Yes, you can use flux core wire in a regular MIG welder if you wish. It depends on what metal you are going to be welding, though, so do bear this in mind. For example, the flux core wire may not be the best option for some metals, and vice versa. Stainless steel is one of these metals, as it needs stainless steel wire to ensure a strong, durable weld.
However, flux core wire can produce excellent results from your MIG welder in windy and draughty conditions as a gas shield is not possible (at least on a gasless MIG welder, that is). This means that your MIG welder can be made more versatile without having to invest in gas shielding. As well as this, depending on the metal you may even find that flux core wire allows for better penetration into the material compared to the usual wire you use with your MIG welder.
Keep in mind, however, that depending on the job you are welding, you may want to use ‘electrode negative’ on your welder. To do this check the manual for your particular MIG welder. This will ensure that you get less spatter and mess from your weld. This is not essential but may help to reduce holes and gaps caused by porosity in your weld.
Can you use flux core wire in a gas MIG welder?
Yes, you can still use flux core wiring in your gas MIG welder. It will not cause harm in any way, but you may want to consider whether there is any need for it. The gas of the MIG welder is essentially doing the job that flux core wiring was designed to do already. By this, we mean that it is shielding both the welder and workpiece from the heat of the arc.
A flux core wire also does this but without the need to purchase a gas shield. You will be essentially rendering one or the other void and perhaps wasting money in the long run.
That being said, there are instances where it may be pertinent to use flux core wire even in a gas MIG welder. For example, if you had a job outdoors or in a particularly draughty building then you may find that the gas shield is not stable and can get ‘blown out’ by the wind. In this case, the flux core wire would do the job of shielding.
As well as this, gas shielding is not always reliable, and so it pays to have another option such as flux core wire as a backup. With this in mind, you may decide that it is worth it to use flux core wiring, especially if the job in hand runs the risk of having the gas shield disrupted.
Is MIG and flux core welding the same?
No, MIG and flux core welding are not the same. They are both different types of welding and whilst they can be used for similar purposes and metals, they are not the same thing. The most obvious difference between them is in the wiring. The wiring used in MIG welding is solid. It has no core and is just one solid electrode.
On the other hand, flux core welding wire contains a core (hence the name). This means that the wire needs to be tubular. As such it consists of a hollow metal outside layer and a flux core in the hollowed-out centre.
Another vital difference is the fact that MIG welding requires the use of shielding gas to protect the metal being welded and the welder itself. Flux core, on the other hand, does not need a shielding gas as the flux centre is the shield. This means it can be used with ease in windy and draughty conditions as you don’t need to worry about any gas shields blowing out.
What Metals can I weld with flux core?
You can weld a surprising amount of different metals using flux core welding and wire. It is especially good for metals that have rusted, particularly on stainless steel and types of alloy such as nickel alloy. That being said, it must be noted that in general it is recommended that you only ever weld stainless steel with MIG welding to ensure it is sturdy. However, flux core provides an adequate second-best for stainless steel, especially in windy conditions where a gas shield would be blown out.
The purpose of it is for use in conditions where it is windy and rainy. This is because it does not need a gas shield to protect it, unlike other welding methods, and so can safely be used outside without the worry of it failing to do its job properly. It can also weld suited metals quickly, making it a great choice for construction work, where speed and portability are essential.