more on welding - pic of weld

Ok, after reading the nice posts by you guys, I measured the OC voltage on the high setting on my Century 230 AC welder and found it to be only 40V. I then switched the positive
lead to the low setting and found an OC voltage of 70V.
This made a BIG difference in being able to strike and hold an arc (still not an easy thing to do for me)
I then heated some 7018 AC 1/8" rods in the oven at 300 degrees for about 30 min and set the amperage at 110 amps.
I got this weld:
http://www.skyko.com/halloween/weld.jpg
Not really pretty, but i think it has penetrated both pieces. Actually, it has melted a bit too much into the vertical piece...was that because of too much current? too large a diameter rod? holding the rod not at 45 degrees?
Thanks for any more tips,
Rick
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Looks fine to me for a first try.
Yep, the 'LO' setting usually has the higher open circuit voltage, much easier to strike an arc. Pic is a bit hard to tell, looks like you have a bit of undercut on the upper piece plus the bead looks pretty big. There is no ruler but I assume this is the 1-1/2" stock you mentioned earlier.
Try holding the rod at about 30 degrees from horizontal to push the weld puddle up against the vertical part. Watch the puddle closely to see if you are getting fluid flow on both pieces you are welding on. Keep you bead size down to about 3/8" wide measured on the diagonal.
Keep at it!!
Rick wrote:

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There ya go! Now wire brush it and paint it and it will look great! - GWE
Rick wrote:

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Oh! The halloween-welder, who doesn't want to learn to weld! :-)

Not to bad! But you photographed the best weld (my crystal ball tells me) ;-)

Did you weld in the same position as the photo was? I guess. You have to position the stick about 30 or 35 degrees from the horizontal. E.g. not symetrical to the joint, but bit lower. You have to fight gravity (of the molten material) with blast (of the arc).

Guessing from the photos, the weld will keep. But: It is on the thick end of a good weld (and close to of a too cold one; I see this at the end of the fillet. It should be concave). You should either: - use more current - try a thinner rod - move the stick faster (least probable cause)
What's the thickness of the tube? What rod diameter did you use? What current setting? Was there a gap between the two tubes? If yes, how much?
Nick
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You're rollin' now!
7018 is one of the more difficult rods to strike an arc with. Try some 7014.
When starting out, it can be hard to tell operator limitations from equipment problems. Century would not be my recommendation for a machine to learn with, or my choice to use now.
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From the large buildup, it looks like the rod was not moved quickly enough. I burn enough holes myself. The gap at the upper left may be due to not keeping the rod closer to vertical. The vertical tube is being heated at the very end, which is not much metal. Was the joint tacked on this side before completing the fillet weld? When the joint is started, the metal is cool. By the time the end of the joint is reached, especially with slow movement, quite a bit of heat has accumulated.

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I went to home depot and got some 3/32" 7018 AC rods made by Lincoln.
This is too hard. The rods keep sticking to the work when trying to strike an arc, then the coating breaks off. I tried the current at 80 amps then 100 amps. The 1/8" rod at least I was able to get a weld going.
I forsee that even if I master this stick welding, it is going to take me FOREVER to weld up these 32 or so joints. If MIG is that much easier, it might be worth the investment.
Lets say I have $1000 to spend on a MIG outfit, including a gas cylinder and an autodarkening helmet.
Welder:
SP-175 PLUS - about $750 http://store.aglevtech.net/yhst-1586097364688/lispplmigwe1.html
Lincoln Pro MIG 175 - on ebay for around $475 new. (is the only diff between this and hte sp-175 plus the tapped voltage?, ie, gun and regulator the same?) http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&categoryE032&itemu19218799&rd=1
I think i should go for a 220V machine since I use 220 in my shop, so maybe rule out the 135.
Gas cylinder is probably about $100, and am guessing the HF helmet is less than $200...
So which MIG?
thanks for all the free help, btw!
Rick
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That's partly because you chose a tough rod. Try some 3/32" 6013. You'll be amazed at the difference.

I have an SP-170T which is an older version of the Pro MIG 175 and I checked parts listings some time ago and found that the SP-170T, SP-175T, MIGPak 15 and WeldPak 155 all used identical parts except for the sticker on the front panel. I've never checked on the + model because there would be so many differences internally but I'm fairly sure they use the same torch, etc.
IMHO, unless you plan to become a professional weldor you're wasting your money on the + model. For one thing, it could make it more difficult to learn because you have so many more options to choose from. Also, if it fails the + model will be more expensive to repair and of course there is more that can go wrong with it.

Unless the portability of a 110V machine is important to you you'll be much better off with the 220V unit in the long run. You won't find much (steel that is) that you can't weld with it. When I had a 110V MIG I used my old Lincoln tombstone stick welder for heavy stuff. Since I replaced it with the SP-170T I *very* rarely use the tombstone.

