Welding Wire Feeders: The Unsung Heroes of MIG and Flux-Cored Welding


The welding wire feeder is a very important part of welding that often gets overlooked. People usually focus on the welding machine and the skill of the welder, but without a wire feeder, you aren’t going to have much luck getting the wire into the joint and creating a weld. Or, at least, not a good one. There are several types of wire feeders, and this article will discuss the function of wire feeders in general and the different types of wire feeders one might encounter. At the end, it will also touch on how important having a good wire feeding system is for making good welds.

What is a Welding Wire Feeder?

A weld wire is to be disbursed by a mechanical means, and the ideal method is through a gun-like dispenser that can give a continuous supply of the wire. The mechanism providing the wire at a controlled rate is called a shear, and it is driven by an electric motor. The wire is supplied to the shear, and it is cut into the required length at a certain speed, which is adjustable. Once the wire is cut, it is driven by the electric motor through the required conduit, and it is supplied to the weld pool for the premium deposition that you are looking for.

Why Welding Wire Feeders are Essential

The wire feeder’s essential duty is to warrant an uninterrupted and consistent delivery of welding wire straight to the weld joint, allowing for a uniform appearance that is just as important for the integrity of the weld as it is for its appearance. That might make it sound simple, but it can be demanding, as any break in the wire while feeding it by hand is going to result in a bad weld. Control is another big benefit for wire feeders. Aficionados of the equipment swear by how much better they can regulate the feed speed when the wire is being processed into the arc. (This is true of MIG welders, not of TIG or stick welders.) Part of this precise control is how easy it is to adjust. The near-infinite number of speed settings makes for a highly adjustable tool, whether it is for big ½-inch welds at 120 inches per minute or tiny hardly-seen welds at 20 inches per minute.

Types of Welding Wire Feeders

Push-pull wire feeders use two sets of drive rolls. One is in the feeder and the other is in the welding gun. This design ensures that the wire is fed properly in the gun. This setup is especially useful when welding with a soft or flexible wire, like aluminum. At first glance, the push-pull system seems to offer an infinite cable length, since the gun is pulling from one end and the feeder is pushing from the other. However, that is not completely true. Cables have capacitance, and if you remember the equation I mentioned earlier— E = q/C, Mr. Zhou taught us to think of it as voltage equals (electron charge/bit of stored energy). And if you remember thinking, “Well, that’s not very much energy at all,” you were right. What I didn’t mention is that E looks an awful lot like I (the letter i, not the pronoun). And while I is being applied to the “wire” in the gun, especially if a long cable is used, part of it is also being applied to the guns and everything else in the system, like the power supply and the cable itself. So the push-pull system does have its limits. It is still effective within those limits, but as systems get bigger and weld faster, we must be more mindful of push-pull wire feeder systems and the voltages they use (V vs. v).

Choosing the Right Welding Wire Feeder

When it comes to choosing a wire feeder for welding, a few key factors demand your attention. For one, you must select the feeder that, above all, harmonizes well with your welding method of choice, be it MIG or flux-cored. It is also important to ensure that the feeder can be used with the same type of welding wire you intend to use (that is, solid, cored, or metal-cored wire). Those two and the feeder’s staggering ability to carry out the type of work you have in mind (its duty cycle) are the three overriding concerns. Once you have evaluated wire feeders based on those criteria, you should have no problem finding one that fits your particular needs.


You cannot overstate the importance of a high-quality welding wire feeder in MIG and flux-cored welding; it is the heart of the weld setup, beating out a steady and precise rhythm. Even the best-welding power supply, gun, and wire will produce an erratic and unpredictable arc if the wire is allowed to twist, turn, or become kinked between the feeder and the gun. Despite the vital role the wire feeder plays—and the significant impact it can have on overall weld quality—it can easily be considered an afterthought in the welding world.

Find more information about welding wire and welding techniques at  UDO website –

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *