MIG Welding Settings: The Complete Guide

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MIG welding is the most frequent technique of welding low-alloy steels. The process involves the joining of metals with the use of an electric arc. The electric arc works for heating the metal and melts it.  It comes out of an electrode connected to the MIG gun.

This MIG welding process operates via two different modes. These modes include Short circuit transfer and Spray arc transfer. Both means of welding are useable in the welding of auto-body parts. In spray transfer, there is no contact between the electrode and metal. But short circuit transfer uses electric shorts to transfer metal.

However, What settings for MIG welding?  The adjustments to be made for the welding of metal alloys are almost identical in every case. In all circumstances, 1 amp of output is necessary for a material having a thickness of 0.001 inches. Similarly, choose the size of the wire according to the amperage. For example, a wire of 0.023 inches is suitable for amperage of 30-130 amps. 

MIG Welding Settings Explained

For the achievement of better results, consider the following parameters. These factors alter the results and affect the quality of welding. Let’s study these factors in detail.

1. Voltage:

The width and height of the metal bead alter with changes in voltage. Moreover, arc length and voltage also have a relationship. The greater the arc length, the greater is the voltage. As a result, the bead shape also changes. So, adjust the voltage carefully.

2. Wire Feed Speed:

The wire feed speed affects the amperage of the MIG welding. It also leaves an adverse impact on the penetration of the wire. So, you must adjust the wire feed speed of the gun to achieve greater productivity.

3. Wire size with relevant to amperage:

Select the thickness of the wire according to the amperage of the process. Select an amperage because most of the users don’t want to change the wire.

  • 30-130 amps is workable for .023 inch.
  • Select amperage of 40-145 amps for .030 inch.
  • 50-180 amps are good enough for a wire of .035 inch.
  • 75-250 amps is the perfect solution for a wire having a thickness of .045 inch.

Understanding MIG Welding

Know the Basic History of MIG welding:

The GMAW (Gas Metal Arc Welding) commonly refers to MIG welding (Metal Inert Gas Welding). It was invented at the time of the Second World War for strong and durable joints. Nowadays it is used in a welding shop, industrial level, also farms.

Factors causing poor welds:

The following factors result in the generation of poor welds.

Factors Causing Poor Welds
  • Very low voltage can cause bird nesting and produces spatter and flattened beads that hamper the quality of welds.
  • If the speed of wind feeding is fast, it results in insufficient penetration. As a result, you get inappropriate beads.
  • A low value of feeding speed of wires causes very low amperage. It also deteriorates the quality of welds.
  • Too high amperage can also cause the deterioration of welds.
  • Low speed of wind feeding causes poor penetration or burn-through.

Try to avoid all these situations while performing the MIG welding process.

Aluminum MIG Welding Setting Chart

For the metal inert gas welding of aluminum, different types of wires are useable. But the most suitable wire type for all sorts of auto-parts welding is ER4043. If you are in the quest for rigidity and sturdiness in your welding process, this wire type is the ultimate solution for your needs. Greater strength and durability are achievable with this wire.

For the shielding of the molten metal pool, the suitable gas will be argon. It creates an inert environment and prevents any interaction between the atmosphere and metal. During the process of welding, balance the level of your gun.

The wire electrode must be straight and upright for smooth transfer of metal. However, if the metal gun is long, you can use a spool to maintain the balance. If a spool is not available, try to keep the length of the metal gun as short as possible. Following are the depositing speed of wire calculated with the help of a standard core welding calculator. The wire depositing speeds are available in inches per minute.

Material Thickness (Inch)

Electrode Size

IPM

1/8

a) 0.035

b) 1.2 mm

a) 350-400 ipm

b) 240-270 ipm

3/6

a) 0.035

b) 1.2 mm

a) 425-450 ipm

b) 300-325 ipm

1/4

a) 1.2 mm

b) 1.6 mm

a) 350-375 ipm

b) 170-185 ipm

5/16

a) 0.2 mm

b) 1.6 mm

a) 400-425 ipm

b) 200-210 ipm

3/8

a) 1.2 mm

b) 1.6 mm

a)  450-480 ipm

b) 220-230 ipm

7/16

a) 1.6 mm

a) 240-270 ipm with 280 amps

MIG Welding Setting Chart for Stainless Steel

If you are operating the MIG welding process for an alloy like stainless steel, you will find this process easier. The welding of stainless steel cuts a lot of effort and time due to its tailored and customized properties.

Stainless steel is a corrosion-resistant form of steel that makes it better than ordinary steel. It is an alloy of iron and carbon and also contains nickel or chromium as alloying metal. These metals improve the properties of Stainless steel and also provide easiness in the welding of this alloy.

A suitable inert gas environment is achievable by the use of a mixture of different gases. In this case of stainless steel, a combination of argon, helium, and carbon dioxide provides sufficient shielding and protection against gaseous air.

We prefer to use the following sizes of wires with MIG vintage constant, amperage and wire depositing speeds. We mentioned the voltage in volts and speed in inches per minute. Keep in mind that this speed is not the wire feeding speed. So, don't confuse it with the WFS.

