How To Set MIG Welder For Welding: MIG Welder Settings Chart

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DIY projects have become so popular these days. But some of the DIY projects require welding.

But if you haven’t done any welding tasks before, you’re most likely not to know how to set up a welder machine before using it.

It’s necessary to set your new MIG welder into the right parameters before working.

Otherwise, it won’t weld properly, and you’ll end up thinking that your new welder is good for nothing. 

That’s why we’re here to explain the process through the MIG welder settings chart and factors to consider while setting the welder.

So read along to learn how to set up your MIG welder machine accurately.

What To Know Before Learning MIG Welding Settings?

MIG welding is the process of melting metals using electricity to join two metals together. But remember, MIG welding isn’t ideal for building construction and agriculture works.

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Before you start working with your welder, you should know that there’re some critical settings that you need to set to weld with the correct bead. You need to know 

  • What’s the material you’re going to weld
  • How thick the material is
  • What amps you should use according to the thickness of the metal
  • What type of shield gas and electrode wire do you need
  • What should be the current voltage and wire feed speed
  • Lastly, what types of gas flow rate you should have for melting the material.

How To Set Up A MIG Welder?

Welding isn’t about just grabbing the welder and starting the task. You need to set your MIG welding machine’s settings just like any welding process.

But how the settings will depend on various factors; thus, there’re no general settings that’ll always apply.

In the following discussion, we’ll explain which factors affect the MIG welding setting process and how you should set the settings through average charts.

What’s Your Welding Material?

Before you set up your MIG welding machine, you need to know exactly what material you’re going to weld.

It’s because, depending on the material type, the machine settings, gases, and electrodes are set. There’s no single setting that’ll work on every material.

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For example, the settings you’re using to melt steel, you can’t melt aluminum with the exact settings. Some of the most used materials are:

  • Carbon steel
  • Aluminum
  • Stainless steel
What’s The Material Thickness?

The next step is to determine the material thickness that’ll be welded. It also has a significant impact on MIG settings. Unlike TIG or Stick, you can’t use the same settings for different material thicknesses. 

You also need to set the machine’s amperage according to the metal thickness. That’s why it’s necessary to figure out your material’s thickness. 

However, the general rule is to set 1 amp power for every 0.001 inches of material. Here’s an average welding amps to metal thickness chart to understand the matter clearly.

Amp Chart for Carbon Steel
Metal Thickness (mm)Required Amp
0.8 mm40-55 amp
0.9 mm50-60 amp
1.2 mm70-80 amp
1.6 mm90-110 amp
2.0 mm120-130 amp
3.2 mm140-150 amp
4.8 mm160-170 amp
6.4 mm180-190 amp
7.8 mm200-210 amp
9.5 mm220-250 amp
Over 12.7 mm315 amp

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Amps Chart for Aluminum
Metal Thickness (inches)Required Amp
1/8 inch110-130 amp
3/6 inch140-150 amp
1/4 inch180-210 amp
5/16 inch200-230 amp
3/8 inch220-250 amp
7/16 inch280 amp
1/2 and above inch300 amp
Amps Chart for Stainless Steel
Metal Thickness (mm)Required Amp
1.2 mm50-60 amp
1.6 mm70-80 amp
2.0 mm90-110 amp
2.6 mm120-130 amp
4.8 mm140-150 amp
6.4 mm160-170 amp
7.8 mm180-200 amp
9.5 mm250-275 amp
11.1 mm280-300 amp
Over 12.7 mm300-325 amp

The amps settings can be different depending on the manufacturer. That’s why you should check the manual instruction first before applying the above chart. 

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Shielding Gas And Electrode Wire

Now you need to check if you have the correct shielding gas and electrode wire according to the material and material thickness.

There’s a common combination of material, shielding gas, and electrode, but if you know a good alternative combination, then you can use that too. 

The three most used combinations are:

MaterialCommon Combination
Carbon SteelER70s electrode wire and 75% of Argon and 25% of CO2
AluminumER4043 electrode wire and 100% of Argon shielding gas
Stainless SteelER308L electrode wire and 98% of Argon and 2% of CO2
Prepare The Piece That Needs Welding

This step may seem unnecessary, but it’s actually a necessary step to weld the workpiece with a great result.

Preparing the piece means you need to remove all the rust, oils, paint, mill scale, dirt, or any other particles. In short, clean the weld area of the workpiece.

MIG Welding Settings Chart

The above steps are necessary to follow to set the MIG welder settings accurately. Now it’s high time to make some adjustments in your machine to weld.

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You need to adjust the basic settings first.

  • Voltage and wire feed speed
  • Gas type and gas flow rate

These basic settings will keep the weld heat run at a smooth arc, and it’ll also determine the MIG welding transfer type for metal deposits.

  • Set Voltage And Wire Feed Speed

The voltage of the MIG settings will determine what’ll be the width and height of the bead. At the same time, the wire feed speed controls amp and the weld penetration amount.

Remember, too high feed speed can cause burn-through. If no chart is available in the manual, you can follow the MIG welding wire speed and voltage chart.

Here we’ll teach how to calculate the welding wire speed instead of giving an average chart.

MIG Welding Voltage Chart
How to Calculate Wire Feed Speed?

To calculate the wire feed speed, you need to multiply the 100 amps current by the 2-inch flame, and the result will be your speed rate. The below chart is just an example to understand the calculator.

Wire Size (inches)Multiply By inch per ampSpeed in per minute (ipm) (ex. Amp is 100)
0.04511*100 = 100 ipm
0.0351.61.6*100 = 160 ipm
0.03022*100 =200 ipm
0.0233.53.5*100 = 350 ipm
  • Set Gas Type And Gas Flow Rate

Finally, set the gas flow and gas type to complete the primary setting of the MIG welding machine

When the shielding gas type, volume, and flow rate are combined with voltage and wire speed, it determines the transfer type and helps control it.

The main goal of this setting is to offer sufficient gas so that it can shield the weld area.

Learn more about: MIG Welder Settings!

FAQs

What happens if the voltage is too high in welding?

If you set the voltage too high, then the puddle of the weld will become extreme fluid and can cause undercuts in the weld.

The arc energy created from the excessive voltage melts the base materials. Consequently, it causes undercut since there isn’t enough filler available to fill the void.

What Does Undercut Mean When It Comes To Welding?

What will happen if the current is low during arc welding?

If the source of power senses any reduction of current flow at the arc, it transforms a voltage surge to overcome the lack of current flow. 

But this increased voltage can cause sputtering and popping, resulting in the poor and inconsistent quality of the weld.

Why is it important to set the suitable current in welding?

The current travel speed and amperage determine the finished weld bead size and penetration level. If the amp is set too high, it can make the bead wide, flat, and irregular, which may cause extra spatter.

Conclusion 

We’ve tried our best to explain the MIG machine settings through multiple MIG welder settings chart.

To successfully complete your welding job, you must set the machine correctly. 

Make sure you test the settings on a wasted material before working on the main workpiece.

In this way, you can ensure whether your MID welder is ready to use or not.