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TIG OR MIG the age old question help please


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Hi all i am a hobbyist blacksmith / sheet metal worker and i mostly do small decorative items for households and gardens, gifts for friends and family etc. i was until recently a car mechanic by trade with MIG and ARC welding experience. Its a little off topic and not so much blacksmithing as sheet metal work. My old mig welder died and i am looking to replace with either a MIG or TIG welder, i  work with sheet metal no thicker than 5mm and would like to expand from steel into copper and stainless. do you think it would be worth purchasing a TIG welder over MIG. it would be a whole new learning process but i am not one to shy away from a challenge. I would interested to hear your thoughts and recommendations and experiences guys thanks a lot

sorry posted in wrong section now ive added to the welding section of this site apologies

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Hello Hobb,

I love my TIG welder. Its ability to join base metals with little or no filler material makes it more useful to me in my work. TIG welding is very similar to oxy-acetylene gas welding, melt your base metals then feed your rod and move the puddle forward. I feel TIG gives you greater heat control for all levels of base material thickness. MIG is quick and easy but almost always needs more grinding to blend the weld. With MIG your wire speed and amperage has to be in balance which always leads to a larger bead on the surface at least for me. 

I have found that with practice I now prefer my TIG welder for almost all of my welding needs. 

Just me 2 cent.

Have a great day,


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TIG has the advantage of switching from aluminum, to stainless, to steel, to magnesium very quickly. Change the high frequency start switch, swap out the tungsten, and the filler rod. Easy peasy.  TIG units also double as stick welders.

MIG has the advantage of speed and bigger beads. I have run aluminum beads as big as my thumb, and had to watch out so I would not blow through the 5/8" plate. That was spray arcing .062" aluminum wire, so a lot of juice behind it from my 650A Miller MIG.

There is no one welding technique that is best, each has its place. For me, I love TIG, but I do a lot of MIG too.

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Thanks all. my projects would be 90% steel using various thickness round bar 6mm upwards and only the odd bits of copper etc for accents on the pieces. I think Mig would best suit my needs overall.

(My preference for supplier is R-tech supplies in the UK. I've had good experience with r tech in the past owning both they're plasma cutter 30amp and 175amp arc welder.) 

They also offer a combi Mig Tig Stick I've attached a link:


Question: Has anyone had good experience with these types of machinery? I've always thought something that offers multi use packages weren't great in any one field. But I would like to hear of users experiences. 

Alternative would be buy a 250amp mig and try to attach the copper via brazing. 

Question: I was wondering about brazing the copper to steel using a flux and small blowtorch. Would this work or be a suitable bond? 

I also want to make pieces from scrap cutlery forks spoons kettles etc Ive looked up online and I've seen people are using mig welders for this.

Has anyone tried this technique? And if so how well has it worked? 

Sorry for all the questions I'm just trying to figure out best way forward with your help and experience in the field. Thanks for the continued help giys 

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Short of explosive welding I think your going to be brazing dissimilar metals. Tin sodder melts at the lowest temp (hard to find lead) fallowed buy silver, then brass

and then copper. Seems most use silver sodder with copper aloys to steel, but that may be not the effect the heat treat in knives. 

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Hobb, I've been using a machine like that for about 25 years and haven't had any trouble. I use it when I have to certify and I haven't failed yet. The first machine burned up after about 10 yrs of use by several employees, that don't take care of their equipment, it wasn't the machine's fault, something went wrong with the  electric supply and burned it up, transformers feeding the shop had to be changed. It was replaced with the same machine. 

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  • 2 months later...

I have an old Airco "heliwelder".  It does both stick, and tig. I want to get a spool gun for it. I also use my oxy/acetylene torch quite a bit. I use the tig for aluminum, and stainless, and either the stick, or torch for everything else.   I gas welded sheet metal for many years, before I got the set-up that I now have. 

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