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Can you use the same Gas for Mig and Tig

Wednesday, 24th June 2020
Graham (Tech Advisor)
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I get asked “can you use the same gas for Mig and Tig” a LOT!

Sadly, the answer is NO.

Gas for Mig Welding

Both Mig and Tig Welding require gas to protect the weld pool from Oxygen and often to cool the Torch but these are not the only functions it performs with Mig Welding.

First off, “MIG” which stands for “Metal Inert Gas”, is actually an incorrect term. This is because virtually all gases used for Mig Welding are “Active” gases, so it should be called “MAG” welding, or “Metal Active Gas”

North American’s get around the Mig/Mag issue by calling the process “Gas Metal Arc Welding”, or GMAW).

Anyway, MIG welding (we’ll use the popular term), uses mostly Active gases, usually a mixture of Argon (Inert) and Co2 (Active).

“Inert” means the gas does not react with anything, “Active” means the gas does react with, or changes something else.

An Active gas is used with Mig Welding for two reasons:

  • The Active Gas mixes make the gas semi conductive to electricity, makes for a hotter arc and better penetration.
  • The Active Gas breaks the surface tension of the molten metal, allowing it to flatten out more.

Using an Inert Gas like pure Argon will result in the machine needing to be turned up higher and the welds will be taller.

Pure Argon should only be used for Mig Welding Aluminium, or for special applications.

View our range of Disposable Gas Cylinders

Gas for Tig Welding

Whilst there are some more exotic (and expensive) mixes available, most welders will find pure Argon to be ideal for Tig Welding most metals.

Gas for Tig Welding is to protect the weld pool from Oxygen and to Cool the Torch, unless a Water Cooled Torch is being used.

If you use an Active Gas for Tig Welding, you will find you will blow holes quite easily and the Tungsten Electrode will burn away very quickly.

View our range of Disposable Gas Cylinders

Conclusions

As we’ve found, you can’t really use the really use the same gas for Mig and Tig Welding. They are significantly different processes.

I hope you find my answers to the question “can you use the same gas for Mig and Tig” useful.

Please let me know what you thought of this article by leaving a comment.

Don’t worry, your email address won’t be added to a database or shared and you won’t receive any unsolicited email.

Cheers

Graham

The Welders Warehouse

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