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Feckin Eejit!
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The welder I have minimal access to at a neighbors house I think is a mig(i think), runs off 220, is wire fed, and has a co2 tank.

This sound right?
I can get make/model specifics for better info at some point if needed.

Can this thing weld stainless if I have the right wire? Any chance it can do small aluminum stuff like 1/8" bits?

It was used it to do a half ass "test pipe" on "a close personal friends" car after the cat got stolen and I think with a bit of practice I could be at least usefully capable of using it. Figure if it's good enough I can weld up my headlight brackets or something
 

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sickboy
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couple options....
It can weld stainless, you can buy stainless wire for it that will run you about $35 for a 2lb roll. If its something thats not that important you can weld stainless with regular old mig wire but the weld will rust.
As far as aluminum, you can weld aluminum with a 220 mig welder but you have to use whats called a spool gun because the soft aluminum wire wont run threw the sleeve of a mig gun. A spool gun will run you from $300-$1500 depending on your machine.
 

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I do gooD?
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couple options....
It can weld stainless, you can buy stainless wire for it that will run you about $35 for a 2lb roll. If its something thats not that important you can weld stainless with regular old mig wire but the weld will rust.
As far as aluminum, you can weld aluminum with a 220 mig welder but you have to use whats called a spool gun because the soft aluminum wire wont run threw the sleeve of a mig gun. A spool gun will run you from $300-$1500 depending on your machine.
Hit the nail on the head. Also when you weld aluminum with a mig you want to use argon only and move a little quicker then you would on steel. I'm taking a welding course now and just got a chance to use a spool gun tonight. Easier then tig but I can get nicer looking beads with tig. Get some scrap and practice as much as you can with it.
 

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Feckin Eejit!
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thats what I needed to hear if it's not exactly what I wanted to hear. :) Investing $300-$1500 on someone elses hardware isn't an option :p

Maybe I'll buy him a roll of stainless wire and see if I can find some scrap to practice on.
If all goes well, redo my headlight mounts in stainless... I love me some stainless anyway.
 

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sickboy
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Thats what I needed to hear if it's not exactly what I wanted to hear. :) Investing $300-$1500 on someone elses hardware isn't an option :p

Maybe I'll buy him a roll of stainless wire and see if I can find some scrap to practice on.
If all goes well, redo my headlight mounts in stainless... I love me some stainless anyway.
also, one thing I forgot to mention...The shielding gas he has is probably a 75/25 mix (75% argon 25% co2) as that is the most popular mig gas. This being the case even if you use a stainless wire the 25% co2 thats in the shielding gas mix will penetrate the weld and if you live in a very humid/snowy rusty place the welds may rust even though you used stainless wire. If it is absolutely necessary for you to have perfect stainless welds you need to use what they call a Helium tri mix which is $$$$$ or you can use a 98% argon 2% co2 mix and that will work also but is not cheap as it has to be custom mixed as most places dont just stock it.
Again, this is not 100% necessary unless you need perfect stainless welds that have 0 chance of rusting.
 
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Is Lame
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i cannot stress enough how important it is to have CLEAN metal when you're welding aluminum of any grade or type. cast is most susceptible to pinholes and "outgassing" causing craters and voids on the puddle from impurities burning off.

aluminum form a class II oxide (a couple thousandths) within 15 seconds of being machined/cut/sanded/scratched. now, you'll easily bust through that, but the AC balance is important as well as the frequency at which you're welding.

my tig rig is set to 300 Hz, and AC balance typically at around 20-30%. also, if you're looking to weld heavy ass shit, then you might want to spring for helium which penetrates about 20% more than straight argon does.

my rig is set with 2% thoriated tungsten and all i do is flip a switch to toggle between materials. with 100% argon @ 12CFH and 2% thoriated, i weld literally EVERYTHING. inconel, titanium, hastelloy, cast/billet aluminum of all grades ( not 7075.. can't weld that shit.. ever) stainless/N60, mild/cold-rolled steels, austenitic and martensitic materials abound.


you honestly never want to MIG aluminum. it looks meh and it just fucking SUCK so bad you'll wanna kill yourself. its turrrible.


now heres some nice ass clean metal. no impurities and it was brushed when i got it.. this is an air filter adapter for a beast-mode BMW running around town here.





