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Thread: I need help with MIG spool gun settings

  1. #11
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    Nov 2006
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    I hear you Shade, and appreciate your professionalism, but truly for my "one off" business (I do special effects and such) it would take a remarkably long time to pay off. The piece I'm working on, the giant wizard puppet for the stage show Wicked, has taken the most of my welding for half a decade. It's a minor part of the work and I've only made 12 of them for the 12 worldwide shows. And sad to say, my amateurish welding on inappropriate equipment has been adequate to the task, both on steel and AL. Muddling through is part and parcel of being a self taught jack of all trades.

    This is far from first time I've been envious of people who have had the opportunity to get really good at skills I've a smattering of. I've an apartment to renovate and I'm jealous of the guys who are REALLY good at taping drywall joints. They can do it ridiculously faster than even the the regular contractors. Oh well, each to our own pigeonholes.

  2. #12
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    Jun 2011
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    Wisconsin USA
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    This may be complete dribble so please take it for what it's worth, but could you switch to brazing wire? With a wall as "thin" at .062 and a very low heat setting you would have less chance of burn through. It would work for steel and stainless(i'm not sure which types though). You'll have to run pure argon with that wire but I hear it's pretty easy to work with, it just doesn't look as pretty.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by robosilo View Post
    This may be complete dribble so please take it for what it's worth, but could you switch to brazing wire? With a wall as "thin" at .062 and a very low heat setting you would have less chance of burn through. It would work for steel and stainless(i'm not sure which types though). You'll have to run pure argon with that wire but I hear it's pretty easy to work with, it just doesn't look as pretty.
    Thanks. I had never heard of MIG brazing before, did some reading, might be worth looking into. I often work with stainless spring temper wire 1/16-3/16, it might be a good way to attach it, though it would still anneal out the temper.

  4. #14
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    May 2013
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    Herscher, IL
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    Quote Originally Posted by robosilo View Post
    This may be complete dribble so please take it for what it's worth, but could you switch to brazing wire? With a wall as "thin" at .062 and a very low heat setting you would have less chance of burn through. It would work for steel and stainless(i'm not sure which types though). You'll have to run pure argon with that wire but I hear it's pretty easy to work with, it just doesn't look as pretty.
    Quote Originally Posted by gellfex View Post
    Thanks. I had never heard of MIG brazing before, did some reading, might be worth looking into. I often work with stainless spring temper wire 1/16-3/16, it might be a good way to attach it, though it would still anneal out the temper.
    I have heard of Mig brazing, have not done it, but if you use much of it you could have a decent welder paid off first.

    http://store.cyberweld.com/haersibrmigw1.html

    Looked, did not see it anywhere in 1 or 2 pound spools for a spool gun.

    Harris 10 pound spool was almost $17 per pound, ouch.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by gellfex View Post

    As for your previous question, I'm in business, but welding comes up pretty infrequently, last time was at least a year ago, most of what I design and build is tapped and assembled with screws. I do enough to have invested what I have, but not enough for a TIG. Investing another $900 on something I'm not sure will work with my nonstandard spool gun might not make sense.
    Not sure if you ought to look at it that way.... If you got a decent used tig welder with AC capability, you could do AL with the tig, and since tig units can also do stick welding (our Lincoln 175 has an actual switch to convert over) it would take care of the buzz-box usage as well. Gas is a wash, both mig and tig use gas.

    You could recoup part of your your investment, since the spool gun isn't useful with what you have, and you'd need to spend more to use it right anyhow. Spool guns seem to sell well around here on CL, everyone sees them as their cheap option, pretty much as you seem to have done.

    The tig isn't just for AL, it's a nice welder for steel..... (it's my favorite type of welding, I just wish I could justify one at home). When material is too thick to deal with well as tig, switch it over to stick.

    The 175 kinda gives up around 3/16" to 1/4" as a tig, but we welded 3/8" steel structure with it as a stick welder just fine.

    Since mig (GMAW) depends on shorting the supply with the filler wire to melt it with a somewhat un-controlled high current* from a fixed voltage supply, but stick depends on a controlled-current arc with variable voltage, you have a definite incompatibility. I suppose you might be OK by setting the current high (simulating CV operation), but then you deal with the uncontrolled voltage which may also be rather high.

    GMAW has voltages often in the 16V to 25V area, where that would be a bit low for stick. Stick would have a higher open circuit voltage which drops when the arc starts. Somewhat opposite actions.

    * the wire speed sets the average current in a mig unit

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shade View Post
    I have heard of Mig brazing, have not done it, but if you use much of it you could have a decent welder paid off first.

    http://store.cyberweld.com/haersibrmigw1.html

    Looked, did not see it anywhere in 1 or 2 pound spools for a spool gun.

    Harris 10 pound spool was almost $17 per pound, ouch.
    McMaster has it. I just bought a spool a couple of weeks ago. I was severely disappointed about where they sourced it from though.


  7. #17
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    May 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by Highpower View Post
    McMaster has it. I just bought a spool a couple of weeks ago. I was severely disappointed about where they sourced it from though.

    And the Chinese stuff is over $20 a pound...

  8. #18
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    May 2013
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    I used to weld for days on end literally. When i first started i was told it should sound like frying bacon, and it does when running right. Try it on some test pieces. On thinnner material you may have to stop start the weld so as not to get it to hot but the frying bacon still holds.

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