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Mig Welding Tips

A good ground, A short stickout, The right mig welder settings, and a good technique and you are on your way to making better welds. Stick around and sign up for the Mig MythBuster series

"Welding School can be a really good investment..if you learn to weld pipe and are willing to travel ... "

Hey Welder! have you seen the Series on Mig Welding Basics that includes setting the mig machine along with welding vertical and overheard?

just click here to check it out

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"I may not be the best mig welder in the world, but that doesn't make it right?!.. "

  • mig welding is probably the easiest way to get started welding
  • bare wire mig with .023" wire is best for auto body work...

Mig Wire feed settings Chart

Ok, So what does this chart mean?

Its just one way to get some voltage and wire feed settings if you dont have any idea where to start.

lets take 1/8" carbon steel for example

1/8" inch = .125

one amp per .001" = 125 amps

if you are using .035" wire, the chart uses 1.6 to figure the wire speed for .125 metal.

125 x 1.6 = 200 inches per minute.

that gives you a starting point.

now just adjust voltage to get a good smooth bacon frying sound.

(assuming you are using short circuit mig with 75/25 gas )

Another video below explains how to determine wire speed even if the knob is not labeled.

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And the Top 3 MIG welding tips are...

#1 MIG welding tip...Get a better Ground clamp.

This is probably one of the most important mig welding tips ever!

Ever heard someone light up with a mig gun and it sounds like a drive-by shooting?

You know what’s wrong? Bad ground!

That’s right a bad ground.

It is such a simple fix but I hear that sound all the time.

People have trashed machines and bought new ones for this reason alone and all the while, all that was wrong was a bad ground. Why? Have you paid close attention to ground clamps recently? They suck! I mean they really suck! It used to be that ground clamps were made from copper. Now they are plated steel with a tiny piece of copper on the jaws.

Guess what? The old ones are better.

You could say that about a lot of things right? But here’s a secret: you can still buy the old ones. It is no secret that copper is the best conductor. That’s why copper ground clamps are better. Especially ones that have a strong ass spring.

Bottom line is...in order to get good starts, you need a really good ground. I have a secret weapon that I use to get a good ground. And it involves copper..

Mig Welding Tip ...A Better Ground...

#2 Mig welding tip... Watch Your Stickout.

The second most important of Mig welding tips is "stickout"

Stickout is misunderstood. What it really means is the distance from the mig welding tip (also called contact tip) to the arc.

Not the distance from the nozzle to the arc!

Too long a stickout will soften the arc and make the weld pile up.

A longer stickout works ok and can be a good thing on really thin sheet metal like body panels.

and for high amperage spray transfer a longer stickout is preffered.

But if you want a good crisp arc using short circuit mig on thicker metal, keep the stickout less than 1/2 inch.


tip recessed= too much stickout=gorilla welds

Thats better...tip poking out= shorter stickout = better penetration and smoother welding on thicker metals.

#3 MIG Welding Tip..Learn to weld Uphill

Another of many important MIG welding tips is to Weld Uphill on anything thicker than 1/4". Just look at the lack of fusion in the photo below.

this was a good looking weld but  it hardly has any penetration at all.

That opening on the bottom bead was a real eye opener for the student who welded it.

The weld above is a lap joint welded first and a tee joint done on top of the lap to conserve metal.

After stacking lots of beads on the tee, the stress pulled the lap joint weld loose.

That bead just didnt penetrate.

#4 Mig Welding Tip...get an Auto darkening Helmet

I Know there were only supposed 3 Mig welding tips...But this one is probably as important as any...

  Even moving a quarter inch off track when you nod your helmet down can really screw things up with mig welding. Why? Because Your mig welder does not care about you.  

Mig machines just  start laying down metal without concern for your well being or whether or not you are on track. With an Auto Darkening helmet you can see where your wire is pointing before you pull the trigger.

 


What about the ground clamp?

Have you Seen the ground clamps they are putting on Mig Welders? Dont get me started! More Mig Welding Tips and Articles up the Wazoo!

More Mig Welding Tips and Articles



Let’s talk about flux-cored and solid wire differences and 115v wire feed welders.

All wire-feed welders can use flux-cored wires. Whether 115v or big heavier duty units like the Millermatic 250; the flux is inside the wire and creates a shielding gas when the wire is consumed during the welding process. No compressed shielding gas is needed. This wire is deeper penetrating than bare wire with gas shielding (similar to a 6013 Stick electrode) and has considerable spatter and slag on the weld that must be removed. The weld area needs minimal preparation.

Flux-cored wire works well in windy conditions. It is most commonly used for hobbies and farm work. But if you are interested in welding heavy sections of steel with mig outdoors, you should definitely check out Hobart Fabshield 21b.

It runs pretty freaking awesome. It runs almost like a 7018 and with no shielding gas. It passed the bend tests that I ran with no problem and I really liked being able to take the nozzle off and weld. The tests I ran were vertical uphill and overhead. I don’t think downhill would be worth a crap. But like I said, it’s kind of like a 7018 and 7018's don't like going downhill either.

Solid wires require a shielding gas that comes in a cylinder and is either straight CO2 or a mixed gas of 75% Argon and 25% CO2 for mild steel. Its advantages are a clean weld with no slag and minimal spatter and the ability to weld thinner (24-gauge) materials. The weld area needs to be clean. Solid wires are commonly used in light industrial and auto body work and in other applications where thin materials are welded.


A good ground, A short stickout, The right mig welder settings, and a good technique and you are on your way to making better welds. Stick around and sign up for the Mig MythBuster series

 

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