1 2
Crackers Reader
12/26/16 8:27 a.m.

Acetone is overkill IMO. As long as you have bare shiny metal you shouldn't have any problems welding mild steel.

However on the shiny metal subject, you're going to need to add an angle grinder to that list. Along with some cut off wheels, and a rubber backing pad for fiber grinding/sanding discs.

A dedicated welding table is great, but unnecessary. The only real advantage to a proper table is the ability to clamp stuff to the middle of the table. I've personally gone back and forth on getting one of those Horror Freight tables, I just haven't had a use for one that was worth taking up my super limited storage space.

NOHOME PowerDork
12/26/16 9:09 a.m.

Congrats on the new welder. You will soon wonder how people live without them.

The good news is that it came without a cart. That means that your first project can be the desgin and fabrication of said cart. Do a bit of research on the net before you commit since a good welding cart can be a big help in keeping your welding gear in one place. You are going to end up with a lot of vice grips and grinders and whatnot, if you plan ahead you can house all this in one cart.

You just can not be too clean when welding, but to be honest, the MIG will let you get away with murder compared to TIG. Don't forget that the backside cleanliness matters as much as the front.

I read a suggestion to use compressed air to cool the weld and avoid warping. Not sure I would agree with this technique. In order to visualize what a weld bead does when cooling, imagine a two sheets of paper butted up to each-other. Now put your hand over the two so that you span the point where they join. Now while keeping pressure on both pieces of paper, scrunch you fingers together. This will gather the paper up and make it crinkle. A blob of molten weld wire does much the same thing. The compressed air mght make it freeze sooner and increase the effect. This is actually how a shrinking disc works.

Rufledt UltraDork
12/26/16 3:21 p.m.

Thanks for the tips! I was paging through some welding cart ideas and found a couple that looked like the cart could serve as a (small) mobile welding table as well. I wonder if I could have a fold down table kind of thing similar to my fold out work benches but on the side of the welding cart to give me a small metal surface that stores away. I also saw one with an extension cord and a 110v outlet build in like some AV carts at school, I suppose that is for powering the grinders? I only have this one welder and no plans to get another, so welder on top and storage under would work.

I had a question about that, I've seen some carts where the welder is underneath the top. Is that OK from a cooling perspective? I know the fan is in the back, but it doesn't look common so there must be some reason. Also I would have to design it somehow that I could open the side door on the welder. I'm mostly looking to maximize utility in a small package, or at least one that can be stored in as little space as possible.

Crackers Reader
12/26/16 9:02 p.m.

I find having a work surface on the top of the welding cart to be very useful. I don't have a dedicated cart since 99% of my welding is done on/near a bench, but I use an old cafeteria cart to roll everything around on. I just put everthing on the lower shelf and use the top as a work surface/tool caddy.

Only obvious problem with a top shelf is it can keep the side door from opening far enough to hold itself open which makes changing the wire a PITA, but an acceptable trade off for the added convenience.

Works well for me YMMV.

Rufledt UberDork
2/5/17 11:01 p.m.

Ok the welder is good to go and I ran some noob beads today on a piece of 1/4" plate. First i used a flapper disk and got down to bare metal, then ran a couple beads with the settings at the recommended settings as per the door chart. This is an eastwood mig 175 which is 220v, using the .030 wire that came with the welder:

Settings aside, i believe i went way too fast.

Then I slowed down a bit, tried to keep the angle of the gun a little better, maintain a small stickout, try the loop pattern i see everybody using etc..:

Still a lot of spatter. Lots more than I expected. Also from what i've seen on the "how noobs screw up mig welding" videos, the pointed chevron looking V's and triangle cross section i'm supposedly still going way too fast, correct? I trust the people know what they're doing, but i don't trust that i've accurately interpreted what they are saying enough to diagnose my welds.

I then started messing with settings and trying to work on consistency in gun movement, and here is the final results of the brief session (first welds on bottom of pic, last welds on top of pic):

By the end i turned the voltage down from the recomended setting a notch and a half (welder has infinitely variable voltage settings, don't know if that's helpful). I tried to go slower and the ridges are less pointed, though the picture perspective kind of makes it look more pointed than a bird's eye view does. The last couple from when i started turning voltage down also didn't have undercutting at the end of the weld like some of the earlier ones. I also didn't do any cleanup after other than running it under some water to cool it down, which resulted in a little surface rust. The massive splatter at the beginning reduced considerably by the last weld i did (1.5 notches below recommended voltage setting, roughly the recommended wire feed setting). There was some spatter around the top weld, but it fell off easily when touched, the spatter in the middle and bottom welds is stuck tight.

My question is what do you see? To me, the top weld looks best, but i'm not experienced. This is literally all the welding i have ever done.

