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Old 10-27-2005, 11:33 PM
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Finally bought myself a welder :D

I was looking at welders for quite a while. I had my heart set on a Miller mig, which was about 739 CAD, so by the time I got a helmet, tank etc etc, and taxes in I was at about a little over 1000$ (couldn't afford that this month)

When I checked in this week, they had a used Astro mig, which was about 1/2 retail 299$, retail 599$ and I was lucky the auto darkening helmets were cheap too ($72 CAD), so the whole package was about 600$ including helmet, aluminum tank, gloves and some metal to play with.

I figure, if I weld a lot, I will be able to sell the used welder for close to what I paid for it, and keep the tank, maybe upgrade to a miller later.

My welding tonight, left a little (lot) to be desired, but there were no instructions with the mig, so I just plodded along. I got better as the night went along

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Old 10-28-2005, 02:41 AM
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Welding takes alot of practice. If you have a friend that is a welder, or atleast well experienced, you might ask them for some "Hands on" pointers. Atleast they could help you get an idea of the correct settings on that machine.

Just a couple of tips.

1. It should sound like a mixture between a crackle and hissing. Hard to describe, but not popping.

2. When the cone on the end becomes plugged up with build up, and it will, DON'T hit it on the ground or anything for that matter. They are copper or brass (not sure which) and bend easilly. That will restrict gas flow and cause more popping.

Good luck, be safe, and have fun. Once you learn how to use it, you will also learn that you weren't really surviving without it. You just thought you were. LOL

Aaron
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Old 10-28-2005, 06:55 AM
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Coupons

make yourself some coupons..they are pieces of metal about 4x6 inches or so and practice on them before you weld on anything "fussy"..There are some good books like the welders handbook that can help with settings and such..

It can be very helpful if there is a school in your area that gives a nite course and then there is always hooking up with one of the local car clubs who may have someone to help you with getting started..

OMT
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Old 10-28-2005, 08:46 AM
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Ripped, proper set up is important before you begin since if the machine is not right you will have problems that practice will not solve. That spatter build up that adtkart mentioned on the cone can be greatly reduced and made easier to remove by using a nozzle spray or dip sold at any welding supply. I have seen a lot of guys get upset because they could not figure out why they could not get the welder set to weld smooth and clean when their only problem was a dirty/distorted nozzle which prevented a smooth gas flow. You can get porosity from atmospheric contamination of the shielding gas even if the gas flow is not blocked so it is important to keep that nozzle clean and not bent/distorted from abuse. Also this nozzle needs to seal at the back where it screws/slips on or air will be drawn in because of the same principle that makes a suction gun work and this air will then contaminate your gas. It seems like most times I have to trouble shoot a problem here at the shop it can be traced to the gun or some sort of gas flow problem. You may get other opinions on where to set the tip in relation to the nozzle edge(lip) but I have found that it works best for me if it is flush or even sticking out past a tiny bit. Also a drafty shop can cause major problems so if you use a fan to control smoke make sure the air around the weld area is not affected by a breeze from the fan or any other source. Welding takes some practice and learning without help from a hands-on instructor can be challenging but with practice you will catch on in no time
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Old 10-28-2005, 06:40 PM
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Thanks kindly for the pointers and advice.

I bought the tip-dip with the machine, he also suggested a wire lube, which I'll buy the next time I'm back there

I am learning that, one of the most important things I can do is making sure the metal to be welded is ground clean, both sides.

This is hard, because some areas are too hard to get a grinder into.

The next problem that I am running into is rusted areas of the car (wheelhouses) were sandblasted, and there isn't much thickness to the metal.

I am blowing through, and if I turn down the settings. I don't get enough heat on the weld to get decent penetration.

My good welds, look okay. I am laying down a little more volume on my bead, than I should in some areas... but it's getting better as I weld more.
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Old 10-28-2005, 08:00 PM
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Ripped, One more thing, you mention grinding and since the welder is usually in close proximity to grinding the wire spool is quite often exposed to grinding sparks and this can cause some real problems as the grinding spatter will stick to the wire causing it to feed erratically or jam up completely. When grinding it is very important to protect the welding wire and the feed rollers from this grinding debris but this is often overlooked. Once the wire has been contaminated by grinding spatter it is ruined and about the only solution is to replace the wire with a new spool and clean or replace the liner.
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Old 11-01-2005, 11:37 PM
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Welded more today

Thanks for the advice. I am going to try and make certain the welder is covered up, so the wire and welder are protected from grinding debris.

I welded in some heavier gauge frame patches and the bases for the roll bar, as well as sizing then welding the base of the roll bar in.

I am learning, and seem to be a lot better at the heavier material. That might be the welder as well I am not sure. I seem to be blowing through some of the thinner sheet metal.

The roll bar welds look not too bad. The penetration seems to be very good. A few inches of my welds even look very pretty.

I just have to get used to the welder and wire speed for given situations.

I think that the welder was cycling the power down, while I was doing some of the heavier welds. I had to stop part way through. When I restarted it seemed to work okay again.

I'll try and take some pics and post them soon.
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