Prac­tice first

The Family Handyman - - BEST PRO TIPS -

Each type of welder is dif­fer­ent, so read your op­er­a­tor’s man­ual. Achiev­ing a good weld comes down to com­bin­ing the right volt­age with the proper wire speed, and this re­quires prac­tice. Fine-tune the set­tings on the welder by prac­tic­ing on the same ma­te­rial you plan to work with.

The wire should pro­trude about 1/2 in. from the gun, and the gun should be about 3/8 in. away from the sur­face be­fore you pull the trig­ger. When you’re work­ing on hor­i­zon­tal sur­faces with wire-feed welders, you want to push the gun for­ward. The gas cre­ates a con­tam­i­nant-free en­vi­ron­ment, which im­proves the weld­ing process. If you pull the gun, it could out­pace the gas.

The speed at which you move the gun will also af­fect how hot the metal gets and how much wire you lay down. One pop­u­lar weld­ing tech­nique is to move the tip slightly for­ward and back as you go. Called “whip­ping,” it helps con­trol your speed, cre­ates good pen­e­tra­tion, and re­sults in a nar­rower bead than you’d get by mak­ing tiny cir­cles as you moved along.

The weld­ing process shouldn’t pro­duce snap­ping or pop­ping noises. If a welder is ad­justed prop­erly, you should hear a con­sis­tent buzzing or siz­zle, like the sound of ba­con fry­ing. This all may seem com­pli­cated, but in just a few min­utes you’ll be cre­at­ing solid welds (maybe not pretty ones—that comes later).

Volt­age Too Low, Wire Speed Too Fast Wire Speed Too Slow Per­fect!


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