Choosing a Welder: MIG, TIG, Arc or Oxygen-Acetylene? – Kevin Caron

Choosing a Welder: MIG, TIG, Arc or Oxygen-Acetylene? – Kevin Caron

(Text on screen): Choosing a Welder: MIG, TIG, Arc or Oxygen-Acetylene, Kevin Caron, The Voice: Hey, Kevin. What are you doing? Kevin Caron: Well, I’m just playing around with a couple of pieces of metal here. I had a question the other day: How do you choose which welder? Do you MIG it? Do you TIG it? Do you arc it? You know: a stick welder. Do you oxy-acetylene it? When do you choose, assuming you have the capability? And I thought, well, that’s a good question. So when you have, like, a short piece with a really nice fit; when you’ve got a really nice, tight seam, I would probably TIG it. It’s quicker. It’s better looking. It’s better penetration. There’s less to clean up. Thinner metals. Thicker metals. Up to about a quarter-inch, I guess, I would TIG it, for little short runs like this. If you’ve got, like, a thinner piece. You know, this is eighth-inch plate. This is sixteen gauge. And I just wanted to start tacking these two pieces together. But you can see that it’s not a very good fit right here. There’s a little gap in there. So I could come in and tack it with a MIG. Tack it, work my along and just tack all these little places together. It’s one-handed, so I’ve got a hand free to do my work over here, get it the way I want. And it’s quick, it’s easy, and then I can come back with the TIG later, once I’ve got a better seam on the other side; on my outside; once I’ve got it all tacked on the inside, I can come along with the TIG and now I can get a nice bead on the outside where it’s nice and clean, very little to grind. TIG, with a foot pedal, I can keep it cooler as I’m welding because I can control my temperature with my foot pedal, where with the MIG it’s set on the machine. I’d have to stop welding and go back over there. The Voice: How about filling gaps? Kevin Caron: Well, like this little gap right here. This little gap in the metal right here. An easy thing to do with the MIG is I can turn the voltage down a little. I can turn the wire feed up a little, so I’m filling a little quicker, and I can come in and slowly fill that gap in rather than having to cut it oversize and cut a patch and put a patch inside and fill that back in. Now, keep in mind, this is something you would do on a sculpture. This is something you would do on something that is not critical, like a bridge or an airplane or something like that. The TIG, you can come in and do that also, because you can cool it down as you’re working along. I would probably do it with the MIG. Just a little quicker, a little easier. You know, then I could always come back with the TIG and get all the little spots later. The Voice: How about a long run? Kevin Caron: Well, the long runs, that’s where the MIG really excels, because you’ve got, I don’t know, like three miles worth of wire over there. I don’t know how many yards it is, but it’s a bunch. So, you can sit here and weld all day long and never lift your finger off the trigger, because you’ve got all that wire, where you’ve only got just one little stick with the TIG. So you run out of this stick, you’d have to stop and get another stick. Or somebody’s got to hand you one so you can keep going. Well, after awhile that torch gets so hot that you can’t even hold the torch. So, it depends on what you’re doing. The Voice: How about stick? When would you use a stick welder; arc welder? Kevin Caron: Stick welder; an arc welder. I only use those; I only use the arc welder anymore when I’m outdoors, out in the wind. Because that’s where the arc welder really comes into its own. is because there’s no gas. It’s got the flux already on the rod. Works outside. You know; it works in the rain. I’ve done it a couple of times. That’s what it’s best for. But because I’m inside, I’ll use one of the gas-shielded machines just because I get a better-looking weld out of it than having to deal with the flux and chipping off the flux and grinding and whatever. The Voice: How about oxy-acetylene? Kevin Caron: Well, oxy-acetylene. . . Hang on. Now, you look at the sizes of the tips on the MIG; I’m sorry, on the TIG, and on the MIG, and they have a very small area that there’s actually the flame. There’s actually where your heat is; where your welding is going on, when you’re down on your metal. Very, very tiny. A little bit bigger, but not much. But the amount of area that you’re actually going to heat, of your metal, is very small compared to oxy-acetylene, because it’s a much bigger flame, so you’re going to heat the area that much more. With the thicker metals, that’s OK. You can get away with it. With the thinner metals, with the oxy-acetylene, you’re gonna wind up warping the metal because of all that extra heat that you’re putting in there. So, these are a little bit colder than the oxy-acetylene is. So, thicker metals, I might use that. Outdoors I might use that. If I was going to weld it and bend it, definitely use the oxy-acetylene. So that’s kind of how I would look at it: nice fit, use the TIG. Got a little gap, you know, a little rough edges, you know, if I had, like, cut it with the plasma cutter and not ground everything perfectly smooth so my fit was a little wobbly and I had holes to fill in, I’d use the MIG. Turn up the wire feed a little bit so I can make up for all those little gaps; all that poor fit in there. The Voice: How about the fun factor? Kevin Caron: The fun factor? Wow. Both machines are actually a lot of fun to use. I enjoy using both of them. The MIG, because of that long run, (you could stand there and just weld and weld and weld and have a lot of fun with that, watch the weld as it’s happening) The TIG is much more skill-oriented. It takes much more patience. But it sure is fun when you’re down there welding and you can see the flame off the tip and you can watch it melt the metal; you know, melt your base metal around it and you add your filler rod and you’re actually seeing it going on inside there. That’s always cool. I mean, it’s like you’re holding a lightning bolt in your hand and you’re melting this metal together. I mean, both of them are fun. I prefer TIG over MIG, just for the fun factor of it, though. That’s personal. Well, let me play with this a little more. I’ll see you next time. (Text on screen): Subscribe to See More Videos! See and hear more at

