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Is the Chart on my Lincoln MIG Full of Crap?

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Is the Chart on my Lincoln MIG Full of Crap?

Postby Chips O'Toole » Sun Apr 23, 2017 7:00 pm

Today I did a fillet weld with TIG for practice. I was welding 1/8" carbon steel with C25 and .035" wire. Because scale builds up on the opposite side, I decided to MIG the back instead of using TIG. I figured it was easier to clean the metal back to MIG standards than TIG, and I needed the practice.

The MIG spattered like crazy, and the weld was very lumpy. At the end of the weld, I got a spoon-shaped depression, as if the gas had blown the hot metal out. This happened with several other beads I laid down. I fiddled with the gas, voltage, and wire speed, and things worked better when I increased the voltage, slowed down the wire, and took the gas from 35 cfm to about 22.

I started out using the settings recommended on the little chart on the welder (PowerMIG 180C), but it looks like they're not right. The gas, in particular, was way high. Am I the only one who finds the chart useless?

I have no idea what the settings on the little dials actually mean. They don't correspond to volts or feet per minute.

On the up side, MIG seems much easier to control after struggling with TIG. I guess TIG improves your MIG skills.
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Re: Is the Chart on my Lincoln MIG Full of Crap?

Postby PeteM » Sun Apr 23, 2017 7:15 pm

Yeah, they're pretty useless. Ballpark at best.

For the WFS its best to just chart the settings by running it out for 6 seconds, measure, and multiply by 10. For voltage, see if you can get someone to read it across the terminals by the gun block while you weld with a multi-meter.

Then you can set according to the wire manufacturers specs, which are still ballpark, but real numbers and usually tested.

edit: You can also wind the wire back in each time instead of clipping it off and wasting many feet of wire.
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Re: Is the Chart on my Lincoln MIG Full of Crap?

Postby Farmwelding » Sun Apr 23, 2017 7:57 pm

A good way to learn about mig settings is just playing with settings. A lot of spatter-Adjust your wire feed speed both ways and see what happens and find a sweet spot and then take a sharpie and right it on the welder or put a peice of paper on it.
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Re: Is the Chart on my Lincoln MIG Full of Crap?

Postby Otto Nobedder » Sun Apr 23, 2017 8:28 pm

Chips,

The crater at the end always happens, and is solved by a technique commonly called "buttoning off". When you stop, pause for about a full second without moving the gun, then hit the trigger again for about a full second to fill the crater. You want the metal to solidify (the first second), but not cool below red heat. The next second of welding without moving the gun fills in the crater and prevents the weak spot/cold crack that could occur if you wait too long to fill it.

I say "full second", but the timing depends on the material thickness and wire size. Experiment, and you'll sort out how long to pause and how long to button off.

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Re: Is the Chart on my Lincoln MIG Full of Crap?

Postby Artie F. Emm » Sun Apr 23, 2017 8:51 pm

Have you ever used that MIG machine to weld flux core wire? I'm wondering if this might be a polarity issue.
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Re: Is the Chart on my Lincoln MIG Full of Crap?

Postby Chips O'Toole » Sun Apr 23, 2017 8:52 pm

Well this is funny. It turned out the gun cable was loose, so I wasn't getting gas. I don't know why the welds looked lumpy instead of porous, but there you go. I figured it out when I Googled to find out why there was brown powder all around the beads. Usually when I forget to turn the gas on, the resulting weld looks like a sponge.

I got the welder tightened up and started over. I got a much better bead, but still some powder. Cranked the gas up to 35 and reduced it somewhat, but it seems like it won't go away.

I came up with a way to test the gas flow. I put the end of the torch in a glass of water and let fly.

Anyway, I feel a whole lot better. I ran two nice long lap beads, and they're really good compared to my usual mess.

I have never used flux core wire.

Interesting note: I felt little things hitting my legs while I welded. I figured it was bits of spatter. It turns out UV light attracts winged ants. Apparently a swarm has moved in. One ended up on the weld.
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Re: Is the Chart on my Lincoln MIG Full of Crap?

Postby Farmwelding » Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:02 pm

For most short circuit mig I run around 20 CFH at the most
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Re: Is the Chart on my Lincoln MIG Full of Crap?

Postby Chips O'Toole » Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:04 pm

You must know the answer to this question, then. Am I supposed to be getting all that brown residue?
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Re: Is the Chart on my Lincoln MIG Full of Crap?

Postby Farmwelding » Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:20 pm

Chips O'Toole wrote:You must know the answer to this question, then. Am I supposed to be getting all that brown residue?

The only time I have ever had that brown soot is when I tried spray transfer on dirty metal with piss poor settings and the wrong gas mixture. For short circuit I haven't had the brown stuff before though.
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Re: Is the Chart on my Lincoln MIG Full of Crap?

Postby PeteM » Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:27 pm

Hmm. Not really. Try disengaging the drive wheel and checking how much gas flow you have when its running. A lot of regulators spike quickly then drop into the running range.

Maybe its just frivolous, but for hard wire mig, I like a minimum of 25 up to 35. The gas shouldn't blow away the molten pool unless its some kind of crazy high.
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