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ausfire

MIG problems

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Following discussion in Member Projects, here is a picture of the MIG welder. I have recently changed gas company from BOC to Coregas and I'm wondering if the quality or composition of the gas has anything to do with the problems. I know I'm not the most skilled welder, but the problems seem worse than usual. It's not a new machine. I've had it for about 15 years. I use stick for a lot of ordinary welding but for some applications the MIG is (supposed to be) better.

My Machine and a miserable recent attempt at welding.

 

MIG.JPG

MIG2.JPG

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Oh, the stories that I could bore you with about problems with bottled gas from supposedly professional welding supply companies. Mis-labled contents, 30 bottles delivered and half were empty, obviously damaged tanks, you name it, I've seen it.

TL, D Write. <_< The lowest paid, lowest ranked, least supervised guy in the place is probably the loading dock bottle guy.

Without a gas sniffer ($$$), you are at the mercy of the company as to what is in each bottle. Compare with a known bottle if you can, and send it back for a credit. If they get enough flak from customers, they will look into problems.

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What is the gas supposed to be? 

To my untrained eye it looks like it's lacking C02 in the mix which is giving the big high welds with no penetration. 

did you clean up the weld in the picture, or is that it 'as is'? 

Were those just a bunch of tacks or were you trying to run a bead and it was spluttering? 

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2 hours ago, JustAnotherViking said:

What is the gas supposed to be? 

Well, it's labelled ARGON. Nothing to say anything added. I previously used ARGOSHIELD from BOC Gases.

did you clean up the weld in the picture, or is that it 'as is'? 

No, that's just my trial piece with a few different settings. Lots of spatter and bounce. Ugly!

Were those just a bunch of tacks or were you trying to run a bead and it was spluttering? 

Couldn't run a continuous bead. No penetration, stop/start - and on one setting the wire just kept on feeding out without the trigger pressed. I can't ever recall there being a user manual with this machine.

Edited by Mod34
Edited for layout and clarity

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If it just says argon, its likely 100% argon. 

Perfect for aluminium, useless for steel. 

argoshield will be a BOC's brand name for their mig mix. 

That likely explains the problem. Nothing wrong with the welder or settings, just the wrong shielding gas for the job at hand. 

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 Hi Aus,

Please find my humble advice below.

Some general

-MIG means Metal Inert Gas usually you weld stainless steel and aluminium with that process ( standard code 132) the used gas is mostly Argon witch is an inert gas and didn’t react-interact with the melting bath of your welding

-MAG (SMAW) means Metal Active Gas which is pure CO2 or a mix from CO2 and less argon ( standard code 135). This is the process you use to weld mild- or construction steel (S355) Here the CO2 is helpful for the heat input and the argon avoid inclusions.

You also have

-Solid (massive) wire, then you need shield gas

-(powder) Filled wire, then the filled wire slack will protect your layer without shield gas

YES, you can use pure argon for welding mild steel, only your heat input and penetration is lower, and it is more expensive than CO2 MIX.

Regarding your setup. With 190 Amperes it’s a powerful machine to weld up till 12mm thickness. I see the wire speed OK with 8-10 meters.

See the timer witch is good for spot- or chain welds (times welding time) but after my opinion you have to turn them fully to the left to weld continue.

What I’m missing is another potentiometer and scale next to the wire speed to adjust the Amperes

This has to turned somewhere between 80 and 110 amperes.

 Give it a try and let us know.

Cheers, Hans

PS And yes, cleaning your material and bevels is essential for good and reliable MAG welding

Just see the Ampere switch below on the right side he is on position 3 now, put them to 4 for more amperes and play with the wire feed.

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The wire ran without trigger pressed. Sounds like s machine problem. Do you here gas coming out of The tip when trigger is pulled? Those welds kind of look like when i forget to to my gas on. 

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@ausfire, if you want to reply to specific individual segments, rather than quoting the whole thing and adding your reply inside, highlight the first bit, click the "quote this" alert that pops up, type your reply, highlight the second bit, click "quote this", reply, and so on. Much easier for the rest of us to read.

