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Understanding MIG Welding Nozzles

Welding gun nozzles play a critical role in the welding operation. Having the right nozzle for the job can help reduce
weld defects, rework and associated downtime — while also extending consumable life. All of these factors impact
the bottom line.

Unfortunately, like other MIG welding consumables, the importance of

selecting the right nozzle is often overlooked. In any welding application, the
right shape and style of nozzle, however, can have a significant impact on the
quality, productivity and overall cost of the welding operation. Knowing how to
store and handle nozzles properly can also help improve their overall
performance. Consider these tips to get the best results.
Selecting the Right Shape of Nozzle 

There are several shapes of nozzles available, including straight, bottleneck
and short or long taper nozzles. Straight nozzles typically have larger inside Nozzles that feature a fiberglass insulator and brass
diameters (e.g., 3/4 inch), but don’t offer as good of joint access. If greater insert, as shown in this cut-away, can help extend
the life of the consumable. The brass insert,
joint access is critical, a bottleneck nozzle may be the better option. These in particular, helps maintain the inner diameter
of the nozzle and reduce wear.
nozzles are particularly good for automated welding applications. A common
inside diameter for a bottleneck nozzle is 1/2 inch.
Short and long taper nozzles are also common choices for gaining good joint access. Note, that long taper nozzles
typically have a smaller inside diameters and may collect spatter more readily. When possible, using a short taper
nozzle can help prevent such a problem.
When selecting a nozzle, it is important to find one that provides the best joint access for the application. It is also
imperative that the nozzle allows for the proper gas flow to the weld puddle in order to keep contaminants away. The
best choice is to use as large of a nozzle as possible that still allows access to the weld joint. Doing so helps ensure
the greatest shielding gas flow. Larger nozzles are also less prone to collecting spatter compared to those with
smaller inside diameters.

Application Nozzles Considerations
 The higher the welding current, the larger the bore size of the nozzles should be.
Welding Current  Consider standard duty nozzles for low welding current applications to save money
 Use a heavy-duty, copper nozzle for the high heat1 applications.
 Brass nozzles have good spatted resistance and can take more manual abuse than copper
nozzles at medium and low heat applications.
High Heat  Brass loses most merits when the temperature is above 450 degrees Celsius (840 F).
 The general rule of thumb is to use as long a nozzle as possible to save gas and get sufficient
gas coverage. However, if weld access is an issue, use a short nozzle.
 Taper or bottleneck nozzles shapes can also help.
Limited Weld Access
 If heavy spatter is expected (i.e. galvanized base metal, or, oily surface, or, short circuit weld,
Heavy Spatter
100% CO2, etc.), use a short nozzle with a larger bore size
Generation  Brass material is also a good choice depending on head (see above).
 Straight bore nozzles are recommended to achieve the most effective cleaning with a robotic
Using Nozzle Cleaning
Stations nozzle cleaning station or reamer.
For extreme heat applications, consider water cooled nozzles/guns.
Selecting the Best Material
Nozzles are typically available in heavy-duty or standard styles, and in slip-on or thread-on varieties. Heavy-duty
nozzles have thicker walls, as well as thicker insulators, and are designed for use in applications ranging from 400
to 600 amps. Due to their heavier construction, these nozzles resist heat better than standard varieties. Standard
nozzles tend to have a thinner wall and are better for 100- to 300-amp applications. Slip-on nozzles, as their name
implies, simply slip on to the front end of the MIG gun. These nozzles are quite prevalent in the industry, compared
to thread-on nozzles that need to be twisted to install, and they offer the advantage of being able to change over
more quickly. A note of caution: when installing slip-on nozzles, be certain that they are fully seated on the retaining
head to prevent shielding gas leaks that could lead to poor weld quality.
Nozzles are typically available in brass or copper, although chrome-plated nozzles are also available. Brass nozzles
tend to resist spatter well and are good for lower-amperage applications (100 to 300 amps), whereas copper
nozzles are better for high-amperage applications (above 300 amps) or for those with longer arc-on time.
For high-amperage water-cooled applications, there are also nozzles available that circulate coolant around the
nozzles, but these tend to be much more expensive.
Proper Storage, Handling and Maintenance
It is important to handle, store and maintain nozzles properly to gain consistent
welding performance and prevent premature failure. Selecting high quality
nozzles can help these consumables last longer, too.
Look for nozzles that are engineered with a smooth surface finish and edges, as
these resist spatter build-up compared to nozzles that have an uneven surface
or burrs on the edges. Nozzles that have some mass to them are also more
desirable than lighter or thinner ones since they tend to resist heat better. Also,
consider purchasing nozzles that feature a brass insert. This insert helps the
nozzle maintain its inner diameter, and prevents the nozzle from rocking and
Checking the nozzle periodically for spatter wearing prematurely. The addition of a high-temperature fiberglass insulator can
build-up, as seen here, and cleaning it
properly can help extend the life of the also help extend nozzle life. Finally, look for heavy-duty crimping on the nozzle
consumable. Adding anti-spatter can also
help prevent build-up.
— the crimping holds the layers together and is an indication that the nozzle has
been built for longevity.
When storing nozzles, keep them in their original packaging, usually a small plastic bag. Removing them from that
packaging and placing them in a bin can lead to scratches or dents that allow spatter to adhere and will ultimately
shorten the life of the nozzle. Use gloves when handling nozzles or replacing nozzles to prevent dirt, oil or other
contaminants from adhering to them and inadvertently entering the weld puddle.
Periodically inspect the nozzle for spatter build-up and clean it using the tool recommended by the manufacturer as
needed and/or consider using an anti-spatter compound to protect against spatter.
As with any front-end consumable, nozzles play an important role in maintaining good weld quality and can have a
measurable impact on productivity and costs, too. Take the time to select the right ones for each application and
maintain them properly. Careful selection and maintenance can minimize downtime and keep your welding
operation running more smoothly in the long run.