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MIG welding - my first attempt.


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Finally got round to getting to learn how to use my new MIG this evening. Seeing as how I can already gas and stick weld, I thought I might have a bit of an advantage, but I found it really awkward to get used to. My biggest problem is that I can't see the weld pool or the join I'm trying to follow. I can only see the end of the wire as it comes out of the torch and melts. Everything else is invisible. I've tried adjusting both settings from min to max and it seems to make no difference at all, so it was guesswork at avery attempt. Can't figure out what to do in order to see what I'm doing. I'm sure I could do a lot better if my vision was improved. The helmet is a Huntsman scorpion, and I don't have a clue as to whether or not they are a decent make.

Anyway - a few pictures of my poor attempts.

The material is 2.5mm angle iron, earth contact is clean and close by. I have tried butt welds first and there is a 1mm gap between the two metals to be joined.

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The weld starts off ok, but because I can't see I go off the line and as I can't see the weld pool I slow up and burn a hole.

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Penetration.

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More attempts - same vision problem, but I tried different settings to get a better 'blind' weld.

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Poor penetration

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Better weld

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Better penetration

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Lower amps and the vision problem makes it carp.

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Then poor penetration.

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I decided to butt the metal right against the next bit and chamfer the edges to form a trough to see if I could do a better weld.

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Big thick weld.

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But again poor penetration :(

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Not bad, but a bit uneven I think.

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Penetration looks ok.

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First attempt at a lap weld. Difficult to know if this is ok (if you ignore the small bit), as you can't tell how much it has penetrated, but from my experience with gas I would be happy with this.

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I think if I could see better what I was doing I would be better able to do a consistent weld. Vision is much too dark and I can't seem to figure out what the problem is.

Les.

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This may help some people out there...

I found that when welding (particularly thin stuff like I am usually doing), I was habitually holding my head quite close to the job (maybe 10"?) and at my age I can no longer focus at that distance :angry:

Even with an auto-darkening helmet, once the glass has gone dark my vision is so poor that I veer off line. My particular solution is to wear a strong pair reading glasses! (Under the helmet of course :o )

I also thought of fastening one of those oblong magnifying glasses inside the mask, but haven't tried it yet...

TwoSheds

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Les try a different filter in your welding mask , Sounds like your using an 11EW filter which is used mainly for Arc (Stick) Welders , You need to try a 9EW filter which is best for Mig , Maybee then you can see what your doing :blink:

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Hi,

Crank powerup and gradually bring it down, also suggest you get a better helmet or try a different filter as suggested, if you going to do a lot of mig work, get a speedglass helmet well worth the extra pennies!!!.

Regards

Keith

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If I got a better helmet or filter, what can I expect to see while welding? The best I can get after practising again yesterday was the end of the wire, it turning into a blob and dropping off into what is pretty-much blackness, and a very small arc in front of the weld pool where the steel itself is melting. There's no way I can follow any kind of line or cut, which I think I really need to be able to see.

Thanks so far for your replies.

Les.

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wot others have already said Les, change your glass, if u cant see wot u're doing then its useless.

its sounds from your description that u're blobbing the wire in? big ball of molten on the end of the wire then falling off? if so then up your wire speed and tryu again, mig should sound crisp and even.

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I have (not the most expensive) auto-dark helment - and it's a major improvement. wish i'd bought one years ago.

to answer your question, you should be able to see the weld pool & the bits that you're welding normally.

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I'm getting a steady loud crackling (sp), like a roman candle firework is the best descrition. With the 2.5mm steel I had tried between 2 and 3 on the power setting, and 3 to 5 on the feed setting. Gas flow is 7psi.

Les.

in that case it sounds as if u just need to see wot u're doing, then u can fine tune your settings, the welds dont look bad imo, speed of the weld will come when u can see the weld happening.

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Frying eggs in hot oil is how i describe the noise, the welds look okay, so its all down to the helmet / filter setup can you borrow one from anywhere to try against yours? that would be my suggestion, before i got a speedglass i used a parweld one which while not the best is certainly better than many i tried- just had a greenish tinge i did not like but i could always see what i was welding.

Keith

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Les try a different filter in your welding mask , Sounds like your using an 11EW filter which is used mainly for Arc (Stick) Welders , You need to try a 9EW filter which is best for Mig , Maybee then you can see what your doing :blink:

The filter shade should be determined by the amperage setting of the welder. The intensity of the UV rays produced is dependent on the amperage, therefore the filter shade and amperage should be coordinated.

Up to 40 amps use filter shade 9

From 40 to 80 amps use filter shade 10

From 80 to 175 amps use filter shade 11

From 175 to 200 amps use filter shade 12

From 200 to 250 amps use filter shade 13

With a proper filter shade and a good helmet one should be able to see the wire melts into the metal, one should be easily able to follow the lines of a butt weld as above.

For a good strong weld get the power setting as high a possible, without immidiately burning holes in the metal, and the wire feed setting as low a possible for continous welding. This way the heat transfer will be at its maximum, and you will get the best penetration.

