View Full Version : Matt[email protected] Mr Welder, Sir....

12-05-2005, 08:26 AM
I mentioned this on the board a while back and thought I had fixed the problem but it is still there.
Just to refresh, I have an Airco Dipstick 160. It is an all-inclusive Mig, Tig, Stick machine and is at least 20+ years old. I converted the wire feed from a microswitch activated to a relay about 10 years ago.
When using the Mig side I am finding it impossible to pull a nice bead. The welder seems to be working just fine. I get a nice sizzle when welding but there is so much porosity and pitting in the welds that I know there is something wrong. I have adjusted the gas flow from 20 up to 80cfm and all points in between but it will not give me a quality weld. The gauge on the bottle reads 1000 but I am wondering if it is to low? The bottle was filled in '86... Should I invest in some new gas? Is this my problem? Any suggestions would be much appreciated! This is getting pretty frustrating...

12-05-2005, 08:51 AM
Mark, 1986?? :) That's a pretty big red flag, but to be honest I really don't know how the bottles/gas react over time. I'd say that that would be the first thing to do, but don't have any experience saying that that will solve the problem. If you're so inclined, you could just rent the smallest bottle of 75/25 you can find just to prove the solution. Be sure to purge the line before running a weld. Also, 1,000psi is plenty, but how confident are you in the regulator's gauge? I've never seen one that far off, but I have seen them off by 200psi and screwing up a critical weld that had to be ground out.

Basic question: Do you have the machine on the correct polarity for solid wire?

12-06-2005, 04:28 AM
Thanks Matt, yea the polarity is correct. I had to check though because I wasn't sure. I have only changed it a couple of times and it's been a while since the last time. I had to check last nite to make sure it hadn't been bumped.
I posted this question over on the Hobart forum also and one of the guys mentioned pushing instead of pulling the puddle (insert lewd comment here). I have always pulled it with good results. I was trained on stick welding and never questioned the process with the Mig up until now.
It was also mentioned that, even though the gas is old, it should still do the job. Moving the welder around and running some gas through it should keep the gases mixed well enough.
I am going to run a few more test beads tonite. I will take the tank out of the cart and roll it around a few times to get the gases moving and see what happens.
Thanks for your input and I am still open to suggestions.

12-06-2005, 08:17 AM
Be carefull who you listen to on the Hobart board. There's a lot of guys that think because they can do it, then they're qualified to answer any question. Every message board has that problem, but theirs seems to have it a lot.

Pulling the puddle, if anything, will have better gas coverage in a horizontal joint because the gas is flowing back over the cooling weld, whereas pushing the puddle, some of your gas is going ahead of the puddle, where it's not needed. Your stick welding example is actually a good one for this: If you push 7018, you can get slag inclusions, but you can also get porosity from the slag being pushed off the puddle. Gas is the same way. With all that said, I've never had a problem with gas coverage with concern to travel angle, nor have I ever seen that problem with anyone else.

Yeah, lay your bottle on it's side for a couple hours...hopefully that's all it is.

12-06-2005, 09:40 AM
This is a problem that I have some times found are you welding near a draft or open door as this can blow the gas off the job, and it does not take much for that to happen.

12-06-2005, 09:45 AM
How old is the wire and when did you use it last, I found because I don't use the welder much during the winter the wire gets a corrosion on at least 2,3 layers down and have to run it off before welding.

12-06-2005, 10:21 AM
This is a problem that I have some times found are you welding near a draft or open door as this can blow the gas off the job, and it does not take much for that to happen. Right. It wasn't mentioned because I've talked to Mark before this, and allready know that he's aware of things like that.

How old is the wire and when did you use it last, I found because I don't use the welder much during the winter the wire gets a corrosion on at least 2,3 layers down and have to run it off before welding. That's why you'll find a couple bags of dessicant in my MIG. :) However, it shouldn't do that unless your shop is pretty consistent, temp wise. In that case, I'd say your spool brake is set too tight, maybe causing the wire to rub harder than it should, scraping the copper coating on the wire.

If you're talking about flux cored wire, then that's the cause. It has no coating because it's meant for use in environments with very little-to-no moisture. The reasoning behind that is that too much moisture will ruin the flux, so why bother coating the wire?