here is a stunter 636 who had broken the tabs off the frame. i bade ones from 1/2" 6061 T6511 and welded em in. as you can tell, i was a bit in a hurry and didn't clean as well as i should have. i will blatantly admit that, as evidence of a few small pinholes outlining the prior mentioning of outgassing.







honestly, i bought my rig for a grand off craigslist and i've made that money over and over and over again over the years. expect to pay 35-50 bucks for a 90 cu-ft tank of argon, and %15 or so for tungsten, depending on the diameter.
obviously you don't want baseball-bat sized tungsten if you're doing microtig/precision shit like this..


that is actually "heavy" stuff as well for your carbon steel example. depending on the tungsten employed, you can easily weld shit down to .020" thick.



on DC, you can expect this out of ER70s-2 wire on mild steel. -2 is for chromoly, but is a standardized wire. -5/6 is more "normal" stuff


and on stainless..




ALL of those have been welded on the same set-up. straight argon and 2%.


also for ALL these metals, the "general" rule for heat is 1 amp for every .001" of material. i usually start off with about 50-75% because you can always crank it a bit more and sink the metal/filler down in, but you don't want to have to fill in a hole you blasted into some shit because you tried putting 200 amps to a gas tank thats .035".. lol
 

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Is Lame
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splatter is very common in MIG and stick welding. an easy way to keep that shit from sticking to everything is coating the surfaces with Pam cooking spray.

most times severe splatter is directly attributed to wire feed speed. partially due to operating power as well. i have had migs set up so well that shit didn't put ANY spalls on anything. lol hell *I* was amazed with it.. then again i set myself on fire today fabbing up some gates out of galvanized steel. i was not happy with being on fire. it's not really all that fun.

but.. yeah that shit should sizzle like bacon. i suggest always having a practice piece of metal for whatever you're doing. you otta get that sexy ass hiss when the wire is dialed right. you can also go CRAZY and do whats called "drip welding" which is a high-power mig weld done with everything maxed out. its actually silent, but its a pain in the dick to do.. usually a very smooth bead and good penetration, but not for thin metals. i'd stay away from drip welding.. lol


as stated, if you can practice and set up on a scrap piece of metal, at slightly higher amperages, you shouldn't really see much splatter at all.






you're always gonna have SOME.. but again, pam and a small chisel sometimes go a long way.




it sucks, but thats part of mig welding. using a shielding gas is a bit less sloppy pretty much every time. flux-core can get downright terrible looking sometimes. lol doesn't really matter if its stainless or not. that shit just splatters because its hateful.
remember though, try to match grades. if you're welding a 4 series stainless, use 4 series wire. some are compatible with others, but you get strength variances then if you go welding 304 with 316 wire. entirely possible, but its just good practice. 309 is the ONLY wire you can use for joining stainless metals to carbon steel. can you "use" other shit? yeah. and you'll get away with it, too.. but for a proper weld joining dissimilar metals, use 309.

also, note odd grades of stainless. i work in an industry catering to the nuclear field, so we get fuckin weird shit to weld up. 303 for example is a lower grade stainless with the corrosion resistance of a 4 series, yet easily machinable. strange metals are out there.. you guys probably won't come across much of that stuff, but ya never know! always something to look into when you're building your own shit.
 

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Frankenbike builder
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Isn't mig globular only for Aluminum? I did the spool gun thing for certification, and then did some boat welding (1/4-1/2 thing aluminum) and it looked pretty good, but have never tried to do any thinner aluminum than that with MIG.
 

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Basement Fighterer
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I tried different speeds all the way until it was almost dripping off the gun and all splattered. Here's what I ended up with. No chisel is taking this splatter off - it penetrated. I've welded plenty of chromoly and mild steel on mig and never seen this. Not sure what gas we have. This was cleaned with a wire brush then wiped off with mold cleaner.

 

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Registered
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I'm gonna have to try the Pam cooking spray trick. I get boogers all over the place when I'm using my flux core welder. Most of them knock off fairly easily with a chisel or a file
 

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I do gooD?
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720 Posts
You can always grid/sand it down. Really should find out what your set up is gas and wire wise. should be right on the bottle for the gas. Did you clean the metal before welding? Also the piece that you welded on is it steel? Looks kind of odd in the pic.
 

