If you’ve ever spent time and effort meticulously welding your project, only to find a large amount of spatter all over it when you’re done, then you share the frustration that sometimes comes with MIG welding. And the time that it takes to remove the spatter only adds to it. The good news is that there are several anti-spatter coatings that will spare you a lengthy cleanup process.
What is spatter?
In the world of MIG welding, spatter happens. That’s the small molten metal particles that splash all over you, your work space and your project while you’re welding. Those little pieces, called “bbs”, may stick to all of those surfaces and harden into a very strong surface as they cool—making clean-up a very time-consuming chore. In addition, it can clog your torch head and cause it to short-circuit.
Fortunately, there are a variety of anti-spatter welding solutions for this problem.
What is anti-spatter spray?
Anti-spatter spray is a product that prevents the sparkler-like array of spatter bbs from sticking to your welding table. The anti-spatter spray contains a silicone or similar ingredient that is typically a petroleum-based or water-based solvent that prevents the spatter from sticking. There is also an anti-spatter gel format and both versions are cost-effective solutions that work.
Anti-spatter applications and how to use them
Both types of anti-spatter coatings for welding are actually applied before you start welding. When using a spray application, shake the can as directed on the back of the product, then spray a light coating over your welding project and work area to prevent the bbs from sticking to the surface. The water solvent formula will make cleanup much faster and easier. Simply wipe away the spatter with a cloth or gently scrub off with a wire brush.
Anti-spatter gels are also used preventatively and only when the torch tip and nozzle are warm. It’s helpful to start with a clean torch tip and nozzle, using a wire cleaning brush or welding pliers as needed. Next, warm up the contact tip and nozzle by running a few inches of starter beads on a spare piece of metal. Finally, dip the hot contact tip and nozzle roughly one inch into the anti-spatter gel, allowing the excess to drip off right back into the container. To use up the wire that was in contact with the dip, you can weld another small amount of bead onto your scrap metal again.
You should be able to brush or tap any bbs right off of your nozzle and re-dip as needed. Cleaning your nozzle and torch tip after you’ve finished welding will ensure that your welder will be ready to go for next time
As you become more skilled with your welding technique, you’ll also find that the proper setup of your MIG welder will ultimately give you better control of the amount of spatter released, and will help you greatly reduce it.
Too much gel or liquid can also cause defects in your weld. Because anti-spatter sprays are mostly water, if you spray too much on your consumables and that drips into your weld, it can create porosity or weld contamination.
To learn more about MIG welding obstacles and solutions, download The Ultimate MIG Troubleshooting Guide now.