The way cored wire is made is it starts out as a flat sheet, the flux gets deposited in a line in the middle of the sheet, then the sheet is formed around the flux. Therefore, the wire has an open joint that will readily let moisture in.

02-22-2006, 05:31 AM
Okay Matt,
I am ready to get back to work on the cradle and I need to get my welder fixed... I did (tried to do) some welding with it a couple of weeks ago and it is no better now then it was when I started this thread.
One thing I did determine though is that the problems started when I put the new roll of wire on it. It is overseas wire and was about 70 bucks for the 44lb spool. Do you think this is the problem? Bad wire? I have pretty much come to that conclusion. I will pick up some new wire and another bottle of gas this week to try my theory. New wire first and then the gas if that doesn't solve the problem.
ANY input would be appreciated. This is getting very frustrating!

02-22-2006, 05:52 AM
I can understand the frustration. If you can't get it fixed, I would be glad to loan you my Lincoln 175 mig. My wire is a little old too, but the 10lb spools aren't very expensive at all. Being that Matt is pretty far away, you may even want to take the machine to Wilson Welding on Dequindre to see if they can help you out. The guys in there are extremely helpful. Just a thought. Let me know if you would like to borrow the welder.


02-22-2006, 07:05 AM
I can understand the frustration. If you can't get it fixed, I would be glad to loan you my Lincoln 175 mig. My wire is a little old too, but the 10lb spools aren't very expensive at all. Being that Matt is pretty far away, you may even want to take the machine to Wilson Welding on Dequindre to see if they can help you out. The guys in there are extremely helpful. Just a thought. Let me know if you would like to borrow the welder.

Thank you very much for the offer. I hope it doesn't boil down to that but I will keep it in mind.
I just got off the phone with Rocky up at Flint Welding and he reinforced my opinion of the wire I am using... He even knew the color of the box it came in... He said he has had a bunch of complaints about it and has some better quality wire for me to try. I will head up there tomorrow after work and drag my tank along for a re-fill also. Hopefully this will get me back up to speed on sticking metal together...
Rocky also pointed me to a guy who is a certified Tig welder. I gave him a call and he is coming out to the house Saturday to get me going on the Tig side of my machine. He sounds like a great guy and really got fired up about helping me out! He said he can have me tig welding in an hour or two on steel and aluminum.
Thanks again for the offer, I appreciate it more then you know.

02-22-2006, 10:38 AM
Well, at the very least it sounds like you found a few really good local resources...that's worth a helluva lot more than a $100 bottle of gas for sure.

Noone can be sure, but I would agree with the bad wire guess. Cheap-O wire can do some pretty strange stuff. When you buy more, any name brand is good, but Lincoln wire is the best in my opinion.

And make sure to try the new gas with the old wire first. I'm curious to see what your problem was.

02-22-2006, 11:37 AM
No problem. Just let me know.

I purchased my welder from Flint Welding Supply. I was pretty happy with them. However, I use Wilson Welding because they are much more convenient, and I really like the guys behind the counter. I traded one guy a set of old Camaro front springs for the repair of my shielding gas hose (from regulator to welder). He makes lawn furniture with car parts.

As for learning TIG, I have no doubt you can be welding in under an hour. However, welding well is a whole other issue. I learned to weld with oxy/acetylene, so I already had an idea how to work with both hands. The extra pedal makes it a little harder. When I started my TIG class, I was really proud of myself (read cocky) because I was able to pick up the flat welds, in aluminum, pretty quick. The last two weeks I have been working on horizontal and vertical welds. Let's just say that I'm not so cocky any more. Some things I have learned: 1) clean metal makes all the difference (this has been covered, but it's so important with AL 2) any time spent getting your body, arms, etc in a good stable position is realized in the quality of your weld 3) with AL, your hands are going to get HOT. I bought a pair of TIG gloves, and stopped using them when I couldn't tell if the steam/smoke was my finger or the glove. This may be different with steel; I start with stainless in another week or so. 4) Have plenty of electrodes handy, as you will dunk the tip.

