Why Is MIG Welder Popping? (Reasons & Solution)

Are you wondering why is your MIG welder popping or spattering while welding various materials? It may happen from imbalanced wire speed, excessive amperage, unregulated gas & many other reasons.

Achieving accurate welding results is difficult unless you solve this problem. Here, we will help to figure out the causes of this issue and how to tackle it effectively.

Why Is MIG Welder Popping
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Why Is MIG Welder Popping?

Popping or spattering on the workpiece material prevents you from achieving a precise result in your MIG welding session.

Figuring out the root causes and resolving them sooner is vital. The followings are common reasons for MIG welder popping.  

01. Wrong Machine Settings

One of the most common causes of MIG welding popping is inappropriate machine settings.

The ideal gas flow rate for MIG welding ranges between 8 to 12L per minute. It depends on the materials you are handling.

In addition, a wrong adjustment of argon gas and CO2 can cause this problem.

Generally, 25% CO2 and 75% argon are the most commonly used. But, in some cases, you may use 10% CO2 and 90% argon, depending on the welding requirements.

02. Wrong Wire Selection

The average diameter of wire for a MIG welder ranges from 0.35 and 0.45.

Generally, it depends on the workpiece’s thickness, desired weld cleanliness, and weld unit power.

In addition, selecting the wrong wire type can also cause a popping problem.

For example, Solid wire offers deep penetration, whereas Flux-cored wire creates a rounder penetration.

The main important point is determining the workpiece material and penetration level.  

03. Wrong Amperage

Another common cause of MIG welder spattering is inappropriate amperage.

You will need around one amperage of power for every .001″ thick material.

For example, welding 0.25-inch thicker material requires setting up the welder amperage at 250 amps.

The higher the material thickness, the more amperage is required. Compared to regular workpieces, aluminum has 25% more heat input, and Stainless steel is 10%-15% less.

04. Wrong Wire Speed

Inappropriate wire speed is another reason for MIG welder popping. You might be feeding the wire too fast or too slow.

A too-fast wire speed will cause burn-through, excessive popping, and poor penetration.

In contrast, a too-slow wire speed will result in the weld area running too cool with continuous rhythmic popping sounds.

The ideal speed for MIG welding ranges between 240 to 290 IPM while maintaining the travel speed between 14 and 19 IPM.

05. Material Thickness

A workpiece material thickness can affect your MIG welding result.

Maintaining the right IPM (Inches Per Minute) is crucial based on the thickness level.

Generally, the higher the material thickness, the lower should be the IPM.

But remember, going too slow or too fast will cause popping issues.

06. Lack Of Gas Flow

How often do you refill the Shielding Gas cylinder?

 Generally, it is a solid rule of thumb to use a 25 to 35 cubic feet per hour (CFH) gas flow rate.

However, you can start at 20 to 25 CFH and gradually increase the flow.

Maintaining an adequate gas level is essential.

 If you continue the welding session at a low rate, it will cause popping problems and introduce porosity into the weld.

How To Stop MIG Welder Popping?

A MIG welder may pop or spatter for various reasons that we have already mentioned.

The followings are the top practical solutions to tackle spatters.

01. Follow the Manufacturer’s Recommendation

It is crucial to follow the manufacturer-recommended settings for MIG welding.

Check out the instructional manual to learn about the ideal voltage, wire feed speed, gas flow rate, and type.

However, some adjustments might be needed depending on your workpiece material.

Make sure to test the welding on an unnecessary metal before finally using it.

 It will give you 100% assurance and prevent damaging the workpiece.

02. Insect The Welding Tip

Worn-out contact tips in MIG welders often cause popping, burn-out, and an erratic arc.

It is a solid rule of thumb to change the tip after surpassing the 100-pound mark.

Otherwise, it will affect your welding quality and result in various problems over time.

It will lead to lousy targeting, meaning you won’t be able to direct the wire precisely.

03. Maintain The Right Wire Size

The wire size of a MIG welder machine can affect your welding performance.

Choosing an appropriate wire size is crucial. It must match with contact tip size.

If you want to achieve a rapid deposition rate, a larger wire size is needed.

However, a small wire size comes in handy for better control. If you are new to welding, avoid using too large a wire size.

Nevertheless, you don’t want to overlook the material thickness and other crucial factors.

04. Avoid Using Rusty Wire

A rusty MIG wire causes a quicker wire out of the line. You fail to join the metal pieces together precisely.

If the current MIG wire is too old and rusty, get a new smooth, clean wire.

Ensure you don’t keep the wire disposed to an open environment when not using it. Also, use a rag on top of the wire to prevent dirt from sitting on its top.

05. Functional Liner Of MIG Gun

 A liner of a MIG gun is one of the most critical parts.

It acts as a conduit for guiding the welding wire from the wire feeds via the gun cable to the contact metal tip.

Over time, it might be filled with excessive dirt or debris that often causes popping or spattering problems.

Replacing the liner is vital to ensure smooth functionality. You may clean the liner and enjoy better result if liner is not damaged or malfunctioned.

Make sure to choose the correct size and install it correctly to avoid poor wire feeding and burn-back issues.

The following chart shows the average settings you should use for based on various factors.

Wire SizeGaugeMaterial ThicknessAmperageWire Speed
0.3022 gauge1/8 inch40 to 145 amps90 and 340 IPM
0.3518 gauge1/4 inch50 to 180 amps80 and 380 IPM
0.4516 gauge3/8 inch75 to 250 amps75 and 200 IPM

Final Words With Some Bonus Tips

MIG welders may pop from time to time. But some preventive actions and regular maintenance tasks can help you avoid this hassle. For example, switching off & unplugging the device and covering it is a solid rule of thumb when not using it.

Also, repair or replace the welding wire once every three months. Tightening the ground clamp is necessary once or twice every month. Deeply cleaning the MIG welder with compressed air is crucial at least twice yearly.

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