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How To Load A Wire Feed Welder In Under Three Minutes

How To Load A Wire Feed Welder

I have encountered so many questions about how to rewire a mig welder because obviously there are individuals who want to buy their MIG welders and want to know the basics of using and maintaining their MIG welding machines. 

Basically, replacing a MIG wire is one of the easiest things to do to be able to use your MIG machine over and over. But if you are one of those beginners, who wanted to learn the basics of MIG welding, let’s do a little orientation first about MIG welding before we go to the discussion on how to spool a mig welder.

How To Load A Wire Feed Welder

The MIG Welding Type

There are different types of welding methods but 4 are the most commonly used in our industries and home workshops today. These are the Stick, MIG, TIG, and the Flux-Cored arc welding. Among these, MIG welding is said to be the easiest that even beginners can learn to master in under a day.

welding bevel

But what is MIG welding?

MIG which stands for Metal Inert Gas or in a more technical term the gas metal arc welding (GMAW) is an arc welding process wherein you use a solid wire electrode as the welding material and a combination of gas as the shielding gas. 

Because the wire has positive electrons flowing into it while the base metal (work metal) is clamped by an earth cable that is connected to the welding machine and makes the work metal negatively charged, once the wire electrode touches the metal, a spark is produced which we call the arc. 

This arc melts the wire electrode, creates a weld pool and joins the metal pieces together. The gas, however, serves as the shield to prevent contamination of the weld pool from the air.

Because the wire electrode is the main component in MIG welding, most people also call this as “wire welding”.


When To Replace the MIG Wire

The most common reason why you will need to replace your spool of mig wire is that the type of metal you need to weld does not conform with the type of electrodes you have in your spool. In MIG welding you will need to weld different types of metal which also requires specific types of wire electrodes.  

For example, the ER70S-6 wire should better be used on carbon steel and mild steel while the ER4043 and ER5356 wires are highly recommended for welding aluminum. If you’ll use these on other metal, the right temperature for conductivity will not be met thus issues may occur right on the weld work.    

You also need to replace your spool of wire when there’s a lot of rust in it. Wires that are made of ferrous materials tend to rust like the stainless steel wire. Rusting usually happens when the wire gets too old, too dirty or if you’re residing near the beach where the breeze contains salt which is unfortunately a corroding element.  

And of course, you will need to change your mig wire spool once the wire has been used up.

How to Remove Wire From MIG Welder

Before putting on a new spool, obviously, you have to remove the old spool. But if you don’t know how to remove a wire from a mig welder, don’t worry this is also very easy. You only need to inspect the mechanism of the shaft that holds the spool. 

There are different types of spool holders as MIG machines also vary in design and sizes. Moreover, they almost have the same structures when it comes to their drive roller system. 

Some mig welding machines do have springs with lockable screws. These springs press the spool right into the wall of your machine while some machines only have simple pins that you can pull up and lock to hold the spool in place. However, before you pull out the spool of mig wire from the machine’s shaft, make sure to cut the wire first that is connected to the mig gun. 

To do this, you have to pull back the tension bar that is holding the tensioner roller to free the wire. Hold the wire that is connected into the spool and cut the wire that goes through the liner. As you hold the wire and gently pull it, insert the tip into the hole of the spool and bend it to avoid unraveling the whole spool. 

You can now remove the old spool and pull out the wire from the mig gun. 


Tips When Replacing MIG Wire

Replacing a spool for a new spool of MIG wire is also another easy task. 

MIG spools or reels have different sizes and weight but the most common are the 1kg, 5kg and 15kg. The 5kg and 15 kg generally have the same features though their spool size varies in width and diameter. 

So here are more the things you should remember when replacing a mig wire for a new spool of wire to avoid issues. 

First, check the new wire if this is of the same size as the contact tip of your MIG gun. So if your wire is .035-inch or 9mm which you’ll see on the label, the contact tip of your MIG gun should also be of the same size. Having a bigger size tip could result in an uneven welding base because as the wire goes out from the contact tip this could vibrate and could produce an ugly weld.  

Small size tip, however, will prevent the wire from slipping out smoothly which could result in birdnesting. Birdnesting is the entangling of the wire inside the liner due to difficulty of the wire to exit smoothly through the contact tip of the MIG gun.    

Second, when changing wire size you should also consider checking the size of your machine’s drive roller and this should match the size of your wire. So be aware of the mark on the drive roller. Lastly, always check those pegs on the bottom of the mount. These pegs must align with the holes that are at the back of the spool and they help in turning the spool smoothly.   

How to Spool A MIG Welder


Now that we are on the part of how to spool a mig welder, let me discuss to you how the drive system works and how to install the wire properly. mount the new spool into place. Position the spool where the wire should be coming out from the bottom of the spool.  

Secure the spool with the necessary security cap or pin. 

Cut the wire that is bent on the hole of the spool using a pair of sharp mig welding pliers and don’t let it go. Cut the bent part of the wire and carefully insert the straight wire into the guide tube and run it along the wire feed roller.

Push the wire until it goes inside the wire liner for a few inches then lock the tensioner roller by pushing it down the wire. Push the tensioner bar up to lock the tensioner roller. The tensioner serves as the tension control of the wire and you could tighten the wire or release some of the tension if the exit of the wire is somewhat sloppy. 

Turn the machine on and press the gun’s switch and wait for the wire to come out from the mig gun nozzle. Cut the wire and leave a length of about 3/8 of an inch. 

If you encounter wire feeding problems, check the drive roller system and also the mig gun and its parts especially the MIG gun consumables

To know the actual process of how to rewire a mig welder, watch our video here which I have prepared for all MIG welding enthusiasts. Very easy to do, no need for any tool but a pair of sharp snips to cut the wire smoothly and that’s it.   

And this is how to load a wire feed welder in under 3 minutes. 

Once you have cleared out the old spool from its place and pulled out the wire from the mig gun,