MIG Welding Wire

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Welding wire is an essential part of the welding process and we're pleased to stock an extensive range of MIG welding wire suitable for all applications you may be planning. From mild steel MIG wire and copper coated welding wire to stainless steel, aluminium and flux cored options, browse welding wire of the highest quality here today.

MIG Welding Wire at Engweld

MIG welding wire is a consumable that is used in the process of metal inert gas (MIG) welding otherwise known as GMAW (Gas Metal Arc Welding), there are two forms of 'MIG' welding. MIG & MAG, both are very similar, the main difference is the shielding gas being used, for carbon steel welding the process will be MAG welding, as this requires an active gas mix, aluminium welding would be classed as MIG, as there's no active gas within the shielding gas mix, active gasses include Carbon Dioxide, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Hydrogen, the term 'active gas' means they are not an inert gas.

There are various types of MIG & MAG welding wires available to buy here today, each designed for specific applications and materials. The choice of MIG wire type will depend on factors like the base metal shielding gas mix being used, the desired welding characteristics, and in some instances, the welding equipment being used.

Types of Welding Wire Available

ER70S-6 is the most common and versatile type of MIG welding wire for welding mild and low-alloy steels. Mild steel MIG wire is typically made of low-carbon steel and other metals.

The ER308, ER309, and ER316 stainless steel MIG wire are used for welding stainless steel. The specific type of stainless steel wire corresponds to the grade of stainless steel being welded. These wires help maintain the corrosion resistance of stainless steel after welding. 

ER4043 and ER5356 are the commonly used aluminium MIG wires for general-purpose aluminium welding. They also come in different grades and the right choice will depend on the specific alloy being welded. There are copper-coated MIG wires designed to reduce the buildup of copper on the contact tip of welding torches. 

Flux core MIG welding wires contain a flux at the centre of the wire that provides a shielding gas when it reacts with the arc’s heat. They are suitable for outdoor
and windy conditions because they are less affected by environmental factors. However, you typically get self-shielded & shielded types of flux core wires.

Some flux core wires still require a shielding gas. the flux within the wire is not only used for shielding gas purposes, this flux also provides critical properties
and characteristics to the weld. Flux core develops a slag on top of the finished weld, similar to MMA (manual metal arc) also known as Stick welding. this flux needs to be removed after welding. Typically Flux core welding will provide a higher deposition rate than the solid wire alternitives, but it comes with its own limitations.

There are hardfacing and specialist MIG wires designed for specific applications and materials. Hardfacing wires such as HF600 SG6-60 1.20mm are used to add a metal layer to surfaces that experience wear and abrasion, protecting them. Specialist MIG wires are for unique applications outside of typical mild steel, stainless steel, or aluminium welding. 

Advice on MIG Welding Wire Sizes

MIG wire comes in different sizes and selecting the right size is essential to achieve quality welds. Inappropriate wire sizes can cause burnback, wire jamming, and poor penetration, to name just a few. The welding wire, shielding gas and welding equipment must be suitable for the application, here at Energas we have weld specialists who can help you understand this.

The wire size should match the drive rolls. If it doesn't, you'll have to keep adjusting the feed speed because of either not enough or too much grip. The same applies to the contact tip size and torch liner.

Using the right MIG wire and tension is important. Too little tension makes the wire slip, while too much tension deforms it. Both of these are far from ideal when MIG Welding. Then you must take into account the wire that you are using, with softer, stiffer, and very soft wires available, you must ensure that you are using suitable drive rolls, with V-knurled rollers, V-groove rollers, and U-groove rollers all available.

There are several factors to consider when choosing the MIG wire size. The primary consideration is the desired result, whether it is manual or robotic welding, the skill set available, the standards/codes being worked to, and the overall efficiency factors of the selected process.

0.6mm to 0.8mm MIG wire is used for thinner materials that are less than 5mm thick. For thicker welding materials like 5-10mm, the preferred diameter for MIG wire is 1.0mm or 1.2mm. The general rule is that thicker materials generally require larger-diameter wires. However, this is a typical rule of thumb, not a set-in-stone rule.

There is such a thing called current density, understanding this is crucial when welding. for example, it is possible to use 1.4mm ER70s-6 wire on a 1.2mm carbon steel sheet, without any undesirable end results, in fact in many circumstances you can achieve a better weld using the larger diameter wire than the smaller diameter. However, this is on a case-by-case basis and depends on many factors including the shielding gas mix and equipment being used.

There are other factors to consider as well for MIG wire size. MIG welding machine's amperage and voltage settings can also play a role in determining the suitable wire size. Check the welding machine's specs for wire sizes recommended based on the amperage and voltage range.

MIG welding wires come in different weights to provide flexibility and convenience for users. Small projects may need only a small amount of wire in 5kg, 15kg, or 18kg reels. Engweld also supplies small MIG wire reels for portable MIG welders and compact welding equipment. Larger industrial projects could require large quantities for which Engweld supplies bulk wire available in 250kg and 500kg. 

MIG Wire Speed

Welding wire feed speed in MIG welding is important as it controls how fast the wire is fed into the welding arc, in MIG/MAG welding, wire feed speed is what controls the amperage. The right wire feed speed is essential for achieving the right weld quality and deposition rate.

The appropriate welding wire speed will depend on various factors including the material thickness, wire diameter, welding position, and voltage settings. It's important to test welds and have written procedures, ideally these should be wPQR's & WPS's. However, not all industries require this level of control, at a minimum the welding parameters/procedures should be documented and put into SOP's. Doing this allows for repeatable results. For example, if each welder uses different parameters to weld the same component, you can not expect to achieve the same result each time. There is a tolerance in approved welding procedures to account for the different welding styles of each welder, which is typically +/- 7%.

How To Set Up MIG Wire

  1. Choose the correct type of MIG welding wire for your application and the shielding gas. Select the correct shielding gas based on the wire and material you are using.
  2. Set the appropriate wire diameter on your MIG welding machine.
  3. Place the wire spool in your MIG welder and secure it. Thread the welding wire through the wire drive assembly, ensuring it follows the correct path.
  4. Using the tension knob on the wire feeder, set the wire tension according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Too much tension can deform the wire, while too little tension can cause wire feeding issues.
  5. Open the wire liner or liner conduit, typically located near the wire drive assembly. Insert the wire into the liner and push it through until it comes out of the other end. It should feed easily without much force. If you have to apply force then it is likely that the wire has missed the liner.
  6. Before installing the wire, make sure to inspect the rollers. Ensure that they are clean and free from rust or grease. The condition of the rollers can have an impact on their performance.
  7. Put the right tip on the welding torch, then screw on the nozzle to keep the tip in place. 
  8. Configure the welding parameters such as wire feed speed and welding requirements. 
  9. Use the wire feed trigger on the welding torch to feed the wire until it protrudes slightly from the nozzle. 
  10. Connect the ground/earth clamp and turn on the gas. You are then ready to weld but perform a test weld on a scrap metal before welding on your actual workpiece. You must ensure that the wire feeds smoothly and that your settings are appropriate. 

If you need help choosing the right MIG welding wire for your welding, contact us and speak to one of our experts. We also stock TIG welding rods for different applications including steel, stainless steel and aluminium.