All that being said, I am really enjoying my TIG class. I'm guessing you will enjoy working with it as well. This reminds me I need to post some pics from the last few weeks. Again, let me know if I can help.


02-23-2006, 04:25 AM
I loaded up the cylinder in the van last night. I will get it refilled tonight and pick up the new wire. I WILL try the new gas with the old wire first, like you suggested, just to see what happens. The wire Rocky is suggesting is Lincolns' Easy Feed #4 or #6. I will talk to him more about it tonight. I guess Crown makes a decent wire and it was recommended also.
I will be picking up tungstens and filler rod for the Tig "class" Saturday. I have a question on lens cups. Which do you use the most of? I have a few #4 & 6's which I figure will get the most use for welding coped tubing. I have nothing bigger though. I guess I should pick up a few 8's and 10's for flat work. Thanks for your help. I will post up some pics when I can.

Where are you taking your Tig class? I would be interested in getting in on one if it was a reasonable distance from home...
That is a good point you brought up about "welding well". I know I will not be good enough to be doing any structural welding on the chassis right away. The 1 or 2 hours I spend Saturday will just get me kicked off so I can spend a lot more time getting better at it. I know it will take some time before I am comfortable with my ability. I will be drastically depleating my stock of scrap over the next few weeks... :bananna2:

02-23-2006, 07:02 AM
I am going to Washtenaw CC in Ann Arbor. It's quite a drive for me, about an hour each way. I chose it for a few reasons:

1. Oakland CC filled up before I finished registering because they only had one class with 10 spots.
2. WCC has classes twice a day, 6 days a week.
3. WCC's class is only listed as 2 credits, so even though I pay out of county tuition, it's cheaper than OCC.

I have been very happy with the class. Basically we spend about 3.5 hours every Sat morning welding. If you need a demostration, there are 1-2 instructors who will come over. They will also give advice whenever needed. Otherwise, you have close to an unlimited supply of metal and supplies, and you weld to your heart's content. You are also welcome to show up any other time during the week when there is an open station. They have 20 TIG stations, so I don't think that would ever be a problem.

Finding a class was tough, but I am very happy to be going.


02-23-2006, 07:51 AM
Thanks Ken,
That wouldn't be to bad of a drive from Byron... about 45 mins...
I will check it out.
Did you do any looking in the Flint area? I will check with The Mott anex in Fenton. I thinks it's called the Great lakes tech center or something like that... I'll see what I can find out.

02-23-2006, 08:00 AM
Mark, I've never heard of that wire, and Lincoln doesn't list it on their website. The two Lincoln wires that you'll find on the shelves of most welding supply shops is either L-50 or L-56.

L-50 is ER70S-3, which is best for clean material.

L-56 is ER70S-6, which is best for dirtier stuff, and doesn't wet out as well as the L-50.

As for TIG gas cups, I use a 10 for stainless and 4130N, an 8 for everything else unless I'm working in tight corners.

02-23-2006, 09:27 AM
Thanks Ken,
That wouldn't be to bad of a drive from Byron... about 45 mins...
I will check it out.
Did you do any looking in the Flint area? I will check with The Mott anex in Fenton. I thinks it's called the Great lakes tech center or something like that... I'll see what I can find out.

I didn't look in the Flint area. I found WCC after looking in Oakland county and Livingston county. That was about the same time they had WCC featured on "Rides" for the SEMA car they put together for GM. It just seems to me they have some of the best programs in the area; based largely on the number of classes they offer. They have also been featured in, and used by, Car and Driver. GM, Ford, and DCX supposedly use them for welding as well. I know there are some GM guys in the shape cutting class on Sat morning.



