dialing in your welder feed rate setting

Discussion in 'Motorized Bicycle Welding, Fabrication and Paintin' started by el Diablo Guapo, Dec 24, 2013.

  1. el Diablo Guapo

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    dialing in the right feed rate is critical to getting good welds when using any of the wire feed methods

    we were doing some welding in the shop today (non motor bike related) and showing a non-fabber person some welding tips and we used one i had not used for a while, which can be most helpful in achieving the correct settings

    it takes a friend, though

    set up some practice material similar to the material you will use for your finished project

    -set the amperage level to where it should be (use the chart or a good guess)

    -have your friend attempt to run a bead, tell them not to stop as you adjust and to try to keep the tip about 1/2" off the work

    -WHILE THEY ARE WELDING slowly change the feed rate. LISTEN to the sound the welder is making - the proper sound does in fact sound quite even and much like bacon frying

    - when you feel the sound is even trade places with your assistant and give it a try


    we tried this with both the MIG setup and the flux core rig we have with good results- even the flux core machine can do a nice even weld when it dialed in...
     
  2. Venice Motor Bikes

    Venice Motor Bikes Custom Builder / Dealer/Los Angeles

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    I concur!! The key to good welds with these machines is a properly set 'feed speed'. (^)

    If it's set too slow, the wire burns away from the work surface too quickly; If it's too fast the wire kinda 'stubs' into the work without penetrating for a quality weld. ;)
     
  3. 2door

    2door Moderator
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    Getting that 'bacon frying' sound is critical to a good weld with a MIG machine. Once you've got it you're on your way. Arc length, or maintaining it is also an important factor along with wire feed speed. That takes practice and the more you weld, the better you'll weld.

    Good post. Thanks.

    Tom
     
  4. GearNut

    GearNut Active Member

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    This is why I wish I had a pedal controller for the wire speed on my MIG (sorta kinda like the amp pedal on a TIG). I hate the weld then adust, weld then adjust, weld then adjust process.
    I have also noticed that as the welder heats up the welding characteristics change.
    I must burn through at least 4 or 6 feet of wire (maby more) just warming up the machine and setting the feed speed every time I go to weld a project. Wire and gas lost forever and not a thing to show for it.
     
  5. bairdco

    bairdco a guy who makes cool bikes

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    i've got a miller sidekick, and i make pencil marks on the dial when i find the right speed for a certain metal so i don't have to remember.

    my biggest fault is rushing through the job. instead of making a test bead on some scraps, i just barge into the project. my first weld is usually crap.
     
  6. buba

    buba Member

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    here /here for all that has been posted above
    also pistol movement can be important as well as useful

    I have found poster -welding tips and tricks - on youtube to be very useful--
    check him out
     
  7. el Diablo Guapo

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    thanks for the great follow ups!

    i rate joining metal to be among my favorite "skills." i am surely just an average welder, but i trust my work enough to ride it

    i too have a number of marks on my small rig. i use a flux core box, and it is always ready, and if i am careful it can do a neat job.

    gun position and speed is important too, of course

    when you move away from the work, the voltage drops, and so does the heat. this makes going around tubes tricky(r) in my opinion, combined with thin walls, bikes frames require persistence.


    Practice as much as you can- make yard art, write your name in welding on an old computer case, fix garden furniture, weld your scrap together and cut it up and weld it again. just log some trigger time!
     
  8. Tinsmith

    Tinsmith Member

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    Good advice fellas! The guys I work with at the machine shop didn't realize how much they used sound to help them do their work until I rolled in there years ago. I'm not able to hear the welder or most of the noise the lathes and milling machines make while I'm "moving" metal. Usually if I can hear it, it's time to change travel or chuck speeds. I have to rely on sight and feel for the most part and always welcome input from the hearing machinists in the shop. But, as these guys said "practice, practice, practice".

    Dan
     
  9. silverbear

    silverbear The Boy Who Never Grew Up

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    Thanks for all of the tips. I'm still an absolute novice with welding and won't fire up the machine again until spring thaw. But when I do I'm going to give it some time with just practicing with scrap stuff. Patience and practice...
    SB
     
  10. jared8783

    jared8783 New Member

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    This is something of a solution to what you are saying GearNut. Just in an opposite way. Dropping the wire speed has a similar effect as raising the volts, and vise versa. While this isn't the "intended" way to use a mig welder, it works quite well for me. Instead of tuning in your machine with the tip a 1/2' from the work piece, set it at 3/4" and tune the machine in for the metal you are welding. That allows you to push in further raising the volts and effectively increasing penetration when you may be on a joint that requires it.

    That's how I weld all day every day, with a 480v monster of a mig though. At home with my 240v made in 1985 the concept seems to work just as well. You have to move the wire in and out slowly or the wire may start popping. You learn your limits.
     
