How To – Selecting between Flux, Dual and Dedicated Gas Mig Welders

Tags: Mig Welding

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http://www.howtopaintcars.com/wp-content/gallery/shop-tools/mig-welder.jpg?i=499063995Every garage owner eventually needs some type of welding tool. There are three basic selection that you can make gas welders, arc welders or Mig welders. Another selection is a TIG welder which has many of the features of an arc welder with a higher level of control however it does require a higher level of skill.

With gas welders the problem of maintaining gas and storing it safely is a problem for small shops. Most shops that maintain gas welders have contracts with gas suppliers.

Arc welders are difficult to control and are better suited for thicker metal. They have their place in many shops however with thinner metals being used vehicles today their use is normally limited to larger vehicles with full frames such as full size trucks and farm vehicles.

The use of TIG welders in shops is normally suited for detail work.

For the overall versatility MIG welders can be used for most projects.

Flux core vs. Gas MIG

There are two varieties of MIG welders flux core and gas. During any welding process you must use a shielding gas so that your welds are clean.

Flux core welders have a flux center in the welded wire that creates your shield during the welding process.

Gas welders require a gas tank that flows argon gas around the welder tip during welding. This means you must maintain a gas tank for welding.

Flux core welders

Flux core welders are the least expensive welder to purchase and maintain however there also limited to the thickness and quality of welds they can produce.

These entry level welders can normally be used with common household current and do not require an electrician. However for best results a dedicated line should be installed to reduce the possibility of tripping circuits.

Some welders can use both flux and gas welding wire this means you have a choice of maintaining gas for more demanding projects or using flux core for lighter duty welding.

Gas MIG welders

Dedicated gas welders produce the best results and have the most features however there are more costly. You can expect to spend 3 to 10 times more for gas mig welder than for a flux welder.

Gas MIG welders can weld the lightest sheet metal to heavy plate steel.

Gas welders require dedicated high voltage lines to be installed by an electrician. Normally the voltage required is 220 volts or three phase. Lines that are 220 volts can be installed in a residential building however three phase electricity is normally only available commercial buildings.

Gas welders can be used for steel and for aluminum however aluminum welding is difficult with a MIG welder. If you need to weld aluminum can you are probably better off using a TIG welder.

Entry level skilled welders

Since the cost to own and maintain is less for flux core welders this is a great selection for the home hobbyist or small garage.

The quality of the weld is good enough for most jobs and the lower cost will allow you to learn without forking out and large amount of money for both equipment and electrical upgrades.

The drawback of flux core welders is that they produce a slag during welding. This means you must always clean the weld by grinding. In most instances cleaning welds and grinding them flush is normal process during auto body repair so this should not be a hardship for most technicians.

Once you have used a flux welder for a period of time and feel comfortable with the welding process you can keep your current welder and upgrade. Your old welder can be used as a backup in case your more expensive model breaks.

Final note

This professional shops maintain more than one type of welder. You will find a variety of welders that are dedicated to specific tasks within shops.

If you have never welded before than the least expensive solution will get you started. A flux core welder should cost you no more than $200. Additional items such as the self darkening face shield, welding gloves and protective apron can be used for many years as you upgrade your welding equipment.

If you’re an advanced welder that has used other types of welders then a dual type welder is a good way to start. It will allow you to use 220 volt electricity in either your home or shop and will not require gas at first.

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