I recorded some video of me doing it, including shots through some welding glass so you can see what i'm doing, i hope, but those are still in the camera.

After some more bead practice i'm thinking of welding up a cart out of square tubing/angle, then maybe some casting tools, but my ultimate goal is thinner automotive sheet metal. The powerwheels project is 20ga i think but i want to maximize practice before i risk screwing that thing up. Not to mention my hickory wood brake doesn't make as nice of creases in 20ga mild steel as it does in aluminum, but it may be me needing a bit more strength in my wrists to put my weight on. We'll see how that works out.

Rufledt UberDork
2/6/17 12:06 a.m.

also totally unrelated to welding (maybe), but how does shaping steel and aluminum compare to something like copper or silver sheet? I may have found a place to get old coppersmithing and silversmithing manuals from the 19th century on PDF and they seem to be shaping metal with hammers and anvils and stuff. Might have some overlap with other sheet metals? The silversmithing one has some extra details that might not be particularly useful, but it's still fun to read about.

Rufledt UberDork
2/10/17 10:12 p.m.

Ok some more welding practice. This is a close up shot of the stuff i posted before, first welds on the right, newer welds to the left:

1/4" plate, the settings that were suggested on the welder. Though i did turn the power level down 1 notch and that seemed to help with spatter. And the next batch of tests:

This time left welds were first, newer welds on the right. This time i was not trying the oscillation thing, just going straight and trying to be consistent.

These are the last ones:

I'm having trouble keeping my hands moving at a consistent speed and consistent stick out. I also don't quite get why the edges of the welds look all bubbly. Is that normal for MIG welding? I was told by some people that my wire feed was too fast, but i haven't had time to try again.

I DID find time to try beads on thin 20ga sheet from my powerwheels project:

Newer welds on the right, horrific blotches and holes on the left. I didn't realize those weren't in focus. It doens't matter, it looks like garbage. Here's the back of those welds:

I was trying to go slower to get good penetration, but I was getting burn through at the end. It's a LOT harder to do beads on thin stuff, though i understand you don't tend to do long beads in thin metal.

I also tried this:

It looks terrible, but i couldn't pull it apart. I am still a weakling, but i bent it back and forth and it didnt' break. Success?

I also made a video of doing some of the welding, some of it with a welding lens taped to my camera so you can see what i'm doing:


Any tips would be greatly appreciated, or any ideas for some quick starter projects to get some practice before I get welding the power wheels project. That will involve 20ga sheet and some 1/8" wall 3/4" square tubing. I have extra of those materials to mess with so that could be helpful. I've been reading through some old threads from here where you guys told me/other people some good info, but I think i need more practice with basic basics before that will start making more sense. I also REALLY want to do a bunch of plug weld practice and maybe try to figure out the technique NOHOME told me but i have enough trouble doing anything with thin sheet. I have very little practice, so plenty of that in the future.

NOHOME PowerDork
2/11/17 7:47 a.m.

Spater comes from impurities burning up, expanding and farting all over the work-piece.

New steel, like your 1/4" stuff comes with mill-scale. Mill scale is great when you want to just tack E36 M3 together cause it pops right apart with a few hammer taps. but it makes for E36 M3ty penetration and a lot of spatter.

When practicing on sheet and just running beads, have a line scribed that you are trying to follow. This will do two things: 1- give you a line to follow and practice doing so as if you were following a seam. 2-Force you to concentrate on the little bead of molten steel where all the action is taking place. The weld bead is like the clitoris of welding in that it is hard for the beginner to find with all the other E36 M3 going on, but once you do, it becomes obvious and your welding will improve. dramatically.

Where are you having trouble with the technique I use?

Crackers Reader
2/11/17 8:58 a.m.

I'm thinking some of that spatter might be due to the quality of the wire itself, but you still look like you're too far. The gas lens should be almost dragging the surface by the time the actual tip is about the right distance. (You could still use more angle too, but it's not nearly as critical at the moment.)

Speaking of gas, what sort of gas/pressure are you using? All that soot makes me think your gas is set too low. (Not to mention you should actually hear the gas discharge)

As nohome said, the kill scale looks like it's effecting your penetration, but your machine "should" be able to burn through that with practice and the right settings even if it's not the ideal procedure.

I would suggest instead of trying to make a bead, focus on puddle control. Slow down your wire feed until you can see your puddle penetrating into the base metal and practice moving that puddle around. Once you can control the puddle start adding wire speed until you have a good size bead.

Remember there is an interplay between amperage and and wire speed. Either control can effect penetration and bead size, but they do it differently.

Higher amps will make for a wider puddle and a shorter bead, as will lower wire speed assuming you slow your hand speed also.

paranoid_android74 SuperDork
2/11/17 10:17 a.m.

