Metal working equipment - mig welders, tig welders, arc welders and plasma cutters

How to Choose the Mig Welder, Arc Welder, or Plasma Cutter That's Right For You.

Welding and plasma cutting are gaining in popularity over the past several years and for good reason. It has never been easier to get a clean, professional quality weld, or cut. Modern welding and cutting techniques have come a long way from the days of the torch. Users can now get a clean, professional quality cut, without spending outrageous amounts of money.

Arc Welding was first on the scene, and worked pretty effectively. Arc welding, (AKA stick welding) is simple, straight forward and easy to learn. You can weld thick materials effectively using an electrode and an electric arc.

Then mig welding came on the scene. Mig Welders use a wire feed instead of an electrode. They use create less heat which means less metal distortion and this also allows you to weld thinner material. This type of welder is great for sheet metal and auto body work. You can continuously feed the wire by just pulling a trigger on the mig welding gun. Mig welding can be accomplished with flux core wire or with solid wire and gas. Flux core wire would be preferred when out in the field and where a clean, pretty weld is not as important and where thicker material is to be welded. Otherwise, solid wire mig welding and gas is the way to go. Gas like argon and CO2 are needed for metals like stainless steel and aluminum. When using aluminum welding wire, you will want to use a teflon liner in your wire feed to help keep the wire from getting stuck in the line. You will also want to use the proper diameter wire and tip for the job. Aluminum welding is tricky and takes some experience to become proficient at it. Practice on some scrap material before beginning on an important piece of work. Typical mig welders come with a regulator and a flow meter. Gauges should be on your supply line as well. Mig welders are our most popular welders due to the quality of the weld, the speed and ease at which it can be completed, and the affordability.

Tig Welders are the most complex to master. A TIG weld or Tungsten Inert Gas, joins the metals through the process of heating with tungsten electrodes that do not become part of the weld. Gases like argon or other gas mixtures will be required for shielding and filler metals are not often used. Mig welding is faster and Tig welding requires greater skill and practice. Tig welding basically melts the two metals together while mig welders use a filler material, (a consumable electrode). Tig welding is best for custom projects where precision and perfection are desired. Although Mig welding is very effective at creating high quality welds, Tig welding allows you to work with your welds easier with less fear of causing cracks or damaging your welds during the process. Mig welding will typically provide a cleaner, more professional finish than even the most pefect mig weld. Tig welding is a slower process than mig welding, and will typically cost more than a comparable mig welder.

Plasma cutting has allowed metal workers to create professional, precise, clean cuts. Plasma Cutters have come a long way from the cutting torches of the past. They utilize an electric arc in conjunction with a gas or shop air source. When purchasing a plasma cutter, consider factors like duty cycle. This illustrates how long you will be able to cut before the machine must shut down to cool off. The larger the machine, the longer and thicker you will be able to cut without shutting down. Manufacturer supplied ratings usually indicate how thick a material the plasma cutter will be able to cut through mild steel, not tempered steel. Aluminum and other material will be different as well. Air pressure must be set high, and usually the wire speed needs to be set fast and the heat should be low. Newer models utilize an inverter instead of a transformer. This allows the unit to be smaller, lighter, and build up less heat.

We are certain that when you view our huge selection of welders and plasma cutters, you will find a model that not only fits your application, but also fits your budget.

Please take a moment to visit our welders and plasma cutters product page. Or, request a free product catalogue. Either way, you will find mig welder systems as well as arc welders and plasma cutters from several of the top name manufacturers. 


Plasma Cutter

"I was completely satisfied, (with your plasma cutter). It cuts cleanly and really saves me considerable time on cutting off old panels and preparing a car to install new ones. I am very happy with the product thus far. It's a much better value than I have found elsewhere, and does everything I expected it to do."

Our plasma cutters by Thermal Dynamics are the standard by which all others are judged. They utilize the latest inverter technology. what does this mean for you? Well, for starters, you get a smaller, lighter machine that is easier to carry around, and is compact enough to fit in storage spaces that your old transformer based model could never fit in. On top of that, you'll be able to cut longer, thicker and for greater periods of time without the unit needing to shut down to cool off. That's because inverter technology runs less hot. You'll also get less distortion with cleaner cuts. We're always looking out for you here at Automotive Service Equipment.

Richard Mortensen
Rick's Fabricating, Phoenix, AZ