Metal welding is a standard industrial process that manufacturers utilize to fabricate metal products. This metal fabrication system primarily attaches two pieces by heating the anchor point. One of the best systems that metal workers use is the gas metal arc welding method.

However, there are various other practical types of metal welding systems. The following list is the most common metal welding methods that manufacturers use:

  • MIG Welding (Gas Metal Arc Welding)
  • MAG Welding (Gas Metal Arc Welding)
  • TIG Metal Welding (GTAW)
  • STICK Welding Method (SMAW)
  • Flux-Core Arc Welding

What is Gas Metal Arc Welding?

This article mainly focuses on the two most used gas metal arc welding systems, MIG and MAG. Both metal fabrication methods use heat created from an electric arc between the workpiece and a consumable electrode. They make a weld pool and fuse them and form a joint.

Manufacturers protect the arc and weld pool from contaminants and the environment with shielding gas. The electrode melts to worm a weld bead in these gas metal welding systems.

The main difference between MIG and MAG systems and other metal arc welding methods is that the electrode is a small diameter wire continuously fed through the contact tip of the torch from a wire pool. In contrast, the shielding gas is generally fed through the torch.

MIG and MAG methods have a gas supply that provides the arc shielding, unlike other scenarios where the flux on the electrode is melted for providing the shielding.

If you are new to this metal fabrication system, you should read our beginner’s guide to metal welding services.

What is the Difference Between MAG and MIG Gas Metal Arc Welding Systems?

MIG and MAG gas metal arc metal welding systems are almost similar to each other. The only difference between these two fabrication methods is the type of gas shielding they use.

The stability of the arc, weld profile, degree of spatter, metal transfer, and penetration mainly depend on the make-up of the shielding gas.

MIG Gas Metal Arc Welding

This gas metal arc welding process uses inert gases or a mixture of gases as shielding. Argon and Helium or their combination are typically used in the MIG method of non-ferrous metals such as Aluminum. These gases do not react with the weld pool or the filler material.

MAG Gas Metal Arc Welding

The MAG gas metal arc welding utilizes active shielding gases. These gases react with the filler metal and transfer across the weld pool and the arc. With this, the gases affect the chemistry and the mechanical properties of the working metal.

The most common active gases that manufacturers use to weld steel are:

  • Carbon Dioxide
  • The Mixture of Argon with Carbon Dioxide
  • Carbon Dioxide and Oxygen

Active gases for other metal materials include:

  • Nitrogen
  • Hydrogen

What are the Advantages of the Gas Metal Arc Welding Method?

Gas metal arc welding methods (especially MIG and MAG) offer various advantages making them one of the best metal fabrication services. The advantages include:

  • Various operation systems, including semi and fully automated
  • Fast and high-quality welds
  • No chance of trapping slag in the weld metal (due to lack of flux)
  • Versatile methods for joining various metals and alloys
  • Manufacturers can perform the welding process in all positions.

What are the Disadvantages of MIG and MAG Metal Welding Systems?

Although MIG and MAG metal welding systems are perfect for industrial applications, they have drawbacks. Here are some of the main disadvantages of gas metal arc welding systems that you should know:

  • Short circuit transfer is required for overhead or vertical welding. Without a fast-freezing flux, nothing is there to hold the fluid of the weld pool in its position.
  • MIG and MAG welding systems cannot be performed outdoors without enclosures. (Gas needs protection against the wind)
  • Gas metal arc welding has limited deoxidants. So, you must remove all the rust from the metal you work with before welding begins.
  • MAG metal welding with flux-cored wires is more suitable for positional processes and outdoor projects.
  • Similar to all welding processes, you must wear eye protection during the metal fabrication process.

Metal Transfer Mode of MAG and MIG

The operating features of the gas metal arc welding are determined by the metal transfer mode from the filler wire to the welding pool. There are four primary metal transfer modes defined in ISO 4063:

  1. Short-Circuiting
  2. Globular Transfer
  3. Spray Transfer
  4. Pulsed Transfer