From the point of view of a model hobbyist joining small parts, possibly
thick 1/2" not long 4" max.
Which is easier to learn.
Is there some type of material or some type of weld that one system is not
suited but the other can do?
How about occupied space, is there a difference? My space is limited.
Cost of operating and needed accessories.
I was considering an oxy acetylene system but is expensive bulky and safety
is a concern, may be a MIG or a TIG system can work for me, is not that I
have a specific requirement, being an hobby you adjust your projects and
designs to the tools you have.
Appreciate any input to get me started
TIG can weld pretty much anything that can be welded. Given your scale
of operations, MIG offers little advantage based on it's biggest
feature, speed of laying down metal. TIG is somewhat more difficult to
learn (requires more complex physical skills, using both hands).
TIG is the premium welding method, almost all metals, expensive
equipment, high skill level. Very slow welding process, about 1/10th the
speed of MIG
MIG is the production method of choice, medium priced equipment, lowest
skill level requiement. Best on steel, aluminum can be done but it is
fussy to get it right.
Stick welding is the most flexible, most portable, cheapest equipment,
mid range in skill (more than MIG, less than TIG)
O-A is somwhat obsolete, good for cutting, good for brazing, some small
part welding. For smlla parts, the small flame is less of a fire hazard
than the flying sparks from MIG or stick.
Your example of thick but small parts is a pain. Thick means high heat
(expensive equipment, big power input), small means controlling the heat
without melting the part along with distortion are the big issues. If
you do trailers and trailer hitches, get a stick. If you do body work
and general repair get a MIG (not flux core). If you just do repair and
are cheap get a flux core wire feed. If you are doing small intricate
parts in steel, stainless steel, and aluminum and are willing to spend
the time to get good at it, get a TIG
I want to add one comment to Roy's post, which may be trivial and
obvious to Roy, but I hope that the OP does not miss it in case if he
is not aware.
A TIG welder can be used for stick welding. So if you get a TIG, you
can use it for both stick as well as TIG.
There are also separate wire feed units that let one use wire feed gas
shielded or fluxcore welding with a constant current supply like TIG.
TIG is unbeatable for work with small parts and "intricate" work.
'Tis true that a TIG can be used for stick welding. But the average
newbie will be hard pressed to justify the price and time commitment
involved in going straight to TIG. The usual decison is stick vs flux
core vs 120 volt MIG vs 240 volt MIG.
Thanks for clarifying many aspect. From what I hear, the best and most
flexible for my type of work (play actually) is TIG. This need to be
evaluated in light of the steep learning and the higher cost, but now I got
something to place in perspective some further reading I need to do.
I will be back with more intelligent question, thanks you all for now.
The "learning how to TIG" is not that steep, if you can live with less
than perfect looking welds and without ising your welds for critical
applications (like welding objects on which human life depends).
With mild steel, and TIG, if you get a puddle, it will join the joint.
TIG is sometimes used for extremely demanding or critical applications
like bicycle welding or aerospace, and learning to get to that level
obviously is difficult. But learning how to join pieces of steel for
non critical applications is not that hard.
I am also a novice to TIG, so take what I say with a grain of salt.
The only similarity between MIG and TIG is the name, basically.
If you want to go the TIG route, Ernie L. gives a really good exercise
involving a washer and a pencil. Look up on google newsgroup archive
- you will find a lot of other good stuff. The first time I needed to
left-hand TIG, I did it about as well as right-hand TIG because I had
practiced the "pencil and washer" - didn't crash the tungsten on that
my very first try.
In general though, TIG will reduce a grown person to tears at least
TIG is obsolutely clean - if you see sparks, get red dust around your
weld and see something like cinders in place of your weld, you are way
overheating. Every (?) learner has been there.
I've reminisced about learning TIG in my own way on
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