5 MIG welders handbook: how to become a better welder and how to pick the best welding equipment. Should the electrode accidentally touch the metal or the filler, the electrode often becomes contaminated — meaning some of the rod or base metal gets stuck to it. Once the electrode is contaminated, the arc cone becomes misshapen, making it difficult or impossible to aim the arc with precision, and the boiling contaminants on the electrode may spit out impurities, further compounding your problems. The angle between the torch and the base metal is important, too. You need to angle the torch slightly to see the puddle, and provide access for the filler rod. A 15-degree angle is a good starting place, although some welders prefer a bit more or less. If you hold the torch at 45 degrees (or more), you’re losing a lot of the coverage from shielding gas, and the flatter angle will make the puddle longer than it is wide. For the record, the torch is tipped with the electrode pointing forward, in the direction of motion.
Look for ways to create more efficiencies in the welding process. This includes examining such things as wire diameter, wire feed speed, voltage, travel speed, gas type, transfer mode, etc. For instance, if the shop is currently welding with a short arc process and a 75/25 blend of shielding gas, it may be more effective to switch to a different gas and a spray mode of transfer. Or, a change in process may be warranted based on the condition of the part. If there is oxide on the part, it may be easier to change to a process that will overcome contamination problems rather than try to clean each part before welding. Your welding supplier should be up to date on the latest technology and be able to advise you on new processes, machinery and consumables that can optimize welding at the shop. In some cases, it may be better to double bevel a joint to prepare it for welding rather than single bevel it. It is recommended to double bevel any material that is more than 3/4″ in thickness. Just this simple change in procedure can save quite a bit in weld metal. On a 3/4″ thick piece, a double bevel will use 1.45 lbs. per foot of weld metal while a single bevel will use 1.95 lbs. per foot.
Several advices on welding equipment, MIG and TIG welders, plasma cutters. MIG welders use a wire welding electrode on a spool that is fed automatically at a constant pre-selected speed. The arc, created by an electrical current between the base metal and the wire, melts the wire and joins it with the base, producing a high-strength weld with great appearance and little need for cleaning. MIG welding is clean, easy and can be used on thin or thicker plate metals. Similar to MIG welding, flux-cored arc welding (FCAW)* is a wire-feed process but differs in that self-shielded flux-cored welding does not require a shielding gas. Instead, flux-cored wire is used to shield the arc from contamination. This is a simple, efficient and effective welding approach, especially when welding outdoors, in windy conditions or on dirty materials. The process is widely used in construction because of its high welding speed and portability.
The welding setup, welder settings, and electrode selection will impact how fast welders can work. Industrial welders invest time in planning the size and shape of their welding areas, how parts are laid out, and how they supply their shielding gas. Testing settings or an electrode on a piece of scrap metal, especially for a beginners, will save time in the long run. Learn more about setting up an efficient shop here. Welding Downhill Increases Welding Speed: While welding downhill is a faster way to weld, it’s not as strong as welding uphill. On most projects it’s not worth sacrificing strength and durability for the sake of welding speed. However, if the metal is thin enough, then welding downhill won’t make the weld weaker and may even be the correct technique for the job. Learn about uphill and downhill welding and see these diagrams of vertical and downhill welding. See additional details at MIG Welding Machines.
Set the machine so that you are at welding amperage with the foot pedal depressed about 3/4 of the way: Set the machine so that you are at welding amperage with the foot pedal depressed about 3/4 of the way. The 1/4 pedal that you have left is for just in case reserve, just like driving a car.. Having the amperage set this way gives a lot more control than just setting the machine to 200 amps and controlling everything with the foot pedal. I don’t know about you but sometimes I lose focus when welding long periods. I don’t want any chance of welding with 200 amps if all I need is 50 amps. My ankles pop sometimes too, one ankle pop and you might jump or drop 30 amps if your machine amperage is too high.