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  • Spool gun frustration

    I've had Miller stuff for over 30 years and would still weld my mild steel projects with an old Miller Matic 10 if I'd get busy and replace the sockets and cables. So I got froggy about 15 years ago, mostly because my business partner wanted a new 250X at company expense, so I thought I'd upgrade mine too. I found the 250X to be MUCH MORE complex and much less forgiving than the old machine and continued to use the old one for mild steel. So being retired now I figured I'd learn to use the spool gun that came factory installed in the other machine. This machine is probably the oldest new one in the world, due to the fact that just as a hobbyist for the last 20 yrs or so it basically sat in the corner while I used the older/simpler one. Trying to learn to use the spool welding aluminum has been nothing short of a nightmare and I'm at the point of not knowing whether to get my 25 lb sledge hammer out and beat the machine into scrap metal or simply roll it off the end of my dock into about 10' of water and forget it. Frustration doesn't begin to describe my present feeling. I'm trying to do simple welds on 1/8" NEW aluminum, cleaned with a stainless brush. With the internet information recommending wire speed and voltage it's easy to find a recommended starting point on voltage, but the 1 through 10 markings on the gun itself are absurd because they don't seem relative to anything except each other. That having been said I've tried every combination I can come up with with no success, even a tach weld. First it wadded up the wire inside the spool gun between the wheels and the insulator/tip, etc. So okay, I had the wire feed too tight. Loosened and set it per the internet and next it arc'd internally and fried the drive wheels. Ordered the wheels new and first time I pulled the trigger it melted the aluminum into the plastic insulator tube. Ordered that and immediately fried another one. Internet made it seem that the tip itself may be wrong, although it's what came in it from new. Finally got new tips in after a couple of tries and the minute I pulled the trigger today it welded the alum in the tip where I can't break it loose. NOTHING can possibly be this sensitive to settings that it's impossible to get a starting point with wire speed and voltage without frying stuff internally every time the trigger is pulled. Any advice appreciated or this thing is going swimming.

  • #2
    What model spool gun?...Bob
    Bob Wright

    Spool Gun conversion. How To Do It. Below.
    http://www.millerwelds.com/resources...php?albumid=48

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    • #3
      30A, but by the parts breakdown different from newer ones in several areas. It was factory installed on the old 250X when I bought it.

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      • #4
        WHY do people try so hard to make solving a problem they can't solve maximally difficult for someone who might have the answer?

        If you don't have or can't find the model number, open the gun up, take pictures, and post the pictures.

        I'm 93.75379% positive Bob can't hold the screen up to his helmet and Karnac the answer. I sure can't!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Franz© View Post
          WHY do people try so hard to make solving a problem they can't solve maximally difficult for someone who might have the answer?

          If you don't have or can't find the model number, open the gun up, take pictures, and post the pictures.

          I'm 93.75379% positive Bob can't hold the screen up to his helmet and Karnac the answer. I sure can't!
          I said it's a 30A. What more do I need to supply? It doesn't have another number in it, inside or out. When I was ordering tips from the local supply house I had to take the tip holder there because I kept telling them it didn't look like the pictures they were showing me. The tip is held in by a collet rather than just a simple screw in.
          Last edited by Solid Lifters; 05-17-2019, 07:50 PM.

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          • #6
            Based on another search for setting up 30A for 1/8 alum I put the voltage at 20.75. (it was on 22) and wire speed at 3.75 on gun. The second I pulled the trigger it welded up another tip. I didn't buy but 5 and that's 2 tonight. I can't believe the average Bubba in the welding shop can use something that's this critical on settings.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Solid Lifters View Post

              When I was ordering tips from the local supply house I had to take the tip holder there because I kept telling them it didn't look like the pictures they were showing me. The tip is held in by a collet rather than just a simple screw in.
              The 30A gun can be had with quite a few tip options. Pretty much no two are the same. Don't hold the nozzle so close to the alum and see if that helps. You can make it closer after you get the tip melting solved. I would turn the heat down a smidge on 1/8"...Bob
              Bob Wright

              Spool Gun conversion. How To Do It. Below.
              http://www.millerwelds.com/resources...php?albumid=48

              Comment


              • #8
                Let it go swimming and leave the aluminum to the pros, lol. Spool guns are finicky at the best of times. The tips that lock into the collet is the old style and seem to have more issues then the new ones. You can buy the new barrel and it will help some but they are not cheap. I would start with a new liner. There is a little lock nut on the wire spool holder that tightens down on the rubber bushing, its the spool brake. Make sure that is nice and loose and the rubber spins freely. You want just a tiny bit of resistance on the spool, just enough to keep the wire from unravelling. Make sure your using the right size tip for the wire. To small is no good but too big is no good either. When setting the wire speed / voltage start with a higher wire speed then what you think is needed and slow it down until it runs good. This will save you from burning back the tip. Lastly I didn't see what type / size wire you are running. Using 3/64 5356 will probably solve a lot of your problem. Its so much stiffer then the smaller wires, and 4043 is also softer. Also there are 2 groove sizes on the drive roll, make sure your using the right side. The big groove is for 3/64 and the small groove for 0.030 / 0.035. If none of that solves your problems then smash it with the sledge.
                www.silvercreekwelding.com

                Miller Trailblazer 325 efi
                Miller extreme 12vs
                Thermal arc 186 ac/dc
                Lincoln power wave 455m/stt with 10m dual feeder

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                • #9
                  Thanks aametalmaster & Willvis. I'll try both. I do have a brand new liner and havn't tried the tension on the spool yet. The guys doing it on the intenet with the brand I've never heard of (the yellow stuff) make it look so easy. This thing has me pullin' my hair out.

