The main difference between flux core welding and mig is that flux core doesn’t need gases to protect the welded area, and the other one needs it. Flux core also needs protection, and it has its protection in the wires.
Both types of welding are necessary for different situations, and you can’t select one for all types of welding works. So, let’s know more about both types and their characteristics to take the full advantage.
What is flux core welding?
Being developed in the 50s, flux-cored arc welding is the fastest method of manual welding. With automatic wire feed and no need for external sources of protective gas, many welders prefer this one. Moreover, there are many job sites where you can’t do mig welding even if you want to. This welding method involves electricity and filler metal electrode. When the electrode touches the metal, high voltage and amperage electricity melt the metals, and you get a strong joint after it gets cooled down.
What is Mig welding?
Almost similar to the previous welding method, Mig also uses a metal electrode to weld the piece. Here, you will need an external source for gas to apply to the welding area so that the oxygen in the air can’t react with the hot molten metal. It usually takes more time as the wire feeding process is not automatic. However, this method is preferred for some specific metal types and thinner material welding.
Difference between flux core welding vs Mig welding
We considered several parameters for differentiating those two welding techniques. Don’t skip the points as they are important to understand the real difference.
- Wire Type:
The first difference before even the welding begins is the wire type of both methods. For Mig, you will be using solid wires and tubular wires for flux core. Outside of the tubular wire is the solid metal, the same as Mig welding wire. But on the inside, it has something called flux, which ensures welding protection from oxidizing. Due to the flux in the middle of the wire, it is called flux core welding. Let’s continue to read other differences, and the work of the flux will be cleared to you.
- Shielding Method:
This is the main difference between mig and flux core welding. There is no denying that both welding methods need some sort of protection for the hot welded area. This protection is to keep the air away from it. Because oxygen in the air can oxidize the area and weaken it from inside. So, mig welding comes with huge cylinders filled with neutral gases like argon. While doing mig welding, the argon or some other protective gases are applied to the hot melted areas.
On the other hand, flux core welding doesn’t come with those cylinders and produces its gas to protect the area. The flux inside the wire produces the gas that keeps our breathable air out of the area. So, both welding methods actually use gases as a shield, but the sources are different. This is not all, and please continue to read the other points for a clear understanding.
- Weld Polarity:
Connecting your welding gun and the piece to the power line is different for mig and flux core. Mig welding requires DCEP and flux core needs DCEN connection, and you must maintain it correctly. The full form of DCEP is direct current electrode positive, and it means that your welding gun must be connected to the positive terminal and the piece to the negative terminal of the power line.
On the other hand, the full form of DCEN is direct current electrode negative, and it means that your welding gun must be connected to the negative terminal and the piece to the positive terminal of the power line. However, there are some exceptions, and for self-shielded flux core wire, you will need the DCEP settings.
As the previous points, the expectation is that the strength of mig and flux core welding are different, and we will finally be able to rule out the best one. But the reality is that both welding techniques provide the same strength if welded well. No matter how much you argue, different experiments proved this fact. If you can control all things, including the skill of the welder, wire feeding speed, gas coverage, you won’t be able to differentiate between them. So, this point is actually not a difference between flux core welding and mig.
The last characteristic to compare is the capability of these two welding methods. We will see how thin they can weld and which type of materials are supported by them. Flux core welding generates more heat, and it is not safe to weld thinner than 20-gauge metals with it. On the other hand,mig can weld as thin as 24-gauge metals without making holes in it.
Now, talking about the welding metal type, both methods can weld mild steel, low alloy steel, and stainless steel. However, welding aluminum, mig welding is the most preferred method as there is no flux core available to weld it.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is Mig better than flux core?
Based on your use-case, mig can be better than flux core welding. If you are welding in a condition where after-weld cleaning is a bit tough, mig can be your solution. So, you can’t simply rule out one welding method as superior in every situation.
Can I use flux core in a Mig welder?
Yes, you can use flux core in a mig welder, and there are some situations where you won’t have any other option. For example, if you are welding in a windy condition, the shielding gas of mig won’t do any good, and a flux core will be the protection here.
Can you Mig weld without shielding gas?
Yes, you can mig weld without having the shielding gas, and it is the best choice for the beginners. Because it doesn’t need huge cylinders, and you have less hassle while welding. This type of mig welding is called flux core wire welding.
You must be thinking which welding technique is the best in which scenarios. For welding outside where there is no protection from wind, flux core welding will be the best option. On the other hand, welding in a wind-protected area, mig, will be the best technique.
We think that those differences between flux core welding vs mig have cleared a lot of things that are going on in your mind for some time. If you are new in welding and still learning to weld, you might want to go with the flux core welding.