MIG vs. TIG Welding Aluminum

Aluminum holds different composition and melts at a different degree level than steel.

Besides, it is much more challenging to weld aluminum than steel because of the oxide layer coating that melts around 3700 degrees.

Further, it conducts heat faster than carbon steel; hence, faster electrode movement and higher amperage demand aluminum welding.

Two types of welding are commonly used for this purpose, MIG and TIG welding and what is the difference between these two types is here below;

MIG Aluminum Welding

MIG is a metal inert gas welding technique that heats the metal until they reach the liquid state.

It involves a metal wire feeding that connects with an electrode by running the material through the liquefied metal and torch. 

It uses short-circuit welding and form puddle welds; the inert gas present in the filler comes out and protects the newly formed puddles from other atmospheric elements.

It shows that inert gas serves as a shield against environmental attacks and helps in welding metals.

Components of a MIG Weld

Wire-feed system: for smoothly running and even welding, a wire-feed system is the necessary component. Mig hold pinch rolls, spool-on-gun, and push-pull in this system.

Power: the power source in MIG is DC with a constant voltage.

Welding Torch: The welding torch provides you gas that protects the weld pool and transfers current to the wire; this torch may be water-cooled or air-cooled. 

Filler Metal: This component melts the electrode by conduction electrical current.

Gas shielding: The gas that protects the arc and weld pool is made of carbon dioxide and argon.

Where to use MIG Welding?

It is useful for welding thicker pieces of aluminum. Plus, it makes extensive and non-stop welds. 

TIG Aluminum Welding

TIG means Tungsten inert gas, and it involves a tungsten electrode. These electrodes heat and run a current through the metals and join them.

This technique demands the participation of both hands because the filler material and torch are separate. Moreover, it has a foot pedal that controls the electricity amount going towards the torch. 

Components of a TIG Welding

Power: The power source may be AC or DC. However, an AC power source works better with aluminum than a DC power source.

Foot Pedal: The amount of electricity increases and makes the arc hotter; this process speeds up the welding, and all this is controllable by a foot pedal.

Torch: TIG torch holds a wide variety of designs; some have an on and off switch.

Backing Bars: backing bars explicitly designed for cooling purposes; le the welding area to cool down more rapidly than its own. 

Gas Shielding: The gas that protects the arc and weld pool is made of argon.

Where to use TIG welding?

TIG welding is useful for high-quality finishing and welding only from one side, like repairing castings or working with pipes.

A comparison chart explains the difference between TIG and MIG welding briefly:

GasTungsten inert gasMetal inert gas
TechniqueDepends on welder to feed a separate filler materialA wire electrode fed through the spool gun
Thickness of the objectWeld thinner metals fasterWeld thicker metals faster
Difficulty levelHolding the welding torch and filler material makes it difficultContinuously wire feeding makes it easier
MetalsBest-suitable for thinner gauge materialBest-suitable for welding mild and stainless steel
SpeedSlower method delivers less speedFaster method delivers faster speed
Task sizeBetter work on smaller tasksWork well with larger tasks
CostMore expensiveLess expensive
ControlExperienced required for controllingEasier to control, so highly recommended to beginners
AppearanceProvide beauty clean and precise finishLess attractive and less precise welding

Which type is best for Aluminum welding?

Usually, TIG welding is more useful for aluminum welding because a welder has excellent control with this method, preventing the aluminum from overheating. A filler rod use let a cleaner weld on the aluminum.

Further, an AC-powered, ideal amperes range, duty cycle, and pulse welding all these characteristics make it more suitable for aluminum welding than the MIG method.

Bottom Line

Both TIG and MIG welding are useful for aluminum welding, withholding premium components and features in them. However, the most preferred method is TIG aluminum welding due to its precise finishing property.

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