Discussion in 'The Tool Shed' started by FinoCJ, Dec 2, 2019.
And so are you...
I over design stuff and never had anything fail. But a bridge, I won't attempt that...
Ok here are some pictures to critique.
Here's the current version of the welder i had before mine walked away. (Reason I'm not investing too much in a tool I only use for my hobby)
It has a light that says it is past duty cycle
Mine burnt out along with one switch the guts to the torch and the feeder wheels and anything on the ground cable
20191202_143412 by Joe with a jeep, on Flickr
Back when I was in Upstate New York. The steering ram pulled the wishbone in half.
0702122023a by Joe with a jeep, on Flickr
I used the 7" eraser to bring it to good metal
0703121043 by Joe with a jeep, on Flickr
Started the tractor and pulled it together. With a jack to align everything.
45 bevel and a big tack to check everything is right.
0703121200 by Joe with a jeep, on Flickr
Then a bunch of ugly passes just trying to get heat and puddle, heat and puddle.
0703121203 by Joe with a jeep, on Flickr
Massaged the surface and put in angle iron top and bottom since I could not touch 1/2" steel plate.
0703121946 by Joe with a jeep, on Flickr
I know this isn't perfect but This lasted several years until my parents sold the farm. Now I am interested in what could I have done better in this situation.
I will swallow my pride and post some pics the next time I break out the welder...I took a short weekend course to learn to start welding at the local 'club workshop' years ago before it closed down. It got me started, but i really struggle. I guess I am too much of a theoretical physicist and not enough of a skilled tradesman/craftsman....I have students run calculations about the voltages and currents needed to generate enough heat to melt metal (at a very introductory high school physics level), but that doesn't mean I have any skill. I understand the principles of welding, but when I look at my welds, I mostly just see lots of blobs of non-penetration and too much fill...I am working to slow my movement down as well as slow the wire feed down and its getting better, but basically, I suck...I usually end up stitch welding in little 1" beads as I cannot follow a straight line joint for any distance. For whatever reason, I cannot see anything when welding - I use an auto darkening helmet, but honestly feel like I am welding blind, so I don't venture very far from where I started the weld). Anyway...I do often get blobs of weld connected by thin sections that miss the joint. I do think that often comes from too fast a wire feed and it causes my hand/gun to jump around....One suggestion has been to have a bigger, wider joint gap. I have a tendency to make a tight joint when butting the pieces up against one another - so I end up welding 'on top' of the joint rather than between the two pieces (when I first did some welding, I cut across my welds afterwards and saw pretty easily the line separating the two pieces below the where the weld penetrated (and this is on 1/8" stuff). I try now to look for the discoloration on the backside of the metal as a way to see if there was much heat penetration. Anyway, when I open the joint up a bit, I have trouble keeping a good consistent arc, and feel like I am just getting blobular transfer of metal. As they say, it just takes practice, and for some of us, lots more than others...But I don't feel like I am improving much, so its frustrating....
Completely fair point, but just trying to learn (both from a theory and a skill standpoint)....I see people do this trick, and they get a nice first bead down in the bottom of the joint - but it doesn't fill the joint, and then lay the second one down, and while its on top of the first bead, its still in the joint and the bead top is slightly above the work surface. Of course, when i try it, the entire joint gets filled - often with blobular, porous weld, and I have to grind out some of the welded joint before the second pass (thus the porosity of the first weld is obvious). Often, this second weld (on top of the partially ground out first weld) is much better - but the reality is the bottom of the joint is usually kind of weak. Now, nothing I have welded to date is all that critical in terms of safety (like steering components etc) - and the reality is maybe I never will. But still, I would love to be able to say weld a motor mount on to a frame, or modify and move a shock mount, or even repair a frame crack or box in a frame. And possibly some of these ideas like dual passes etc, or even just trying to weld thicker material is completely impractical given my skill level - no reason to try and hit a curve ball if you can't hit a ball off a tee - but we do this for fun and some learning and a bit of dreaming....what else am I going to do...ski more?
Self-taught, the biggest single thing I've learned about improving my stick welding was to get my face right down close and watch what was going on in the puddle. Waving an electrode at arm's length wasn't working, no matter how many books I read about technique.
With progressive lens glasses, and helmet window fogging, reflections from sunlight, etcetera, I have to consciously work at maintaining position for clear close-up vision. But it is well worth it for the results. When I learned to see the weld intimately, I could adjust my movements to really put the heat in the right places in the right amounts to keep it all "wet."
Don’t ski more. Welding is more fun.
I agree with Pete. Get your face right in there. The clear outer lenses on welding helmets are cheap. I go through them like crazy because they get charred from spatter. My eyes are usually 6-8” from the weld. If you can’t see what is happening in the puddle, that might be most of your problem. Shade 10 is a good starting point.
Use two hands and prop them against something for stability.