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                  • #10
                    I bought a used 30a spool gun off ebay and it had the old style barrel with the collet tips. I was having a lot of issues with it. My buddy sent me the new style barrel and that seemed to resolve a lot of the problems. I was still burning up tips like crazy though. It would usually happen when trying to start. At first I liked using 4043 because it welds so much cleaner without any soot. I was using 0.035 wire because I thought the smaller wire was needed for the thin material I was using like 1/8". I think I had tried a roll of 3/64 earlier and was having problems. Like you I wanted to smash it with a sledge hammer. I finally read through the manual a bunch of times and saw that I had to flip the drive roll for 3/64. I did that and put in the roll of 5356 3/64 and voila it was 100% better. I finally managed to weld a whole spool without burning any tips. Now I have a push pull gun and haven't used the spool gun since. Should have bought the push pull first lol.
                    www.silvercreekwelding.com

                    Miller Trailblazer 325 efi
                    Miller extreme 12vs
                    Thermal arc 186 ac/dc
                    Lincoln power wave 455m/stt with 10m dual feeder

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                    • #11
                      I'll take a swing at some help. I run mine on an older MM250 and from my engine drive. I have an older one so I know how frustrating they can be at times. I run .035 4043 or 3/64" 4043 exclusively in mine. It sounds like a feed issue. I'm sorry I don't have part numbers right now but I'll do my best. Are you running the correct size tip for the wire? There are two different sizes and you need the correct size for the wire you are running. Do you have a knurled drive roll? This is a must for aluminum. Again they have two size grooves. The smaller one is for .035. Is the drive roll aligned? When you install it you must press down slightly to align it with the liner while tightening the set screw on the roller. There is a flat spring that will keep it to high if you don't do this. Wire spool tension, this should be set to the minimum to keep the spool from unrolling on it's own. Mine barely has any tension. The hole in the spool and the rubber tensioner on the gun must be clean and smooth. Sometimes a piece of the sticker on the spool overhangs the hole and gets pushed in there when installing the spool or the glue from the sticker gets in there and gums it up. Does it feed fine into the air? How about if you feed it against a surface with out the ground? Does it keep feeding and just bend the wire?

                      Where are you located? Maybe close to a member who could check it out in person?
                      Last edited by MMW; 05-19-2019, 05:13 PM.
                      MM250
                      Trailblazer 250g
                      22a feeder
                      Lincoln ac/dc 225
                      Victor O/A
                      MM200 black face
                      Whitney 30 ton hydraulic punch
                      Lown 1/8x 36" power roller
                      Arco roto-phase model M
                      Vectrax 7x12 band saw
                      Miller spectrum 875
                      30a spoolgun w/wc-24
                      Syncrowave 250
                      RCCS-14

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                      • #12
                        Not sure how your spool gun is connected to the machine? I just tried to look for an owners manual for the 250x and there are numerous one and they are vague. You have a 10 pin plug that connects to the machine but do you have a pigtail that the main power of the gun connects to? Is the pigtail connected to the + terminal inside the machine?
                        MM250
                        Trailblazer 250g
                        22a feeder
                        Lincoln ac/dc 225
                        Victor O/A
                        MM200 black face
                        Whitney 30 ton hydraulic punch
                        Lown 1/8x 36" power roller
                        Arco roto-phase model M
                        Vectrax 7x12 band saw
                        Miller spectrum 875
                        30a spoolgun w/wc-24
                        Syncrowave 250
                        RCCS-14

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                        • #13
                          Here are the part numbers. 135430 for .035 tips (the tips will say .035/.052) and 135424 for 3/64" tips (tips will say .047/.061)
                          MM250
                          Trailblazer 250g
                          22a feeder
                          Lincoln ac/dc 225
                          Victor O/A
                          MM200 black face
                          Whitney 30 ton hydraulic punch
                          Lown 1/8x 36" power roller
                          Arco roto-phase model M
                          Vectrax 7x12 band saw
                          Miller spectrum 875
                          30a spoolgun w/wc-24
                          Syncrowave 250
                          RCCS-14

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                          • #14
                            I have a couple of things that may or may not help. I didn't see them as suggestions so maybe this is something.....The 30-A hooks directly to the regulator on the bottle and not the machine. It has a built in gas valve. You also can partially depress the trigger and pre purge gas around the weld and then fully depress the trigger and feed wire.
                            If nothing else works, load the spoolgun with normal steel wire the same as the basic machine uses and try the same settings with the spoolgun. That should let you know if things are working properly. Then play with aluminum.

                            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

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                            • #15
                              Thanks everybody for the suggestions. I'm still struggling with it. I welded a total of about 1/2" today and burned 2 tips in the process. I tried the stiffer .035 wire instead of the softer and was able to weld a millisecond longer before popping the tip again. Someone suggested turning wire speed up, but if I understand correctly this will increase the amperage and I'm right at burning holes now, so I've thought about wire speed up and voltage down, but don't know if that's a good idea. Right now 20.75 V, 3.75 wire speed, 30 on the Argon flow meter.

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