How to: Make a Trail Mig (Flux Core) welder - Page 3 -
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post #31 of 45 Old 09-24-2010, 11:37 AM
Jerry Bransford
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I had my son try it who knows how to stick weld and he had the exact same issue I am having. My simple question was with 6010 rod and DC, should I have the stinger polarity positive or negative.

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post #32 of 45 Old 09-24-2010, 12:14 PM Thread Starter
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So before I figured out this whoe flux core and 24v thing, me and my buddy were going down the stick route. Neither of us have good "stick" experience and we unsuccessfully tried to make a trail repair welding on an upper control arm bracked to a rubi rear 44 out in moab. (This consequently is what started my mind on figuring out how to do the mig)

About a month later back at his workshop we decided to experiment with the whole stick thing to see what was going wrong. What we discovered is 24v works but its really hard to control the sticking and popping as it needs very precise control over the arc. We amped it up to 36v, and 1/8 rod which made controlling the arc MUCH easier, to the point us novice stick welders could make something presentable, and it should hold for "trail" welding. I then of course 1 upped him by making the tool box mig. Nothing like friendly competition to make better designs.
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post #33 of 45 Old 09-24-2010, 12:30 PM
Jerry Bransford
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Thanks Sherlock, I'll try to get the time to try 36v this weekend. Your trail MIG welder is looking better and better all the time though.

When you have a choice, buy American made.
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post #34 of 45 Old 09-27-2010, 01:18 AM
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Originally Posted by sherlocktk View Post
Correct "Ground" for Flux core welding is Positive, and Negative is the stinger.

I tried switching the polarity to see what happens, it just spits metal balls everywhere, nothing close to resembling a weld.

When welding on your rig, you need to disconenct the vehicle's entire electrical system. (a good practice even when at home) I take the battery out of the vehicle and set it on the ground and borrow an additional battery from someone else in the group. Then I put a blanket over them incase something bad happens and they decide to explode. I think the explosion hazard is less than with stick welding as the current transfered by the wire is less, and the direct short possibilities are smaller. The batteries are 100% isolated from the vehicle's electrical system.

If I had 2 batteries in my vehicle, I would leave them in place, but still disconnect the cables, convert to 24v, and weld up.

Just to be clear the goal of this project was to have a cheap trail mig that was reasonably portable. Cheap being the most important factor. In the orange tool box i use. I have the jumper cables, welding goggles, 15ft extension cord, 4.5 grinder, gloves and goggles. The tool box fits nicely on the floor behind my passenger seat in "unused" territory.

As far as the briefcase welder, (Ready welder is the brand) is designed for trail use, exactly like this. The street price for the base model on that is $500 and goes up from there. I also did not like the spool gun as I felt it would be hard to get that moved around to some of the un-ideal conditions we sometimes need to weld in. The regular gun can get in tighter spaces.
Ok that clears it up thanks. I would like to do something like this but I want to use an alternator setup instead of two batteries. I usually wheel alone so the second battery is not available unless I rig up a duel battery system. It seems like an alternator would be a better choice for me but I like your setup.
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post #35 of 45 Old 09-27-2010, 08:13 AM
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Its not germane to this flux core thread but here is the skinny on stick battery welding (some folks appear to have problems);

Connection quality is all important, if you have one bad connection or a bad (small/high resistance) jumper cable/stinger connection, or ground; you won't get enough amperage to make it work. Sticking, no arc/just sparks and hard to strike arcs are indicators. Don't be afraid to clean the battery posts.

Be aware that jumper cable clamps can melt their way into the battery posts (use a cut off/dead or brass battery top post clamps to save the posts).

10 gage, and smaller or aluminum jumpers do not work. Make up a set of heavy duty jumpers from welding cable (the smallest cables that I have been able to make work are 6 or 8 gage copper Sears jumper cables but these are very marginal).

Get a 200 amp stinger and some heavy welding cable (I use 00 because its what I had) to hold your rod.

Next the batteries must be capable of supplying enough current; dead butteries will cause sticking, AGM batteries will probably not work (gas bubbles in the electrolyte could even ruin them).

A mediocre set of starting batteries should last at least 4 rods when the rods start to stick; stop, reconnect the batteries to their vehicles and recharge them.

24 volts is plenty for even 5/32" rod, 36 volts with good batteries and connections can blow holes through 1/4" plate.

To change the penetration try different diameter electrodes.
1/16" electrodes just go up in smoke for me.

6010 and 6011 (1/8") work fine (if the electrode catches fire reverse the polarity).
6022 (5/32") works about the best for me (good leveling low slag but its deck rod (for welding flat surfaces and only availiable in a 50 pound box).
7018 depending on its age and how often it has been dunked in the river can be finicky.

Keep the rod in a watertight case (a length of PVC pipe is with caps is handy and cheap).

Always use a quality non-mirrored welding lens in your cutting goggles. I like a #10 lens, some folks prefer a #12. The goggles will get kicked around and scratched up and mirrored lenses, if scratched, can expose your eyes to dangerous UV).

A punch and your hammer can be used to chip slag (packs smaller than a chipping hammer).

Hope it helps...
Sorry for the hi-jack...


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post #36 of 45 Old 02-12-2012, 01:51 PM
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Great write-up sherlock.
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post #37 of 45 Old 04-24-2012, 11:17 AM
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so i guess after giving this alot of thought, is it possible to do this same sort of idea with using the unregulated part of the alternator? and maybe only one battery? but 2 is not a big deal. other then that im going to be building this soon.... i already have a welder so i just got to get the rest of the parts
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post #38 of 45 Old 04-26-2012, 10:35 AM
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If you don't mind being limited to a set distance from your vehicle (determined by the length of your cables), you can just mount a second alternator, and have an "on board" welder.

