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Old 08-22-2003, 02:48 PM
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Welding's not going well...

Hey guys/gals, just wanted to vent a little.
Well, the welder that I bought isn't as good of a welder as I thought, or was told. I'm going to research it more when I get a chance, but it looks like it doesn't even accept a gas line. I know that it's made by "Century", and that there's flux core in it right now. I don't really think that's my problem as much as I don't really know what I'm doing. I didn't know that you should move the tip in half circles for the bead, I actually don't know anything at all. I've only welded some scrap metal together, and fixed the base of a fan. The fan base wasn't pretty, but got the job done. The cool thing was that I finally had a use for my angle grinder. I'm still not sure about the heat and speed controls. I tried a ton of different settings. Sometimes the wire actually pushes the tip back real quick so my hand is going up and down while I'm welding. So I turned the speed down, and it almost took it away. It's at 4 and the heat is at 9 (topped out), on thick metal (maybe an 1/8") and I don't get that good of a penetration. The base of the fan was real thin, and I didn't burn a hole until I turned it up to about 8. Just though maybe you guys could say something about all this. I know there's not too much to go on, but any advise is welcome. Thanks!

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Old 08-22-2003, 04:29 PM
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You just need more practice. No way around it. Do you have a junior college near by where you could take an evening welding class? That is where I got my start.

Not familiar with your brand of welder but on my Lincoln I can't use very much of the speed control, even at maximum heat setting. At heat setting D with 0.035" rod, I still only get to about 4 on a scale of 6. If you feel the rod pushing back on the wand, you are at way too high a speed. When you initiate a weld puddle, it should look like the wire is stationary and suspended just above the melt and about 1/16 to 1/8" from the tip of the wand. If you can see the wire feeding out, it is too fast. Conversely, if the wire is melting back to the copper tip, it is too slow and you will be sticking the wire in the tip and wearing it out very prematurely.

You need to learn to manage the weld puddle. That is the whole ballgame. Your attention should be concentrated on the puddle making sure it is wide enough (thus the circular motion of the wand) and that it is fluid enough to penetrate and flow the two edges of the joint into one. Should look like a white/orange drip of liquid moving along the joint. Once you learn puddle control, you can do just about any type of welding - wire feed, stick, and oxy/acetylene are all a matter of puddle control.

In general, a weld bead should be as wide as the metal you are welding is thick. Anything over 1/8" thick should have tapered edges so you can lay in a bead that penetrates to the back side and spreads the proper width before it builds past the surface. Wire feed welders are very sensitive to this because you can't build the heat you can with a stick welder. With the latter, it is easy to melt a puddle that penetrates and spreads properly. Just crank up the heat and get a thicker stick of welding rod. The wire feed has a very concentrated heated zone due to the petite wire size and it quenches very quickly on thicker metal sizes so you need to do more joint prep that you do with a stick welder. Also, with any welding system, you need to allow some way to penetrate, either by chamfering edges like mentioned above or by leaving a gap in the joint so the weld can burn to the bottom before it quenches.

I use my wire feed up to about 1/8" thickness then go to my good old Lincoln 225 amp AC buzz box for thicker stuff.

Practice!

Last edited by willys36@aol.com; 08-22-2003 at 04:35 PM.
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Old 08-22-2003, 04:32 PM
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Practice, practice. Get some scrap and weld 'til you can't weld no more.
My first welds with the new machine were sad but now they look good and and have proper penetration.

Also, the wire may be too "wet". I got a few rolls like that so I put them in the oven on 150F for a couple of hours. They were fine after that.

The wire feed setting on my is finicky to say the least. I run a bead and adjust it until it is set properly.
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Old 08-22-2003, 04:55 PM
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Thanks for the tips guys!
I didn't know you should be able to see the puddle. My best bead so far was one that I could actually see a puddle, but it scared me because it was glowing .
I've been looking into welding classes at my JC, but for the past couple of semesters, I seem to always miss the enrollment date. They just started a couple of weeks ago, so I guess I'll look into for next semester, and hopefully won't start the cycle all over. There was one thing about the course that bothered me though. The classes deal with ARC welding, not MIG. I've heard that MIG is the easiest, so I thought I'd start with it. I might even go and see if I can sit in the class one night, but I'm working our State Fair after my full time job and on the weekends, so I won't be able to for a little over a week. Hopefully they'll still be taking add ins. I guess until then, I'll just keep practicing. Now at least I have a technique to practice!
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Old 08-22-2003, 05:24 PM
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You are wearing a welding mask aren't you?!?! With the proper shade (12 or 13? I think for arc welding), you will be able to watch the puddle all day wit no problem. Gas welding and brazing takes a little lighter shade (9 or 10) because the puddle isn't as bright. You MUST watch the puddle. Like I said, managing it is the whole ball game.

Go ahead and take a basic JC welding course which usually includes oxy/acetylene and arc/stick welding. That will teach you all you need to know about basic welding skills. When you master these, wire feed is a snap to pick up. Like I said, once you master puddle management, the principles are the same for any type of welding.
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Old 08-22-2003, 05:44 PM
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It is possible his welder is "too small" for the thickness of metal he is trying to weld also. If it's one of the small mig welders built to run on 110v and only 15-20amps of current, is it going to be any good for anything thicker than sheet metal?