Another trick: before you start welding, position your body and hands where you’re going to start welding, then do a dry run (go through the motions of the whole weld) to make sure you’ll be comfortable and mobile through the whole bead you’re planning. This eliminates any hang ups, over reaches, or visual obstructions. Once you do the dry run, go back to the starting position, flip your mask down, and since the path is already in your muscle memory, you can concentrate more on the weld itself and less on where you’re going.
Take a few hours and some scrap and just practice, practice, practice.
James - pick a project, load up your welder and project... Come down for a day and I'll get you going on the basics. I've taught tons of folks to weld in a few days. I've found that once you 'SEE' what folks are talking about and 'EXPERIENCE' what the changes in settings do - logical folks can clean it up and apply it fine. And I have lots of scrap to play with and practice welding on
If I get a spare day in the spring - maybe I'll make you buy lunch and some beer and come up and work with you at your place.
I'll strongly second ITLKSEZ on stable and free working position.
I have found it pays back big-time to be well braced, feet planted, hip resting against the bench, both hands steering the rod from steady rests, etcetera.
It also made a huge improvement when I realized the weight and motion of the hanging electrode cable was disrupting my fine movements. I replaced the last six feet with a lighter gauge wire, and now I always make sure it is draped over something so I have no excess weight hanging.
Burning a few hundred pounds of rod on my bridge made me a better dubber!
James, you mentioned an auto-darkening helmet and not being able to see. I am not sure what brand you have, but there is a HUGE difference between a HF helmet and say a Miller. Treat yourself to a good quality helmet or ask for one from the in-laws for Christmas or something if you don't have one already. Being able to see what you're doing sure helps.
Also, I am not sure if you mentioned or previously mentioned whether you are using flux core or shielding gas? You will find a vast difference in the quality of your welds using shielding gas as opposed to flux core as well.
After those two, Chuck's lunch offer is probably a really good deal as seeing someone else work and having them see what you are doing can be invaluable.
All excellent points! Just remember don't expect to get good results if the machine isn't capable of producing enough amps for the welding you're try to do.
Porous weld....are you using solid core, and shield gas? Is the gas getting blown away?
I am set up to use a bottle, but I have sort of gone to only using flux core....you probably cannot get pretty welds with flux core, but my welds were ugly either way, and its kind of a PITA (and expensive) to get my bottle refilled if its not summer time (when I am off work). I don't like using gas for practice etc, and I also have the expensive habit of forgetting to turn the gas off and I end up wasting most of it (and my money). Most of what I am welding isn't structural enough that strength or failure is a concern, and I am going to have to grind the eff out of anyway to make it look decent. Additionally, I usually weld outstide (driveway) most of the time so I just use the flux core - I try not to weld on windy days, but..... Its an issue for sure....but for practice with figuring out wire speed, and developing some hand movement skills and feel, it should be okay. I guess a big question would be whether you can properly see the weld pool - its much less 'stable' or visible with flux core as it seems to come and go from view (I assume due to it splattering).
Ok. Just my suggestion... Commit to the gas and weld in the garage.
If you’re going through too much gas, you may have it cranked up too high. You don’t need much gas flow when there is no wind. I typically go through a 172CF tank ($73.80 after tax and fees at last bottle swap last month) per 33# of wire. That’s about a year’s worth of welding for me, and I weld a fair amount. You may also want to find/fix your leaks if your gas leaks out when you forget to shut the tank. I don’t know how airtight your garage is, but a room full of inert gas will make you terminally sleepy.
There’s nothing wrong with flux core, but it has its place, and learning the basics of welding isn’t really its forte. It is hard to see what’s going on in the puddle when half of the puddle you’re seeing is molten flux. It’s also hard to hear a proper spray pattern when it’s burping and burbling through flux.
Once you get the basics down, then you’ll find it much easier to switch back to flux core, but chances are you’ll never look back.
Cancel your ski plans this weekend and get out there and practice!
right next to that new car my wife has...I need to visit the small workshop thread....
Just got back from Montana on Sunday - headed back on Friday. Nothing is happening on any projects around here (Denver) for a bit....although I hope to get my refurbed speedo installed back in the jeep this week.
I remember a bridge like that across the Mulberry River in NW Arkansas when I was a kid...the diagonal braces would start whipping when we drove across it in my Grandpa's pickup truck.
Here is just one example of some parts I rebuilt/replaced. This bridge was still in service on a town road, carrying loaded propane trucks and so forth.
I drape the electrode cable over and around my neck............which only leaves a few feet of slack which hardly weighs anything. And getting your face into the burn't fumes is not overly healthy........I position myself crosswind when outside while still shielding the wind from moving the shield away and I also have a little 12 v suctioned cuped fan that I blow in behind me that keeps those nasty fumes from getting inside the hat......as you can only hold your breath for so long!
I'm not a big fan of inhaling fumes either.......that's why sometimes stick welding is preferable (if it's an option) since it's easier to take care of fumes.
TIG welding has no fumes
when the wire and heat are right it sounds like frying eggs.
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