67 thoughts on “Choosing a Welder: MIG, TIG, Arc or Oxygen-Acetylene? – Kevin Caron

  1. Thanks Kevin i always like watching your videos I own a Hobart 120v mig but never used it with the gas what is the purpose bc it just didn't seem to make any difference? thanks

  2. your videos are allways great. I can see how much fun welding for you is. That's fantastic.

    After every video what I see from you, I'll go outside and will weld anything ^^

  3. Nice video, as usual. When the weather cool down I'll bring the Henrob over. Even works when there's no electricity. 🙂

  4. @thedowntime1 I am assuming you are using flux core wire. You will not see any difference with the gas here. If you started using solid core wire you will see a vast improvement in the look of the weld. No chipping after to clean the weld as well as much less splatter to clean up. The gas does the same thing has the flux. It protects the new weld until it has a chance to cool.

    Thanks for posting….

  5. @pberglin I would shy away from the import welds on craigslist. Just haven't heard much good about them. As for a Miller or Lincoln welder, just use your best judgement. If it looks like it has been beat with a hammer it probable has. Just try to get as big of one that you can afford and use. Don't settle for a small one when in a few months you will be looking for a bigger one.

  6. As always, you guys, great info and presentation. Good point on the "one handedness" with mig. I have mig, stick, and oxy/ace and am pretty much equally inept with all three. Definitely a fun factor though! Thanks.

  7. thanks Kevin, great info…We'll be stepping up into our first TIG soon enough and looking to your videos for advice. Keep up the great work!

  8. I grew up using an old style Lincoln AC buzz box. Recently I had a look at newer models and I see that Lincoln sell a stick welder that can do DC or AC current, and also if offers the option to do reverse polarity DC. Would you find that DC option useful?

  9. @spelunkerd Absolutely!! The more options you have to get the job done means you can do more jobs. Read more about the differences between Pos. and Neg. dc welding and you will find lots of ways to use this welder. Just Google Pos. and Neg. dc welding.

    Thanks for posting

  10. @Dicofole I would have to buy some flux core wire first. I don't use the stuff in my studio. I will add this to the list and give it a try.

  11. All things being equal, in my opinion, I think TIG is stronger. You get more control over the heat and flow of the weld. MIG is more like a caulking gun. Just a big squirt and there you go…

  12. If it was my motorcycle I would use TIG. Remember it's your butt that will hit the road first…

  13. Kevin, If i wanted to build a heavy duty offroad vehicle to use in the back yard out of .5-1" steel sheets (due to the only way to get into the vehicle would be from the top so i was thinking thick steel to support people walking on it and to withstand abuse) Which welder would you recommend? Also for steel that thick would you recommend a Plasma Cutter?

  14. You are looking at a smaw or arc welder got sure. Nothing beats arc for really thick metal. For cutting, yes you will need a least a 60 amp plasma for this kind of work.

  15. Kevin, I want to fabricate a three wheeler frame out of 4130 tubing .056 thick. I own a hobart 140 mig running steelmix and hard wire. I also have a set of oxygen, acetelene tanks so I can either weld it with gas or mig. I can't afford a tig right now because I don't want another bottle lease. What would you suggest.

  16. Well…. out of the two I would go with the Hobart. And I would have to ask "Are you totally sure you know what you are doing and are you willing to take this bike for the first test ride of lets say 50 miles or so?!?!" Because someone's life or hide WILL be on the line please make sure of each and every step you are doing here.

  17. Very informative video. You covered many considerations for selection, however I wish you would've touched on the initial and operating cost aspect also. How do MIG and TIG compare in price wise?

  18. What a great question!! and why didn't I think to add it to the video?!?!?!

    The Millermatic 252 is going for $2204.00 over at cyberweld and the Longevity MigWeld 250p is on sale for $1400.00. The Longevity comes with everything but the bottle. The Miller needs a few extras to get started. Check with your local welding store for more info. Or check with Longevity online..

