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View Full Version : New to welding - trying to learn MIG



GEM
12-05-2005, 11:36 PM
Hi all,

I just picked up an HH180 for some hobby/light repair work and am eager to get started. While I have found a wealth of information here and elsewhere on the Internet and have a co-worker who is an experienced welder who is willing to mentor me a bit, I want to learn as much as I can before getting started. I found this offer: .http://www.weldingsecretsrevealed.com/ablewise/uid=723ghrt87fhfv84hjf9q2j2021hjf0w/. It looks almost too good to be true so I'm skeptical. Does anyone have any experience with this outfit? They are offering far more than just MIG info but that's ok as I wouldn't mind learning about other processes as well even though I don't yet have the equipment. If you have other learning sources that you could recommend please share.

Thanks in advance,

Gary

earthquake5683
12-05-2005, 11:46 PM
I have never seen those, but from the appearance of the website I wouldnt waste your money. Get a good book and the only thing that will improve your welds is time (practice).

Just my .02

Bowtieman31
12-06-2005, 12:42 AM
I agree with earthquake. Save your money.

Enroll in a welding class through your community college or skills center. You'd be surprised how much you can learn in one semester or one quarter. In addition to the class, you need to practice, practice, practice....

Get to know your machine, keep it well serviced and it will last many, many years.

Good luck :D

GEM
12-06-2005, 01:02 PM
Thanks guys, I appreciate the guidance. I have been looking at a college course and of course I have my 'mentor' here as well. I've done as much reading as I can at this point so I'm going to fire it up on some scrap I have and just get the feel of it.

BillC
12-06-2005, 03:02 PM
Gary,

Spend a few minutes with your mentor and then just start laying beads. The classic exercise for beginners is to build up a plate. Start with a plate of steel 6x6 or so and lay a stringer on the top along one edge. Lay the next bead right on the toe of the previous weld. Keep repeating until the plate is full, then turn the plate 90 degrees and start again. You will know when you are making good welds as the buidlup shjould be very uniform with no pits or holes. This is a commonly performed repair for plates and shafts.

Regards,

MAC702
12-06-2005, 05:24 PM
www.millerwelds.com has several downloadable .pdf files as well as a store for buying some good books. I recommend the starter kit which has some excellent texts, plus slide rules for the different processes (for picking fillers/amps, etc.) and a coupon for a free jacket with a new MIG purchase,all for less than $30.

Timinmb
12-06-2005, 08:53 PM
"...find killer techniques that no one else has".

Sounds like the same pitch they make for martial arts books and videos. If they are so good, why doesn't anyone else know about them?

Also, maybe this Pat guy (the author) has a lot of knowledge and experience, maybe he is a fabricator of great renound, but he says nothing of his credentials. :confused:

I'd love to see dvd's that illustrate welding and metal fab techniques, but I'd like to hear that they are good before buying them.

Broccoli1
12-06-2005, 09:09 PM
"...find killer techniques that no one else has".

Sounds like the same pitch they make for martial arts books and videos. If they are so good, why doesn't anyone else know about them?

I was thinking along the same lines: the videos may be a good deal but the snake oil pitch turned me off.


Save yourself some cash and get at it, check in here with pics and once you've got a few beads down/ projects you can see if you want to get the videos or take a class.

GEM
12-06-2005, 09:54 PM
Wow, thanks guys - I really appreciate the coaching and encouragement. I came home from work this evening and just couldn't resist trying a few beads on some 1/8" flat stock with some .030 flux core wire. The first couple beads were pretty ugly but after a half dozen I was able to lay down what appears to be a pretty good bead with appropriate penetration as compared with photos I've studied. I'll take them to my mentor for inspection tomorrow ;)

I'll work on the plate building exercise mentioned above - that sounds like a great place to start to work on technique and consistency. I'm going to start out just burning up the sample flux core then get some solid wire to try with gas. I have a list of little starter projects (even a couple simple Christmas gifts for my family) and am looking forward to getting started!

Thanks again - keep the suggestions coming!