As far as learning, just like everyone else said, it's all hand/eye coordination. A night course in welding would be really helpful and economical too. Good Luck!


Marc
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Old 08-26-2003, 08:52 AM
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Thanks again guys.
Yes I'm wearing a helmet. I've been around welding when I was young, so all I've ever know was to not look when it's going on. I was too young at the time to be able to learn, and now I'm away from everyone that would be able to teach me. The mask I have has an adjustable darkener (supposedly). I think I turned it up all the way just because I was worried that it would harm my eyes. I'll try turning it down little by little to see the puddle, but like I said, I didn't know that I needed to make a puddle, and the one time I did, I stopped because it made me nervous. I've been working 16-18 hours a day these past couple of weeks, but that'll stop next week, and I'll start practicing again then. I'll look more into my crappy welder too then to see the specs of it and what it's able to weld. Thanks for all the tips guys, and I'll let you know how it's all going once I get get going...
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Old 08-26-2003, 10:53 AM
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gt2....nervous isn't a bad thing and you are not going to screw things up. It sounds to me like you are getting in a hurry. Slow down. Also make sure you have a good ground. If you don't have a good ground you can be getting intermitten dead spots and that can be allowing your tip to push away.

Kevin
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Old 08-26-2003, 11:31 AM
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Well, I've only done scrap metal and a fan so far. The wand pushed back only sometimes on the fan, but most of the time with the scrap metal. I can see the wire come out of the wand considerably, so the next time I try, I'll turn it down.
Stupid question, but, the ground just goes on to the metal that I working on right. With the fan, there was no bare metal (except for the part I grounded to weld), so I had to grind some of the thick paint down to get a ground. I didn't grind too much off because I didn't want to make it ugly (it's inside my house), so the ground could have been the case there. As for the scrap, the pieces aren't that big and most are pretty clean with minor rust. I have a lot of things to practice, but no time. I don't work tomorrow evening, so hopefully I'll be able to get an hours worth or so to try these out. I'm hoping to see the puddle and be able to at least mess with it to see what happens when I do different things. I think now that I know what to at least be looking for, my welds are going to improve. I went to my JC, and the class was full and the teacher isn't taking any more. He told me to register for next semester, now I just need to remember to...
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Old 08-26-2003, 12:05 PM
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JC and prcatice. Its been said all ready but its true.

I tokk a Night Welding class that was aimed at "artisans" and "craftsman". It was cool. We didnt spend the entire 6 weeks making beads. we were given rudimentary lessons for Oxy/Stick?Mig and Tig welding. We also did some braizing. Then we all had to pick one that we like and "make" something. it was a good course and as soon as I clear out my garage I will be getting my own set up. Most likely an auto fed mig unit.

Good Luck, Welding is a BLAST!!!
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Old 08-26-2003, 12:25 PM
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just a thought what size wire you using? if trying to weld around 1/8 maybe try using .030 if you're welder is maxed out using .035 could be a problem. good luck
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Old 08-26-2003, 01:54 PM
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It looks like I'm going to need those classes real bad. I've read it before, but didn't think the thickness of the wire really played that big a role in welding (I know, I know...). I don't even know the thickness of the wire I'm using right now, I do know it's that crappy Flux Core stuff (I say crappy because that's what everyone esle says about it). My last weld didn't pop too much, so that was good. All this talk is making me want to leave work early and go practice! lol....
Other questions:
If it pops, does that mean too much heat, or too cold?
and
Why would there be little air holes in the welds? (too cold, too hot, or just running a crappy bead...lol)

Like I said before, thanks guys! I'd be so in the dark with out ya!
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Old 08-26-2003, 05:53 PM
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You might want to try this site out.
Welding Talk

The Miller Student Educational Package (below) will be the best $25 you could spend until you can get into a class.Even after class you can still use it for reference.
Miller Student Training Package
....Jay
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Old 08-26-2003, 06:10 PM
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hi

heres a few tip bits
when you are practicing your welding always
try to rest your arm on the bench or steady
your self in some way, hold the work with clamps
or a vice if possible this frees up your spare hand
a flip down mask is a great thing to own. thoughs
masks with a handle at the bottom AAaagghhhh
again it frees up that spare hand
as said be fore look for that puddle the size fo one cent or smaller dont worry if you burn through and it drops away
cause now you just got it hot enough (theres a knack 2 it)
your pin holes or bubbles you can see are inmpurites
in the weld the flux when burnt
forms a cloud around your weld to push
inpruitys away these are in the air on the metal and when heated fizz and pop causing the pin holes
my prefrence is a larger mig and bottle of inert gas
the lessens the likleyhood of jams but does not eliminate them
also the instructions say well vented but a stiff breeze will blow
away your cloud ( thats bad) try not to breath thoughs fumes
there bad to
pushing into the weld with the handel is the text book way but me i have a habit of dragging the handle i learnt with a stick welder
small burns go with the teritory. never start with out a bucket of water for qenching. no rags within 30 feet
look around for a 9 liter air pressure fire extingwisher
you can refill and charge them with tyer inflater
all so if you ever by a parts washher close the lid
and move that mower fuel
good luck
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