I recommend at least an 80 CF cylinder and it'll probably be a bit more $ than that unless you find a used one somewhere. I paid $114 for mine from Holox about 4 years ago, including the gas. I later bought a 125 CF pure argon tank for TIG at an auction for $40!
The helmet you can buy for around $50 if you catch them on sale at HF. This one seems to be the most widely recommended:
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber212
and it just happens to be on sale for $50 right now. :-)
And while I'm throwing in my $0.02 worth, I have a pointer for you on the welding. Before you actually run a bead like the one you show in the picture you'll want to tack the thing together first to minimize warping. For example, if you just weld the bead on one side and then stand back and look at it you'll probably see that your upright piece of tubing now leans a bit toward the side the weld is on. If instead you put a small tack weld on all 4 corners before you run the actual bead the tacks will help to minimize warping.
In fact, it's usually a good idea to tack large sections of your project together before welding so you can be sure everything fits properly.
Also, there is one gotcha on MIG welding that a lot of people seem to run into when beginning to MIG weld. It is possible to lay a beautiful bead only to find that it's mostly lying on top of the metal rather than having penetrated into the metal. Don't ask me how I know about this one! :-D
IMHO the best way to learn not to do this is to learn to watch the puddle instead of just zipping along looking at the cool arc and assuming everything's working well. In other words, get some scrap and practice a bit before you start on your project. It won't take long to get the hang of it and you'll be very glad you did.
Best Regards, Keith Marshall snipped-for-privacy@progressivelogic.com
"I'm not grown up enough to be so old!"
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<snip really good stuff!>

Thanks Keith, very informative post. Do you think I am giving up on the AC stick welder too soon? Everyone on here says MIG MIG MIG and gives stories about how their 3 y.o. welds car trailers with it. I wish I knew how the MIG would weld this compared to the stick. If it is going to take me 30 hours to weld this with the stick once I learn how to actually get the arc started once out of every ten strikes, and spending some cash on a MIG setup would mean I can do the job with equal strength welds in 5 hours, then it is worth it.
Sigh,
Rick
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Well I've always been one to use any excuse to buy a new tool and based on your apparent interests I think you'll get a lot of use out of and enjoy using the MIG. But it wouldn't hurt to try another type of rod with your current welder before giving up on it.
Probably the best thing you could do is find someone that will let you test drive their MIG to see if it's as easy as everyone says it is. Isn't there someone you know that has one you can try? Even a cheap fluxcore just to see what it's like...
I'd be happy to let you try mine but IIRC you're on the west coast and I'm in North Carolina. :-(
Best Regards, Keith Marshall snipped-for-privacy@progressivelogic.com
"I'm not grown up enough to be so old!"

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On Mon, 30 May 2005 04:32:15 GMT, "Keith Marshall"

Where on the west coast? If you are in So. Cal, Id be happy to let you play with any of the welders I have, stick, tig, mig.
Gunner

"Considering the events of recent years, the world has a long way to go to regain its credibility and reputation with the US." unknown
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Keep using your stick welder and go buy a MIG. You will use both. If you learn how to stick weld MIG will come real easy. It takes moer skill to use a stick welder but many of the things you nned to be careful of apply to MIG.

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I think you are giving up too soon on the stick. I suggested 6013, you insist on working with 7018 Your weld looked fine with the 7018, the sticking problem is endemic with 7018
Stick vs Mig: If you can consistently start a sick rod, your project might go 10% faster with a MIG. Cleanup is also faster on the MIG. Leaving a cold bead on one side of the weld happens with both Mig and stick, it's just more obvious on the stick weld.
If you want an excuse to go get a new tool, have at it! (Insert Tim Allen grunt here) If you want to get the job done in minimal amount of time, then not plan to do any other welding for a while, spend the time working on the stick welder. If you spent 2 full hours over a couple of days running 6013 rod downhand on some scrap plate, you will be doing great. You would spend more time than that just loading up and unpacking the new MIG, not to mention the $600 to $1200 for the new 220 volt MIG.
wander over to sci.engr.joining.welding the string starting "looking at Millermatics" on May 20. the original poster was in the same boat as you are, was looking at the new machines, got his old stick welder to do what he needed.
Rick wrote:

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Harbor Freight sells a couple of similar auto-dark helmets. The other one is this:
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumberF092
It's also on sale for $50. I tried both in the store and they both seemed to have the same features and specs, but I choose the second one. I can't really remember why I like it better. I was a bit skeptical of these low-cost Chinese helmets, but mine works fine. Having an auto-dark is a heck of a lot better than using traditional flip-down helmets.
Don't forget you'll also need some leather welding gloves. And SteveB had a good recommendation about the ear plugs.
- Michael
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I just bought the auto shade helmet from harbor. It was marked 99.99 in the store. I got to the counter and asked about some of the welders and hoods they have online but not in the store the rep told me thats what they are sent. I asked about having it shipped in because I don't like to use credit cards online, he replied that Harbor doesn't do that and even if you pay in advance for the item they won't. After a bit of talking the rep ended up giving me the helmet for 59.99 and also the two year warranty with it. Harbor is having a parking lot sale 6/4 and 6/5 from the flier he had on the counter at the Davenport store, don't know if its going to be at the other stores. I also found out that Harbor has a big catalog that you can have sent to you if you go to their website.