    #10 jared8783, Dec 25, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2013
  11. curtisfox

    curtisfox Well-Known Member

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    I have a SP 100 and inside there is a chart that give the speed and feed rate for the thickness of metal you are welding. It realy helps to be close form the start. My bigest problum is steadyness at 72 i seam to weave back and forth, and so do my welds. I got to remember to rest my elbow to stay steady. He! He! the golden years.............Curt
     
    #11 curtisfox, Dec 25, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2013
  12. 2door

    2door Moderator
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    Along with all the other good advice I've seen in this thread I'll add finding a comfortable position. You'll find your welds much better, more consistant and smoother if you're comfortable while laying a bead. If that means propping your elbow or arm on something, so be it. I've found it beneficial at times to steady your stinger hand with the other one. Whatever it takes to be comfy will make it easier to control the arc.

    Awkward unsupported positions are sometimes necessary, such as inverted welds (welding upside down) and professionals can do it but for the average hobbiest it will improve your skills to find a position that you can hold easily for the time it takes to make your weld.

    Tom
     
  13. GearNut

    GearNut Active Member

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    Thank you very much for the tip, jared8783.
    I have a Snap-On 120V gas only rig (made by Astro in Italy).

    There are no markings what so ever for the speed dial.
    Perhaps I should replace the knob on it for one that has an indicator and draw up my own hash marks on the face of the machine. This way I could create my own reference chart.

    I usually have a tendency of over penetration or blow through on thinner metal, like 1/8" or thinner. It will burn through sheet metal like a butane pencil torch on note book paper.

    I really want to get a Miller or Hobart rig. They just seem to work better but alas, I don't have the budget for a new one anymore.

    I have gotten much better at connecting a bunch of little dot spot welds together without creating much warping, but the bead looks like a 3 year old welded it while wearing Scooby Doo sunglasses.
    I really like my angle grinder and flap discs!
     
  14. Goat Herder

    Goat Herder Gutter Rider

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    Once you've got it you're on your way. Arc length, or maintaining it is also an important factor

    Wanna say this rhymes a lot with me.

    Having a Lincoln 220. at home I sometimes on a cold piece of steel get away with a hot setting and vice verse. When I welded on something too long .. Stop and air cool it. If it was a big project then I would stitch weld it in. Like car panels etc. Arc length should come naturally to any body if they make friends with the machine IMO and machines have different personalitys.



    At work where I was welding mufflers that 110 volt unit would go past duty cycle and arc length changes. Work now with a big 220.. boy howdy you can go none stop. ''Duty cycle''.



    I get that welder often and I am on too hot of a setting. ''just too lazy to switch it'' and change my arc timing bingo looks great! Some machines don't have enough fine tune settings in my opinion for certain projects then timing is sweet art for the meek lol....


    I the metal you are working with IME is too hot..stop and let it cool. Your timing will go wacky on you other wise and make you blow through get bat poop and make junk!? Too much heat will warp your work as well.

    A car panel for instance with me would be stitch welded . Think of a pattern for wheel lug nuts. One here One there get the sides ''to a point'' air cool it rinse and repeat. Most of my big projects I still think this way ''Stitch''
     
    #14 Goat Herder, Dec 25, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2013
  15. dmb

    dmb Active Member

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    reading glasses under the helmet help me see better. its nice to have a friend for the thin stuff... thanks wolfie!
     
  16. 2door

    2door Moderator
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    Very good point. Being able to see the arc and puddle is a critical aspect of getting a good weld. I have a hood with a magnifier lens behind the shielding lens. Even so, for close up work and TIG welding I wear my reading glasses along with the magnifier. You really need to see what's happening where the arc meets the metal and what the filler is doing with the base metal.
    Keep that 'bug' moving from side to side. You welders will know what I mean.

    Tom
     
  17. Gbrebes

    Gbrebes Active Member

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    I apologize in advance, I know this is off-topic, but I just love how Norm (VMB) writes "I concur"! It makes me smile every time.

    You the man, Norm,

    Gilbert

    P.S. Super helpful welding information on this thread, possibly sticky worthy?
     
  18. el Diablo Guapo

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    good lighting while welding

    good lighting also improves the welding situation

    it seems counter-intuititve, welding makes a bright light, but lighting the work with a strong work light lets me see more than just the puddle, which is immensely helpful

    try it and report your results
     
  19. 2door

    2door Moderator
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    Re: good lighting while welding

    Ditto:
    I often aim a bright light at the work area. The arc illuminates the small area around the puddle but it helps a lot to see where you're heading as well as where you've been.

    Man, welding newbies must find this thread uselful. So much good, but often overlooked information to make the task easier.
    Thanks to all who have contributed.

    Tom
     
  20. CTripps

    CTripps Active Member

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    Also, like a throttle cable, make sure you have no sharp bends in the whip or the wire may bind, producing 'variable' feed speeds.
    One small thing that catches many out; before you start your arc, make sure you have nothing to snag or catch your whip during the weld.. nothing worse than getting part way and having to stop and restart for a reason like that.
     

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