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Old 08-01-2013, 01:32 PM   #1
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Default Getting back into welding.

well, this one is a long time coming. i used to be a very good welder in high school, mainly big iron projects since that was what we needed at home.

one project was my main work table. 48"x48"x1.5" steel top, 3"x5" 3/8" thick wall legs. this was a test from my dad (and nearly gave the metals teacher a heart attack) who was an accredited welder. he wanted a table that we could drill and tap for jigging and material bending.

here's a shot of the finished product, my dad's lay-up table in the background (forgive the mess). the legs are welded by 3 stacked beads of 7014 rod, full wrap around on the leg. still haven't tried to break it.



well, a couple years later, had my hand injury. this was pretty catastrophic in regards to welding. nerve damage and some tremor made it very hard to lay a bead down. so for a few years, i just accepted defeat.

fast forward to last week. namely, the 3 year anniversary of my father's death. i was cleaning out his scrap pile in the grove and found some things he had abandoned long ago. brought back the memories of learning to weld as a kid and i decided to fire up the old marquette and give it another go. then, it just started coming together after a couple pound of rod. couple more pounds of rod and i was ready to make up a typical right angle joint that i had done many times for him in the past.

5/16 7014, 120 amps. first picture shows a start-stop at the end (i was an idiot) while the second shows a full length bead. (ignore the tests on the top piece, dad had some really exotic rods laying around, turns out they are not kind....that and 6011 rods....)





these aren't perfect...but for a couple days of getting back in the groove, i'm happy. next up is figuring out my most common rod, the 6011. 6011's and i have never quite seen eye to eye, but i have a ton of them and they work well enough on repair work.
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Old 08-01-2013, 02:26 PM   #2
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Default Re: Getting back into welding.

6010-6013 rods are just tough to weld with period. They are more of a penetrating rod than a "show-off" rod. Those welds look great! Welding is just like riding a bike, you can't really ever forget how to weld. Just one tip I've learned when using those penetrating rods, is to use a whip and pause motion. See the puddle form, move out of the puddle and then almost go right back to the now hardened puddle and repeat.

Looks like you're dragging the 7014 rod. Your father taught you well. Crank it up and let it burn!!
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Old 08-01-2013, 02:43 PM   #3
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Default Re: Getting back into welding.

i'll give the whip method a try probably tonight. i know that the are a more purpose rod than finish, dad called 6011's "shit-cutters" and rightfully so. the 7014's have always been my go to rod, strong and they look great when done well.

the 120 is a lot lower than i usually went at, i would typically work at 150-170 on the thicker stuff, but i was getting great penetration on the 1/4" at 120, so i rolled with it. i have some 1/2" stock laying around somewhere, the next project is probably going to be a swing out spare carrier for my truck if i can find some nice mating pipe and rod to form the hinge. i do have some of the 3"x5" 3/8" wall tube left over, may use that for the swing arm itself.

one of the weird ones i accidentally picked out of the rod guard was a hard surfacing rod. man, are those a trip. the fill metal is on the outside, while the shield gas and slag producing fill are on the inside. basically inside out from a normal rod. figured out pretty quick if you try to weld anything together with them, it will not work, but do a hot peen after laying the bead, the base metal will go first. we used those on digger points to save ripping them off every year.

also have a few mystery rods with no markings at all. i think they are for stainless, but don't have any to test them on.
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Old 05-02-2015, 05:15 PM   #4
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Default Re: Getting back into welding.

