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Diagnose this!!! I'm losing patience

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Diagnose this!!! I'm losing patience

Postby ONDGAS » Sat May 06, 2017 3:56 am

So I'm welding some alloy and it's going ok-ish co spidering I'm hopeless to begin with. The Half way through a decent weld it turns to crap and I notice the ball on my tungsten pulls to one side and almost looks like there is a split in the end of it....

I then go off regrind and spark it up on some scrap and it's just not right... so I grab another tungsten 1/8 blue, and do the same thing and notice it's just not pooling nice, what can cause this

The two puddles are around 80-100 amps and 75% bal and the lower one is when I try to add filler, it's almost like the filler is absorbed under the pubble and the top layer stays crusty like magma in a god damn volcano.

Also added a pic of what the tungsten looked like after doing the two puddles

Any ideas?

Did I mention I hate aluminium? I feel like you need ten years experience on each conceivable weld in each conceivable position :evil:
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Re: Diagnose this!!! I'm losing patience

Postby MosquitoMoto » Sat May 06, 2017 4:49 am

Don't hate aluminium...you'll get there.
It's just a bit more fussy than steel and you have to be able to read the puddle and control the heat. Your tungsten is smoked up - it should be just plain, clean silver. Both the tungsten and the second puddle (the one on the right) look to me like you dipped.

Either that, or you possibly have a gas coverage problem/leak.

There are wiser folks than me here who will have definitive answers. Stick with it, when you start to get the hang of it, the satisfaction far outweighs the frustration.


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Re: Diagnose this!!! I'm losing patience

Postby cj737 » Sat May 06, 2017 6:44 am

From the picture of your tungsten, it is my opinion (without more details) that you are using too small a cup and too long a stick-out length. I also prefer a lower balance, closer to 65%. I see the material is pretty clean, so perhaps you can adjust it higher but only experimentation will tell you what works best for your situation.

The 2 puddles say to me, that your heating the material too long before you get the proper oxidation off. So when you add filler, it doesn't really "blend" with the aluminum, but instead blows up. What thickness material? 80-100 amps is unusually low to "start" a puddle unless the material is very thin. In which case, why a 1/8 tungsten?

Ally is frustrating stuff. It takes heat and cooks internally before it ever gives up a wet puddle. This is confusing to new welders. Romp your pedal with enough heat and get your puddle quickly, then taper off the pedal to maintain it. By the end of the bead, you may be well down on amps from where you start as the material has absorbed a lot of heat by then. But starting low is a No-No...
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Re: Diagnose this!!! I'm losing patience

Postby exnailpounder » Sat May 06, 2017 7:51 am

I know this may seem odd to say but I think your arc length is too short. You are trying so hard to keep a short arc that you are so close to the metal that instead of puddling it, you are vaporizing it. Most everybody knows when you get to close you dip but dipping usually happens when you add filler and your puddle rises into your tungsten but you can be too close to the metal without dipping. I know this because I am guilty of it myself. I don't usually do a lot of AL and I am so used to keeping a short arc on MS and SS that when I move over to AL I have to remind myself to back that arc up a tiny bit. If you are losing control of your puddle about half way through the bead, it's probably because you're getting out of position and changing your torch angle and/or lengthening your arc TOO far away. While it's true that you should get a puddle quickly when you light up on AL, you don't want it to be instantly because it mean you're using too many amps.Try turning down the heat and using just enough amperage so that you have to wait a second or 2 to get a puddle. This will give you time to adjust your pedal instead of having to "run and gun" with too many amps and having to adjust the pedal too quickly. And don't wait too long for puddle, that's just going to heat-soak your material and cause a whole other set of problems. Take the time to set up your machine and just sit there and form a puddle (no filler) then move ahead and let another puddle form...rinse and repeat. You need to see what a good arc length looks like before you start adding filler and raising your puddle.
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Re: Diagnose this!!! I'm losing patience

Postby exnailpounder » Sat May 06, 2017 7:58 am

And....watch Jody weld AL. You'll notice he doesn't get in a hurry. He gradually forms a puddle, adds filler and then moves forward all at a controllable pace. When you floor board the pedal with too many amps, you are chasing the puddle and trying to jam in filler and I don't need to explain what happens next. You will notice that Jody has time enough do the thumb wiggle and advance the filler in his hand when he advances his puddle because he is welding at a controlled pace. You are in control with the pedal of how fast you advance a bead.
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Re: Diagnose this!!! I'm losing patience

Postby Otto Nobedder » Sat May 06, 2017 5:03 pm

It looks to me like you're losing the EP portion of the arc. As if you were (this can be done on a synchrowave 250 DX, for example) set in DCEN mode with HF continuous set.

I say this because I see whitish soot, but no etched "cleaning zone". This is possibly a settings issue with the machine, an internal issue with the machine (check, clean, and gap the points), or, in rare cases on water-cooled torches, a torch issue resulting from using tapwater or tapwater/automotive antifreeze when attempting HFAC. If it's the points, no worries, a clean and gap will solve it, but I doubt this is the case. If you're using a water-cooled rig, think about what's in the cooler. I chased this problem on a high-dollar job in PA, even getting the district Lincoln rep involved before we sorted it out (rental machines).

If it's none of the above and your settings are good (you said this started mid-weld, so unless someone pranked you while your hood was down...), it's likely either a machine issue or water-cooled issue. (The water-cool issue would happen to me mid-weld. If this is it, a new torch/leads is the fix, along with de-ionized/distilled water, and low-conductivity coolant, available at the LWS.)

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Re: Diagnose this!!! I'm losing patience

Postby nelson » Sat May 06, 2017 6:16 pm

Cracked tungsten?
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Re: Diagnose this!!! I'm losing patience

Postby Oscar » Sat May 06, 2017 6:32 pm

I see lack of cleaning action, and visible oxide skin layer. Something is wrong with the polarity as was said.
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Re: Diagnose this!!! I'm losing patience

Postby ONDGAS » Sat May 06, 2017 8:26 pm

Thanks for the input guys. I'm not running a water cooled torch and it was getting pretty hot when it turned bad- what tell tale signs should I look for to see if my torch is bad apart from melting?

How do I check on the polarity problem mentioned?

My point still stands, the same piece of scrap with the same settings with the same cup/electrode/lens lit up fine previously, and while my initial thought was that the electrode must have a crack the same problem was evident even after swapping electrodes.

I'm thinking about swapping over to weld some steel and see if that is fine to rule out the hardware???
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Re: Diagnose this!!! I'm losing patience

Postby ONDGAS » Sat May 06, 2017 8:29 pm

The puddle on the bottom right is just me lighting up previously with a freshly ground tungsten trying get to get a ball, the rest of them are me lighting up after the "problem" occurred mid weld on the work piece, I would post a pic of the work piece but I brushed it back thinking I hit some contamination so it doesn't really represent the problem I think
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