Broccoli1
12-06-2005, 10:03 PM
Now ya done it :D Your hooked! It is quite addicting

GEM
12-06-2005, 10:14 PM
www.millerwelds.com has several downloadable .pdf files as well as a store for buying some good books. I recommend the starter kit which has some excellent texts, plus slide rules for the different processes (for picking fillers/amps, etc.) and a coupon for a free jacket with a new MIG purchase,all for less than $30.

Thanks Mac - I'm checking that out now. I think the welder vendors will have more credible educational material than other placed on the Internet so I'll take your recommendation.

GEM
12-06-2005, 10:17 PM
Now ya done it :D Your hooked! It is quite addicting


Yup - I have all kinds of ideas for my new found hobby! I've always wanted to learn how to weld so I'm pumped. :D

BillC
12-07-2005, 06:34 AM
Gary,

You will probably want to weld a strip of steel to the plate to act as a handle. Also, don't be afraid to cool the plate off in a bucket of water when it starts to get too hot... You don't want to quench real parts but it is a fine way to keep the plate cool enough to keep practicing...

Also, watch your duty cycle.

Have Fun!

GEM
12-07-2005, 12:59 PM
Good idea on the handle, Bill. I'll get to work on that exercise. It was -4*F here this morning so the garage is a little cold to work in right now :eek: .

GEM
12-08-2005, 06:18 PM
OK guys ..... I've been doing the plate build exercise as Bill suggested and I'm getting the hang of it. I was able to put down some pretty nice beads this evening so I tried a couple on a freish piece of 1/4" and they turned out really well, penetration looks good, good 'wet out', really getting the feel for how to work the weld pool. However, I seemd to have trashed my contact tip by welding the hole shut! I suspect I am simply too close to the weld pool so my guess is I need to back off and potentially nudge the feed rate up, correct? Any other suggestions?

This is just way too cool. Just sorry I didn't pick it up earlier in life! Tomorrow I'm off to the shop to pick up some tips and solid wire so I can try it with gas.

Broccoli1
12-08-2005, 06:29 PM
GEM,
Sorry to inform you but you will only get co-dependent support from this bunch- No interventions to stop the addiction you have. Subscribing to these types of forums is also not condusive to your bank account, as most subscribers can attest to.

GEM
12-08-2005, 06:44 PM
Hey Broc,

Trust me - this forum is WAY cheaper than the **Ford Powerstroke** forum I joined! :D Well, at least so far. I know how these things go. My family thinks I'm pretty weird when I come running in from the garage to show them my "best bead yet!" At least at some point with this hobby I'll be able to make something for them.

So any advice on my welding tip problem? Have I assessed the situation accurately?

Broccoli1
12-08-2005, 06:56 PM
Hey Broc,

Trust me - this forum is WAY cheaper than the **Ford Powerstroke** forum I joined! :D Well, at least so far. I know how these things go. My family thinks I'm pretty weird when I come running in from the garage to show them my "best bead yet!" At least at some point with this hobby I'll be able to make something for them.


So any advice on my welding tip problem? Have I assessed the situation accurately?

Sorry GEM, I'm still a newby as well but from what I gathered you are using Fluxcore and that tends to put a hurtin' on the tips, from the splatter, more than running Solid wire and gas. Just wait till ya start running the gas.
I did the fluxcore once-that was enough. No need for me.

GEM
12-08-2005, 07:01 PM
Yup, just running the flux core sample spool that came with the unit. During my practice session tomorrow I'll try backing off and turning up the wire speed if necessary. Then I'll turn on the gas with some solid wire :D

BillC
12-08-2005, 08:31 PM
Hey Broc,

Trust me - this forum is WAY cheaper than the **Ford Powerstroke** forum I joined! :D Well, at least so far. I know how these things go. My family thinks I'm pretty weird when I come running in from the garage to show them my "best bead yet!" At least at some point with this hobby I'll be able to make something for them.