In reply to Rufledt:

Yay new welder! #weldalltehthings

I too am trying to learn how to do this, and have yet to figure it out.

But in the last week or so I think I learned something that helped. I have to really, really watch the puddle, and understand what is happening there and what I am seeing. Especially to run a bead between two pieces.

Initially I thought I was seeing burn through starting so I would speed up and try to prevent it. That was wrong. It was actually the start of a nice puddle, which is what I wanted! So I learned to get my nose right in there and really, really see what is happening.

Also, you do a really nice job on your videos.

I'll let those who know what they are doing get back to helping you.

Rufledt UberDork
2/11/17 4:28 p.m.

In reply to NOHOME:

I tried getting the mill scale off with a flapper wheel, but if i'm honest i wasn't 100% anal about it. The second batch of beads on the thick plate (picture 2 and 3 above) i was even less anal about it. I think i just used a wire wheel, not even a flapper. I also scored some lines for some of those, but i wasn't able to see them when the helmet went dark. It seems like the arc itself is very bright, and the rest is near black. I can sort of make out a puddle, but i think i need to get a bit more comfortable looking through the lens. I have an extra large opening on the mask so i'm not looking through a little slit. I haven't tried your plug weld technique yet (or any plug welds yet), but i'm going to try to design a few small projects to get some practice in. some of them i'm thinking of will be filled with plug welds.

In reply to Crackers:

I have no idea how good the wire is. It was supplied with the welder. I've heard eastwood welders are pretty good for the price, but they are certainly cheaper than Lincoln or Miller products. It only came with a 4" spool, i'll probably buy a bigger spool of good wire when it's used up. Don't know if .030 or smaller would be better. I want to do sheet metal but also i'd like the option of some thicker stuff. The box tubing i have is 1/8" wall i think.

I think i set the gas to 15 cfm or so when i pull the trigger. I could hear it when i welded, but the microphone didnt' pick it up through the noise. It was very quiet. The set up manual said to put it at 20cfm when welding, but i heard everything from 10-20, so I split the difference. There definitely is a lot of soot, i'll try turning it up.

I'll try turning the wire speed down and going slower. It all seemed to happen quickly and i wasn't really able to keep a sharp eye on the puddle, but that was probably because i was a bit timid looking at the arc and i was moving pretty fast. I need to get a better posture i think, too. I wasn't super comfortable (though not bad), but if i moved the gun really close to the metal, i couldn't see the arc itself because the gas lens blocked it.

What do you mean by more angle?

In reply to paranoid_android74:

I think i need to learn to watch the puddle better, too. thanks for the tip. And thanks for the compliment on the videos! They are a lot of fun to make.

Crackers Reader
2/11/17 5:06 p.m.

From what I could see in your video your gun is too vertical.

A vertical position will make a nice flat round puddle with the wire filling from the center. Eventually, your puddle ends up dead center on top of your newly deposited bead and is no longer penetrating your base metal. (*By eventually I mean between a few tenths and a second.)

While this is ideal for rosettes or filling holes/voids, for making a running weld bead you want your new material to deposit on the trailing end/side of your puddle while you steer the front edge around. To do that you have to angle the MiG gun so that you are pointing to the back of your puddle.

Then you have to find the sweet spot in your settings so that you have a balance between how fast your puddle forms and how fast the wire fills the void. Just laying beads for practice doesn't help unless you're focusing on making a puddle and filling the weld.

Crackers Reader
2/11/17 5:10 p.m.

Also, try going horizontally. That way you can get your line of sight 90° to the angle of your gun.

NOHOME PowerDork
2/11/17 5:30 p.m.

You need to be able to see the interface of the wire tip to your seam interface. For this reason, I always weld with the gun at an angle. I pretty much always "pull" the bead; maybe because I am a lefty. I weld with a bright light aimed directly at the seam.

I get my nose right in there and hold the gun steady by griping the copper cup with my non trigger hand.

If the wire does not say "Lincoln" on it, I wont weld with it. China wire is made from floor sweepings. Beware large spools of wire unless you weld a lot; they do age out and create sparklers same as cheap wire.

2GRX7 New Reader
2/11/17 6:08 p.m.

I use the same welder from Eastwood. My regulator is from Harbor Freight. I'm using that due to modifications I'm making for argon. It's in cu.ft/hr and I have it sitting at 22-23 cu.ft/hr with the trigger pulled.

I will try it out again this week to verify as it's been a while since I've used it. Just wondering, have you had any issue with post-flow not shutting off?

Rufledt UberDork
2/12/17 8:37 p.m.

In reply to NOHOME:

Does putting a bright light help that much? I don't have any really bright lights in my garage other than ones that produce scattered light, but i could probably get a halogen spot light or something.

