A Guide to MIG Welder Maintenance
Whether you’re a hobbyist or one of over 400,000 professionals operating in the U.S., you need to take proper care of your MIG welder.
Routine maintenance is the best way to make sure you get a clean weld every time. And, since the best welders can cost nearly $500, it’s a good way to protect your investment, too.
Here’s our guide to maintaining your MIG welder.
How to Properly Maintain Your MIG Welder
The most important part of maintaining your welder is following the instructions in your owner’s manual. Each welder is a little different, so following the manufacturer’s guidelines can keep yours in good condition.
There are some simple practices you can work into your routine right now. Here’s how to keep your MIG welder running smoothly.
Check for Leaks in Your Gas Hose
If you notice your gas levels dropping rapidly after a short welding session, you’ve got a leak in your system. It’s a frustrating problem, especially if a leak is depleting a brand-new tank.
Before you can make repairs, you must find the leak. That’s where the soapy water method comes in. To find the source of your leak:
- Using a spray bottle filled with soapy water, spray your connections, valves, and the hose itself
- Watch for any bubbles or foam–these are your leaks
- Tighten any loose connections or replace damaged parts
Replace Your Contact Tips Once They’re Worn Out
Contact tips are essential for getting a good weld. That’s because these metal tips, which are usually made of copper, one of the most conductive metals, carry your charge to the wire to let you weld.
If you’re having trouble getting a good, clean weld, your contact tip may be worn out. You can clean your contact tip, but past a certain point in time, it’s better to replace it.
First, make sure your system is off. You don’t want to risk electrocution or a burn.
Using a pair of pliers, remove the nozzle and unscrew your contact tip. If you need more wire, you can pull a little more out before screwing in your new contact tip. Then replace the nozzle and you’re done!
This is also a good time to remove any debris or obstructions in your nozzle. If your nozzle is gunked up, you won’t get a good weld.
Inspect Your System for Rust and Debris
Welding is messy work. The dust, debris, and rust that go along with it can all wreak havoc on your system.
You should regularly check the cleanliness of your system. Remove any dirt or debris you find, clean out any leftovers from your last job, and make sure each component is rust-free.
If you want to cut down on cleaning, keep your welder covered between uses.
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