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You will never get a decent weld with a MIG welding on dirty or rusty steel. It's not a stick welder.

Another thing. Your welding woes have nothing to do with the gas. We have all changed from BOC to Coregas to save on renting fees. Coregas is a reputable company. I use their gas and there is nothing wrong with it. Can you check the cylinder's label and see the gas mix you have? 

if your wire keeps on feeding without you pressing the torch switch, you have the machine on T4. Turn it to T2 all the way to the left. 

190 amp is a small machine, you need more juice to get a puddle. Get a clean 5mm flat bar, and try to get an arc started by pushing the torch, not dragging it.

For each Voltage setting, ( the lower button that goes from 1 to 8) there is a wire speed that goes with it, that is the top button in meters per minute. 

Try in the number 6 as a guess, and change the wire speed until you find it sounds just right, a smooth fast crackling sound. Those who say like frying bacon, are probably frying a different kind of bacon since it clearly does not sound like that. Once you have a setting that works, try to put down a bead by moving the torch forward in a small and fast spiral fashion keeping a slight angle back. Stay out of the wind.

There are many welding tutorials on youtube. A good one is "welding tips and tricks". Practice makes the master but it is much easier to learn from a local welder or take some welding classes. 

Lastly, there could be something wrong with your machine. It is not a new machine as I thought and they do need maintenance.  Feeding problems are usually associated with a dirty or worn lining, burned out tip, rollers with the wrong tension and many more. All easy to fix. Gas ... check that it is open and check the overall pressure (content) and the working pressure. 

As for those that quote MIG/MAG/GMAW, different countries call things different ways. I''ll try next time at my welding supplier (who is Indian) and tell him I need gas for my MAG, or may be for my GMAW ...and watch his face. (By the way ... is GMAW an acronym? ) :P

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35 minutes ago, Marc1 said:

is GMAW an acronym

When not standing for "Gas/Metal Arc Welding", GMAW refers to the wife of your GPAW.

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THere are many more potential problems I failed to mention like a good earth, and the right power supply to your machine. 

When I bought my last MIG machine it was one of the last transformer machine. Today they are all electronic inverters. it came with a lead that had 2.5mm wires and the machine did not perform at all from new. A quick call to Cigweld, and the techno guy confessed that in order to sell a 250A welder they needed to make it look as if you could use it in a home situation or it would not sell. He told me to replace the lead for a 6mm x 3 lead, to plug it into a 32A power point, and sent me a self darkening helmet as a gift to buy my silence. 

Your machine should have a 4mm lead and plug into a 20 amp powerpoint. 

Mine now works as intended. 

Note: we run on 240V

Check your earth clamp, for broken wires, lose copper tip and clean your work in order to actually give earth a chance. :)

if you get sick of your machine, buy an electronic one. THe new inverters are over the initial problems and are much better and way easier to use than the one you have.

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43 minutes ago, Marc1 said:

if your wire keeps on feeding without you pressing the torch switch, you have the machine on T4. Turn it to T2 all the way to the left. 

Good point, after reading somewhere in the posts that the wire keep running. On the 2T mode the machine will only weld during pushing the torch trigger/switch.

After looking at the welding result and the pieces un-melted wire I should blame the T4, high wire speed, the timer, the dirty/rusty welding piece and a low amperage.

However a MAG welder is a big advantage especially for assembling your great scrap sculptures.

I have a nice (200Amp Inverter) MIG/MAG/TIG/SMAW welder but not enough scrap :(

Regarding the new electronic devices, there are curse and an blessing at the same time.

They have an automatic setup program go’s together with the plate thickness so ones you put in the thickness  -Amperage and wire speed follow automatically. On the other hand your able to write your own welding programs with ‘slow start’ function, ‘down sloop’, ‘pre-shielding’ etc.etc. So you almost need a university degree to program this stuff before welding.

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Those controls are pretty different from what I'm used to Aus. I've been thinking about them then asked a friend who knows a bit. Basically flip the switch up to 4T, turn the lower dial down to the full white section under the 0 because you don't want a timer, then adjust the upper larger wire speed dial to dial it in. 

