Burning up TIG electrodes
I just bought a Miller Synchrowave 180SD and I need H-E-L-P!!!
I tried out a Maxstar 150 on some scraps of 20 gauge stainless at the welding shop before I bought, just to get a feel for the process, and I found it to be easier than oxy-acetylene. I made butt, lap, and fillet joints with good, fair, and poor results. This was all done on the flat, so forming a puddle was easy. Since I was so pleased with the results on the butt weld, I figured the other types of joints would get better with practice. Now I am trying to weld 20 gauge mild steel (autobody) and I keep melting the electrode before I can get a puddle formed.
I'm trying to weld a lap joint to attach some lower door skins, with the doors on the car, so I am welding on a vertical surface this time. I have the welder set to Electrode Negative with the soft starting characteristics set at 1 (also tried it at 2) I'm running pure argon at 20 cfh. I have tried using 1/16 rod with a 1/16 tungsten as well as .035 rod with an .040 tungsten. I have tried adjusting my amperage with the foot pedal, and I have also tried holding the pedal down all the way with the machine set at 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 35 amps.
I've got a tight lap, with the bottom piece flanged, held together with vice grips. I even tried tacking the pieces together with my mig and then using the hammer and dolly to close the joint as tight as possible. As I increase the amperage, I go from getting the metal red hot but not puddling, to burning the edge off the top piece without getting a puddle on the bottom piece. In every case, the tunsten turns red hot and then melts back into the gas cup with a ball on the end.
After overcoming the urge to roll the damn thing out with the garbage cans, I decided to duplicate what I did with the Maxstar 150 at the shop, on 20 gauge mild steel laying flat.. Butt welds were easy, but this time I couldn't do a lap weld, so I didn't bother trying a fillet.
Ideally, I would like to take a welding course, but my work schedule makes it impossible. Any and all suggestions would be appreciated.