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  • learning to weld

    I am primarily a blacksmith. I like to use so-called traditional joinery techniques. But I am also a practical person. Many times I need either electric or gas welds for making fixtures or tools or in certain sculptures. I have welded for many years with an old Lincoln buzz box and stick electrodes. I took a course years ago at an adult education program. Last year I finally realized that I needed to get away from all that chipping and increase productivity and bought a 251. I like it very much. However, I feel that I really don't understand how to set the controls to get the best performance especially with lighter gages.
    So much for the intro. Now I would like to ask why it should be so difficult to find information about setting up MIG for various processes. I really don't have the time at the moment to hunt up another adult ed course. Nor do I think I should have to after welding all these years. Remember, I like my Miller 251 very much and am not dinging it. It is a truly well engineered machine. I'm frustrated by an apparent lack of my ability to find information. After purchasing the 251, I read through the instruction manual and couldn't understand how to set the wire speed to get the amperage I was used to in the old buzz box. I had to contact Miller and was sent a sheet relating wire size with feed rate to amperage. It was hard to read as it was a scanned copy of an old paper. Why couldn't good information like that be included in the owner's manual. O.k. After reading one of the latest posts about the difference between globular, spray, and short circuit, I felt I understood the difference but still didn't know how to set things up for the different modes. 17 cups of coffee at 10o'clock doesn't mean a thing to me. I went to Ed Craig's site and quickly got bogged down in his ranting. I understand why he is upset and I'm not putting him down for it. I have been an electronics engineer for around 30 years and the same kind of nonsense goes on in that industry as in welding. But I need specifics on how to set controls to get different modes and effects. If that info is on Ed's site, somebody please tell me how to get to it. If anyone knows a really good, practical guide to MIG, please let me know. I'm tired of playing around to try to find the sweet spot.
    Thanks,
    Joe

  • #2
    Welcome Joe!

    Very good info on your backgound and previous attempts to locate info. I would like to ask what is your set up now?

    What wire size?
    Gas type?
    Material type/grade you wish to weld?

    The reason I ask is that from the info you gave, you are having difficulty with the lighter gauge material.

    First, I would change to a light gauge wire like .023-.025. This will make the burn off rate of the wire not exceed what the material thickness can handle and give you less burn through problems. Being a electronics engineer, you can understand that it take more power from the machine to burn off a thicker wire and the performance window on the lighter material goes out the window. Light material requires smaller weld wire.
    Gas selection is also important as a mix gas of 75Arg/25Co2 will give less penetration and better appearing welds than a straight Co2 gas.
    Make sure that you match the proper tip size with the wire you are using. Using a tip too large will give poor arc starting and erratic welds.
    To push or not to push.....
    Pulling the gun along the joint will give you more penetration and may cause burn through on thinner material while pushing the gun lets you see the joint area better and gives less penetration.
    So you can see there are a combination of items that can and will affect your welds. You may need to use some or all of these ways to give you your needed results.

    Hope this helps.

    Andy

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    • #3
      Hi Andy,
      Thanks for the tips. I have been using .035 wire, 75% argon, 25% co2. My very first project with the 251 was some larger stuff so I started with .035. I had been thinking of getting some lighter gage wire. I also learned pretty quick that it worked better to push than to pull.
      But I'm still looking for a comprehensive reference to MIG welding that will help me understand how all the variables interact. If I understand what's going on and why, it will help me to get the results I want. For example, how do I get these different modes, globular, etc.? Can I even get them with my setup? A good reference text should tell me how to determine a transistion point between modes.
      As a side issue, I sometimes have trouble seeing what I'm doing if I'm running at lower wire speeds. My a/d helmet goes down to 9 (it's an Optrel). The guys at the welding supply place suggested throwing more light on the subject. Any thoughts?
      Joe

      Comment


      • #4
        Joe,
        I assume by your work experience that you may be in your 50s??? So if that being the case, do you use glasses for everyday activity? If you do, they make a cheater lens that you can get in different magnifiers that could help you.

        If you send me your address, I will give you a very informative book that MILLER produces on MIG welding that goes into alot of the questions you are having. The different transfer types like globular, or spray are covered well. I'd stay away from globular, it really is not a good transfer and can only be used in position. Out of position will give you a mess. Basically these different modes are a function of higher voltage than a short arc. A spray arc would be at the higher end of globular with globular being an "in between" grey area. To get a good spray, a higher amount of Argon usually is needed. This is great for thicker material and fast deposition rates. For most anything you would do, I'd stick with the short arc unless you are planning on doing any aluminum work. Then a spray would be needed and pure argon the gas.

