Welding sheet metal or pipe can be done by hobbyist metalworkers and automotive enthusiasts with the use of a self-contained electric arc welding machine. Metal inert gas (MIG) welding creates a high temperature electric spark by passing electricity from a consumable wire into the metal being welded together. The MIG process also requires a cloud of inert argon or carbon dioxide gas to protect the welding site to prevent atmospheric gases from contaminating the weld bead.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- MIG welding machine
- Inert gas
- Welding wire
- Sheet metal
- Wire brush
Attach a tank of inert gas to the intake hose of the MIG welding machine. The end of the hose will attach by screwing the coupling onto the regulator nozzle attached to the compress air tank.
Load MIG welding wire into the welding machine by placing the wire spool onto the spindle and drive reel located on the inside of the access hatch.
String the MIG wire through the wire-tensioning mechanism, through the cable connected to the welding torch and out the tip of the welding gun.
Set the amperage and welding speed dials on the front of the welding machine in accordance to the manufacturer's instructions. These settings are based on the type and thickness of the metals being welded together.
Arrange the pieces of metal into the desired configuration and clamp them in place to prevent shifting.
Clean edge of the metal with a wire brush. This will remove any dirt, paint or rust which inhibits proper fusion of the metals.
Turn the MIG welding machine on and hold the tip of the welding torch 1/8 inch from the edge of the metal joint.
Squeeze the welding torch trigger to start an arc weld and slowly move the torch in a zigzag pattern along the seam.
Continue the welding process until you complete the joint.
Allow the metal to cool completely before touching it.
Tips and warnings
- Always wear protective gloves and a welder's helmet while welding.
- Do not weld near flammable materials.
- Weld in a well ventilated area. Inert gas can cause asphyxiation.
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