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Welding School...First try with Alum MIG

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  • Welding School...First try with Alum MIG

    I've been OA welding for years. Have owned a Lincoln "Tombstone" and for the last ten years a Millermatic 185 MIG. Recently I have need for TIG process so I bought a TIG. Wanting to learn the correct way, and not pick up any bad habbits from being self taught, I enrolled in a 9 week, 30 hour "Advanced" welding course that will focus on MIG and TIG with a strong emphasis on Aluminum welding.

    Last night was the first session. The school fired up a relatively new Miller Millermatic 350P Pulsed Mig Welder. Complete with an aluminum "Push-Pull" gun. The instructor placed some 1/8", 3/16" and 1/4" sluminum scrap on the table, no cleaning, no wire brush, and simply ran beads and performed a few T-joints. A little black around the edges, but very nise weds none the less. Then he handed the torch to us. I had never operated a MIG with aluminum wire. Piece of cake. My first bead looked as good as any I've seen from more experienced folks. I did some inside corners, some laps and a T-weld on two pieces of 3/8" aluminum. Beautiful!

    I'm wondering if I can expect this type of performance out of my Millermatic 185MIG if I purchase a spool gun and run aluminum. Or was our early success because of the Millermatic 350P and it's ability to pulse?

    Secondly, is this 350P an AC machine? Are any MIG machines AC or are they all DC?

    Thanks
    RoyB
    Dartmouth, MA

    http://www.rvbprecision.com

    Millermatic 185 MIG
    Miller Diversion 165
    Purox W200 O/A
    Grizzly 9957 Mill
    Grizzly 4030 Metal Band Saw
    Grizzly 1050 Knife Belt Sander
    Jet 1236 Metal Lathe
    TP Blast Cabinet

  • #2
    I have a MM185 mig and spoolgun and i do lots of alum welding with it from small production jobs to repairs that are brought in. I have never used a pulse machine yet so i can't compare but there has to be a difference or they wouldn't be making them. But my MM185 has never let me turn away any jobs as i have done them all over the last 10 years or so...Bob
    Bob Wright

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks Bob,

      What do I need to add a spoolgun to my Millermatic 185?

      I believe the gun I need is a #3035?

      And I might need a kit #207642 and #186871?

      How is yours hooked up?
      RoyB
      Dartmouth, MA

      http://www.rvbprecision.com

      Millermatic 185 MIG
      Miller Diversion 165
      Purox W200 O/A
      Grizzly 9957 Mill
      Grizzly 4030 Metal Band Saw
      Grizzly 1050 Knife Belt Sander
      Jet 1236 Metal Lathe
      TP Blast Cabinet

      Comment


      • #4
        The MM185 should be just a plug and play with a 3035 spoolgun. Check and see if your has a switch right above the spool of wire inside the case. If so its ready to use with a spoolgun...Bob
        Bob Wright

        Comment


        • #5
          My MM 140 didn't have a switch but it did have a cutout to place one there. The SpoolMate 100 came with a small wiring harness- pop the hood and easy to install.

          I am sure yours is very similar.
          MillerMatic 140 Auto-Set

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by rbertalotto View Post
            I've been OA welding for years. Have owned a Lincoln "Tombstone" and for the last ten years a Millermatic 185 MIG. Recently I have need for TIG process so I bought a TIG. Wanting to learn the correct way, and not pick up any bad habbits from being self taught, I enrolled in a 9 week, 30 hour "Advanced" welding course that will focus on MIG and TIG with a strong emphasis on Aluminum welding.

            Last night was the first session. The school fired up a relatively new Miller Millermatic 350P Pulsed Mig Welder. Complete with an aluminum "Push-Pull" gun. The instructor placed some 1/8", 3/16" and 1/4" sluminum scrap on the table, no cleaning, no wire brush, and simply ran beads and performed a few T-joints. A little black around the edges, but very nise weds none the less. Then he handed the torch to us. I had never operated a MIG with aluminum wire. Piece of cake. My first bead looked as good as any I've seen from more experienced folks. I did some inside corners, some laps and a T-weld on two pieces of 3/8" aluminum. Beautiful!

            I'm wondering if I can expect this type of performance out of my Millermatic 185MIG if I purchase a spool gun and run aluminum. Or was our early success because of the Millermatic 350P and it's ability to pulse?

            Secondly, is this 350P an AC machine? Are any MIG machines AC or are they all DC?

            Thanks
            It sounds to me like you are on the right track. One thing is maybe the 350P wasn't even on pulse? There are times when I find dirty/oxidized aluminum will still weld just wonderful with a spoolgun but when I go to mig-pulse mode it doesn't run nearly as well.
            The job I am working on repairing was sandblasted and powder coated. After extensive grinding and cleaning etc. it would not weld for crap on mig/pulse mode but ran perfect on just mig mode.
            So to make a long story short you may be more versatile with your 180 and spoolgun than the 350P on pulse alone. Altho raw power is something that is pretty handy on a spoolgun I think you will still love your 180/spoolgun combo on medium/thin material.
            This is just my findings so far...there could even be something funky going on with my machine but it has ran great so far. And it sorta backs up my similar experience running gmaw/pulse on some galvanize vs just plain mig. Pulse is not the end of all mig welding I am beginning to gather lately YMMV

            www.facebook.com/outbackaluminumwelding
            Miller Dynasty 700...OH YEA BABY!!
            MM 350P...PULSE SPRAYIN' MONSTER
            Miller Dynasty 280 with AC independent expansion card
            Miller Dynasty 200 DX "Blue Lightning"

            Miller Bobcat 225 NT (what I began my present Biz with!)
            Miller 30-A Spoolgun
            Miller WC-115-A
            Miller Spectrum 300
            Miller 225 Thunderbolt (my first machine bought new 1980)
            Miller Digital Elite Titanium 9400

            Comment


            • #7
              If you have the spoolgun connector plug next to the MIG gun connector plug on the front of your machine, then your 185 should be SM185 or 3035 "plug and play". I don't believe there are any switches. Use the MIG gun or the spool gun just by pulling the trigger. The SM100 requires that you disconnect the MIG gun then install the spooler--you can't do both. The 185/3035 would hook to your argon bottle.

              I've been using my MM210/3035 (with a 3545 snout) since new in 2001 primarily for welding aluminum. In fact, I didn't hook up the M25 MIG gun until just a couple years ago... I just used a 2lb spool of 70-S (mild steel filler) in the 3035 for the occasional times I needed to weld steel. I should point out that welding with a push-pull will be a little different than welding with a spoolgun because the spooler carries a little more weight.

              I almost bought a 185 a couple years prior to the 210 and I glad I waited (saved $500 ) BUT the 185 is a good machine, too.

              MIG is a DC process, usually (+) to the wire feeder unless it is fluxcore then it is (-) to the wire (feeder).
              TA Arcmaster 185 w/TIG/Stick Kit
              MM210 w/3535 Frankengun
              MM140 w/o AS w/SM100 & CO2
              Hobart (Miller) 625 Plasma
              Hobart 250ci Plasma
              Victor O/A (always ready, but bored)
              Lincoln Patriot Autodark (freebie)
              .45ACP Black Talons for those difficult jobs

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by mccutter View Post
                I don't believe there are any switches.
                My MM185 has a toggle switch to go from mig gun to spoolgun and some of the earlier ones didn't have the switch factory or dealer installed...Bob
                Bob Wright

                Comment

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