When it comes to fabrication, welding is one of the most basic fundamentals. And when it comes to welding, gas metal arc welding (GMAW), more commonly known as metal inert gas (MIG) welding, is arguably the most popular and easiest to learn. Using a wire-fed gun, the process joins metals by heating them to their melting point with an electric arc, which is between a continuous, consumable electrode wire and the metal being welded. A shielding gas is used to prevent contaminants in the atmosphere from penetrating the work area.
Arguably the simplest welding process, it’s fairly easy to learn, but it can also be one of the hardest to master. Years of improper technique and setup can lead to Band-Aid type fixes that oftentimes go unnoticed or simply accepted as part of the process. I know I’m guilty of this as most of my welding education was gleaned from “on the job” training, meaning I bumbled my way through the hiccups and half figured out how to fuse metal.
At the end of the day, I can get the job done, but I’m always looking for a few tips and tricks that the more experienced heads can offer up. So, when the guys over at Miller Welding invited us over to their training center for a day of Q&A, I jumped at the chance to improve my welding technique and give you guys a little refresher course on what’s probably the most popular welding technique in our little hobby.