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Is Lame
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yeah that splatter is normal. i use a 3" 3M cookie on a 90* die grinder to get boogers that fuse.

as far as "mig globular" i've never heard of that so i can't be sure i can give a correct answer. i know that for fast, huge welds like 53' flatbed trailers and some tankers made of aluminum, they use MIG and usually a pulsed DC or HFAC power supply to make it weld nicer. the machine shop i learned to TIG at used MIG and it was some big badass gangsta miller unit they used to weld shit up.. (we made "command centers" for nuclear subs and war ships)

i exclusively use TIG because that shit is easy. i like easy. i charge a ton for easy as well, but people still pay it because i'm a badass.. lol if i had to mig aluminum? good lawd i'd have to charge $150/hr just to justify my angst and hatred.

yeah most of the little balls are gonna break off with a tap of a chisel.. the rest will take effort or sanding. that weld looks goo though! nice and smooth and good penetration on the base metal and threaded boss.. worstttt case though maybe the wire speed was too fast.. but honestly, i am supremely biased towards tig and stick. if there is a hell, it is filled with mig welders and people who don't use turn signals.
 

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Registered
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Jim, I love you. Ha ha.

I need to learn the power of the TIG. I like my flux core welder since it's the one I learned (learning) on and it gets the job done, ugly or not. Plus, it was $100 brand new on sale at Harbor Freight. I'm very happy with it so far. Even if I only learn TIG for steel, it would help out a lot since thin material welding can be a total whore with a MIG.
 

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Basement Fighterer
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The pipe was a 636 mid pipe. Both some sort of SS. I should take a pic now, I hit it with a big ass wire wheel on the bench grinder and nothing came off. The mid pipe is only .040 or .050" thick so i didn't bother grinding on it. That area doesn't show anyway.

Sent from Motorcycle.com Free App
 

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Is Lame
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larry.. love me as long as i can have your babies.

yeah mig sucks. period. its great for fast reliable welds, but if you're lookin for pretty shit, you're usually not gonna get it. you CAN, but it takes much time and effort.

this might be about the best you're gonna get.. at least from me. and this in on galvanized steel at that, which is a whore to weld. that shit NEVER EVER looks nice when welded. doesn't matter if ifs TIG or not, galvanized always looks terrible.. but still, mig in general.. you can see were about an inch of the bead doesn't look too bad. almost tig-like, but the rest.. meh. you can still see those damn little spalls all over the place.









splatter is the nature of the beast, no matter what material is being fused :(
 

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Frankenbike builder
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yeah that splatter is normal. i use a 3" 3M cookie on a 90* die grinder to get boogers that fuse.

as far as "mig globular" i've never heard of that so i can't be sure i can give a correct answer. i know that for fast, huge welds like 53' flatbed trailers and some tankers made of aluminum, they use MIG and usually a pulsed DC or HFAC power supply to make it weld nicer. the machine shop i learned to TIG at used MIG and it was some big badass gangsta miller unit they used to weld shit up.. (we made "command centers" for nuclear subs and war ships)

i exclusively use TIG because that shit is easy. i like easy. i charge a ton for easy as well, but people still pay it because i'm a badass.. lol if i had to mig aluminum? good lawd i'd have to charge $150/hr just to justify my angst and hatred.

yeah most of the little balls are gonna break off with a tap of a chisel.. the rest will take effort or sanding. that weld looks goo though! nice and smooth and good penetration on the base metal and threaded boss.. worstttt case though maybe the wire speed was too fast.. but honestly, i am supremely biased towards tig and stick. if there is a hell, it is filled with mig welders and people who don't use turn signals.
Actually- mig is a subset of this kind of welding- Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) and MIG is a subset of that- Globular transfer was how Mig kinda came about-


There are four primary methods of metal transfer in GMAW, called globular, short-circuiting, spray, and pulsed-spray, each of which has distinct properties and corresponding advantages and limitations.

I was wrong- to much book learnin can be a bad thing LOL- modern spool guns use SPRAY transfer, not globular- the globular transfer was the only type of aluminum welding possible when GMAW first came out- now all Mig welding, except for in some industrial welding (which I was doing once, for a short time) is spray transfer, and is the best way to do things like boat work. A tig is better for bikes, IMHO, all the way around. lets you do a variety of metals, and we have nothing but "small stuff" compared to most welding jobs.

Tig is the ONLY way to go welding anything below 1/8" , and really, unless you are really skilled at the spool gun, I would say anything below 3/16" you are going to bun up some metal! I did beveled joints on 1/2"-1" think aluminum, and MIG is the ONLY choice here, when doing 8' long welds at a time LOL
 
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