What is a Wire Feed?

If you want to learn about wire feed welding and its uses, here’s a short article that can help you.

Welding is the best way to join two separate metal pieces together. Most often, welder machines use heat or pressure to make these permanent joints. This article will focus on wire feed welding and properly using this technique.

Wire feed welding is generally known as Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) or Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding. In these methods, the MIG welding machine or the gun continuously feeds the filler wire to the welding process. This process is known as wire feed.

Read on for more detail.

Things You Should Know About Wire Feed Welding

There are two types of welding techniques; stick welding and metal wire welding. To understand wire feed welding better, you should also learn about stick welding. So, I’ll explain wire feed welding first. Then, you can learn about the stick welding process too.

Important: The welding type is categorized by how the filler metal is fed to the welder.

Wire Feed Welding

wire feed welding
Video | Hobart™

Wire feed welding is the far superior welding technique most welders use nowadays. During this process, the welding machine feeds the filler metal electrode continuously using the electric arc.

You can observe this wire feed welding process in Metal Inert Gas (MIG) and Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW). Both of these techniques use the wire feed welding method.

Wire feed welders use shielding gas to protect the welding joints from outer environment contaminations (in MIG welding). The wire feed welding method is excellent for joining nonferrous metals. The metal wires can be stored in the welder machine or the gun.

Stick Welding

stick welding
Video | Hobart™

In stick welding, you don’t need any welding gun. Instead, you get a metal electrode holder. You hold the metal electrode on the two pieces; an arc will be created by melting the metal electrode.

How Does the Wire Feed Welding Process Work?

wire feed welding process
Video | Hobart™

At this point, you might have a pretty good idea of wire feed welding and why more and more people use this technique.

This section will explain how the whole wire feed welding process works.

The first thing you should know is the placement of the wire electrode. In stick welding, you hold the electrode by using the electrode holder. But in wire feed welding, the electrodes are in the welding machine or the welding gun.

After pulling the trigger, the wire electrode will be applied to the two metal parts you want to join. But when you press the trigger, many things happen in the wire feed welding process. And here are those things.

  • The rollers start working.
  • The Arc spring comes into action.
  • The shield gas releases and protects the welding joint
  • The rollers start feeding the wires

wire feeding process
Video | Hobart™

The burning arc heats the metal parts, and at the same time, it melts the wire electrode. Also, the shield gas protects the welding joint from any environmental contaminations.

A Few Valuable Tips for Wire Feed Welding

Whether you initiate stick welding or wire feed welding, you’ll need expertise and knowledge to properly carry out the welding process. So here are a few things you should pay attention to while welding wire feed.


If you have any welding experience, you probably know that in welding direction is everything. You can either pull or push. But what difference does it make? Let me explain.

When you bring the gun toward you, it is known as pulling. If you take the gun away from you, it is known as pushing.

When you use the stick welding method, you should use the pulling method. And for the wire feed welding method, use the pushing method. This is one of the must-know welding basics that every welder should learn.

You might ask why the pulling method for wire feed welding. Well, let me explain. When you push the welding gun away from you, it produces lower penetration. This low level of penetration leads to a wide and flat bead.

Work Angle

metal in angle
Video | Hobart™

Work angle is the second thing that you should know as a welder.

There are four different types of work angles. Depending on your requirement, you can use any one of them.

  • Flat Position – Use a 90-degree angle for butt joints. For T joints, use a 45-degree angle. And for lap joints, use a 60 – 70 degree angle.
  • Horizontal Position – The angle should be 0 -15 degrees.
  • Vertical Position – For vertical angle, use a 5 -15 degree angle.
  • Overhead Position – There is no specific work angle.

Note: Here, the working angle is referred to the angle between the workpiece and the welding gun. Change the working angle according to your needs. Always remember that the working angle plays a major role in wire feed welding.

Video References


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About Sam Orlovsky

b1d87d2ee85af3e51479df87928bdc88?s=90&d=mm&r=gCertifications: B.E.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Electric Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Electrical engineering is my passion, and I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years. This gives me a unique ability to give you expert home improvement and DIY recommendations. I’m not only an electrician, but I also like machinery and anything to do with carpentry. One of my career paths started as a general handyman, so I also have a lot of experience with home improvement I love to share.

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