Fiber handheld laser welding machines and MIG welders are amongst the modern welding machines in place today. Though both of them are welding machines, they differ in their operation. While a fiber laser welder uses an infrared beam to weld metals together, a MIG welder uses gas for its process. So, how else do these machines differ? Which is better? What are the pros and cons of each type of welding? Read on to get answers to these questions and more.
What is a Fiber Handheld Laser Welding Machine & How Does it Work?
A fiber handheld laser welder is a device that uses a continuous or pulsed laser beam to weld two pieces of metal together. This welding machine works by irradiating a high-intensity laser beam on the workpiece to heat it locally in a small area.
When the laser beam interacts with the material, the inside of the workpiece melts, cools, and crystallizes, forming a weld. It is a modern type of welding machine used mainly for welding thin-walled workpieces and precision parts. With a fiber handheld laser welder, you can achieve various forms of welding such as butt, sealing, spot, and stitch welding.
Benefits of fiber handheld laser welder
Good welding effect
Because of its little impact on the hot zone, the thermal deformation of the item you are working on is small. It makes the welding joint smooth and beautiful as there is no blackening or traces on the back. Therefore, there is no need for secondary processing after welding. Additionally, due to its large welding depth, the welding is firm, and there is sufficient melting. The welding seam does not contain any air holes, giving you an efficient welding scheme.
Fast welding speed
A fiber handheld laser machine has a fast welding speed. In comparison with traditional welding, it is up to ten times faster. Consequently, you can save the time and cost of hiring many welders.
Versatility and ease of control
Fiber handheld laser welder features a unique double wobble design of the welding gun. It has different nozzles with different angles to apply to various uses like standard welding, laser cutting, wire-feed welding, and corner welding. This makes the fiber handheld laser welder versatile enough for your welding tasks. You can easily control the laser gun because it is lightweight and comfortable to hold with one hand. The welding gun replaces the traditional fixed light path making it more flexible and convenient in achieving lengthy laser welding.
The greatest advantage of the handheld laser welding machine is its Laser Intelligent Application System which enables it to have six welding modes to choose from. The control circuit uses the DC24V low voltage control and has a nice and durable lifetime. The adjustable motor frequency controls the speed of laser focal up to 460 circles per second. It is suitable for welding all workpieces with larger materials having irregular shapes and complex welding seams.
Because the laser working gas can be set to close or open from the touch screen, it prevents the burnout of a protective lens compared with a traditional handheld welding head. This makes the fiber handheld laser welding machine’s head more durable.
While small in design, the fiber handheld laser has an electro-optical conversion efficiency above 35%. By purchasing this machine, you get a cost-effective laser welding machine that is far superior to other types of lasers like MIG at the same power. Besides performing handheld laser welding operations, you can also use it for drilling, high precision welding, and mold repair through the later erection platform.
Easy to operate
The fiber handheld laser has an Intelligent Laser Application System that makes it simple to operate without any technical knowledge. With this system, you can control the laser power, frequency, and welding functions.
A wide range of applications
With this handheld laser welder, you get an extended range of applications. From kitchens, cabinets, shelves, 3D advertising letter signs to irregular and complicated welding of stainless steel, the application of this welder is limited to your imagination. The handheld welding machine effectively replaced electric welding, traditional argon arc welding, or MIG welding on materials such as stainless steel, aluminum, and iron.
Limitations of fiber handheld laser welding machine
High initial cost
The initial cost of purchasing the handheld laser welder is higher compared to other machines. It is a significant investment that requires some planning.
Concerns of porosity and embrittlement
Because the welded bead quickly solidifies, there are concerns that the seam may be porous, brittle and may form cracks in some metals.
Nozzle clogging and overheating
Since the stream of electrons is smaller than other welding methods, you need to have an uninterrupted flow. Clogging or shutting down the beam will cause overheating problems that may damage your machine. It is not advisable to use it for long hours of continuous operation.
Cross-contamination between laser materials and other metals
This handheld laser welder should not be used to weld materials from the same metal group. For example, it should not be used for welding stainless steel with nickel or cobalt. This is because the heat will cause some elements to cross-contaminate, resulting in a loss of properties and qualities of the workpiece. On most occasions, workpiece inclusions can contaminate and cause the laser beam to be absorbed instead of being transmitted into the metal.
Changing the weldability of materials
When using a handheld laser welder, the weldability of materials having high thermal conductivity and reflectivity like copper, aluminum, and their alloys, is changed.
Limited weldable thickness
Not all thicknesses can be welded by the handheld laser welding machine. Materials with penetration thickness that exceeds 19mm are not suitable for this type of welding.
What is a MIG Welder & How Does it Work?
A MIG (metal inert gas) welder is a machine that melts and joins metal sheets to one another. This type of welding involves using a wire electrode to pass through an electric arc melting two pieces of metals. When the MIG welder is set to work, it supplies current in pulses from its built-in transformer producing an electric arc that melts metals to unite them to one another. The molten metal flows through the tiny fissures or gaps between the two metal sheets creating a solid bond called the welded seam.
Benefits of MIG welders
They ensure fast welding
For any welding machine, the time it takes to weld indicates the difficulty of the join and the required quality from the weld when finished. Compared to several other welders, the MIG welder is faster irrespective of its user, an expert or a novice. This is because of the continuously fed electrode from a spool-gun MIG torch, the welding machine, or other sophisticated industrial applications by a combination of pull and push feed technology.
Simple to learn
Simplicity is one of MIG’s top advantages. In a few hours, a novice can learn how to use a MIG welder. Compared to TIG welders, MIG welders take a considerably little amount of time to learn. Using it is described as a point-and-shoot process.
Since the MIG welders can weld different metals and their alloys, it is incredibly versatile. It can also operate in various ways, like fully and semi-automatic. While it is excellent for in-home welding processes, its industrial applications are unlimited. It can be used for welding stainless steel, copper, aluminum, nickel, magnesium, iron, and most of its alloys.
Since welders do not constantly change rods or chip the slag away, MIG welders save time, thus making the welders enjoy productivity.
MIG welders provide better weld pool visibility. This, combined with the simplicity of the process and the better control provided by the auto-feed wire, makes it easier to produce a good-looking weld.
The limitations of MIG welders
At some point, the nozzle of the MIG welder plugs up with a spatter. This is almost impossible to prevent. MIG welders require regular cleaning and using materials such as tip dip once you have cleaned the nozzle of your welder.
Compared to other welders, the MIG welder loses points on portability. Since they are electrically powered, it is not possible to work in areas without power. The other aspect of portability in MIG welders is the size. They are large machines whose transporting could be cumbersome.
If the workpiece has a thickness of less than 0.5mm, there is a high risk of burn through in certain materials. After some level of experience, you may find your way around. Generally, for very thin materials, MIG welders are not the best suited.
Fiber Handheld Laser Welder VS MIG Welder – Which One Should I Choose?
In this competition between the fiber handheld laser welder VS MIG Welder, there is no clear winner. Conclusively, both types of welders have their pros and cons; however, there is no denying that they both work well in specific welding applications. You should purchase an appropriate machine that will suit your needs and specifications.
If it is for light-duty jobs like repairing your car or household equipment, you should go for a fiber handheld laser welder. However, you may want to consider purchasing a MIG welder if you are planning on welding thicker materials and other commercial uses. Its versatility in terms of materials may come in handy.
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