Types of Welding & Its Uses, MIG VS TIG VS STICK Welding - A Comparative Study

Welding- the art of joining metal pieces (blacksmithing) has been around since ancient times with progression from Iron, gold, copper, bronze, and silver metals. Welding history reveals that all the metalwork (joining two metal pieces) started in 1000 B.C. Since then, welding has evolved.

Welding seems an easy process, but when you start learning more about it, you will realize that there are different welding types, and welders need to understand these processes to pick the correct welding process for themselves.

Welding can be divided into MIG, TIG, and Stick welding. Each of these welding types has its own merits and demerits. Here are the main types -

MIG welding

Originated in 1940, MIG welding- commonly known as Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW), is a process that uses a spool of wire and a MIG welding gun to burn, melt, and join together two pieces of metal.

How does it work?

MIG welding includes a consumable wire fed from a spool through to the joint in the metal that you want to weld together. The entire welding process needs a welding gun, a constant power supply, a shielded gas supply, a wire feeding system, and a cooling water source. Carbon dioxide is commonly used as shielding gases in MIG welding. A protective gas bubble is used to protect the weld from the ambient air and its components. Oxygen and water in the atmosphere can react with welding material and can deteriorate the quality of welding. MIG welding can be done in flat, vertical, horizontal, and overhead positions.

Pros and Cons

The MIG welding process offers many advantages. However, there are a few drawbacks to the method.

Pros

  1. Simple and easy process
  2. It can be used with a wide range of metal thicknesses
  3. Does not use a flux
  4. The gas shield protects the arc

Cons

  1. Too weak for cast iron
  2. It cannot be used in a windy and wet atmosphere
  3. Not suitable for metals that are too thin or too thick

TIG welding

TIG or GTAW (Gas Tungsten Arc Welding) is a welding process where a weld puddle is created when a non-consumable tungsten electrode is used to heat the material and melt it. Unlike MIG welding, in this technique, gas tungsten arc welding produced from a single metal type.

How does it work?

It is a more complex process and time-consuming process than MIG welding. It uses a torch with a non-consumable tungsten electrode while slowly feeding a filler rod into the weld pool to fuse the metals. The gases used with TIG are usually helium or argon. During the process, welders need to use both hands and a foot pedal to feed the wire.

Pros and Cons

The TIG welding process offers many advantages. However, there are a few drawbacks to the process.

Pros

  1. Highly precise
  2. Cleaner welding
  3. Suitable for car bodies, motorcycles, sculpture

Cons

  1. Much slower than MIG welding
  2. More time consuming
  3. Not very easy to learn

Stick welding

The shielded metal arc welding process, commonly known as shielded metal arc welding (SMAW), uses a consumable electrode covered with a flux to lay the weld. It is the oldest welding process.

How does it work?

Stick welding is done through a single electrode that gets heated, then melts, and this intense heat melts the workpiece and welds the two parts together. The electrode rods used in this process use substances such as chemicals, minerals and iron powder.

Pros And Cons

The Stick welding process offers many advantages. However, there are a few drawbacks to the method.

Pros

  1. It can be used indoors and outdoors
  2. Excellent puddle control in all directions
  3. It can be used for a wide range of material
  4. More accessible to master than MIG

Cons

  1. A long training process is needed for welders
  2. Low deposition rate
  3. Expensive process
  4. The weld will not as high quality as TIG

Final thought

There is no “best process” in welding. Both amateur and professional welders need to choose a process that suits their needs. The table below might help you outline the main benefits and downsides of the different welding types.

Features MIG welding TIG welding Stick Welding
Metal type Steel, Stainless, Aluminium All metal types Steel and stainless
Metal thickness 24 gauge and above 22 gauge and above 1/8" and above
Welding speed Fast Slowest Slow
Quality weld Medium High Low
Operation cost Low High High
First row is a table header How to use it?