There could always be other issues like possibly a worn out liner, clogged tip blocking gas flow, wrong gas in the bottle.... But that would be a starting point. 

Having it on a timed setting might be your bigger problem. Honestly without seeing the manual for the machine I'm not sure which of the 3 settings the switch should be on for constant welding. If I were there I could probably figure it out. Hopefully someone knows more or I might find something more on line. 

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Once you get the hang of it and stop sticking the gun into the puddle mig makes nearly competent welders out of most of us. Liners/rust on the wire are issues, especially for hobbiests.

Dad and I run two 110 units, a miller and a Hobart. Tho rated the same the Hobart has a much higher practical dwell time and higher aperent amperage. Now the 220 Hobart is a Cadillac (after preheating to push the little guys to weld 1/4” plus) these are not industrial machines bit any vein (yours looks to be optimized for panel stitching in a body shop where over heating sheet with long dwell times is a real issue).

as to the sound, much more of the “lightsaber” than “bacon frying” for the 110 units. Have fun they make exact pipe and structural tubing welding a snap, and less crud collects on your helmet than with flux (I hate flux core. Tho I have some high strength stuff for tool steel that is flux core and gas shielded!).

lucky me I have access to two special proces welders that don’t laugh to much at my feeble attempts...

Note, the recommended wire speed to power as indicated buy the bombers in the inner scale of your wire sped dial are only starting points, it generaly gets an arc started and you fine tune to your habits (arc length, wire, stock, polarity and gas all play a part).

also this isn’t farm rod, mig doesn’t like dirty stock at all.

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28 minutes ago, Charles R. Stevens said:

also this isn’t farm rod, mig doesn’t like dirty stock at all.

Yup, flap disc and or wire wheel where you will weld and where your ground will be are pretty much a must. 

mine will burn into a little rust but the cleaner the better. 

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I think ya got the wrong gas i never used a machine like that but a 190 amps is more than enough juice for almost any thing ,what type of wire and dia ya running i got a lincon 170 /220amps it hates .035 wire.If your shops not heated don't leave the spool of wire in it cause it will rusT out and screw up your liner as well which will cause a major headache.Argon and tig will weld most metals mild steel,chrome,stainless and alum but off the top of my head mig needs the co2 mix.And with the wire contiuing on after you let go the trigger to me says dirty contact pos/neg  on the trigger or something reversed ,or a short in the control panel.Its hard to figure it out without takin it apart and checkin everything.

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I always ran straight CO2 for my gas - more penetration, but more splatter. A large cylinder was only $24 and the 75/25 mix was a lot more. 

Another thing to check is the polarity. When you use flux core you flip the polarity, so it may have been flipped at some point. 

I agree with the others. Rotate the timer knob all the way to the left for continuous welding. A quick guide is if the wire pushes back and pops, either slow the feed down or jack up the power. If the wire burns back to the tip, increase the feed or lower the power. Bacon sizzle is a good sound to hear. The amount of stick-out will also affect the power needed. I try to keep fairly close - around 3/8" (10mm) max. For smaller welders, dragging the gun will put more heat to the weld (thicker items), while pushing will put in less and is good for thinner items. 

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Good for you Doctor ... Polarity ... I knew I forgot something. Check that the earth is Negative and the torch positive. 

I remember the first time I used flux cored wire because I run out of gas. Did not change the polarity and made a mess. Blaming the wire I wanted to return the wire in disgust. The supplier was good, he probably heard this many times before ... "did you reverse the polarity?" he asked in a calm tone ... I knew to do this it just did not occurred to me at the time ... things we do :)

7 hours ago, JHCC said:

When not standing for "Gas/Metal Arc Welding", GMAW refers to the wife of your GPAW.

Nee ... GMAW stands for Ginger, Macaroni and  Anchovy Waldorf salad. 

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Wow. A lot of information and things to check there.

Some points:

The steel looks dirty but it was cleaned with a flap disc - perhaps not well enough, but I haven't struck major problems with that before.

The wire is .09 diameter and is new and clean.

