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Just bought a SD180, tips please=)

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  • Just bought a SD180, tips please=)

    Welding .090 aluminum. Anybody have any tips for settings or technique they would like to share? I have been cleaning with stainless brush and acetone. Thanks

  • #2

    Your cleaning sounds good. Use Scotch-Brite to clean you filler rod and also wipe with acetone. Try AC, 85 amps-100 amps, 3/32" tungsten-pure or zirconiated tungsten should work fine. 4043 filler is the easiest to work when learning. If it just won't lay in maybe your alloy requires 5356. Use a balled end on your tungsten. I use DCRP and a piece of copper plate or even a copper plumbing fitting to strike an arc against to get the tungsten to ball. If not available it will ball up on AC using a scrap piece of aluminum. Check your operators manual for basic torch angle. Don't drop the torch angle to far off the vertical or you will never get a good bead. 25-30 degrees off the vertical with the back cap tilted away from your direction of travel is a good angle to start with. Stick your tungsten out about 1/8" or less from the gas cup. 12-15 CFH on argon flow. Experiment and have fun! I hope this gets you started. As you get going there will be more questions.... Just ask.


    • #3
      Once you get everything prepped, strike you arc and hold the torch in position and swirl it in a counter clockwise motion to get a puddle to form. Once you have a puddle dab some filler, move the torch forward, dab some more filler, etc. Don't swirl the torch. Move it in a straight line. Don't pull your filler rod too far out of the puddle. It needs to stay within the shielding gas area coverage. When ramping down do it slowly and steadily and try to add some filler when ramping down. This will help fill your end crater and avoid cracking of the weld. Too much at one time-yeah, but fun to learn- Good luck!!!


      • #4
        Good advice HAWK and if that doesn't work....sometimes just finding someone who does weld aluminum and watching them to get the rhythm and technique.
        Practice, practice and more......

        If you do contaminate the tungsten by stuffing the filler or by touching the work piece, stop and recut and redress the tunsten. It will only get worse if you don't.



        • #5
          Ball the end?

          I don't know what you mean by balling the end. And it also seems as if there is too much heat. It puddles almost instantly but seems to use the filler rod as fast as I can feed it. The welds look good just sloppy with some burn thru. I lowered the amperage to 85 and set the AC/DIG knob to 7 hoping this would slow it down a little but same results. Sound like I am in the ball park? I have had some experience with oxy/acetylene welding and this is similar just more difficult to control the puddle. I'll keep practicing.


          • #6

            Sharpen the tungsten as is shows in your manual, then get a scrap piece of copper and set your machine for DCRP where the torch is + on DC. Strike an arc on the copper and the point will turn to a ball. This is the correct tungsten prep for the Syncrowave machine which is a squarewave output on AC. It produces a really nice aluminum weld. As I mentioned earlier you can turn up the heat around 100 amps and strike you arc on AC on some scrap aluminum and eventually the tungsten end will form a small ball on the end. You want to weld with the end balled. You do not want a sharp point when welding with this machine on AC.

            You do not have to push the pedal to the floor. If you set it at 85amps and are experiencing burn through with the pedal to the floor back off it some. You can weld with the pedal in any position. When it is to the floor you are getting the maximum amperage you have the machine set at. When you start the arc stop pushing down on the pedal when your puddle begins to form. The longer you weld the hotter the aluminum will get and you will find yourself backing off the pedal a bit more to maintain a good puddle without burn through. Give it another try. It takes practice and sometimes watching someone who knows what they are doing is a good way to learn.


            • #7

              Balled the end and it helped. Good tip, thanks. Contaminated the electrode and had to start over. Doh! (I am using the electrode that came with the machine, Should I switch to pure Tungsten?) Welds are looking better but its hit or miss, I get one really good looking bead then one not so good. This is definetly an experience All in all I am pretty happy with my progress so far. Is TIG welding steel easier? I bought this machine primarily for aluminum, but plan to do some steel. Can I use the 100% Argon on the steel as well? I know I have alot of questions and I appreciate the help.


              • #8
                Tig is a patience process. I am not a good tig welder but I've dabbled a few times and I don't have the eye hand coordination skills yet. The control and precision is good in one hand but the two together is havoc, and sends me running home like a baby. Next year I'll give it more attention if the new chassis arrives, until then mm210-mig:}
                This is one of the harder things to learn so practice--- alot.


                • #9

                  If you are going to buy tungsten, try to get zirconiated. It balls nicely and will withstand the heat better than pure. If is is not available, use pure tungten and order the zirconiated. If you wish to email me with your address, I will gladly send you some zirconiated tungsten to try.

                  Steel is easier than aluminum and argon is the shielding gas to use. However, if you are starting to see some results with aluminum, keep going with it.


                  • #10

                    When I contaminate a tungsten, should it be clipped off or is just resharpening it ok?

                    Still getting along with the Dynasty pretty well, but our buisy trucking season has started and it will gather dust monday -saturday.
                    Regency 200 w/30A
                    Dynasty 200 dx
                    Esab 875 plasma
                    MM350-P w/30A


                    • #11

                      Just regrind it. Typically this will get all the contamination out. Rather than clipping I snap it: Lay the tungsten against a hard surface like a table edge on a 45 degreee angle. Let the place you want it to break rest on the table edge and strike the lower portion with a small hammer or pair of cable cutters and it will snap pretty and clean. Now where did the remainder go? Somewhere in the shop floor never to be seen again.


                      • #12

                        I also learned on a 180 SD. It's a great machine and I know you will like it. When the time came for me to buy my own I bought a Dynasty 200DX. I have been 100% pleased with this unit also.

                        One thing I thought of after reading your post is this. It would be good if you could get some .125" scrap to practice with. .090" will not be very difficult for you later on but for now it is. .125" gives you a little more room for mistakes. One of the key things is to learn what the metal looks like just before you burn a hole in it. To learn this you just have to see it a few times. There really is no substitute for practice though. Like Andy said, if you can watch someone do it right, it will speed you along to getting the hang of it.

                        This forum and the Hobart forum are great places to learn. Hawk even offerd to send you some Zirc Tungsten! There really are some super nice guys here ready to help out.

                        Take care and good luck!


                        • #13
                          I switched from the 3/32nds electrode to a 1/16th pure and it made a big difference. No more burn thru and I am getting better at controlling the puddle. The beads are not real defined and kind of run together but excellent penetration. I am sure with some more practice they will come around. Thanks again for everyones input!!!!!


                          • #14
                            filler rod question

                            Should I match filler rod diameter to the electrode diameter? I am having problems with the bead not being real defined and running together. Excellent penetration but it looks kind of sloppy. Thanks


                            • #15

                              I usually match the filler size to the material thickness on steel, chrome moly, and stainless. Sometimes I will even go one size smaller. I use the same size or one size larger on aluminum.