02-24-2006, 05:10 AM
Well, Gentlemen... A new tank of gas solved the problem... I traded the old, out of test, 380cuft tank for a smaller 140cuft tank last night. Cost me 22 bucks... I noticed a difference as soon as I started welding! I am still using the cheap offshore wire and it can pull a decent bead.
I spent a couple of hours welding scrap together last night just to get back up to speed and was pulling some okay beads by the time I quit. I was playing with settings, moving the heat range around a lot and using different CFH settings on the flow meter so I haven't optimized anything yet but I am happy with the results I got last night. I have some issues with wire feed though. I can feel the wire dragging or binding in the gun so I will look into getting a wire lubricator today.
I will change out the wire tonight (I picked up a new 10lb roll last night) and see if THAT makes any difference.
I now know that MOST of the cradle I built was done with no shielding gas so it is going to be cut up. I am ordering new tubing today to start the build over. Chaulk one up to experience I guess...
Thank you all for your help and insight on this "problem"... Especially Matt. I'll post up some pics after I get things fine tuned...

02-24-2006, 08:08 AM
Nevermind my question in your other thread, you answered it here. :)

I'm glad to hear you'll be using the new wire anyway. What did you end up buying?

Good wire can make a huge difference.

02-24-2006, 09:07 AM
Hey Matt,
I plan to try a couple of different wires. I can't remember who made the stuff I got yesterday. I'll look tonight and post it up. It is an ER70s-6 and is a name brand name. It cost around 22 bucks for a 10 lb spool.
I called and ordered some ER70s-3 today and will give that a try when it comes in.
Hey Ken...
I did some looking and found a welding class at the Mott College extension on Thompson Rd. in Fenton... They cover mostly Mig but the adviser I talked to is one of the teachers and he said we could concentrate on Tig stuff during the "get dirty" sessions... It doesn't sound as extensive as the WCC classes but it is practically on my way home from work and they have a class that runs from 6:00pm to 10:pm so I am looking into it.

02-24-2006, 10:44 AM
Can you post a link to the Mott class? I live in Groveland Twp, about 15 minutes from there. I had no idea there was a Mott extension that close to me. What is the title of the class?

Right now, I am thinking about signing up for the basic fabrication class at WCC next term. I am going to talk with the instructor tomorrow about that. Basically, they have you make a toolbox out of sheet, and then you have the rest of the term to complete your own projects. Since I am having such a hard time finding the right EFI manifold for the Vette, and I can't see giving Hogan's $2500, I am thinking about trying to make my own.


02-24-2006, 11:01 AM
You have a PM Ken...

02-27-2006, 09:45 AM
The Tig class went very well Saturday! I picked up the two fisted welding very quickly (about 20 minutes actual welding time) and Greg (the instructor) said I would be very proficient after a couple of hours of practice... I was very impressed with the Tig welding. Clean, no sparks, beautiful beads!!!! Even with no experience I ran some nice looking beads. They may not have been straight because I was learning to read the puddle, but they looked good! Greg said quality and consistancy will come with practice so I need to get my Airco fired up with a foot pedal and better torch. I am talking to Flint Welding about that and they are looking into it for me. One of their repairmen is a welder wiz, I guess, and he thinks he can get me hooked up...
I talked to [email protected] Dynamics Sat. afternoon also. Thanks Matt! I appreciate the time you took to talk to me! How's the back?
Matt reinforced some of the things I was doing and thinking about during the class and answered a BUNCH of questions! Great guy! We are fortunate to have him here!
If anyone in my area would like to get together and have a few welding classes, PM me. Greg said he would be happy to do it. He charges $50 bucks an hour although he was at my place for nearly four hours Saturday and didn't charge me for them!
If you can't tell by now I had a pretty good weekend!

03-02-2006, 04:40 AM
I got a call from Greg the welder last night to tell me he has a line on a demo Lincoln TIg welder. It's a Precision TIg 185 with the Ready Pak, cart and full compliment of equipment.
This is the exact machine I have been drooling over all week. Excellant price also with a three year warranty and full tech support! I talked to my wife last night and she gave me the go-ahead so I'll be calling on it this morning.
Is there any input or advice on these machines? I am just breaking into the world of TIg so any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

03-03-2006, 08:51 AM
it's the wrong color. Other than that it's a great machine that you'll enjoy for long time. I think it's JP's weapon of choice. You might want to set up a chiller. If not for the increased capacity then for the smaller torch. Enjoy it!

