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GMAW-Silicon Bronze Wire

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  • GMAW-Silicon Bronze Wire

    I learned how to weld before I knew how to weld. Most do I think?

    It was, someone saying, "watch how I do it", followed up with, "now you try", or " this is how you do it". Monkey see, monkey do.

    So when asked pointedly, if I ever actually Gas Metal Arc Welded with a silicon bronze wire, I had to say a bit sheepishly... No.
    I hadn't... rather I didn't. I'm ER70S-6 in different diameter sizes. Aluminum, Stainless, FCAW, but no to silicon bronze.
    But how hard could it be right?

    Turns out, not very? Then again, I didn't spend much time playing around either? I also didn't just buy a welder so the learning curve wasn't very steep?
    But I scratched it off the list.

    As you peruse the pictures, an hour passes. In that time, was the change to Argon, .035 tip, over coming trouble with spool tension, drive roll tension griping the wire to feed consistently, and poor drive motor pressure to spin and do so at a low WFS?
    Then to discover, only with the WFS almost maxed out that it would? Not sure what that's about as I didn't dig deeper, just wanted to get it done. And I did, good enough.

    The goal was to find out, did it weld like every thing else, and the answer was yes. Just slightly different.

    While the coupon were previously tacked with solid wire on the ends, my first few attempts squeezing the trigger were sputtering, and with limited WFS adjustment as I discovered, I knew I was relying on stick out and travel speed. Using up the untacked side, I went to town with out much more thinking. Flipped the stairs over and laid a few more fillets down. The little squiggly thing was my wrapping up the effort thinking, yea, it's do able? One bird nest of a length, a few trims of excess. That and the 20" on the other side, my experience level to talk about it.'s off the list. Now I have to dig a bit deeper on the feed issue? While I'm sure bumping voltage will flatten and spread the bead, I see 18 gauge and I don't want a 3/16" fillet. But, If I bump the voltage, pull a longer stick out, move faster, it's not cutting back WFS, but it's almost a close enough second to doing so to narrow the bead, and with a slight push to flatten travel faster depositing less? I may go back out and try again, I doubt it though?

    That's my story on the stuff. Your experience may be different. Hopefully better.

  • #2
    Haven't checked it off my list yet.


    • #3
      I used it to repair the hood of my car which had an 8" long strip of rusted out sheet metal. The benefit of the SI-BR is the low melting point which gets you less distortion. I used it in my Miller 211 with both argon and mix gas. I think it worked better with mix-gas (75/25).

      I cut and trimmed a mostly fitting strip of sheet, formed to match the curve of the hood then tacked then welder it in. For this, it worked pretty well.

      I just used a relatively normal WFS, sounds almost like your wire was slipping on the drive wheels or getting hung up in the gun.


      • #4
        C25 is better eh? I'm glad you said that. I got a couple pounds to try in the small mig machine and was planning to run straight argon.

        As I understand it's mig-brazing. When you fixed your hood, did you leave a gap? Supposed to be able to braze the joint from both sides in one pass. That's how it's been described to me at least. So I'm interested in it for thin sheet metal like auto body panels. Not that I do it for money, but for my own junk.


        • #5
          I always leave a gap when doing thin sheet metal. Normally about the thickness of the wire. I'm far from an expert though. One nice thing about this stuff is that it cleans up really easily with a roloc disk.


          • #6
            2019...While scratching this off my list I discovered an equipment problem. I'm working to understand it. Shortly after that I hope to solve it. But this Argon mixed gas thing. This is the result of mixed gas. 75/25.

            Hopefully, if a person looks close enough they will see subtle differences, that when given to thought, bring to the conclusion and say, yes, I can see how the shielding gas could cause that to occur?

            All these pictures were taken in the last few days to a week. While admittedly, those recently taken before I disabled the Hobart with the mixed gas are presentable, Argon is however recommended for a reason. When I get the issues with my WFS and lack of motor drive torque solved, I expect better results.

            Using mixed gas...the big difference I noticed was the crispness. It short circuits are snappy. Argon has less snap and more splat. I was however limited in my WFS adjustment range due to equipment issues? While the change was as simple as a shielding gas change over, adjustment to voltage, WFS, stick out and travel speed will yield different results to the welds appearance.

            Ryan...remember this is a filler that melts and fuses through mechanical metallurgical adhesion. Remember the shielding gas? Argon is recommended because it's lower ionization potential means it's going to make the puddle hotter and more liquid, or rather has the ability to do that. The gap, is to allow the liquid to flow thru, and wrap the bottom edges. Rounding away the sharp edge top and bottom aids that effect. The gap, will depend on your other parameters, and how you choose to weld the product.