Btw, to be totally pedantic, you are not doing MIG welding, MIG is done with Inactive shield gas - you are probably using either pure CO2 or (more likely) a mixture of CO2 and Argon. CO2 is active, therefore MAG welding.

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I find it helpful to use a bar or something similar as a guide. Something you can move your gloved hand along smoothly just to keep the weld line straight. Sometimes the weld is obscured - and the combination of the sound and the guide make it a lot easier.

Although long continuous welds look nice, if you can't keep on track, a number of short accurate welds are better. You can stop, re-allign the torch and continue. This is particularly true welding curved profiles.

Si

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I'm using BOC Argoshield, what has that got to do with it?

I have taken the filter off and it has the following written on it:-

Huntsman USA Auto-Darkening Filter CE0196 4/9-13 JP 1/3/1/379 CE

JP1H ANSI Z87.1

No EW mark at all that I can see - even in the instructions booklet.

Les.

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I'm using BOC Argoshield, what has that got to do with it?

I have taken the filter off and it has the following written on it:-

Huntsman USA Auto-Darkening Filter CE0196 4/9-13 JP 1/3/1/379 CE

JP1H ANSI Z87.1

No EW mark at all that I can see - even in the instructions booklet.

Les.

Sorry if I bought some confusion into it. The technique for doing MIG or MAG with your welder is the same, it is just a matter of terms - and as I said above, probably a little pedantic....

(If anything, then using a argon/CO2 mixture (as yours) is easier than using pure CO2)

Your filter IS autodarkening according to the description above.. Do you have some kind of adjustment knob on the helmet? Normally there is an adjustment knob for choosing the correct shade. You should probably use shade 10 or 11 depending on the amperage setting on the welder.

I have tried many different qualities of autodarkening helmets, but I have never come across one beeing as useless as the one you describe. My suggestion would therefore be that there is some kind of adjustment which is wrong.

BTW. The ANSI and CE standard marking on your helmet does not imply that the helmet is of any quality, this is merely a sign that the production and product conforms to certain safety standards.

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Les,

I think I may be able to see the problem here ………….like you I was brought up on gas welding and in comparison MIG is a much, much faster welding process ………….

It looks to me like you may be welding far too slowly , and where penetration is poor, at too lower current ………(wide beads with poor penetration)

So, wind up the current another notch, set the gas flow at about 12L/min., run a quite fast bead on some scrap plate to set the wire speed (a noise just like frying bacon) and away you go.

It takes some while to get used to the speed difference …………..

My helmet auto darkens to a shade 11.... which I often find too dark............. also these days I need to wear my reading glasses as well........ :rolleyes:

I guess, as its been such a long time ago, if I was to forced to weld with Gas then maybe I would struggle for a while ………..

:)

Ian

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Thanks everyone.

Ian - I know what you mean, gas is slow (but obviously better :D ). I know I'm welding too slow, but it will perhaps be a saftey measure as well - more is better than less. As I can't see what is being put down, I'm guessing that if I go as slow as gas, then enough will be there to do the job.

Kim - I've turned the knob at the side of the helmet from one stop to the other and it seems to make no difference. If I turned the knob while welding, would I see the difference? I've also turned the sensitivity knob from one stop to the other and I can't see any difference. The only thing that seems to work is the delay.

Les.

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Kim - I've turned the knob at the side of the helmet from one stop to the other and it seems to make no difference. If I turned the knob while welding, would I see the difference? I've also turned the sensitivity knob from one stop to the other and I can't see any difference. The only thing that seems to work is the delay.

Les.

You would DEFINATELY see a huge difference if adjusting from shade 13 to shade 9 while welding. If nothing happens, then the helmet is faulty and should be replaced under warranty. ...

The sensitivity adjustment toggles how much light is needed to darken the helmet. With the sensiivity turned full down the helmet can also be used when grinding. (Make sure, though, that a layer of protective impact resistant glass is fitted before the filter!)

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Well the new Parweld helmet has made a huge difference :D. I can see the end of the nozzle, the wire, the weld pool, and the line I have to follow to make the weld. A few hours of practice today and I'm a lot happier with my standard of MIG welding (or I think I am). Getting the gas flow, wire speed, weld speed, and welding amps tales a bit of doing and I think I still need more practice on various thicknessess of metal. I even got to show off a wee bit! :lol:

Another problem is the circuit breaker to the shed kept cutting out, so running up and down the garden to re-set it became a chore. I have 15-amp supply - split into 2 seperate circuits for the lights and sockets. Would it be ok to fit a 20-amp RCCB?

Some better pics than at the beginning of this thread:-

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Higher amps and wire speed in this one.

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Same, but with a little more care.

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My first attempt at a 90deg corner. I thought this would be difficult as it takes more care with gas, but I found it quite easy to do - not sure why though.