N-N-NECROTHREAD.

a couple years have passed since i posted this and things have changed a bit here. went from a full-time caretaker for my mother who is no longer with us, and moved onto an excavating company. well sort of. the excavating company didn't pan out (i hold nothing against them, or they me, just didn't fit) and moved onto a metal shop. on friday they handed me a mig gun, and this stuff started to to come back. once i figured out i was trying to push the mig gun into the joint (turns out, you don't need to do that and things generally work better if you don't), i started getting back in the groove. i do not take pictures at work, so none of those.

one thing became very apparent. auto-darkening is exactly as good as it sounds. welding by braille with mig is near impossible, and the split second i used for a flip on stick that didn't matter in the slightest there means inches of wire on a production mig machine. so that was change one. the market is flooded with them, though reading around, i couldn't really find too much bad about my the masterforce i bought. masterforce is a store brand by menard's, i've had great results with other tools, and when things haven't gone as well, getting a replacement is stress free. and it was 130.



then i set to fiddle with it. amped up the stick welder until it sounded a little angry (150 amps if i remember right) and started with some 6011. forgot to take pictures, and video would look like an idiot making random sparks for about 5 minutes, but the auto lens never hiccuped, and overall happy with it. then i made some 6011 look about as good as you can really ask out of a fast freeze rod. pulled out the trusty 7014's and then this happened.



not bad for short sleeves, being rusty, and a mild fire that may or may not have involved my shoe.
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Old 05-05-2015, 07:38 PM   #5
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Default Re: Getting back into welding.

small update

getting the hang of mig welding, the biggest thing for me was turning the feed rate down a bit. the previous user had it set high to grind out parts very quickly. turned it down just a hair and it is now at about the speed i want to be at.

the masterforce hood is also working super well. i turned the sensitivity down a bit so the factory lights wouldn't trip it, and lowered the after weld delay. the grind feature (holds at the resting shade, in this case 4) turns out to be a not so useful. the switch is on the inside of the hood, and pretty hard to reach without taking it off. also started wearing a bandanna around my neck with it today. the hood is very open on the bottom to allow for easy breathing, but this is a double edge sword. the very open bottom was allowing light in, so in some positions i would end up staring at my reflection. the bandanna fixed it and it still breathes well. have it set at shade 10 at work, i sometimes jack it up to 11 or 12 at home with the high amperages i usually run here.

the welder at work is an old reliable hobart. thing is probably double my age and runs like a champ. been welding mild steel only with a praxair argon-co2 mix. the tweco gun could use a new nozzle, but beyond that, no complaint on the machine. now that i have it set to where it works well for me, i'm ahead on parts by a fairly large margin.

one thing i guess should have known coming in is that the mig process is much cleaner than stick. if i hose my table with anti-splatter, there is little clean-up at the end of the day other than the random bits of excess wire. at home i have a designated table that i made last summer for welding, there's too much splatter and slag to really use my main table. also rod warm up tracks are a pain to clean up.

the forney gloves suck for feeling the trigger, i use the left hand forney glove for holding parts or torch support, and then a clc work glove on my right hand for torch feel with a little splatter protection. the gloves are an upgrade item at the moment, but i'll probably end up running these into the ground and using them for grinding after upgrading.
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Old 05-07-2015, 02:12 PM   #6
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Default Re: Getting back into welding.

got a little advice from the veteran guys. may have this mig thing figured out.



EDIT: this picture explains about nothing. that's all 1/4" mild steel. and i figured out the problem with some help. i was thinking of the wire as a really small rod, and running the machine too cold. cranked it and turned the feed up to compensate, then used a back whip method. finally welds that don't look terrible.

Last edited by ghtpdm5; 05-07-2015 at 10:25 PM.
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Old 05-08-2015, 12:48 PM   #7
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Default Re: Getting back into welding.

new ppe and my ugly mug.

the flame retardant shirt was a day one need, but i'm cheap and had a bunch of old sweatshirts. the gloves are tillman to replace the tortured forney gloves. also, the tillman's are thinner to feel the trigger a bit better.