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On Mon, 30 May 2005 03:50:18 GMT, "Keith Marshall"

And use the BFH test on your practice work, then look the welded area from the side to see what kind of penetration you were getting so you can adjust accordingly.
Gunner
"Considering the events of recent years, the world has a long way to go to regain its credibility and reputation with the US." unknown
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Tacking and welding (+checking angle) in the right sequence is an art by itself. If experienced, you can even adjust out of 90deg. joints. Or, you tack the part on one side out of 90deg. and weld on the other side to get it straight. More verbouse: Say you weld a 90deg. joint. If the angle is OK after tacking weld the flat side center-center (starting in the middle, welding in and out). If it is over 90 deg. weld from the outside to the inside, below 90deg. inside to outside.
Takes "some" experience. :-)
Nick
--
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"Der Behlter fasst 200.000 Kubik-Liter."
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Again, I would like to recommend the HTP line of welding machines. I have been very pleased with my HTP welder, which I've owned and used without problem for 17 years (they've been in business for 21 years). As far as I know, all their products are made in the US. You can read about the company here:
http://www.usaweld.com/company/index.htm
Their welders are very ruggedly built, with heavy solid-copper transformers, all-metal wire feed mechanisms (as opposed to plastic), very nice steel cabinets, etc. And they carry a 3-year warranty, as well as a 90-day no-questions-asked money-back guarantee. Take a look at these information pages:
http://www.usaweld.com/products/mig_welders/comparison.html
http://www.usaweld.com/products/mig_welders/inside.html
http://www.usaweld.com/products/mig_welders/outside.html
In fact, I recently ordered some replacement contact tips (consumables) from HTP and happened to speak with the president of the company, Jeff Noland. I just gave him my name on the phone and he immediately knew who I was and what system I had bought (even though it's been years since I've ordered anything from them). How many companies offer that kind of service these days?
HTP offers a 160 Amp (220VAC) unit for $919.00:
http://www.usaweld.com/products/mig_welders/mig_160.html
I think this would be the best unit for your needs. You might be able to get a discount by buying direct from HTP (like I did when I bought mine).
This unit includes automatic stitch and spot welding controls. (Stitch welding is especially handy for starting out with MIG, particularly on thin materials. It reduces the chance of burn-through and helps you make really nice beads.)
Compare the size and features of the HTP MIG 160 to the little welders you were looking at earlier. The larger cabinet allows for larger transformers, diodes, and capacitor banks, as well as more air circulation for better cooling. Also, the HTP welders are mounted on a wheeled undercarriage with a tray to securely mount and carry your gas bottle. (Compressed gas bottles should never be allowed to stand free where they could fall over and break off their neck -- with disastrous results! That means that with those small, "portable" style welders, you'll need to chain your gas bottle to the wall.)
HTP also sells a training video for $18.50 (plus $3.85 shipping):
http://www.usaweld.com/products/mig_welders/video.html
I would recommend that you buy this before buying any MIG welder. It will teach you about MIG welding, and will be a valuable training aid no matter what MIG welder you eventually buy. I think HTP will subtract the cost of the video if you decide to buy one of their welders.
All this might sound like I work for the company, but I don't -- I have no financial interest in HTP. I'm just a very satisfied customer.
Regards, Michael
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wrote:

Interesting.....
http://www.danmig.com/mig_200.html http://www.danmig.com/mig_160.html
Btw...Dan-mig welders are made in Denmark...
http://www.usaweld.com/products/spot_welders/versaspot.html http://www.danmig.com/spotwelder_spotterxl.htm
My Dan Mig 200 is at least 20 yrs old and is still percolating just hunky dory, even after spending most of its life in a muffler/autobody shop.
Gunner
"Considering the events of recent years, the world has a long way to go to regain its credibility and reputation with the US." unknown
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You really dont need the gas cylinder. You can get very acceptable welds with flux core wire. You just have to knock off the slag like you do with stick. I keep an old Lincoln Weldpack 100 on a "hot cart" with a spool of .035 Dualshield in it for fast tacks and bench repairs. Its 110vt, no gas, and works like a champ on stuff up to about 1/4"=5/16". Thicker than that and I run the bigger mig. If you are doing thin wall..that would not be a bad MIG (or the later models) for you. And you can add a solenoid and a gas bottle later. Ive gone almost exclusivly to CO2 on my big MIG because of the cost and the types of rough welding I do..it works just dandy.
Gunner

"Considering the events of recent years, the world has a long way to go to regain its credibility and reputation with the US." unknown
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