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TIG and MIG are two different types of welding with their own unique applications. The net result is the same, however, with two pieces of metal being fused together with the use of an electric arc, a gas to shield the arc, and metal filler rod. The electric arc heats the base metal until it melts as filler rod is inserted into the molten pool. The applications for welding are nearly limitless.
TIG (gas tungsten arc welding, also known as tungsten inert gas – TIG) is used for welding thin-wall tubing, sheet and other parts where precision is necessary. This particular style of welding allows for a variety of filler metals, expanding its options and capabilities. It is a very clean and strong type of welding, and when done properly the weld will look like stack of dimes. Fun fact: TIG welding is used extensively in the manufacturing of spacecraft – and probably your bicycle as well!
MIG (gas metal arc welding, also knows as metal inert gas – MIG) is utilized for a variety of welding applications, and across many industries. This process was originally developed for welding aluminum and other non-ferrous materials in the 1940’s. Because of its great speed and efficiency, it did not take long for it to be designed for use with steel. Due to it simplicity it is one of the most popular welding methods, especially in industrial environments. It is used extensively by the sheet metal industry and, by extension, the automobile industry.
Materials And Their Benefits
Mild steel, also known as plain carbon steel, is the most popular type of steel due to its relatively low cost and usability across many industries. It is widely-used for structural purposes, where large quantities are needed. It comes in hot rolled and cold rolled, two different manufacturing processes. Cold rolled steel will give a sharper edge on materials like square bar, with no mill scale, whereas hot rolled has more rounded edges and is subject to mill scale. Depending on the application, each type has its benefits.
Higher carbon steels are more brittle than mild steel. They have greatly improved abrasion resistance making them ideal for machine parts and equipment that encounter wear frequently. Gears, excavator buckets, wear plates and even your common drill bit are made from high carbon steel.
Stainless steel’s main benefit is its corrosion, stain and rust resistance. There are over 150 grades of which 15 are most commonly used. This metal is used for cutlery, cookware, surgical instruments, jewelry, automotive and aerospace, commercial and residential kitchens, food transport trucks and even firearms. It’s uses are not only practical but aesthetic as well, being in vogue during the art deco period. And possibly one of the most famous and recognizable applications of this steel alloy is on the pinnacle of New York’s Chrysler Building.
Aluminum is a lightweight, non-ferrous metal. It is silvery white, relatively soft, naturally corrosion resistant and nonmagnetic. It is used extensively in the aerospace industry and in many everyday items such as automobiles, trucks, marine vessels, bicycles, widow frames, doors and siding, and not to mention your MacBook housing! It is a great option when strength with reduced weight is needed.