Totally new to welding. Simple questions

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tornitore45
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Totally new to welding. Simple questions

Postby tornitore45 » Tue Jun 13, 2017 5:08 pm

I have a Harbor Freight 90A flux core welder and got the poorest coverage of slag, can not even call it a bad weld.

First, assuming I can even appreciate the dimension, how long should be the arc?
Second, how to select the wire speed?

I got all the theory, the angles, the spiral or half moons motions but when the arc strikes I can't see much trough the dark helmet.

Some help please
Mauro Gaetano
in Austin TX

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SteveHGraham
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Re: Totally new to welding. Simple questions

Postby SteveHGraham » Tue Jun 13, 2017 5:26 pm

Bad welder here. Believe it or not, your ability to see the arc will get better with practice. It may feel like the helmet is the problem, but somehow or other, you will start to see the arc better whether you change the helmet or not. I switched to the lowest shade setting on my helmet, and that helped a lot. You can also train a strong light on the point where you're welding. There is a tiny battery-operated flashlight that screws to torches, and although you wouldn't think it would help, it does.

https://www.amazon.com/Steck-Manufactur ... B002YKIM6S

I got a $12 magnetic sewing light on Ebay, and it's very helpful. You have to keep the base far enough away from the work to keep the hot table from melting it.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bonlux-LED-Sewi ... Swo4pYR8t7

I don't know if that link goes to the light I bought, but it illustrates the species.

I have never used flux-cored wire, so can't help with that.

The forum at Weldingtipsandtricks.com is fantastic.
Don't trigger me, bro!

dbstoo
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Re: Totally new to welding. Simple questions

Postby dbstoo » Fri Jun 16, 2017 10:23 pm

The stick out should be about 3/8 inches.

While that is not a great welder, it will do OK under the right conditions. I made a 1/4 inch thick 4x6 plate out two 2x6 bars by following the same procedures that you use with a larger mig. I did it just to see if I could. I V'd the edges and use the appropriate gap. It took two passes, and there was lots of spatter, but it worked and was later used as a motor mount for the 3 HP motor on my mill.

The wire speed should be set so that it comes out fast enough to keep a constant arc going when holding the nozzle 3/8 to 1/2 inch above the metal. I seem to recall that there's a chart in the manual that tells you what to set the wire and heat at, depending on the metal you are welding. I traded up for a MIG welder.

tornitore45
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Re: Totally new to welding. Simple questions

Postby tornitore45 » Sat Jun 17, 2017 5:32 am

I think I kept the nozzle distance too wide in my previous trials. I do not have many projects calling for this tool but next time I will try closer control. I have no illusion regarding the quality of this welder, to me is just a low expectation toy for light and rare needs.
Mauro Gaetano

in Austin TX

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NP317
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Re: Totally new to welding. Simple questions

Postby NP317 » Sat Jun 17, 2017 9:46 am

My Hobart 140 Mig Welder has a chart inside the access door to the spool and innards.
I defines wire diameters, thickness of materials being welded, and heat and wire speeds.
I have followed those numbers with great success.
Maybe your welder has such a chart inside?

I get the best welds with wire speeds that prevent arc-sputter. Nice and continuous arcs and motion.
~RN

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SteveHGraham
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Re: Totally new to welding. Simple questions

Postby SteveHGraham » Sat Jun 17, 2017 10:02 am

I have a chart like that on my MIG. My advice is to start there but not be afraid to depart from the instructions if you need to. I have not found the chart to be infallible.
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BigDumbDinosaur
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Re: Totally new to welding. Simple questions

Postby BigDumbDinosaur » Sun Jun 18, 2017 1:17 am

tornitore45 wrote:I got all the theory, the angles, the spiral or half moons motions but when the arc strikes I can't see much trough the dark helmet.

Some help please

I've been MIG welding for more than 40 years and long ago, learned to be to one side so I can clearly see the weld puddle and the joint. Many beginning weldors (note the spelling: the machine is a welder, the person using the machine is a weldor) tend to have themselves behind the gun, almost as though they are using a real gun. Doing so makes it difficult to watch the puddle immediately beyond the arc, which is where your vision should be focused.

If you are right-handed, use you right hand to hold the gun and squeeze the key when welding, and use your left hand to guide and steady the gun as you work your way down the joint. Keep your left elbow in against your side to aid you in maintaining a steady hand, and let your right elbow stick out a bit so the gun is at an angle relative to you. In most cases, the gun's angle relative to the weldment should be such that the grip is parallel to the weldment's surface. As the angle between the wire and the weldment approaches 90 degrees the arc will become more aggressive and penetration and spatter will increase.

In most cases, you will want to use a weaving motion to assure even penetration and a properly shaped bead. I generally weave a distance equal to four times the wire diameter—two diameters left of the joint centerline and two diameters right, unless working with thin sections (e.g., sheet metal), in which case I usually lay a stringer bead to avoid burn-through. With each weave, advance down the joint two wire diameters, which should get you in the ballpark as far as getting adequate penetration and fill.

Until you develop experience with MIG welding I suggest you work in the flat position. Position welding, especially overhead, takes a fair amount of experience to develop the necessary control, since of course, gravity is trying to pull the molten metal out of the weld puddle.

Welding is very much an acquired manual skill and there is nothing like lots of practice to develop that skill. It took me several years to get reasonably good at it, which is typical for most aspiring weldors. Nowadays, I can weld one-handed while standing on my head in a mud puddle. :lol: Just kidding! Be patient, practice on scrap of varying thicknesses and it will come.

As for your welding helmet, a #10 lens may make it easier to see during those first few seconds when you strike the arc and are trying to find your way.
Science makes it known. Engineering makes it work.

tornitore45
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Re: Totally new to welding. Simple questions

Postby tornitore45 » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:03 am

Thank BigDumbDinosauros Very practical and informative.
Mauro Gaetano

in Austin TX

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warmstrong1955
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Re: Totally new to welding. Simple questions

Postby warmstrong1955 » Sun Jun 18, 2017 1:49 pm

Out of all the types of welding, flux core self-shielded is the worst. It's not smooth, it spatters, and I just don't care for the stuff.
It is fine however, for lots of home repairs & small projects, but you will never get the results as what you can get with gas shields or dual shield wires.
That's my experience anyway, but admittedly, I don't use it often.

Something else to consider, is the wire you have.
They are NOT all created equal. Friend of mine had been using some ESAB wire on his little inverter. Not the prettiest, but it worked. He bought some different brand, Washington Alloy I believe, and in spite of the fact it claims to be a no-gas wire, it won't run as well as the ESAB wire he had used up. (He's like me....doesn't use that no-gas stuff much)

You may want to try a different wire. Make sure it's self shielding, and get a pound or two.
I hear that Lincoln NR211MP is a better one, but I don't recall running any....so I can't really say.

:)
Bill
Today's solutions are tomorrow's problems.


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