I grew up with a fascination for metals. My father was a woodworker, and taught me young, so I have always built stuff from wood. Yet, metal is different, and welding beats glue in the fun department any day! And Mig Welding is just one path to the fun.
Metal is (generally) much stronger than wood, but at the same time, it bends, and forms, and melts into different shapes. Most importantly, it can join permanently in the processes of welding. Extreme heat locally, often with sparks and “fire” then the pieces of welded metal are connected better than they ever could be with glue (or bolts or whatever). As a kid I was in awe.
Since those younger days, I’ve learned so much. I’ve taken classes, and learned from other experts about how to weld using several different processes. It has made possible many great projects from trailers, to big heavy stands and machines, to teeny tiny little welds. From DIY to Engineered equipment.
Welding Steel (in lots of variations) and Aluminum mostly, but also Cast Iron, Magnesium and Brass. (I have to say, melting Magnesium with a controlled spark adds a whole other sense of excitement to the process! Nothing happened, but it did make me nervous.)
Oh, and I’ve learned several different processes from Stick and Oxy to Mig welding and Tig. Each has its place and each has its things to consider. One of those is highlighted in our post on Pre-Stressed Steel Fabrication. Another is the value of Stitch Welding instead of feeling like you must weld everything. From a DIY standpoint, knowing when to weld and what to skip is a pretty important skill.
Even after years of welding experience, it’s still fascinating to me. I love to cut and grind and shape metals. Watching a CNC machine in full operation spitting out chips and flinging coolant is a thing of beauty. But most of all, I love to weld. Loosely controlling the molten metal! Perhaps that’s why I reach for the welder to create little gadgets, like this, with a mig welding feed, when putts’n around the shop.
Don’t Look At The Mig Welding
The school shop teacher repeatedly said “Don’t look at the welding!” But I did anyway (though the GoPro), and here’s what I saw. I have to say it looks better close up through the helmet, but as a broader view of mig welding, this is still pretty cool. It’s what you’ve been missing all these years by looking away. (Of course I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t look away.)
This short video was made to share the fun of Mig Welding Fire on steel. The smoke, the sparks, the heat! Absolutely Brilliant. While it’s pretty cool in the video, it’s much more fun in person. Too bad I can’t share that!
I think the vastly varying intensity freaked out the #GoPro so it looks like it’s not stable. In reality the mig welder is turning on and off very quickly, which has to be a tough application for digital video processing. I wonder if GoPro has ever tested this? The GoPro was stationary on a stand with a piece of glass in front of it, but still it looks like it’s jumping around. Not sure what’s really happening with the electronic / software interpretation of the events.
Honestly, the jumping around reminds me of choosing my first welder and all the messes I made learning how to weld. Practice is important, but the best learning for me came from a neighbor who welded professionally. He took a little time to help me learn.
Your Welding Images
By the way, if you do try it, make sure you protect the camera! Sparks at these temperatures are not nice to lenses or to camera housings. For some reason, plastic parts just don’t get along with the high intensity of molten metal. Hmmm. 🙂 Glass as a shield works pretty well if you have a piece of that hanging around.
For this mig welding video, the GoPro camera was placed on a block of wood, then a piece of glass was set just in front. Not too much of a setup, but it seems effective. We did a few takes trying to find a way to get rid of the jumpy video, but couldn’t get it to record super smooth. Oh well. Something for the GoPro engineers to work on.
Hey, if you have or know of any really good weld photography (stills or video) on the web, we would love to see it. Please post a link in the comments below. Especially if you have close up shots! Mig welding, Tig, Stick, whatever. Choose your favorite. We (and other readers) would love to see them! Or, send them to us using the Contact Us page. Thank you.