            • #7
              There is a big write up at mig welding uk that has been around for 10 years or more. I did quite a bit of it 9 or 10 years ago welding auto panels and .023 Crown Alloys wire. It worked so good if there was a small gap between the panels. Now I have 2 giant spools and no welder...Bob
              Bob Wright


              • #8
                The wire I got is .023. I got it to work out a welding plan for a friend who is restoring an old fire truck that needs some body panels repaired. Been kind of waiting on him to get it ready for me. Maybe I'll poke that bear and see what happens.


                • #9
                  Ryan...remember this is a filler that melts and fuses through mechanical metallurgical adhesion.
                  I liken it to "metal glue" since the base metal doesn't melt. So yes a gap to let it flow to both sides is a good idea. I used .023 too.


                  • #10
                    This stuff ain't cheap either.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MasterKwan View Post

                      I just used a relatively normal WFS, sounds almost like your wire was slipping on the drive wheels or getting hung up in the gun.

                      Wasn't slipping, the drive rolls weren't turning. The question is why?

                      When the WFS "pot" was set low in range, 3-4 on the dial, finger pressure holding the drive roll would keep the drive roll from turning, or clamping pressure would prevent it from turning.

                      The pot rotation is 0 to 100. Clamping a meter to it, it's range shows a gradual increase. As shown thru it's range of motion, again around 8 on the dial it goes open. Around 5-6 it would actually start over coming the finger or a clamping pressure and spin the motor to once again feed the wire.

                      With out any finger or clamping the motor would increase or decrease speed of rotation as the dial is turned.

                      If you look at the pictures, you will see increments increase from zero to 100. As mentioned, the little white mark changes and around 7-8 it goes open. It does appear to function?

                      Doing some reading of past posts and trying to make sense of it, I'm not clear how it all works and functions? By all accounts things work, just not working well?

                      While I don't have a problem with just accepting something for face value, a better understanding is what I'd like to identify why the problem exists, how it's caused in occurrence?

                      Any explanation will be appreciated.


                      • #12
                        I always called it MIG brazing since it doesn't melt the parent metal. Bob
                        Bob Wright


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by aametalmaster View Post
                          I always called it MIG brazing since it doesn't melt the parent metal. Bob
                          When I first started reading about it, I was VERY confused until I learned this by reading between the lines. It's been given a great misnomer. I'm with you in using the correct term of brazing.


                          • #14
                            Gas Metal Arc Welding is a very broad title.
                            Metal Active Gas. Metal Inert Gas. Not so much?

                            BRAZING (B) IS a group of welding processes in which the joint is heated to a suitable temperature in the presence of a filler metal having a liquidus above 840'F (450'C) and below the solidus of the base metal. The filler metal is distributed between the closely fitted faying surfaces of the joint by capillary action. Braze welding is differentiated from brazing because the filler metal is deposited in a groove or fillet exactly at the point where it is to be used and capillary action is not a factor. Brazing is arbitrarily distinguished from soldering by the filler metal melting temperature. In soldering, filler metals melt below 840'F (450'C). (Credit AWS)

                            GAS METAL ARC welding (GMAW) and flux cored arc welding (FCAW) are two distinct processes, but they have many similarities in application and equipment. Both processes use a continuous solid wire or tubular electrode to provide filler metal, and both use gas to shield the arc and weld metal. In GMAW, the electrode is solid, and all of the shielding gas is supplied by an external source.
                            (Credit AWS)

                            With torch brazing, using a flux coated copper zinc rod, or even in the case of bare silicon bronze rod, oxide removal is key to good bonding. The strength of the bond.
                            With the electric arc of GMAW, under the blanket of shielding gas, electron travel actually results in surface melting, busting up, breaking up, burning up of surface oxides. And yes, with GTAW as well a similar effect occurs. Ok...and with torch brazing if you heat it excessively.

                            To date I've read about 160 posts on WFS problems...I've been copy and pasting them onto a sticky note on my desk top. What I haven't found was the relationship between the pot, the lack of drive motor torque at low pot (WFS) settings, why it over comes the low torque at high pot (WFS) settings, or the explanation to explain it.

                            I did however find lots that said to say change the board, or the problem is the board. Something on the board for the adventurous to change after testing this or that. I haven't yet.
                            But I'm going to eventually.


                            • #15
                              When the WFS "pot" was set low in range, 3-4 on the dial, finger pressure holding the drive roll would keep the drive roll from turning, or clamping pressure would prevent it from turning.

                              Assuming this is the manual, the pot goes to the motor control board which takes 24v ac off a transformer. Then you get a DC output to the feed motor. I'd probably check voltage to the feed motor itself. Looking at meter pics and it seems to be set for testing diodes. I'd probably switch it over to a real resistance range and try again.