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Unread 04-25-2013, 12:30 AM   #1
Awesome
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Can't get a bead anymore?

I've been welding up a trail rack for my tire carrier out of metal from the scrap pile at the local metalyard. I'm using a 1980's Sears 110v 75amp welder.


*I just noticed that the reason all the photobucket images people keep posting are clickable is because of something sneaky photobucket did. That's annoying!*

I've been welding some thicker metal (3/16"? at the most) and have been getting some great-looking beads going using the high setting. However, last night I hit the duty cycle of the welder and I started sputtering all over the place and couldn't get good penetration. So, I went back this afternoon (24 hours later) and I still can't get penetration worth beans. The weld is sputtering so bad it just beads up without melting into the metal. I am getting close to the end of the spool (no idea how long the wire has been in there, but it's years). I THINK the problem is with the electrode tip (don't know what it's called) but I can't be sure.

The problem is that the wire feed seems like it's jerky and the arc is inconsistent. The wire feed is smooth as butter, but it acts jerky while it's welding. The wire also starts to burn back toward the gun (literally in flames) right before it quits arcing.

What am I doing wrong? I hadn't changed anything on the machine. To see if it was the machine, I lessened the tension on the feed pulley (didn't do anything) and I tried tuning the wire speed and using the "low" setting. The wire speed is tuned properly, I just can't get a good weld anymore.

As a side note, I had three questions about the machine:

1: There seems to be a plug that a wire inside the gun feeds into inside the machine. It's a small four-prong plug. There are two - one above the wire feed mechanism and one below it. It's currently plugged into the one below. What happens if I plug it into the top one?

2: The current is reversible by swapping the black and white wires inside the machine, right?

3: I noticed the front of the machine says something about VDC. Can this machine be turned into a DC welder?


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Unread 04-27-2013, 07:34 AM   #2
rinking
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My first thought when I read this, Time to upgrade to a newer welder!
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Unread 04-27-2013, 10:05 AM   #3
Awesome
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Can't afford it right now, that's why I'm using this old loaner. The prices of even the lower-end brand-name welders are pretty ridiculous.
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”This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!” ~Adolph Hitler, 1935, on The Weapons Act of Nazi Germany
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Unread 04-29-2013, 10:28 AM   #4
wushaw
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Throw that old wire away, it could be rusty and rusty wire will not feed worth a darn. Rusty wire will cause everything you just described.
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Unread 05-01-2013, 02:39 PM   #5
MTtyer
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Replace your electrode tip and gently blow some compressed air through the liner....both directions. And, as recommended, replace the wire.
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Unread 05-01-2013, 10:06 PM   #6
Awesome
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I replaced the tip with a Lincoln one. The old one was pretty worn. No change.

I opened up the machine at the behest of my friend, who thinks I may have overheated something inside when I hit the duty cycle and didn't let it cool down for enough time. I didn't see any obvious damage inside the machine, but it's old and it all looks Greek to me. No circuit boards for me to check. The transformer is massive. Looks like a Volkswagon beetle in there.

I don't really want to try replacing the wire. That's a lot of money to put down on a welder that might still be broken. Maybe I'll buy a cheap HF 1# spool just for kicks.

Checked all the wires and they seem fine. I haven't checked the one inside the gun yet, I don't know how it comes apart. I'll try cleaning it out with compressed air when I get my garage door fixed.

Yeah. I broke my garage door while trying to fix it. Now my Jeep gets to be covered in tree sap and pollen.
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Unread 05-01-2013, 11:08 PM   #7
skyj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Awesome View Post


I don't really want to try replacing the wire. That's a lot of money to put down on a welder that might still be broken. .
You can buy a roll of wire at home depot for $10.
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Unread 05-02-2013, 12:01 AM   #8
Awesome
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Yep. I'll be at HF in the morning though. Well, I think I can wait until next time I go to Home Depot. I can't get in my garage right now anyway.
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Unread 05-02-2013, 08:54 AM   #9
Ironworker709
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If its not too late this mornin..make the extra trip to home depot and get the Lincoln wire..the HF wire will make even the best machine seem like a P.O.S.
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Unread 05-05-2013, 10:24 AM   #10
AtTheHelm
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X2 on the HF wire. That stuff is only good for hanging parts for paint.
I've been buying HTP wire from usaweld. Works pretty good and dirt cheap.
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Unread 05-06-2013, 12:09 AM   #11
Awesome
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AtTheHelm View Post
I've been buying HTP wire from usaweld. Works pretty good and dirt cheap.
Sweet, free shipping! Thanks for that tip. I will be able to get back into my garage later this week. I'll let you know what I am able to find out about the welder.
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Unread 09-20-2013, 07:23 PM   #12
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Alright, situation changed and I now have more free cash on hand. I did fix my garage door.

With that free cash I bought some of that HTP wire from USAweld, some d-rings and a couple of steps. I welded the d-rings and the steps onto my trailer this afternoon shortly after picking up the wire from the post office.

Anyway, the welder works fine again. It was definitely the wire and not the welder. That HTP stuff welds really nice for how inexpensive it is. Thanks a lot, AtTheHelm!

As you can see from the pictures, my welds were decent, but the steps were too thick to get really good penetration on. I even got good beads running upside down! The vertical ones were actually harder for me to do than the upside-down welds; after I realized what drip-back is. And yeah... I did catch the trailer on fire a couple of times.
dscn0065_small.jpg   dscn0073_small.jpg   dscn0084_small.jpg  
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Unread 09-21-2013, 05:05 AM   #13
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Take a big hammer to that step and see if you can knock it loose.. welds on that look really suspect.

I had that same Sears welder several years ago. It was my first "wire feed" welder.. bought it at an auction. I actually used it to build the rear portion of the frame on my old CJ5.
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Unread 09-21-2013, 07:43 AM   #14
skyj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BESRK View Post
Take a big hammer to that step and see if you can knock it loose.. welds on that look really suspect.

I had that same Sears welder several years ago. It was my first "wire feed" welder.. bought it at an auction. I actually used it to build the rear portion of the frame on my old CJ5.
X2 that was my first wire feed welder too, it was very inconsistent and the duty cycle sucked on it. It was great for welding sheet metal anything thicker than that and it couldnt handle. It looks in your pics as if your welds got contaminated like you didnt clean it good enough before you welded it. Take a flap disc and hit the area real well around where your going to weld first. Paint can heat up and contaminate your weld and make it weak, I bet your welds will improve after you clean the paint off of where you weld. Just my .02
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2" BL, 4" stretch all on saggy waggy springs.
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Unread 09-21-2013, 11:04 AM   #15
Awesome
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I quite literally jumped many times on both steps to make sure they were solid. I penetrated into the trailer frame pretty consistently, but the steps were a bit too thick for this crappy welder. There are six beads run on every step; the one pictured is the worst one.

As far as cleaning first, I did. I actually wore out an Ace Hardware flap disk cleaning the paint (and underlaying layer of rust [or brown primer?]) off of the frame. Stupid flap disk didn't even last as long as a Harbor Freight one. My last weld I did as an experiment and I didn't clean all the paint off first. I wanted to see if I could burn through it. Turns out I can, but the weld didn't look as pretty.

I need a better welder.
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