Material Thickness

Electrode Size

IPM

Voltage

Amps

18 Gauge

0.035

120-150 ipm

20 volts

50-60 amps

16 Gauge

0.035

180-205 ipm

20 volts

70-80 amps

14 Gauge

0.035

230-275 ipm

20-21 volts

90-110 amps

12 Gauge

0.035

300-325 ipm

20-21 volts

120-130 amps

3/16 Inch

0.035

350-375 ipm

21 volts

140-150 amps

1/4 Inch

0.035

400-425 ipm

21 volts

160-170 amps

5/16 Inch

0.035

450-475 ipm

22 volts

180-190 amps

3/8 Inch

1.6mm

140-170 ipm

25 volts

250-275 amps

7/16 Inch

1.6mm

170-200 ipm

27 volts

275-300 amps

1/2 Inch

1.6mm

200-230 ipm

32 volts

300-325 amps

MIG Welding Setting Chart for Steel

You can use two types of wire for the MIG welding of usual steel. These wire types include:

  • ER70S-3
  • ER70S-6

However, all types of auto-part and home machinery welding use ER70S-3 specifically. The usage of another one is preferable in the situation where you need more deoxidizers. We recommend the second type of wire that is ER70S-6. It is useable for MIG welding of corroded or rusted materials.

ER70S-6 is suitable for wires made of dirty steel or worn out with time due to moisture. However, I suggest using C-25 gas for the sake of shielding. The shielding gas contains a mixture of inert gases, and it is 75 % argon and 25 % carbon dioxide.

However, this shielding gas is useable for the fabrication of industrial materials. So, use this combination of gases with the mentioned wires only in the MIG welding of rusted parts.

Material Thickness

Electrode Size

IPM

Voltage

Amps

22 Gauge

0.030

90-100 ipm

15-17 volts

40-55 amps

20 Gauge

a) 0.030

b) 0.035

a) 120-135 ipm

b) 105-115 ipm

15-18 volts

50-60 amps

18 Gauge

a) 0.030

b) 0.035

c) 0.045

a) 150-175 ipm

b) 140-160 ipm

c) 70 ipm

16-19 volts

70-80 amps

16 Gauge

a) 0.030

b) 0.035

c) 0.045

a) 220-250 ipm

b) 180-220 ipm

c) 90-110 ipm

17-20 volts

90-110 amps

14 Gauge

a) 0.030

b) 0.035

c) 0.045

a) 250-340 ipm

b) 240-260 ipm

c) 120-130 ipm

17-21 volts

120-130 amps

1/8 Inch

a) 0.035

b) 0.045

a) 280-340 ipm

b) 140-175 ipm

18-24 volts

140-170 amp

3/16 Inch

a) 0.035

b) 0.045

a) 320-380 ipm

b) 160-195 ipm

18-25 volts

160-190 amps

1/4 Inch

a) 0.035

b) 0.045

a) 360-420 ipm

b) 185-220 ipm

21-25 volts

180-210 amps

5/16 Inch

a) 0.035

b) 0.045

a) 400-520 ipm

b) 210-270 ipm

21-26 volts

210-250 amps

3/8 Inch

a) 0.035

b) 0.045

a) 420-520 ipm (short circuit transfer)

b) 220-375 ipm

23-27 volts

220-300 amps
1/2+ Inch

0.045

390 ipm

29-30 volts

315+ amps

Final thoughts 

The final verdict is that always set the parameters that bring optimal performance. We recommend not to compromise on the quality of equipment used for welding. Different innovative and intelligent welding machines are available in the market that automatically adjusts the parameters.

Such auto-setups analyze the material thickness and other factors and set the speeds accordingly.  Also, read the manual of your machine for a better understanding of the operations. Different positions and structural differences affect the parameters.

So, you can do the welding on a hit and trial method. Then, record the parameters on getting better results and stick on those parameters for future use.  

FAQ

When MIG Welding is it better to push or pull?

I often wonder whether I should push or pull. Pushing the MIG welding results in a better fusion of the metal plate and provides a stronger weld. Pulling weld penetrates a lot, but it does not give an unspoiled view. So, pushing is preferable.

How do I stop my spatter from MIG welding?

Excessive spatter during MIG welding causes trouble for me. But I reduce it by providing the wire at a suitable level of tension. I avoid snagging or any other hurdle during the MIG welding setting because the smooth and continuous feeding of wire results in a neat and clean weld.

How does wire speed affect MIG welding?

The weld penetration and amperage depend on the wire speed during MIG welding. It should be between the two extremes because a fast wire-speed hinders the proper melting of wire and causes bird nesting. On the other hand, slow speed reduces the amount of penetration resulting in improper feed.

How does voltage affect MIG welding?

The greater the voltage, the greater is the width-to-depth ratio. It is because more tearing down of weld bead occurs on increasing the voltage. The voltage applied during welding also affects the arc length. Arc length is the distance of filler metal to the molten weld pool. Therefore, we can say that the width-to-depth ratio is directly proportional to the voltage.

Do you need gas for MIG welding?

The answer to this question is present in the name of the welding process. MIG is the short form of “Metal Inert Gas.” It denotes that the process works in the presence of a gas. The gas shields the molten welding pool. It means that the molten welding pool does not interact with the air gases due to this gas.

Are gasless MIG welders any good?

Gasless MIG welders are also available in the market. A great deal of productivity is achievable with these innovative gasless MIG welders. The greater efficiency linked with these welders is because they can provide more penetration. Moreover, these are also good for welding heavier or thicker metals.

Is MIG welding constant voltage?

It is a characteristic of MIG welding power sources that arc voltage remains constant. The establishment of voltage is possible by altering the wire feed speed. It means, with the increase in wire-speed feed, a decrease in arc length occurs that in turn reduces the voltage from the current value.

Last Updated on June 13, 2021 by weldinghubs

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