And, with this particular set up, you can also run some power tools.

maroon 1987 Grand Wagoneer. stock for now...
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post #39 of 45 Old 04-26-2012, 10:59 AM
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You sir, are ****ing awesome. I'm definitively doing this. Just printed out your walk through. Thanks for sharing!

Originally Posted by chris87xj View Post
Sometimes a restoration project is a labor of love, at which point cost, time, and labor involved become irrelevant.
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I see you also twizzled your scart lead. Well done! :thumbsup:
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post #40 of 45 Old 04-26-2012, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Hussler View Post
You sir, are ****ing awesome. I'm definitively doing this. Just printed out your walk through. Thanks for sharing!
If you are talking about my post above, I can not take credit for that. It's just something I found a wile back and had saved for future reference. I had planned on building one of these for my YJ, but plans changed, I sold the YJ, and now have a wagoneer that needs a lot of work before it's ready for an on board welder. but, maybe some day.

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post #41 of 45 Old 04-30-2012, 05:30 PM
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I did not read the entire post, just the first couple and I wanted to write and say thanks for posting this. Much cheaper than the portable Hobart unit that I have been eyeing :-)


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post #42 of 45 Old 03-10-2013, 05:00 PM
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These welders a are on sale right now. I may pick one up for this project

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post #43 of 45 Old 03-16-2014, 07:48 PM
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I love my on board welder. With a 6" x 1" strip of hunk/scrap metal, I can weld an arse holes' door shut in under 3 minutes! Use a cordless 18 volt grinder for best results. Take my assigned, and well marked parking spot will you?
Yes, I'm a small and petty man.

I've also learned that sometimes... when people don't agree with you .... its best to hold them down and kidney punch them till they agree with you
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post #44 of 45 Old 05-21-2015, 07:55 PM
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Bringing this thread back because I recently just did this and it's awesome.

I figured I wouldn't have to lug around two batteries because

a) my jeep has dual batteries, and
B) I can use jumper cables to run the connection, so I won't even have to take them out of the rig. Just unhook the cables from the vehicle to avoid any electrical interference with the vehicles electronics. My second battery is in the rear of my LJ, so it took quite a long cable.

Ordered some parts! Some super-chinese electronics. Bought a RC PWM controller capable of handling 40a (allegedly), then I saw the motor on the wire feed says "24v, .8a". I guess overkill is better than melting components.

Oh look a brand new shiny welder!


Bits I'm keeping:

Original plan was to cram it all in a .50 ammo can, but that wasn't possible. New plan is to fit the welder, jumper cables, and welding goggles all in a 40mm grenade can that I had laying in the garage. (Doesn't everyone have 40mm cans laying around?)

Got the motor for the wire feed and the wire spool mounted on the factory plate and cut down to fit on the lid of the ammo can.

Got the spool/motor mounted to the inside of the lid.

The motor feed runs!

PWM controller wired up:

Ground clamp (positive cable) crimped:

Main power wire (actually ground) crimped:

Painted and somewhat cleaned up:

She lives! Works quite well I might add! A little (ok, a lot) ghetto, but who cares, better to have a ghetto welder than no welder.

The jumper cables I used to connect the two batteries in series were a touch too short, so I removed one clamp, crimped the wire to the remaining clamp, and then clamped the clamp to the clamp. (Say that five ties fast)

(Told you it was ghetto)

This is how it looks with the other jumper cable split down the middle and clamped to the outer battery posts to give you 24v. If someone else was borrowing the welder, you wouldn't have to do this weird crap, but this way I can weld on whatever I need to without removing the batteries from the Jeep. I've got a rolling self contained welding unit!

And it actually sticks metal together pretty well. It was my first time using a hot tip welder, but really didn't seem that much different because as soon as you let go of the trigger you run out of wire and it stops welding. So for me I didn't see a huge difference for these purposes. Some people have rigged starter solenoids to the wire feed trigger to only allow current to the main cable when the trigger is pulled, making it a cold tip, but ain't nobody got time fo 'dat.

Decent penetration:

The cables didn't even warm up after about three welds like this. They were still cool from sitting on my concrete floor. I tested the weld in a super scientific way. I set it on a hammer and then beat it with another hammer. I'm sure this is the exact same way the AWS Certified Welding program tests their students. It held up, so not only am I certified now, but the welder works.

After it stopped moving and I hurt my hand and foot from holding a jackstand on top of it and repeatedly whacking the crap out of it, this is how much it moved:

All packed up! Both jumpers and goggles fit (barely) in the 40mm can. I'll probably end up leaving one of the cables out to make it less of a squeeze. I don't want to damage the wire feed cramming it onto the cable or goggles.

All in all a great investment for around $100. Obviously you could make the cables nicer, do this, do that, but it works damn well with some crap I found cleaning my garage.

Thanks for the awesome idea sherlocktk!

- Tim
Yellow LJ
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post #45 of 45 Old 05-26-2015, 09:39 AM Thread Starter
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Tippyman, Glad you found this to be useful.

I really like your idea of integrating it into the ammo can, and you flip the lid to use it. I might need to steal that and adapt if from my orange home deopt box I initially made. I also agree on the hot tip thing, its not a big deal once you understand it.
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