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Old 05-29-2015, 04:43 PM   #8
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Default Re: Getting back into welding.

spent a lot of quality time with the tig at work this week. i had always planned on getting something more capable on thinner material for the shop, think i may just go tig. a lot of the things i do at work are mig, in fact the majority of it is, but pricing things out, a machine that does a wider variety of materials for home use, tig is plotting out better on paper, as long as i don't get hosed by only having single phase service.

the other option isn't really a terrible one by any means. just get a solid mig machine (would like to take the gimpy one from work actually, its not great for production, but would serve me well) and a spool gun. the real suck factor there is swapping between metals. i end up doing mild, stainless, and aluminum...sometimes all in the same day. no matter how you slice it, its a large amount of wire laying around and a lot of spool changes. the up shot there is the learning curve is nil, just a matter of setting the machine.

the down shot of tig is the learning curve. most of the things i work on, i can take off and put on my big tables or the dedicated welding table and position it where i want, but there's still the matter of just putting in hours to get the method down. still going to have fill wire laying around, but its not as much of a pain to change out as the mig can be. when its midnight and your brain starts to glitch, those wire spools are a menace.

but pretty much any way i go, going to have to learn to take breaks from time to time to avoid blowing up the breaker again. the old marquette doesn't seem to have any appreciable duty cycle limit, dad blew up the breaker (and some other welders...full on meltdown) a few times, i've done it once. most of the consumer welding units are not built for this sort of use i know, just going to be an adjustment.

Last edited by ghtpdm5; 05-29-2015 at 04:49 PM.
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Old 05-29-2015, 08:02 PM   #9
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Default Re: Getting back into welding.

and found the sample from yesterday. its not the best looking thing, but it won't break easily, which is a start. the first step is making something hold, the pretty comes later. i could have increased the bead size, and my rhythm just isn't there yet.



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Old 05-30-2015, 05:22 AM   #10
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Default Re: Getting back into welding.

Welding is a great skill to have. I was also fortunate enough to be shown how to weld among other things (running torchs, press break.. Ext) at a young age.


Hoping to pass the same LIFE skills onto my kids..What happened to good old fashion hands on dirty shop learning?

No wonder America is so lazy.
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Old 05-30-2015, 08:24 AM   #11
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Default Re: Getting back into welding.

my dad pretty much jumped for joy when i said i wanted to learn to weld when i was a teenager. then he went to find the biggest chucks of iron in the scrap pile, sat me down with a few pounds of rod, and told me to weld until i hated it. after a couple hours, i was chucking spent rod pretty hard. he came back and gave me some tips based on the "welds" i was laying (they were really crap). rinse and repeat for a few weeks until i could lay something that would hold and didn't look like absolute crap.

the shop teacher in high school tried to teach me mig, it was a losing effort because i brought in my own rod and a 7 inch grinder with a cup brush for cleanup lol. also learned the basics of a mill and lathe, along with sheet metal work. never been the biggest fan of sheet metal.

this job, the boss has seemed to figure out the trick of laying a pile of parts in front of me, then leaving me alone until i call or say i'm done. its dirty work, even with laser cut parts, and burning yourself isn't the most fun thing in the world. a lot of people my age (28 ) are interested in the biggest return for the least work. little do they understand that the sense of accomplishment you get from making something is a huge reward mentally.

Last edited by ghtpdm5; 05-30-2015 at 09:12 AM.
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Old 06-11-2015, 06:18 PM   #12
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yesterday was a good day.

EDIT: really good at posting pictures in this thread without context. the edge you can see is 10 gauge mild, going into a 1/4" mild base plate. that's a wire feed weld, the tig and i are still having issues, mostly that i suck. this is taken before clean up, at home i'd slap the wire cup brush on the grinder, but unless i bring the thing in, i don't have an equivalent at work. i do have a nice metabo, which i sincerely hope has a solid warrantee because that thing is the welding pool village bike (i'm not a fan of it being that, but it's always out and ready to roll), but it is setup for sanding disks.

that and my cup brush grinder is the 7 inch dewalt, i can't count the times it has either tried to kill the breaker or me. i have an old makita, but the arbor is too small for my favorite brush, and the 4 1/2" dewalt needs a rebuild, it sort of showed up in my power tool box one day and i just don't question how it got there.

also kind of nuked the whole no pictures at work thing, i try to take pictures that give about no information about what i actually make.

also, 3 weeks, 50+ pounds of wire. laser cut parts make things really easy for setup.

Last edited by ghtpdm5; 06-11-2015 at 11:48 PM.
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