Should I Weld With or Without Gas?
If you’re new to welding or primarily a hobbyist, choosing a welding method and the necessary equipment can feel overwhelming. And then there’s the question of welding with or without gas. Do you need gas to weld? For big welding projects, yes. But you can—and should—consider using a “gasless” MIG method at home for smaller projects—and a smaller impact on your wallet.
The Role of Gas for Welding
“MIG,” short for metal inert gas, actually tells a lot about this method of welding. It actually requires gas for shielding: the gas involved in the welding process prevents the molten welding pool from interacting with the surrounding gases in the air. So how can there be “gasless” MIG welding? Technically, there’s no such thing. So-called “gasless” methods use a special flux core wire that is self-shielding, converting the flux to gas as the wire melts. Since gas is released in this way, an external cylinder of gas isn’t required, simplifying the rig and the process.
Advantages of MIG Welding Without Gas
Using a self-shielding method with flux core wire has a number of advantages for the home hobbyist or infrequent user.
- It’s flexible and has a number of applications.
- It’s easier to learn and master.
- It’s a little more forgiving if the material isn’t perfectly prepped.
- It’s more affordable.
- It’s requires less equipment and is more portable.
- It can be performed outside even in windy conditions, while MIG with shielding gas can’t (the gas would blow away).
Challenges of MIG Welding Without Gas
- Not all materials can be welded with this method.
- Thin metals are usually poor candidates for this method.
- Flux core wire needs to be handled carefully so it isn’t damaged.
- Your MIG welding machine must support “gasless” flux core wire welding.
- Not all machines give the same quality of performance, depending on power.
Even for smaller projects, many machines can be heavy, difficult to move, and require higher-than-household voltage. But the Weldmark Inverter MIG Welder (MIG25-140) is unique:
- It weighs 31 lbs.
- It supports flux core wire welding or gas cylinder welding.
- Its power inverter enables it to run on household 120V power while generating a smoother arc.
- It’s budget-friendly without compromise.
- Andrew Blatner