MIG Welding with Argon | Everything You Need to Know

Last Updated on April 30, 2021 by Antonio H. Johnson

MIG welding is the simplest and commonly used welding method to join two base materials. Among different ways of fusing two materials, MIG is the most convenient and easy method.

People often ask, what is the best gas for MIG welding? Well, the answer is a bit tricky. You can use Argon to weld a wide range of substrates, but you will get many advantages when mixing it with another shielding gas. We will discuss everything in this article.

So, after reading this article, you will master yourself in choosing the best gas for MIG fusing, different gases used for shielding, and various aspects of Argon-mediated MIG welding.

So, let’s dive into the welding world!

MIG Welding with Argon

How to Choose Best Gas for MIG Welding

Shielding gas is the most crucial factor for perfect welding. It is essential to choose welding gas wisely, and here are a few key factors for selecting the best shielding gas to weld.

  • Gas Cost: While selecting a fuse gas, the first important issue is the price. One should choose a gas with the lowest possible cost.
  • Finished Weld Features: Strength, hardness, toughness, and ductility are the few characteristics of excellent quality weld. To acquire these features, you need to choose the best quality gas for welding.
  • Preparation: Good quality metal fusion gas should have a comfortable and smooth process of welding preparation.
  • Post-weld cleaning: Working with few gases may lead to generating an incredible amount of metal wastes. So, what should we do? Yes, select a gas with low post welding maintenance tasks.
  • Base Materials: The selection of gas largely depends on base materials. If the base material is iron, then one particular type of gas will be perfect, and if the base material is stainless steel (SS), then other quality gas will be required.
  • Weld Shifting Process: Typically, there are four weld transfer systems, such as spray, globular transfer, short circuit, and pulsed spray. Gas selection varies according to the weld transfer process you want to apply.
  • Productivity: The last and foremost vital issue is productivity. The gas, which produces less process loss and high throughput products, is always preferable.

Gases Used for MIG Welding

Four gases are typically utilized for MIG welding: Argon, Helium, Oxygen, and carbon dioxide.

  • Argon: The critical feature of Argon is, it has narrower dissemination hollow. This feature is great for butt and fillet welds. Also, it has a wide range of substrate fusion capacity. You can weld non-ferrous metal. On the other hand, iron-containing materials, such as Titanium, Aluminum, or Magnesium, can be easily performed by MIG welding with Argon. More importantly, these materials welds stick perfectly with Argon.
  • Helium: Helium and Argon are functionally the same, provides the nicest deep welding cavity. It is excellent for penetrating thicker materials. Helium and Argon are often used conjugally to attain certain penetration, travel swiftness, and bead profile. The ration of Helium and Argon varies from 25-75%, vice versa.
  • Oxygen: Oxygen is a highly reactive gaseous material, and only less than 9% is used for welding purposes. It has an excellent capacity for deep penetration, arc stability, and pool fluidity. Significantly, these features are easily obtained by oxygen welding in alloy steels of low grade. The significant cons of Oxygen weld are oxidation, as it weakens joints’ stability and strength.
  • Carbon Dioxide: It is the most widely used gas in MIG welding. It can be used in its purest form and cheapest gas of this lot. Carbon dioxide-mediated gas welding has low arc stability. Sometimes, to rectify this sort of pitfalls, it is used in combination with Argon.

Supplying Argon Gas to the Weld Pool

Argon gas is non-reactive, and this possesses no chances to react with environmental gases. At this point, you must have got the perfect gas for welding the materials.

Now, the important part is getting the gas into the weld pool.

The MIG gun consists of a contact tip, a diffuser, and a nozzle. Poorly structured MIG diffusers may clog with spatter. Selecting MIG gun consumables is one of the critical parts of welding with Argon.

It would help if you chose the MIG consumables, which can resist spatter production and gives a wide nozzle hole for sufficient Argon gas coverage.

Using 100% Argon Gas to MIG Weld

In the previous section, we have recommended a mixer of different shielding gas can be useful for gaining deep penetration in other materials.

Now, the question is, can I use 100% Argon gas for MIG welding? Yes, of course, you can use 100% Argon to weld MIG. But there are some drawbacks like the weld bead can be tall and slim. Most importantly, the welding can be brittle due to a lack of strength resulted from losing ductility.

What Can be Welded with Argon Gas

Argon can be used to fuse a variety of materials. Straight Argon means 100% pure gas is prevalent among hobbyist welders. Not only that, but professional welders also like it because of its purity and low moistness.

These features are prerequisite for non-ferrous welding materials such as:

  1. Magnesium
  2. Titanium
  3. Alloy incorporated Copper under 0.125 inches
  4. Alloy incorporated Nickle under 0.125 inches

For penetrating thicker and non-ferrous materials, Argon is blended with Helium. You may be curious to know, can I use Argon gas to weld steel? Well, It is not recommended to use 100% Argon to weld stainless steel. A subtle combination of active gases, such as carbon dioxide.

We recommend a tri-blend mixture of 90% Helium, 7.5% Argon, and 2.5% Carbon dioxide for welding stainless steel.

Mixing Carbon Dioxide with Argon for MIG Welding:

You may ask why it is required to blend carbon dioxide with Argon? Smart query Indeed. It’s a brilliant choice to mix Carbon dioxide with Argon.

Carbon dioxide becomes reactive at welding temperature, enhancing stabilization, degree of penetration, and reducing spatter. Typically, 5-25% of carbon dioxide is mixed with Argon to a steady welding arc.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is Argon explosive and flammable?

Answer: Argon is an inert gas, colorless and non-flammable. It is a non-toxic gas. There are few potential health hazards related to inhalation known as asphyxiation. Typically, Argon is non-explosive.

Is it cost-effective to use Argon for MIG weld?

Answer: If you look at the efficiency of Argon gas, then it is very cost-effective. You will get reduced splatter and higher penetration. It will undoubtedly reduce post welding wastage and use of gas.

Can I put Argon in the Carbon dioxide tank?

Answer: You can put carbon dioxide gas in an Argon tank, but you cannot put Argon in a carbon dioxide tank. This is because of the volumetric density of gases.

Bottom Line

MIG welding with Argon fascinates not only hobbyist welders but also professional welders as well. With 100% pure Argon, you can obviously weld a wide range of materials.

But when it is applied in combination with active gas, the range widens, and advantages are also broadened up. Even a tri-mixer can be used to attain perfect welding. In this article, we have discussed different aspects of Argon welding.

Hopefully, you will not need professional assistance to decide the right combination and go for a thrilling welding experience.

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