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Spam :lol:

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As there are some very good welders on this website - I'd appreciate any comments/criticisms on this please.

One other thing - What is that coffee-coloured deposits that are dotted around the weld?

Les.

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Well the new Parweld helmet has made a huge difference :D. I can see the end of the nozzle, the wire, the weld pool, and the line I have to follow to make the weld. A few hours of practice today and I'm a lot happier with my standard of MIG welding (or I think I am). Getting the gas flow, wire speed, weld speed, and welding amps tales a bit of doing and I think I still need more practice on various thicknessess of metal. I even got to show off a wee bit! :lol:

Another problem is the circuit breaker to the shed kept cutting out, so running up and down the garden to re-set it became a chore. I have 15-amp supply - split into 2 seperate circuits for the lights and sockets. Would it be ok to fit a 20-amp RCCB?

Some better pics than at the beginning of this thread:-

post-2-1180354607_thumb.jpg

Higher amps and wire speed in this one.

post-2-1180354712_thumb.jpg

Same, but with a little more care.

post-2-1180354874_thumb.jpg

My first attempt at a 90deg corner. I thought this would be difficult as it takes more care with gas, but I found it quite easy to do - not sure why though.

post-2-1180355026_thumb.jpg

post-2-1180355122_thumb.jpg

Spam :lol:

post-2-1180355243_thumb.jpg

As there are some very good welders on this website - I'd appreciate any comments/criticisms on this please.

One other thing - What is that coffee-coloured deposits that are dotted around the weld?

Les.

hi,

Told you the Parweld helmets were reasonable, DO not try a speedglas helmet unless you have some spare pennies as sure as eggs is eggs if you do you will have to have one :lol: i know because i bought a parweld and then a speedglass a couple of days later after trying one :D

I to who have used gas for 30years found the mig a pleasure on 90 degree angles.

As for wire speed etc just keep practising, not sure what mig you have but my wire speed is on a rotary dial so very very fine adjustment is easy (nutool 205amp).

If your feed is 2.5mm twin&earth you shoukld be safe enough with larger circuit breaker, mines on a 32amp breaker as i need 30 ish amps on full throttle.

If i remember correctlly and i am probably wrong the coffee coloured carp is the heat reaction deposit what happemns with argoshield light if thats what you are using.

Regards Keith

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Les,

Ok

1st overall a HUGE impovement over 1st efforts, and in the main some of these would be "Ok ish" dependant on usage.

FWIW my thoughts are

1. I am really unsure that the metal to be welded was cleaned and clean enough. I am at the other end of the spectrum - learning to gas weld and then moving last week to TIG, the instructor pointed out that with gas clean metal was NOT an issue heat it up, burn it off and then weld it up, one of the HUGE Positives of Gas.

With Mig the entire opposite, I would suggest you need the metal ULTRA clean, and even go so far as to say don't use a grinder use a flap wheel, then either air blow rag or even as I do sometimes tack rag or brake cleanered rag it before welding (er except let it then evaporate off 1st :lol:)

Dirty Mig metal = poor weld and probs, so clean clean clean before you pull the trigger, and this ALSO means the earth clmap - flap wheel the area of the earth lead too - you'll be amazed at the difference.

Ok

With the coments above taken, comments now on the welds themselves..

Pic 1

The prep gap for the thickness of metal is really too small, if this was "Unaviodable" then up the amps HUGELY or better still increase the weld prep either with full gap or bevel the edges. you can see on this pic that the weld is nice on the surface but the metal are thick, and the penetration what I can see is top surfece only. A bigger gap or high amps will mean a deep weld.

Pics 2 and 3

These are much better, the Gobs of weld are purely down to torch speed, one tho does look like dirt afecvting the weld, but in real terms I would say a 7-8 / 10 effort, as the metal seems thinner the weld seem to have go in deeper, just for interest and linked into prev point pic 1 did you use the same power setting if so then the power and wire speed for 2 and 3 look good, and 1 needs to be upped, as you up the amps you may need to also up the wire speed, try to always have bacona nd eggs frying big time rather than a metal woodpecker working with you :)

Other wise maybe try moving the torch in a wider arc from side to side and play with the weld pool more , the actaul root and width ofthw eld is a tad narrow, but overall your just about there

4 and 5

Both good,

I would say AMPs up a tad, weld slower, and gain a bigger root channel (the metal raised over the plates) and as per 1st comment clean more maybe ? Again good welds and these are none too shabby

6

Perfect, except you need to get out more :lol:

Keep it up, you have the basics now, it is more now fine tunning and practise.

Clean metal and good weld prep will make a huge improvement

However I am a mere amateur,

no doubt you should really take advice from those in the Know and have the welds posted 1st class for a

Cardio-excepfologram-MRI scan,

sawn in two and dye tested

with red unobtanuim then

crack tested for Diidydoodahday syndrome

and Pigeon syndrome :)

Then you Will Know

Then again say ** *** *** ************** ***** and practise some more :lol:

Nige :)

Nige

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