We’re going to show you some tips and tricks to make you a better welder and some things to look out for along the way.
One of the most important tips is to make sure that you clean the weld area really well when you’re welding and also have your welder settings correct. We’re going to be using an Eastwood Mig welder for demonstration but these tips will be the same for any welder.
Below are some of the common weld joints.
One of the first to learn on is a butt joint. This is when you put two pieces of metal together and weld a bead in between them. The key to a good butt weld is to get your settings just right so you penetrate both pieces. You can usually look at the heat affected zone here on both
sides to check on your weld penetration.
The next one is a lap joint that’s where you lay the two pieces of metal over top of each other and you weld just on the edge. The edge of that weld is going to penetrate down onto the other one and stick the two of them together.
This joint is called an angle or T joint. Commonly in this weld joint you’re welding in the valley where the two pieces meet.
A Plug weld or “spot weld” is when two pieces are laid over each other and you put a weld through the top surface and into the lower surface sandwiching them together. For a true plug weld you would drill or punch a hole in the top surface so you can start your weld on the lower piece and fill up the hole in the top piece giving a weld that is nearly flush with the surface. This process is extremely common in automotive sheet metal work.
if you’re new at doing spot welds or if you plan on doing a lot of spot welds in a row we offer the MIG Spot Weld Kit. This is an attachment that replaces the nozzle on the end of any Tweco style MIG Torch. This kit sets you at the optimal height above the workpiece to create perfect spot welds every time.
Now that we showed you some of the common weld joints we’ll be showing you how to set your machine up.
The voltage knob is the power or “heat” of the weld. The higher the voltage the hotter your weld will be.
The other basic setting that you need to know is the wire speed. This is like it sounds, the speed at which the wire comes out of the torch. The higher the number, the quicker the machine will feed the welding wire. Some machines like the Eastwood MIG welders have some internal limits to the settings that keeps the settings from being run at extremely incorrect settings.
For instance, if you crank that the highest voltage or temperature and the lowest wire speed it might not function or the welder might revert back to it’s presets that are closer to being correct.
Next, we’ll show you how to diagnose poor welds. These quick tips will help you diagnose your welds and correct them.
The first is a machine set too hot or possibly the wire speed is too slow. The symptoms are that the weld will be too hot, so the wire will burn right through the metal. In the sample you can obviously see it’s just making a mess on the edge of the joint.
Another instance is when you have no penetration or welds that sit high or “proud” on the panel or the welding wire wants to burn back up onto the torch tip. If you aren’t careful the wire may even fuse itself to the tip and wreck it. This “cold” weld is very weak and won’t hold together. When your wire speed is too fast or your power is too low you may even feel the wire kind of bouncing off of the metal before it does stick to the surface.
The last one is when you’re using solid core wire that requires a shielding gas and you are getting a lot of porosity in the weld. This happens when there is too little or no shielding gas present. Check to make sure that you have gas in your bottle, your bottle is open, your regulator is opened to provide ample shielding gas (12-15 CFM is a good starting point). If all of those things check out you may want to make sure there are no holes or leaks in your welder or gas lines. Finally make sure there isn’t a breeze or wind blowing your shielding gas away. A shop fan or heater can even cause this issue if it’s pointing towards you while welding.
Now that we showed you those common errors, we’ll next talk about learning how to listen to your welder for tuning your welds. An experienced welder can listen to someone welding and tell you how to correct your settings for a better puddle.
If your heat or power is way too high compared to the wire speed you may hear more of a hiss than a crackling sound when welding. This means you need to turn the wire speed up or the power down. You want to hear a sound like sizzling bacon when welding.
Next is when you have the wire speed too high or the power too low for the wire speed. You will hear spitting sound or like popcorn popping. This will also product excessive spatter and sparks when welding.
The last thing is a technique tip that may help you get more consistent and visually appealing welds. What you want to do is slowly move the torch back and forth in a circular or letter C pattern pushing the weld back into itself as you weave the torch back and forth. This well help you overlap the puddle and get proper coverage of the weld seam.
Hopefully these tips give a little insight and you can listen and look at your welds and diagnose them more easily.