In a word, "yes".
Stick machines are constant current, MIG machines are constant voltage,
there are voltage sensing wire feeders and control boxes that can run
wire feeders from constant current sources. Then there's the
a low cost spool gun.
Really, does this mean maitaining a constant voltage drop across the arc?
How much voltage at how much current to weld 1/4 inch mild steel, 1/8 inch.
I have a rather large regulated power supply that will go up to around 30
volts and 100amps. Would it be practical to use this with a spool gun. I
think what I need is a good book on MIG welding that describes the operation
of the elctronics along with how to weld..
No. To run a wire feed process you need a constant voltage supply.
With manual stick _you_ control the power by varying the arc length,
assisted by the "drooping" characteristic of the transformer. For
automatic wire feed you need constant voltage, so that the arc can
control _its_own_ length (a short arc increases the power and burns
the wire back to the right length)
In theory you can provide automatic wire feed control that will keep
the arc under control no matter what happens, by varying the wire
speed. But this is complex and more expensive than a cheap hobbyist
Use an argon-based gas mix, not CO2, especially when you're learning.
You can purchase constant current wire feeders intended for direct current
stick welding machines. These larger feeders are intended for use with
larger DC power suppliers and portables installed on trucks. They are used
with .045 diameter wire and larger. ( heavy equipment repair)
The Ready Welder is the other choice.
As others have said, it is possible to do this with the right equipment; the
most obvious choice for a hobbiest is probably the Ready Welder. However,
one thing that might not be completely clear in the other messages is that
you *must* have a DC capable machine; if you have an AC only machine, this
will not work.
Most MIG welding is a process where the wire is feed out until it
contacts the work. Then the wire burns back until the arc stops. The
wire keeps feeding and it starts all over again. The power supply
usually has some big caps that help keep the voltage up as the current
jumps from zero to a hundred amps or so.
So you might be able to use your power supply and some sort of wire
I know someone who has both a stick welder and a small mig. He has
disconected the mig power supply and connected the stick welder ( I am
pretty sure it was a DC stick welder ) and used this to weld material
that was heavier than he thought he could use the mig by itself on. He
says it worked. Later I found that Aluminum is often welded with
constant current wire feed welders.
As other have mentioned a spool gun designed to run off a constant current
machine would work well.
here comes a shameless plug...
If you're looking at a Ready Welder, any model, you would do well in
contacting me. I'm a reseller for RW and my pricing can't be beat as others
may vouch for.
email: stephaneboulet at yahoo dot com