When it comes to welding, there are various things you need to take into account. Whether you’re just getting warmed up or you’re fixing the crackling mess that shoots up from your welder, you will need a reliable guide to creating clean, strong welds!
But, for starters, you will need a good, powerful welding machine that can take on high frequencies. It’s best to read trust-worthy reviews first before you decide which welding machine fits your welding style, like the opinion on Everlast welders. Their honest reviews will have you wanting your hands on their most praised welders.
#1: Maximize your power supply.
If you want to get the most out of your welding machine, you need to power it up. Getting the needed power is safely doable by checking the plate on the machine. If it’s a 120V machine, the amp breaker should be set to 20. It’s advisable not to use extension cords. Instead, heavy gauge cords must be used to reduce the drop in voltage.
#2: Take into account the thickness of the material.
Ensure that the welding process, as well as the electrode size, is appropriate for the material you will work on. A gas-shielded welding machine like GMAW works best on a 16-gauge material.
However, most 120-volt machines cannot weld adequately on steel over ⅛” thick unless they use an FCAW. If you’re trying to weld steel over ⅛” thick with a 120V machine, you will have to use a flux core to create a good weld.
Though, the difficulty in using flux core on thinner materials is arduous as increased input of heat creates melted sizable holes in your weld. Therefore, GMAW makes an ideal choice for welding thinner materials as the process runs slightly cooler.
In contrast, a welding machine with 220V input and an amp output of 175 or higher is more adept at welding materials that are thicker.
#3: Set the right polarity.
Which welding process do you run, Cored Wire Arc Welding (FCAW) or Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)? When operating GMAW, a MIG machine will need a shielding gas. Also, the electrode is copper colored, with ER70S6 being the most common. Ensure that the machine polarity is electrode positive.
A flux-cored wire electrode such as E71t wire is generally used in FCAW-running MIG machines. This wire is usually silver in color and doesn’t need more gas. More importantly, make sure the machine polarity is set to electrode negative (DC). Setting it inaccurately will cause the process to fail.
#4: Small electrodes for thin metals.
The goal with smaller electrodes is to make sure that the electrode is capable of melting at the right rate while carrying out as much current to your weld. Small electrodes melt when used on thin metals.
However, heavy electrodes used on thin metals can lead to complications in the process; the base metal may have already warped or liquefied by the time the electrode has melted correctly. Reversely, light electrodes used on thick metals can lead to the electrodes being burned through.
#5: Inspect the contact tip.
The contact tip of the welding lead may seem trivial, but a lot of welding difficulties stemmed from working with worn-out welding tips. Contact tips carry an important role; they transfer electric current to the welding wire so it can produce an arc that fuses metals together. That’s why it’s crucial to check the tip of the welding lead regularly.
Also, ensure that the size of the contact tip is the right fit for the wire you use and that the tip is tightly secured in place.
#6: Prepare the gas for GMAW.
For GMAW, the gas tank valve should be opened halfway only. Opening it all the way will close the valve. The label on the bottle should indicate the gas type, so make sure you check it. GMAW generally uses a mixture of 25% CO2 and 75% Argon. At times, pure CO2 gas is used on old, low-carbon steel.
Using other types of gas may cause undesirable results. The regulator will establish the output pressure of the gas. A change in the pressure goes unnoticeable except if you turn on the machine and let some gas flow. At this stage, the output pressure is around 15-22 cfh if we’re working on mild steel.
#7: Test the settings before the actual welding.
Take your weld to the test to see if the welding settings provide you with sufficient penetration and fusion in the metal.
Change the welding settings if you see cracks on your welds under pressure. You may modify or change your technique if necessary.
While you aim for a strong weld, it’s also important to learn how to do it safely. In addition to the guides listed above, ensure that you are using the right welding machine, along with the correct protective gear. Remember, the more practice you do, the better you become at creating strong welds!
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