This wire does not say Lincoln, and Eastwood is not against selling chinese made stuff. In fact I think most of their stuff is made in china, but i could be wrong. I'll look out for a small spool of lincoln wire. Do you think i should stick with 030, or go with something smaller for automotive sheet? The jeep will be mostly 20ga and box tubing, no idea what the truck is that i want to work on later. It's an 80's truck though so i doubt it's thinner than 20ga.

In reply to Crackers:

I'll try horizontal, that's an interesting approach. I've seen people push and pull, not sure i've seen horizontal.

In reply to 2GRX7:

I have not had any trouble with post flow not shutting off. It goes for about 2 seconds and stops every time.

paranoid_android74 SuperDork
2/12/17 10:09 p.m.

I have found a light to be incredibly helpful. I'm welding in a car, not on a bench, so I've just been using an old crappy trouble light. It allows you to get everything set where it needs to be, get the gun pointed in the right spot, etc.

For marking stuff, if I'm working on shiny metal I use a black sharpie. If it's painted metal I use a small soap stone thing.

The Home Cheapo here sells Lincoln flux core wire, I would guess they have normal MIG wire too. The flux core is about $6 for a 1 pound spool.

NOHOME PowerDork
2/13/17 6:37 a.m.

Funny thing about the wire...I used to quote 0.023" as the wire to use for bodywork, but switched to 0.035 for structural. Then one lazy day I used the 0.035" for some tin work and found out I like it better. Think of it this way..0.035" at a feed speed of "3" is pretty much the same as running 0.023 at a wire speed of "5". So for the last two years or so I have used just 0.035".

As to lighting...Yeah, it helps a lot to have a light. I use a handheld as I weld aimed right at the seam. We have been mentioning the concept of "seeing the puddle" . The thing is, until you really do figure out what you need to see, you will think you are seeing the "puddle" when in reality you are looking at the flash. We are talking about something the size of a small "BB" behind a lot of smoke, flash and sizzle...You will know it when you finally see it.

fasted58 MegaDork
2/13/17 8:22 a.m.

Just saw this the other day in an Eastwood email ad for $35.


Surely there are others as well, cheaper too..

Rufledt UberDork
3/6/17 12:51 a.m.

I have an old chair from a van, and I want to make it a stool. I have square tubing, and I want welding practice. I think this is the makings of a nice project. Designed one up,

Cut the pieces

...and drew a bit on my work bench.

The lines were center lines, and i added a bunch of small marks to align stuff. They aren't so easy to see through the burn marks, but they are easy to see in person.

Grinding to fit and such, i had it all laid out on the bench

and some welding. Please judge as you will, and be honest:

I also made some other stuff like a pencil holder just to get welding practice, feel free to judge these as well, any tips are appreciated:

Some grinding on one of the welds:

Finished chair:

Still work in progress, but i can sit on it now, and it has yet to break and impale me on a jaggedy square tube, so i'm counting that as a win.

I especially like the super fake leather, complete with 'use marks' (rips and stuff)

Also made a video of the chair stuff:


Yeah, the thumbnail has a typo. I fixed it, but if you don't upload the thumbnail WHILE the thing is uploading, it takes DAYS to update. Good work, google. Now how will i edit out my stupidity before people notice? I can't. thanks for that.

The finished pencil holder:

NOHOME PowerDork
3/6/17 6:29 a.m.

You are having too much fun...back to the Jeep.

Rufledt UberDork
3/6/17 10:48 a.m.

In reply to NOHOME:

Fun indeed! Check out the jeep thread, hammers started flying again yesterday

Rufledt UberDork
7/16/17 10:28 p.m.

More welding questions. Welding has begun on the jeep project and i am now realizing why people say sheet metal is hard. Plug welding is the goal, 20ga mild steel. for my practice piece, i took 2 pieces of 20ga, drilled some small holes in one, set the welder to the recommended setting for 20ga steel with my wire size and so on, and holy burn through batman. I'm even trying to move quickly. Not working out for me, thats for sure. Then i tried without drilling the holes, and that seems to work great. My question is, do i just stick with what works and not drill the holes?

In the picture, holes drilled is on top, no holes drilled is on bottom:

The middle welds on the bottom were the good ones i'm looking at. The far left in the first picture was just a quick hit to see that i had a good ground (was having problems) and the far right was me not realizing the bottom piece isn't as wide as the top. I was able to get some that worked on the hole-drilled ones, but it was much more difficult and as you can see they look terrible.

Then i tried cranking the settings way down and trying just making a spot on a single sheet of 20ga and got this:

Much less burn through.

Should I try the second settings on a plug weld with a hole drilled in one piece, or should i just do the no-hole approach like in the middle bottom welds in the first picture?

1 2
Our Preferred Partners