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Old 11-06-2009, 07:55 AM
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Mig Welder Setup?

Pretty simple question, but I cant seem to find a good solid answer. How do I properly set the tension on the wire feed and spool on my mig welder? I keep having to bump up the wire speed from the "chart" specs to get any kind of penetration of my welds. Its a 110 Lincoln Weld pack and Im trying to tack weld some holes shut. Im still learning at this point, so I set it to the "chart" values to start. I then started playing around with heat and wire speed. As soon as I bumped up the wire speed, I started getting good penetration. Its 22/20 guage steel.

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Old 11-06-2009, 08:38 AM
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You increase the drag on the wire spool brake so that the wire dosnt unwind on the spool when you release the trigger.

The wire tension is set according to the type of wire being used i.e. steel, aluminum or stainless. For steel wire set the tension in the middle of the adjustment range. On my 215 its around 4-5 as I recall - it should be listed somewhere in your manual.

Are the contact tip and drive rolls matched to the size wire being used? I have on occasion switched my 215 from .035 to .023 wire and have forgotten to change the contact tip... DUH.

Oh, and the chart specs are usually just a starting point - depending upon the condition of the material that you are welding you may have to bump the wire speed up or down to get the results that you want!
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Old 11-06-2009, 08:46 AM
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Its .025 wire with the correct drive wheel and tip for steel. I have read the manual, and will re-read it again. It was a bit vague. I also didn't see a scale for either the spool tension or the drive wheel tension. Im not sure the best way to set them properly. I have heard of a 2x4 test but not sure what it is.
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Old 11-06-2009, 09:17 AM
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The best way is the 2x4 test. What you do is back your tension off the whole way so the drive rolls are slipping. Then as your pulling the trigger start tightening it down until it feeds. Then take a piece of 2x4 and put your gun like your trying to weld it, you want the wire to hit the 2x4 and just bend.

Hope that helps
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Old 11-06-2009, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilgreenjeepyj
Its .025 wire with the correct drive wheel and tip for steel. I have read the manual, and will re-read it again. It was a bit vague. I also didn't see a scale for either the spool tension or the drive wheel tension. Im not sure the best way to set them properly. I have heard of a 2x4 test but not sure what it is.
There is no scale for the spool drag - My PowerMig 215 has a scale on the tension, sounds like the 110 version dosent. You might want to release the tension clamp and then screw it all the way in, and then back out counting the turns - then set it in the middle as a starting point.
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Old 11-06-2009, 11:29 AM
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Set your spool tension just tight enough that the spool stops turning when you release the trigger. You will have to change the tension when you change the wire speed because inertia will make it turn longer because of the rotational speed of the spool. The wire should just get slightly loose between the spool and the feed rollers when you stop welding.

I set my feed tension just tight enough that I can just pull the wire out of the gun with a plier. Whatever you do, don't do as some suggest and set the tension up till the wire pushes your finger away from the tip when triggered. It will stick the wire right through you finger.
The 2x4 trick works, but should not bend the wire, just tight enough to make a push feeling when the wire touches before it slips. Any tighter, and the wire will birdsnest between the feedroll and the liner input if anything impedes the movement of the wire. This includes a dirty liner.
Always run a cleaner/lubricator pad between the spool and the feedroll. A couple drops of lube once an hour of welding time is plenty.
The guidelines on the lid are just exactly that. Select the heat for the dimension of the material you are welding allowing for wire size you are using. Run a bead on a piece of scrap while adjusting the feed speed. When properly adjusted, it will sound like a bees buzz..
Whenever you change one thing, everything else changes to and has to be readjusted except your roll tension. Make sure you have the right feedroll for you wire size. .023 wire will feed fine in a .024 roll, but .030 and.035 won't. They each have there own dedicated roll.
Be sure you have the right polarity for what you are doing. Mig and fluxcore require different polarity.
Now get out there and practice.
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Old 11-06-2009, 05:12 PM
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Nothing left to add on the tension adjustment but just in case someone don't believe that running the wire out against your hand/finger is dangerous consider this. A few years ago one of the guys at the shop was doing just that and the wire went through the leather welding glove, into his hand, hit a bone and the end then curled over like a fish hook! The wire would not pull out because of the bend so I think what happened then should be obvious, off to the doc to cut it out! If the wire has been sniped it is possible to do this but even if it has been left with a burned end it can still do it, most of the time the wire will be left with a tiny ball on the end but not always. If when the arc is stopped the molten end of the wire falls off instead of forming a ball as it cools it will string out and leave a point sharper than any needle and this will pass through a leather glove like it's not even there!
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