MIG Welding Tips & Tricks

Because knowing is half the purchase

Tips for choosing supplies

  • For thin metals, use a smaller diameter wire. For thicker metals, use larger wire and a larger machine.
  • Your wire and base metal should generally be the same. Use stainless steel wire when welding stainless steel, aluminum wire when welding aluminum, etc.
  • Use ER70S-6 wire to help deoxidize your base metal when welding dirty or rusty steel.
  • Match your contact tube, gun liner and drive rolls to the wire diameter you’re using.

Tricks for a better technique

  • Keep a ¼ - ⅜ in. electrode extending from the contact tube (commonly known as stickout). See Diagram for a visual example.
  • For best control of your weld bead, keep the wire directed at the leading edge of the weld pool.
  • When welding out of position (vertical, horizontal or overhead), keep the weld pool small and use the smallest diameter wire you can.
  • Keep the drive rolls, gun liner and nozzle clean and spatter-free.
  • Replace the contact tip if it’s blocked or feeding poorly.
  • Keep the gun as straight as possible when welding to avoid poor wire feeding.
  • Use both hands to steady the gun whenever possible.
  • Keep wire feeder hub tension and drive roll pressure tight enough to feed wire, but don’t overtighten.
  • Keep wire in a clean, dry place to avoid contaminants that lead to poor welds.
  • Use a drag or pull gun technique for more penetration and a narrower bead. Use a push gun technique for less penetration and a wider bead. See Diagram for a visual example.

Electrode Extensions (Stickout)

Penetration Patterns for Steel

Effect of Electrode Position and
Welding Technique

MIG (GMAW) Voltage - Bead Changes

MIG (GMAW) Gun and Weld Area

Ready to keep shopping? Return to the MIG Welding Collection page