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Thread: Educate me on Mig wire size.

  1. #1

    Default Educate me on Mig wire size.

    Hey guys. Still working on my welding skills and enjoying it. When I bought my Miller 211 it came with .030 wire. Seemed to work on general welds I've been doing. As I got into more sheet metal replacement on my truck resto, I switched over to .023. Seemed to help on the burn thru I was experiencing. Now I'm doing different welding again consisting of 1" square tubing and 3/16" angle iron. I don't think the .023 wire is big enough for that so going to go back to the .030. Accidentally I picked up .035 wire. So now I'm kinda wondering if that could work? Would it be considered too thick of a wire for my all around welding projects? Or should I stick to the .030? Looking forward to your guys opinions on your wire choices. Thx Jim.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Ontario Canada


    I use .023 for sheet metal, .030 for 1/8 to 3/8 and .035 for thicker metal 1/2 to backhoe buckets etc.
    Your machine should have a chart on the door suggesting wire size for metal thickness, amps, gas flow

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    lower Michigan


    I have a miller 211 and the dials on the front which automatically you exactly what thickness of metal you're welding and what size wire you're using. When you dial in that it automatically sets the wire speed and the amperage. I really like my Miller 211, 's does a great job on everything I've used for.

    It's not for building bulldozers but it's great for any automotive or light industrial welding needs.
    LS says "Lets Go Brandon". He's like that.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006


    Here are the initial settings on my hobart 190, will give you an idea of what wire sizes are recommended for thickness.... but you just tend to use less wire speed with heavier wire.hobart190.jpg
    Last edited by fj5gtx; 06-20-2022 at 12:38 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2013


    i use .035 solid on most everything but sheet metal. heck, i even use it on sheet metal now and then. you just need to play with the volts and wire speed a little to tune it in. i don't have a welder with autoset so i don't have any experience to share there, but phil has one and likes it. i prefer to twist the knobs myself. most folks tend to use too much heat. finding the sweet spot takes practice. you only want enough heat to fully wet in the edges so you don't cold lap. those guides that come with the welder are simply a starting point, you'll need to adjust from there to get perfection. i consider .035 to be my "bread and butter" size.
    i do keep a dedicated machine at home with .030 for automotive work though. i'd run .023 on it but i can't get feed rolls for it anymore. the .030 will work with sheet as well as thicker sections you'd see on frame rails and the like. also fine for small household projects.
    for heavy work i run .045 dual shield. it bites in like stick welding, but is much easier to control. anything 3/8 or thicker can use that.
    b marler

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007


    I use Miller 135 with 0.023 mig wire at 110 volts...sheet metal..
    You want lower power but quality mig apparatus that works well at lower settings these days
    I use mix of Co2 and Argon helps..

    My buddies from other shops love this set up as well..

    And I am using this at the very lowwww settings...

    Sheet metal these days on new cars is thin but very strong and often it is HSS with some alloys..

    I had to fix 2021 toyota rav 4 doors and it was difficult to even spot weld let alone mig weld..

    For anything bigger, I got 220 volts mig welder with 0.035 wire, I rarely use it unless it's something thick...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2022
    Youngstown NY


    What he said. ^ I have a miller 185, and like .023" wire, even for up to 1/8" thick. The trick with sheet metal to eliminate burn through is clean, clean, clean with small disks around 120 grit. And to tack it first at around 25-30 on the feed dial. Even 20 on the really thin stuff. Keep tacking until your tacks are around 1/2" apart scattered around. This will control heat. Then when done, weld between the tacks, also scattered, to keep heat evenly spread. Even take a rest on larger sections if necessary.

    Welding rockers can be trickier, because doing the underside is basically overhead welding, where you need to turn up the feed which uncontrollably makes more heat, and on thin metal burn through can't be helped. On this stuff, unless the car might be on a rotissiree, I would just be happy with tacking along the bottom. Newer cars have metal that's very thin and I personally hate welding that stuff.

    The trick to good welds is clean, cool metal and plenty of experience.

  8. #8


    Thanks guys. Lots of good info that will come handy!

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