The Physics
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Electric Current through a MIG Welder

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Wenzel, Wayne. "MIG Welders." Farm Industry News. Nov. 2002: 60. "It plugs into 115 V household current, weighs 55 lbs. And delivers 30 to 135 amp output. It plugs into 230 V current, weighs 65 lbs and delivers 30 to 175 amps." 30 to 175 A
MIG Welding Q & A. Miller Electric. "A general rule-of-thumb is, one ampere for every 0.001" of metal thickness. For example, 10 gauge (or ⅛") material equates to .125 decimals or 125 amps." 125 A
Marcus, Abraham. Basic Electricity. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1969. 324. "Generally about 20 amperes are employed, although at times as much as 1000 amperes may be required." 20 to 1000 A
Lincoln® MIG Welder SP-125 Plus 115V. Praxair Technology, 2003. "This unit requires only 115 V input, yet produces a welding range of 25–125 amps." 25 to 125 A

Welding is one of the most economical and efficient ways to join metals together permanently. Welding is important to our economy. The use of welding and welders is extensive. Welding is essential from everyday wares to bridges to teapots to architectural monuments. Welding is often used in industrial processes. Welders are employed in many different industry groups.

Metal Inert Gas Welding (MIG) or Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) is a type of arc welding. MIG welding is made for aluminum and steel. MIG welding involves a process that joins metals by heating them with an electric arc. A conductive rod forms electrodes. When the electrode touches the work, an arc or electric spark is formed between the rod and the work piece. The arc heats the metal parts until both melt and join together. Externally supplied gas or a mixture of gases provides shielding. Current for welding can be obtained from generators or storage batteries. Enough current is needed to penetrate the base metal. The amperage of a welder depends on the thickness of the material being welded. Commonly, the rule is one ampere for every 0.025 mm of metal thickness. Usually 20 amperes are used during MIG welding but at times as much as 1000 amperes may be needed.

Poki Li -- 2003