The Difference between Gas and Gasless Mig Welding

difference between gaseless and gas mig welding

A lot of customers usually become confused when trying to choose the best between Gas and Gasless Mig Welding. This article is aimed at shedding more light on Gas and Gasless Mig Welding

Is there Gasless Mig Welding?

From an expert point of view, what is often regarded as Gasless Mig Welding can be a little confusing. The weld pool needs to be shielded from the oxygen in the atmosphere. This can be achieved by replacing the atmospheric air with gas. This form of Mig Welding should be referred to as “Self-Shielding” and not “Gasless”.

What are Self-Shielding Mig Wires?

welding wire

Self-Shielding Mig Wires are a tube of metal having a flux core. When the welding arc melts the wire, the flux is also burnt in the process. A gas shield will be produced around the welding process. This proves that it is not actually “Gasless”.

Self Shielding Mig Wires also have their own benefits. They produce a fierce arc which can only be used on steel that is thinner than approximately 1.2mm. However, they do not always work for car body welding. Thus, try not to be deceived by a Mig welder supplier that tells you their machine is capable of welding car body thickness steel without the presence of gas. Better still, you can simply ask for a demo.

Furthermore, Self Shielding Mig Wires produce a great deal of horrible, disgusting smoke. The best place you can use them is in the open air. Using them in other places aside from open air may not be advisable. In fact, only use them when there is too much wind and you are not able to make use of solid wire and gas.

History of Self-Shielding Mig Wire

Self-Shielding Mig wires were first developed in the United States. They were basically used on the vast prairie farms of the mid west region. A small hand held mig welder was later developed. This was capable of operating using a deep cell, 24v Tractor battery. Farmers were known to carry this hand held mig welder along with their tool kit.

The hand held mig welder was used for repairing gates and so forth on their farmlands. Self-shielding mig wires ended up getting sold on the DIY welder market as far back as the 1980’s. Disposable cylinders became available a few years afterward.

The main thing is that if it is often advisable to use a Gas Mig Welder unless you have none and self-shielding mig wire is your only alternative. Ensure that your workspace is well protected before carrying on.

The difference between Gas Only, No Gas Only and Gas/No Gas Mig Welders?  

difference between gasless and gas welding

“With Gas” Mig Welders often come wired with the Torch Positive (+).  Welders that use with Self Shielding Wire are often wired torch Negative (-).

However, Mig Welders that have the ability to operate with gas or with self-shielding wire have been made in such a way that the operator is able to change the polarity of the torch to suit the preferred wire.

Machines that can make use of either wire often cost more. They are usually supplied with “No Gas” mode and feature self-shielding wire. Before they can be used with gas, you may have to purchase an upgrade kit. Every type of welding process requires safety precautions. Read our guide on choosing a good welding helmet and our post on welding safety tips to keep you safe while working.