another advantage of flux core is the ability to weld thicker material. Steel wire in .024 (using 75/25 gas) is ideal for the thinner stuff, 3/16" and below. it just takes a bit of time to get speed/power dialed in. That's when spot welds (or test on scraps of the same size. My method) come into play. All while focusing on the sound of the arch and wire speed to create a synchronous crackle. If that make sense. A dual role gas/flux core machine in a step up and allows more versatility. After that, the weld "pattern" determines the flow. Patterns of circle, C, and U give different types of flow. On thin material, straight, continuous line can also give nice satisfactory welds. Practice is everything. If I were have someone ask me my thoughts on which MIG to buy as a hobbyist/homeowner, I would suggest a box rated for 220v. They cost a little more from the start, but they're capable of better welds and can weld thicker materials. The bigger MIG units can be use for mild steel, aluminum, and stainless, with the right accessories. Something to consider now for a lesser expense in the long run. There are plenty of nice (Lincoln, Miller, Hobart) used welders out there to be had.

    I have a large bottle, with a small bottle for back-up. Those can be found for a good price too, with some patience.
    Speaking strictly for myself here. I can easily use a 240 Volt system in my barn. And I can go either way-MIG/wire feed flux core. Originally I was asking if shielding gas is absolutely necessary to weld thin gauges from 24 to 18 to prevent burning thru the metal. On heavier stock, gas as I see it is not necessary. But I don't know about the thinner stuff. Also I don't see myself ever welding anything heavier than 1/4" thick material. I just have absolutely no use for anything beyond 1/4".
    Yes, extra capacity like having a gas option or having a welder that I can select between 120 & 240 are nice, or even a straight 240 Volt, but that may limit my use if I have to take it on the road to help out a neighbor or a friend.

    Also, I've broken my own habit of buying items & equipment with over capacity that I do not have an immediate need for. I have found that when I buy extra capacity in tools, implements, computers, that if by the time I develop the need for the extras, the base item is obsolete & now I need to go out & buy the entire thing all over again. Basically what I am saying, buying stuff based on a non existing need has become a loss for me. Technology & capacities are only good if you can use it now, not on what you think you may need in the distant future. Remember now, I am speaking for myself here. And the fact is that I'm old. Buying more than what I need at this point in my life is just a waste of money that I need for the pills

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