So any advice on my welding tip problem? Have I assessed the situation accurately?On this site the most common question is "what welder should I buy?" On the Ford Powerstroke forum it is probably "why does my engine keep stalling?" I've replace the cam position sensor twice so far on my 2000 F250, and at 130,000 miles I am about to buy one for the glovebox... Other than that a great truck!

Back to the subject... I'm not an expert on MIG, but your contact tip to work should be around 3/8 inch. I think that you are right on that accidentally decreasing that can lead to overheating and sticking.

Regards,

GEM
12-08-2005, 09:56 PM
Bill,

Just one CPS for me so far. And the most popular question over there is "how do I make 600 HP with a Powerstroke?" I'm only at about 325 HP or so but that's plenty as I don't need to break anything else ;)

3/8" off the work - yeah I caught my self way closer than that so I'm sure that was the cause. I did get a nice, even bead though - finally. A little more practice and I'll be ready to try some joints. I'm hoping to make a coat rack for my daughter from horseshoes off her horse and a cast iron skillet hanger for my wife (which may well end up in the cabin ;) ). Christmas is close but I might be able to manage these couple of simple projects in time.

Thanks!

mikeatrpi
12-09-2005, 06:44 AM
You can spray Pam on the tip / nozzle to keep the spatter from sticking too bad. Periodically you'll have to recoat.

GEM
12-09-2005, 10:39 AM
Thanks for the tip Mike. I was going to pick up some anti-spatter today but maybe I'll just steal a little PAM from the kitchen ;)

Broccoli1
12-09-2005, 10:52 AM
Thanks for the tip Mike. I was going to pick up some anti-spatter today but maybe I'll just steal a little PAM from the kitchen ;)

See, your addiction has lead you to a life of crime already.
:D

GEM
12-09-2005, 07:51 PM
That's good, Ed!

I tried some gas this evening and wow, what a difference! I turned out my first useful project - just some 1/4" round stock bent into some hooks and tacked onto a piece of angle iron. I'm going to put it up on the end of a shelf in the garage to hang exention cords on. I just had some large bike hanging hooks screwed into the wood and one of them gave way so this will work much better. Next project: a short stand for my wood stove so I can get it up off the ground when we go elk hunting later this month. It's a M1941 army surplus stove with a flat bottom that burns wood or diesel, works perfect for a wall tent but needs to be up off the ground about 12". That'll be good practice for my MIG cart - which I've quickly learned is another project I need to ASAP.

Oh, and my buddy found out I'm learning how to weld so he has a list of stuff he needs fixed up on his trailers and such. Just simple stuff, nothing structural. Looks like it's starting! :cool:

Later,

GM

PS: my wife was all out of PAM anyway so I never actually carried out the crime! :D

Broccoli1
12-09-2005, 08:08 PM
Fiiiiiiine!- now your already bending metal- there's just no hope for ya Gem :D

Have a good weekend.

Phewzer
12-10-2005, 10:56 AM
If I foul a tip, I take my finishing grinder, with tip still in place, and knock off just a little bit off the end.
I can run many spools of wire through 1 tip, before having to change.

Sparkeee24
12-10-2005, 03:23 PM
Howdy Howdy! Usually I just file the tip a bit. and it will work like new for a few filings. also, I don't remember, but tip distance in reference to nozzle length is different for globular transfer, short circuit transfer, spray transfer, and flux cored / coated gmaw. This doesn't really affect me so much, I like my contact tip recessed about 3/16" below the level of the nozzle. Just some things to possibly consider as well. Brian Lee Sparkeee24

GEM
12-11-2005, 08:46 PM
Thanks for the 'tips' guys (ok, bad pun). Keep 'em coming, I'm learning!

To gain some practical experience I made a stand for my wood/diesel stove over the weekend using angle iron and some square stock. Really gave me some good practice in different positions and different material thicknesses and I wound up with a useful item that doesn't look half bad. I also made up some brackets to hang my lanterns from the center pole in the cabin tent. A couple more small projects and I'll be comfortable tackling some accessory modifications on my trailer I've been wanting to get done for a while now.

Thanks for the help in getting me started!