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Unread 05-05-2006, 09:05 AM   #1
blake989
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lesson on starting a good weld

I bought an off-brand wire welder (I use flux coated 0.03) a few years ago for small projects. I've finally got decent with using it and recently I've really got into fabbing my own stuff for the heep. One area where I'm really lacking some skill is starting the bead. The first 1/4" to 1/2" of weld, well my dog could do a better job! After that, I can get a decent puddle going and all is well. I don't mind grinding and cleaning it up, but you can tell that the first part of the weld has been doctored, and the rest looks normal. Is there an old indian trick to setting up that could help me, or am I just going to have let my dog start the weld for me?

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Unread 05-05-2006, 09:39 AM   #2
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Im guessing that you just put the nozzle where you are going to start the weld and start welding. What you are sopposed to do is is start welding about an inch into where the weld is going to go, strike the arc and move back to the begining and continue the weld over where you struck the arc. What you could also do is tack on a startup tab. Its a small tab about an inch or 2 long where you start the weld and run the weld onto your project, you would have to cut the tab off afterwards of course, this method helps quite a bit with stick welding.
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Unread 05-05-2006, 09:40 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fourwheelhigh
Im guessing that you just put the nozzle where you are going to start the weld and start welding. What you are sopposed to do is is start welding about an inch into where the weld is going to go, strike the arc and move back to the begining and continue the weld over where you struck the arc. What you could also do is tack on a startup tab. Its a small tab about an inch or 2 long where you start the weld and run the weld onto your project, you would have to cut the tab off afterwards of course, this method helps quite a bit with stick welding.
FCAW is a point and shoot deal. You don't long arc wire.

Post some pictures of one of the welds in question. What brand wire are you running, and what is the flux composition? From the sound of things, I suspect that your stickout is really inconsistent. I'd have to take a look at one of the welds though. Pay attention to your stickout. Try to keep it in the 1/4"-3/8" range.

Learn to read your puddle and adjust accordingly. Consider a class or two.
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Unread 05-05-2006, 09:52 AM   #4
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thanks fellas, yeah I've just been pointing and pulling the trigger for the past couple of years. I quit buying/threw away the cheap wire after reading a bunch of stuff on this forum, now I purchase the higher end stuff that tractor supply carries, whatever brand that may be, I think its about $35 for 100'. The local welding supply closes before I get off work, so I've never shopped there.

When you say "stick out", are you referring to the length of wire sticking out of the nozzle when I start the weld. If so, 1/4" to 3/8" is about half of what I've been doing. So what do you do, do you just have some dikes ready and cut any excess off before you start the weld, or do you just slap some scrap to burn off the excess?

I'm not a big picture man, but there is another guy in another thread wanting some pictures of some stuff, so I'll try to pull together some pics this weekend. I've got some thick skin, so when you see my welds, feel free to rip me!! They can be entertaining. To this point, I've tried to keep my welds safe by over doing it, grinding bevels to weld where normally a fillet would be fine, stuff like that.
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Unread 05-05-2006, 10:00 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blake989
When you say "stick out", are you referring to the length of wire sticking out of the nozzle when I start the weld. If so, 1/4" to 3/8" is about half of what I've been doing. So what do you do, do you just have some dikes ready and cut any excess off before you start the weld, or do you just slap some scrap to burn off the excess?
Always clip the ball off of the end. That is part of your problem. That ball is a lump of slag. Ever notice how the gun pushes back on you when you try to start the weld? Stickout is the length of wire between the contact tip and the metal. Kick your voltage up about 3 or 4 volts and run a tighter stickout. You'll get a better volt/amp curve going. You welds will improve greatly, in both quality and apperance.
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Unread 05-05-2006, 10:06 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgertsch
Always clip the ball off of the end. That is part of your problem. That ball is a lump of slag. Ever notice how the gun pushes back on you when you try to start the weld?
Exactly! Yeah, it pushes back when I start, I never understood why until now, that clump of slag (ball) must be preventing the arc? When I start, the wire doesn't arc, so before it does it pushes about a 1/2" like you say, then it arcs all of sudden and the excess wire that came out just dissentigrates and frizzles off, then I could weld. Excellent, I will follow your advice wise one! Thanks.
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Unread 05-05-2006, 11:21 AM   #7
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I'm guessing your welds probably have a bunch of whiskers on them too. Yes, you're right, keep a pair of dikes handy (lesbians won't work, they must be full-on dikes) and clip the wire to the appropriate stickout length, making sure to get rid of the little ball of slag on the end of the wire.
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Unread 05-05-2006, 09:30 PM   #8
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and...push the mig gun from start of weld to the end...don't pull.....
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Unread 05-06-2006, 03:03 PM   #9
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Flux core wire pull/grag slightly. for gas, push....Idealy.

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Unread 05-07-2006, 11:11 AM   #10
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Also at the beginning of your weld, pause for a second, this way you are heating up the area and not having such a cold start point on your bead.
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Unread 05-07-2006, 05:45 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michael k
Flux core wire pull/grag slightly. for gas, push....Idealy.

i agree, i've always been more comfortable pulling whenever possible with flux. but that's me, lol

as for the stick out, get a pair of pliers with the wire cutters built in and keep them handy. i find that using the width of the pliers as a guide makes for a uniform length each time and cutting the end off after each bead keeps the gun from pushing back on you as was mentioned.
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