Ultimate Tips Have Arrive!

Posted by Florida Gas Welding

Gold Star App[1] (2)Professor Otto’s Top Tips

Years of welding and teaching welding have given me insight into the most often asked questions about MIG welding. The following tips may answer your questions. You’ll find additional information in the resources at the end of the article.

1. If you’re teaching yourself, surf all the Net sites, read all the manuals, and watch all the videos you possibly can. Remember, no one is there to correct you if you are doing something wrong.

2. Along with practice, practice, practice, remember safety, safety, safety!

3. You can MIG weld mild steel, stainless, and aluminum, although you will need a special adapter for aluminum.

4. MIG is great for welding motorcycle frames and race car frames. And although it keeps the heat-affected zone concentrated, remember to be careful with the amount of heat used.

5. MIG ain’t worth a dang on paint, dirt, rust, oil, and grease.

6. Use nozzle dip or antispatter spray to keep your gun nozzle from getting clogged with spatter (molten welding droplets that solidify and stick to the inside of the nozzle, obstructing shielding gas flow).

7. Use a pad with cleaner where the wire feeds into the liner to prevent the liner from clogging up with dirt.

8. Most solid-steel MIG wire has a tensile strength (ability to resist being pulled apart) of 70,000 lbs. per square inch.

9. A good general-use wire diameter for the hobbyist is 0.035 in.

10. Make sure your machine is set to direct current electrode positive (DCEP)—what used to be called reverse polarity. Commonly used in MIG welding, DCEP gives the best penetration in steel.

11. Remember to use the right amp fuse where you plug in your machine. Make sure your wiring is sufficient to carry the current.

12. A 75/25 shielding gas (75 percent Argon / 25 percent carbon dioxide) is perfect for the hobbyist.

13. A good general flow rate for your shielding gas is 20 cubic feet per hour (CFH) unless specified otherwise on your regulator.

14. Although you cannot have air blowing around because it displaces your shielding gas, make sure you have some ventilation. Do not inhale the shielding gas. Inhaling argon can cause you to wake up dead!

15. Put the work clamp as close as possible to the work piece. That way you’ll have a better circuit, which will give you a better weld.

16. Although most manuals recommend wire stickout (from nozzle to steel) of 1/8-in. to 1/4-in., I recommend using as little stickout as possible. When filling in a big gap or hole, I allow up to 1/2-in. of stickout.

When welding thin gauge, allow more wire stickout—even up to 3/4-in. Use the push, or forehand, method because you don’t want very much penetration.

17. Forehand welding allows you to see better with shallow penetration. Although difficult to see because of the nozzle, backhand welding is smooth and gives the best penetration.

18. Relax your hand and watch the puddle. Watch your travel speed, gun angle, and temperature (heat, or amps, which are controlled by the wire feed speed). The thinner the steel, the faster the travel speed.

19. Skip weld—weld a couple of inches at the beginning, middle, end, and then come back—when you want to control distortion. If you weld a long seam all at once, you are likely to warp the steel.

20. Make sure you are getting good penetration into the steel.

21. Your machine should sound like bacon frying when it is set right on short circuit.

22. The more you burn, the more you’ll learn. Do it right the first time. Cutting corners usually results in problems that have to be corrected.

23. Check around when buying equipment. Prices vary big-time.

24. Above all, have fun!

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