The machine only keeps wire running out without trigger pressed on T4 setting, and I don't understand why you would choose that to happen.

I think Viking may have identified the main problem. I am using the wrong gas. I was suspicious because this problem occurred only after changing from BOC Argoshield to Coregas from Bunnings. I had assumed that argoshield and argon are the same thing. Apparently not. On checking the Coregas website today I see that they offer a MIG mix gas which I should have got instead of 100% argon. It's no wonder I had problems ... I didn't think I was THAT bad a welder.

So I guess my next step is a trip to Cairns to swap this gas for the real deal and see how we go. I thank you all for the helpful information and advice and I have learned a lot from your comments.

(And I apologise to mods for not using 'proper layout' in answering a post. I am an admin on a grammar/spelling site and we use a different layout for answering specific questions. Horses for courses. Just a senior moment on my part.)

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Good to find out the main issue. It wouldn't hurt to check out the other issues you could possibly have. You might find out you are better at welding then you thought. ;)  

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Does it say 100% Argon on the cylinder label? 

Someone told me once he had an Argon cylinder by mistake and used it on mild steel by cranking up the pressure. Never tried that myself. Waste of money. 

On T4 it is not only the wire coming out by itself, it auto sets the welding parameters and when you want it to stop you hit the trigger again and it stops. Not something you would use. 

Bunnings welding gas self explanatory labeling :)

... expensive at $99 if you consider speedgas E size (double the capacity of a D size) at $140

To stick parts together for sculptures, I suggest you swap to flux core. No gas and no worries with working outside. A bit more spatter but you get better at it as you use it more ... and don't forget to swap polarity :P

44a337e7-c627-430e-b328-e535de799989.png8ee9ea0b-7c8d-45b1-ac69-18812e3a3ffd.png

Oh ... and it says MIG not MAG :)

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Marc, I'm with you on the MIG thing. We always call it MIG. They might call it the other "thing" as well in some training vids but Always MIG first. Ah simplicity. 

I have to disagree on the flux core wire on the scrap sculptures tho. Way too much cleanup on some sometimes complicated areas when you don't want to sand blast or acid dip the whole thing. The patina from an easy wire wheel is just right. Scrap art doesn't = crap art. Just that it is some old reused metal and someone's vision of it. 

I ended up getting a second 75/25 tank when oi ran out in the middle of a project I was on a roll on. Since I got my heavier duty welder it went with that but I still have 2 tanks to use. Plus the straight argon on the TIG that I Really need to start practicing on. 

So yes to bigger (and backup) tanks and no to flux core. For what we do flux core cleanup is a nightmare  

 

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Hi Aus,

It can't hurt to look after the gas thing. Although those blobs look like they were shielded all right so the gas did its work. To me also it looks like there is some main configuration problem with the machine. I think Marc and Biggun got into the heart of the trouble. (BTW I use a machine something like yours at everyday basis, you can mess up the very simple config, if you switch the timing/spot/continous/normal functions by mistake.)

Bests and good luck:

Gergely

 

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42 minutes ago, Daswulf said:

Marc, I'm with you on the MIG thing. We always call it MIG. They might call it the other "thing" as well in some training vids but Always MIG first. Ah simplicity. 

I have to disagree on the flux core wire on the scrap sculptures tho. Way too much cleanup on some sometimes complicated areas when you don't want to sand blast or acid dip the whole thing. The patina from an easy wire wheel is just right. Scrap art doesn't = crap art. Just that it is some old reused metal and someone's vision of it. 

I ended up getting a second 75/25 tank when oi ran out in the middle of a project I was on a roll on. Since I got my heavier duty welder it went with that but I still have 2 tanks to use. Plus the straight argon on the TIG that I Really need to start practicing on. 

So yes to bigger (and backup) tanks and no to flux core. For what we do flux core cleanup is a nightmare  

 

You are probably right with the clean up. Nothing like a nice clean weld. I was picturing building a sculpture out of large I beams twisted like from a nuclear explosion ... :)

Can't beat TIG for cleanliness.  No one Oxy welds anymore? 

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