03-20-2006, 08:17 AM
I've had the Tig for almost two weeks now but didn't get it fired up until last Thursday. I have run a few feet of practice beads now and Saturday I actually made a couple of usable items.
Here is a pic of the new toy...
This is a shot of a couple of practice beads.
Don't beat me up too badly, I am still learning to watch the puddle AND the weld seam AND the filler rod AND keep the foot peddle consistant. There is a lot going on during a weld but I think I am getting the hang of it. A couple more hours of practice and I think I will be comfortable. I need to get some practice on tubing though so I will start cutting up the old cradle this week for practice material.
Here is a hose/cable hanger I made from some scrap rod I had on hand.
It might be kinda hard to see so I'll get some pics of it in use on the argon bottle tonite. I painted it red so it looks finished.

Here is a couple of pics of welds I did on a chair chassis I built Saturday also. Some trash picked bed frame welded up to fit under my welding chair.
I have about two hours worth of practice under my belt and I know I have a lot to learn but I don't think the welds look to bad. I have had some guidance and your guys input would be appreciated.

03-20-2006, 09:14 AM
I don't have much time, but your filler is way too big. Try .045". Your welds should not be dull grey like they are. They need to have some sheen to them. Dull grey = crystalization and way too much grain growth.

03-21-2006, 04:53 AM
Thanks Matt,
I was using .063 filler rod. That's all I have right now. The practice beads were done on 1/8th inch stock at about 145 amps and the chair frame is .090 and I was running at 125 amps max.
So I need to go smaller on the filler rod? What do you use for .095 wall tubing? That is what I will be using when I rebuild the cradle. Cfh on the gas is set at around 13-14 and I was using a gas lense with a 1/16th 2% tungsten.

03-21-2006, 08:14 AM
Mark, looking at the top bead in your first picture, I'm surprised to see you're using 1/16" filler. The wobbliness :) of the weld is classic of using filler that's too big.

First, get that mill scale off of your steel! Even for practice pieces, it'll screw you up.

Second, you're too hot. The "1 amp per .001" thickness" applies to aluminum. For 1/8" steel, try 80-90 amps, and for the .090", try about 60-70 amps.

You will definetely want .045" filler for your cradle. Flow is good where you have it, and you could try a .040" tungsten on the .090" stuff.

06-12-2006, 10:12 PM
Hey Matt you said the grey is crystalization. Can you be more descriptive?
I have a lincoln precision tig 275
And i am workin with 120 wall chromolly tube atm, Im using small rod and a 1/16th ? tung @ 2% and about 95 to 99 amps ( I forget what the small size is) get awsome shinny tacks but when i go to weld the whole thing I tend to get a grey color in the bead and as best I can explain sometimes the bead looks like this * Like crystaline and grey
Some welds look UBER clean and shinny
I have thought it was a clean issue
I use an abrasive chop saw to cut the tube ( I am thinking its the dust inside thue tube from the cut)
I clean the other tube ith abrasive discs and my filler rod with a lintfree rag and brake cleaner (maybeee im wrong there)

I allso notice what would look like a glazed dot on som of the welds allmost like a black dot of glass ( I have a real good feeling its the abrasives actually turning to glass)
and yes I have the polarity correct =)
I can take pics if you like and pst tomorrow night

thanksin advance Ken F

I like to think I know it all but I dont so thats why I am here =)

06-12-2006, 10:23 PM
Ken, pictures would certainly help, but I'm willing to bet you allready have half the answer. Clean the tubing inside and out with something other than brake cleaner. :) Acetone, Simple Green, rubbing alcohol, laquer thinner, etc.

The second half of your answer is most likely gas coverage. If your tacks are shiny but your weld isn't, gas coverage is by far the most likely culprit. You can either be flowing too much or too little (tell us your cup size (!), flow rate, and whether you're using a gas lens or standard collet), or your travel angle might be all messed up (easy to do on small tube like this), letting the filler get out of the gas shield, post flow too short, taking the torch away before post flow stops, etc. Just try to be as specific as you can when you reply and I'm sure the answer will come out.

One last thing, if the tubing you're working on will be welded air tight, are you drilling a small hole to let pressure escape?

06-14-2006, 04:45 PM
Matt I better Unhijack this fellas thread Ill post a new thread