A Beginners Guide of How to Weld with a MIG

MIG or gas metal arc inert has been one of the widely used welding processes in various sectors- military, manufacturing, shipbuilding, construction, fabrication, maintenance, plumbing, etc. It is fairly easy to learn for novice welders. Professional welders can enhance their MIG welding skills with minimal effort. In this article, we will discuss some effective MIG Welding tips and teach you how to weld with a MIG efficiently. Let’s get started:

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Tips on How to Weld with a MIG

Sharpening your skills and putting the useful tips to practice is the key to becoming a professional MIG welder. Yes, the MIG welding technique is comparatively easier to learn than TIG or stick welding but every beginner requires adequate practice and a handful of tips to help along the way.

  1. Choose a great surface to MIG weld

It is you who has to take care of the smooth ground, not your welder. The common failure in welding occurs due to bad ground. Your welder will keep pumping hot wire regardless of excess stuttering and sputtering.

Karl Hoes, a thought leader associated with Lincoln Electric suggests that the MIG welder requires a smooth and steady flow of electricity. The current that pumps up the welder chooses the path with the least resistance in the complete circuit.

The current might seek another path if the welding ground is not close to the arc. Therefore, you should always attach the bare metal to the clamp tightly. And make sure that the bare metal is as close to the arc as possible.

  1. Do not use your welder without proper cleaning

Porosity in the MIG welder is the number cause for textured bead appearance. The porosity occurs whenever you weld on a painted, oily, or dirty surface. The contaminants stick inside the welder’s blower and trap inside the hot weld. You’d be pretty disappointed to see sponge-like holes within your welded belt.

While professional welders never skip on cleaning, farmers overlook the cleaning part and have bad welds as a result. The only solution is to ground the surface so you could remove paint, oil, dirt, and rust. Sometimes, the invisible cracks on the metal can also lead to porosity. So, make sure to grind the metal entirely before welding.

  1. Use both hands while MIG welding

Use one hand to hold the better part of the trigger and the other hand to rest the crook present on the neck of the gun. Do not hesitate to get your hand close to the weld. Wear leather or high-end heat-resistant protection gloves to avoid burns. Using both hands while MIG welding creates smooth and steady welds.

  1. Keep the stick out as short as possible

It is a general rule to keep the wire stick out distance as short as possible from the gun’s contact tip. Keep the stick-out distance between ¼ to 3/8 inches. Reducing the stick-out distance is the only way to avoid small balls on your weld.

  1. Set up in the right manner

An important part of MIG welding is about matching the correct current (amperage) with the correct wire diameter (electrode). You can adjust the accurate amperage through the thickness of the metal you are about to weld.

The power capacity and the duty cycle of the MIG torch should be in check as well. If all of the variables are overwhelming for you, talk to the experienced MIG wire manufacturers and know everything about wire diameters in an instant.

  1. Keep the correct arc length

It is good practice to maintain the length of the arc, regardless of the wire’s diameter. Aim to maintain an arc length that is between 6mm to 12mm. However, your welding amperage will influence the arc length as well.

The wrong liner length deforms your drive rollers, which can result in heavy vibration and chattering in the MIG torch of the welder. The best practice to maintain the correct liner length is to cut it slightly longer than the instruction mentions. This will allow you to push the tip holder or the diffuser to tighten on the neck of the swan.

  1. Stagger the welds

There’s a risk of excessive heat distortion, even if you are welding stainless steel or thin panels. The heat distortion causes the thin panels to buckle and bend. You have to spread or distribute the thermal effect throughout the work to avoid bending. Welding in different places around the workstation will limit heat distortion.

  1. Replace the contact tips whenever you feel like it

Keep a pack of high-end contact tips on your welding toolbox and replace them when needed. New contact tips are oval in shale and create an erratic arc. If the contact tip gets destroyed by entering into a weld pool, you should replace it immediately.

The thumb rule is to replace the contact tip after it has consumed 100 pounds of wire.


It takes a lot of practice and patience to get your welds to meet the right criteria. But the more you coax the welding gun along its path while keeping your helmet down, the better you become at MIG welding.

If it’s your first time MIG welding, we suggest getting a decent yet affordable welder for your DIY work. A MIG welder under $500 should do the job. This source has everything you need to know when buying your first MIG welder:

Happy welding!


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