Push-Pull Mig Welding Guns – The answer to your aluminium welding woes

Posted on Aug 20, 2023

Anyone who’s tried welding with a soft wire like Aluminium will know it can be a tricky material to work with. If you use a standard Mig gun the wire has a tendency to “bird nest”, bunching up inside the cable and tangling into itself.  At best this causes the wire feed to be irregular, and at worst will stop it completely, meaning the welder then has to get rid of the wire in the gun and refeed. Plus, when the wire stops feeding this can also cause burnback, requiring a contact tip clean or even change.

Bird nesting occurs because standard Mig Torches are “Push” only. The wire is fed via a set of drive rolls at the wire feeder, pushing it the length of the cable and out through the contact tip. While this is fine for Steel as it is a relatively hard wire, materials like Aluminium are much softer in comparison and don’t have the rigidity required to travel along the cable length without bunching up. The longer the cable, the tougher it is to get the wire all the way from the machine to the torch.

Imagine trying to feed a piece of string through a length of pipe. If you were to push from one end only, it would be difficult (if not impossible!), particularly if there were any bends to navigate.

Now picture the same scenario, but if there was someone pulling that string through from the other end as well; it’s clear to see how much easier that would be. Though a simple analogy, this effectively is how Push-Pull Mig guns work. The Mig gun contains a drive motor, and in addition to the wire feeder back at the Mig welding machine, they work in tandem to keep tension in the wire. This allows it to feed smoothly along the cable length without bunching up. Push-Pull technology also enables the use of longer welding cables. With a standard Mig torch, the longer the cable the more chance you have of a soft wire tangling as it has so far to travel, coupled with the friction within the cable slowing the feed down. Using a feeder at the torch counters these issues, and allows the welder to accurately regulate the wire feed speed.

A good wire feed is key for productivity – erratic feeding has a negative impact on the weld quality, and even the most skilled welder can’t produce a good Mig weld without the wire! And of course production is completely impossible when it won’t feed at all. Add on to that the wastage from tangled wire (and the time spent fixing this problem), the damage to contact tips caused by burnback, and it is clear how much benefit there is in using a Push-Pull Mig gun.

That’s why we recommend our Parker Suregrip Push-Pull Mig welding torches for when you need to weld with soft wires; they are specifically designed to ensure consistent, constant wire feed when welding with Aluminium / soft wires or over a distance.

Push-Pull welding torches sometimes have a reputation for being unwieldy and difficult to manoeuvre, so we’ve worked hard to make sure that is not the case. The Suregrip Push-Pull range has been designed for its ease of use and comfort for the welder.

  • Large surface area grips on the handle make it easy to hold, improving balance and making positioning and moving the torch as you weld problem free.
  • The cable support is cleverly designed to provide flexibility and ease of movement, without compromising wire feed.
  • Plus, an optional speed and tension control allows the welder to control speed and tension directly from the handle.

For more information on the Suregrip Push-Pull Mig Welding Torch Range, visit https://jm74qnitdj.nimpr.uk/product/distance-mig/suregrip-pull-mig