In the world of welding, TIG or MIG is a great detail to know. We have to differentiate between what we call an arc and what we call an arc generator. In the case of MIG, an arch is formed when we place tungsten electrodes on the rod tip. When the rod tip touches the arch, we get an arc and the current is induced.
On the other hand, in TIG, the current is produced by melting the steel rods. The difference is quite obvious. TIG welders produce high quality welds that are long lasting. They can weld thick sheet metals with ease.
When we compare the welding equipments based on the electrode used for TIG welding in MIG, the obvious difference is the power source. TIG uses a DC current while MIG uses a constant current (CC). If you look closely, CC is not constant because it changes depending on the voltage that is applied. If we compare the output power based on different values of input voltage, the results are quite surprising. The power factor between the two different types is almost the same.
There is a big reason behind the power factor difference between the two types of arc welding. The heat sink that is provided by TIG is much larger than that of the MIG. This means that it is difficult for the welder to use a small arc for welding thinner metals. The result is the increased cost of consumables. The difference in operating costs is quite significant.
When we look at the characteristics of both types of arc welding, they do have some similarities. First, both types of welding use pressurized gas to create the arc. The only real difference is the method of applying the gas. TIG uses oxygen-based fuel to MIG use carbon dioxide or nitrogen based fuel. Both can produce good welds when the conditions are right.
In addition, both types of welding have the ability to generate high arc voltage and produce localized heat distribution within the weld puddle. The difference is observed in the tig welding process where the tig welder continuously feeds electrodes while the mig welder has to manually feed electrodes. The difference in the electrode feeding rate is also the cause of the difference in weld quality.
The tig welder is generally used for smaller, residential jobs and produces excellent welds. The ability to use tapering materials and fast feeding electrodes makes it very popular for use with hand tamping and mig welding. The mig welder is most often used in larger industrial projects and is more energy efficient. When comparing between the two types of welding, it is obvious that the mig is more power hungry and tends to overheat when working with thinner materials. On the other hand, the tip is more selective about the welding material that is fed into it and does not require the use of expensive tig consumables.
The difference between a MIG and a TIG weld is determined by the filler metal that is used in the arc. With the filler metal, the tig welder is limited to only using tungsten to produce an arc. On the other hand, the mig welder is able to weld most every type of metal and does not have this problem. Generally, the tig is more commonly used for welding larger metal pieces such as tank packages, ship parts, aircraft airframes and tanks as well as some medical applications where very dense materials need to be welded.
The MIG welder can also produce a weld that is more consistent than the tig because it uses a constant electric field to generate the arc. The MIG welder also produces less heat out during the arc and produces a uniform weld on the surface of the object that is being welded. It is also easier to use because the welder produces a more even arc and produces a smoother weld.
One factor in choosing between these two types of welding is the power supply that is being used. Most welders will choose between a power supply that has less current consumption, or a higher current consumption. For this reason, the weld quality can be affected and the welder may have to do a better job of finding an arc that is not too weak or too strong. Another point of difference is that TIG welding requires a much larger power supply and is better suited for high power production welding operations. On the other hand, the mig welder can be run from a small battery that is recharged while one is running.
Some of the best advice when deciding between the two types of welding is to find a shop where both welds are done with the same type of equipment. It may be easier to tell which type of welder is doing the job by the overall appearance of the shop and the employees working there. If possible, try to see some completed welds and arc photos of some welds that have been done recently. This will give you a better idea of what you are getting into before you invest a lot of time and money into either machine.