        Reply to:
        [email protected] with your address and I'll shoot you a book. It will take a couple weeks as I'll be back on the road to do the SEMA/APEX show in Vegas all next week and won't be returning until the 8th.

        Andy

        Comment


        • #5
          Andy,
          Many thanks for any information you can send my way. I have sent you my address as requested.
          Now, what cheater lens are you talking about and who makes them and where from are they available? I wear no-line progressive lens in my glasses. They work exceptionally well, by the way, since I can get something in focus no matter what the distance. With my glasses, I'm corrected to 20/20. When I say I can't see what I'm doing while welding, I mean I cannot see well the joint between the two pieces of metal. It seems too dark. I expected the arc to illuminate it enough to see the path I need to follow.
          Thanks again for your help.
          Joe

          Comment


          • #6
            more light is a definet help

            i have 1 of thouse 500 wat haligin lights that most people use as work lights, harbor frait has a wall mounted 1 on an arm so you can swing it out of the way when not in use. in low amp. work it is hard to see well and i went to a 8 shad in my old fixed shade helmit, my new BWE helmit seems lighter in shade 9 or just works better i dont know. but directing a light at your work will help.
            thanks for the help
            ......or..........
            hope i helped
            sigpic
            feel free to shoot me an e-mail direct i have time to chat. [email protected]
            summer is here, plant a tree. if you don't have space or time to plant one sponsor some one else to plant one for you. a tree is an investment in our planet, help it out.
            JAMES

            Comment


            • #7
              fun4now
              Many thanks for pointing me toward harbor freight for the wall mounted unit. My current shop is kind of small and the wall mounted one will be a great help.
              Joe

              Comment


              • #8
                your welcome

                the part # is 90401-1cya it might help you find it
                it's on sail in my book for $19.99
                i'm shoure it will help
                Attached Files
                thanks for the help
                ......or..........
                hope i helped
                sigpic
                feel free to shoot me an e-mail direct i have time to chat. [email protected]
                summer is here, plant a tree. if you don't have space or time to plant one sponsor some one else to plant one for you. a tree is an investment in our planet, help it out.
                JAMES

                Comment


                • #9
                  I used to have the same problem with not being able to see the joint,But the halogen put the subject in a whole new light,{pun intended} Made a world of difference.

                  I got a feeling Dan might step up to bat on this one and explain some things for you.He is very good about explaining things clearly.

                  JHB, I found this link very informative on transfer modes.
                  http://www.esabna.com/EUWeb/MIG_handbook/592mig1_1.htm

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    migmaniac70
                    Thanks for that link. It really did help to clear a few things up for me.
                    Joe

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      learning to weld

                      I have a visual impairment and I too have trouble seeing what I am welding. What I have found to be very helpful is a simple chock line. The white chock is easy to see from the light from the arc.

                      Good luck

                      Dean Winger

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Joe, I did some testing yesterday with my Hobart. I measured the welding current at different wire speeds. I use .035 wire and CO2. The voltage while welding was 19 vdc. I usually weld between 110 to 130 amps. I took the amps up to 160 and my test plate was glowing red as I was putting the bead down.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by JHB
                          Hi Andy,
                          Thanks for the tips. I have been using .035 wire, 75% argon, 25% co2. My very first project with the 251 was some larger stuff so I started with .035. I had been thinking of getting some lighter gage wire. I also learned pretty quick that it worked better to push than to pull.
                          But I'm still looking for a comprehensive reference to MIG welding that will help me understand how all the variables interact. If I understand what's going on and why, it will help me to get the results I want. For example, how do I get these different modes, globular, etc.? Can I even get them with my setup? A good reference text should tell me how to determine a transistion point between modes.
                          As a side issue, I sometimes have trouble seeing what I'm doing if I'm running at lower wire speeds. My a/d helmet goes down to 9 (it's an Optrel). The guys at the welding supply place suggested throwing more light on the subject. Any thoughts?
                          Joe

                          JBH - I was going through the same "emotions" at one time in my welding as well. I feel for you. If you would like to contact me offline, I can explain a lot of these things to you in words rather than having to read them... I prefer to speak to someone myself rather than read. You can ask questions - right!!

                          Send me an email and we can set up a call...

                          [email protected]


                          Thanks,

                          - Brad
                          Brad

                          Millermatic 210
                          Lincoln AC-250
                          Custom Harley FXR Pro-Street

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