  19. Have never done a sword.

    Would be interesting to give it a try.

    Look on my site for my contact number and give me a call.

  20. Hey Kevin, I've been trying to weld some small art projects out of 22ga or thinner. I have a 220 mig but it just blows holes through it. Which choice would you recommend?

  21. For something that thin I feel TIG will be you best bet.

    You might try going smaller on the wire diameter on your MIG
    so you can turn the volts down some but I'm not hopeful on that.

  22. I'm currently studying Sustainable Manufacturing at CSU Chico and your videos make great references anytime I need some clarification, or just want some more info. Keep up the great vidoes Kevin!

  23. Hi Kevin )))  Wow… such a great set of videos!  I have been welding for years, but connecting to your videos is more then learning for me your inspirational !!!!  Thank you very much for these efforts – great work!  

    Happy New Years! )))

  24. Im going to get an oxi accetaline rig because I don't have the money to get a MIG or TIG rig. I won't arc weld so the dont need an arc welder. All I need it for is welding billots together and putting handles on them so I can forge them. I need to fix my aluminim boat too but I can do that with a map.gas torch.

  25. Hey kevin.. great channel and info.. I got a question.. I got a friend that offered to sell his tig machine.. is a Hobart tigwave 250.. looks like it's a Lil older… it's ac/dc.. no pulse.. it runs great he says.. are u familiar w Hobart tig.machines.. ?…how much does a used tig about that size go for..?.. thanks

  26. Hey kev. You got some kinda leather fetish now? Take that shit off and get a jean jacket man. You're sweating like a padre at a kiddie porn trial 😉

  27. I am a big fan of your videos and need some advice on a new machine. I am starting to make knives and need a plasma cutter to cut out the blanks. I am looking at the Everlast 200amp Tig Welder/50amp Plasma Cutter/Arc,Seimens IGBT, 5yr war – $875. I will be cutting thicknesses of 1/8" to 5/16". Thoughts?

  28. Audio!! Hard to listen to this but it's great info so thanks. Just fix the audio by using a microphone and not the little toy built into the camera.

  29. I'm not much of a welder, but what little I have done was oxy-acetylene on thin materials from 1/8 down to tin cans. It can and does work fine given the right gear. Not necessarily better than TIG, but Oxy seems pretty precise. Size of project vs expense might seem to be the deciding factor for me.

  30. i just came across your videos and really like them. i just bought a Snap-on MM250SL for really cheap. it had hardly been used and included set up for tig as well and set up to do aluminum as well. I don't know much about welding but really want to learn. Your videos are helping a lot.
    Plus reading all i can as well. Any books you might suggest?

  31. Hi, I recently posted a vid of me welding a guard for my planer, I'm a joiner not a welder, really not a welder 😆
    I have a Mightymig 100amp flux core welder, I struggled to get the weld to melt in to the 3mm flat bar & 16mm round bar, Do you think a more powerful machine would help me get better welds, I've still got a lot to learn so any advise would be gratefully received , & if you get a chance to glance at my vid to see would be good, it's the most recent.
    Thanks, I watch all your videos so i think i already know the answer,

  32. Just subscribed… What would be best for something critical like a car frame or roll cage?… maybe Arc? Thanks!

  33. I saw the segment on 20/20 about you. I was moved to tears by your words. I tried to teach my children to dream with their eyes open.
    I absolutely love your work ⛓

  34. Another gr8 video Kevin,thanks! Just wondering…what kind of vice do you have mounted to your welding table? Looks like a quality piece.

  35. I was told by an old welder, that if you can oxy/acetylene weld, you can add that foot pedal and TIG weld. Maybe if a welder reads this, you could explain the reasoning, I think I've grasped the concept of it, Heat control.

  36. My father was a master welder (40+ years of welding). From large industrial projects to body repair shop he owned later in life. He used to use oxy-acetylene for most fine projects. In the video the gentlemen states that it should be used for thicker and bigger projects, but you can get smaller nozzles for fine work as well. My father was so good with it, that he could control the heat on a flat surface and bang out a dent say in a door of a car. In other words he could get rid of the excess material from the dent by controlling heat and banging the right areas. He would also use it to weld body work on a car with it, like rusted bottoms of car doors for instance. His welds were so straight and flat that very little grinding was necessary afterwards. Because he hated bondo, only the slightest thickness of it would be necessary to provide a perfectly flat surface after the work as well. He would work really hard to make sure the surface was perfect before painting preparation. You would not be able to tell any work was done on the car after he was done with it. People would wait 2-3 years to have my father work on their car restoration projects. And after they were done they would look and last a long time, like factory new.

    Wish I learned more while I would sometimes help him out in the shop when I was a student.

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