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Mig welding - how do you know when you're empty?

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  • Mig welding - how do you know when you're empty?

    Hi folks,

    I have a 130a Clarke portable mig welder which I use from time to time. I always used gasless mode but recently I changed and now use those disposeable bottles of gas.

    How am I supposed to know when the bottle is empty though? I've been running on the same one for suspiciously long, still seems to weld fine.

    Will it be really obvious when it runs out? Will I get warning signs, or will I just find a weld has totally failed one day?

    Cheers,
    Rich

  • #2
    Squeeze the trigger and watch the output CFM on the bottle gauge. You want 15 - 20 CFM.

    When you run out of gas, you'll get a ton of splatter, it'll smoke a lot and leave a nasty porous bead.
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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    • #3
      You do know that you aren't supposed to use flux core wire with gas, right?

      Plain mig wire is what you use and when the gas runs out there will be no doubt.

      It's cubic feet per HOUR Robert, not minute.
      Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Evan
        It's cubic feet per HOUR Robert, not minute.
        Yep, 15 - 20 CFH. 15-20 units on the bottle's flowmeter
        "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Evan
          You do know that you aren't supposed to use flux core wire with gas, right?

          Plain mig wire is what you use and when the gas runs out there will be no doubt.

          It's cubic feet per HOUR Robert, not minute.

          Yeah I know that, I got different wire, tips, etc.

          Unfortunately I don't have a pressure gauge, I just have a basic cheap regulator that came with the welder, it has a plastic knob that's marked 0-6 and I tend to whack it on about 4 (whatever that means).

          What happens when the gas is gone? The pool won't form?

          Cheers,
          Rich

          Comment


          • #6
            You end up with nasty weld porosity.

            Example photos:
            http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&c...=weld+porosity

            If you want to see it for yourself just grab some scrap and fire up the welder with the gas turned off.
            Last edited by Ohio Mike; 04-16-2012, 07:23 PM.

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            • #7
              Unfortunately I don't have a pressure gauge, I just have a basic cheap regulator that came with the welder,
              Ah, then I'd hold the nozzle up and listen for gas coming out of the nozzle. Another option is that you can get a cheap flowmeter you can stick the nozzle into.
              http://www.arc-zone.com/index.php?ma...drq55me9rmeto6

              Originally posted by loply
              What happens when the gas is gone? The pool won't form?
              No, you'll definitely form a pool, and lay a bead down. But like I said, you'll get a lot of spatter, and it'll leave a really natty, porous bead. You're basically stick welding without flux.

              Shut the gas off and run a bead on some scrap, you'll see what I mean.
              "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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              • #8
                Also if you switch from flux to gas you have to change the polarity.
                "Let me recommend the best medicine in the
                world: a long journey, at a mild season, through a pleasant
                country, in easy stages."
                ~ James Madison

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by flylo
                  Also if you switch from flux to gas you should change the polarity.
                  Fixed that for you.

                  Also consider buying a better regulator with a tank gauge to prevent running out in the middle of a project. About $60.

                  Alternatively, get good scale, weigh the bottle next time its empty and when it gets filled. Highly compresses gas are heavy.
                  Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.

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                  • #10
                    One can weld with both flux cored wire and gas coverage, its called dual shield and is used all the time in industry.

                    rollin'

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                    • #11
                      I can see that being useful outside when it's windy. What polarity is best then?
                      Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by rollin45
                        One can weld with both flux cored wire and gas coverage, its called dual shield and is used all the time in industry.

                        rollin'
                        My brother mentions using this a LOT and loves it.
                        However, it is NOT 'flux cored wire' designed to be used without gas.

                        Its special 'Dual shield flux cored wire' designed to be used with gas. Apparently it works wonders on dirty/rusty steel, So says my brother who welds heavy equipment together (Dump trucks, cats, etc).

                        Makes much nicer (clean, low splatter) welds then flux cored.

                        My biggest annoyance with standard flux cored wire was I could not see a damn thing through the smoke. Not sure how much smoke dual shield wire produces.
                        Play Brutal Nature, Black Moons free to play highly realistic voxel sandbox game.

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                        • #13
                          I did some dual shield welding a long time ago on some of the compressor station piping for the Alaskan Pipeline. We were working in a fab shop here in the states.

                          This was all 100% xray and so things were done in a controlled environment, no wind and on weld positioners. DC reverse polarity as I recall, lots of wire per minute, and 400 amps. Smoke is pulled out of the way, using fans, pulled not blown, running that much wire and heat makes for a big puddle and a slip up or loss of gas coverage results in a big repair.

                          Short arc root and hot pass, dual shield out, sched 80 10" pipe and they go pretty fast.

                          rollin'

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by loply
                            Yeah I know that, I got different wire, tips, etc.

                            Unfortunately I don't have a pressure gauge, I just have a basic cheap regulator that came with the welder, it has a plastic knob that's marked 0-6 and I tend to whack it on about 4 (whatever that means).

                            What happens when the gas is gone? The pool won't form?

                            Cheers,
                            Rich
                            Is there a way to add a gauge? I would think that would be the best way.
                            Paul A.
                            SE Texas

                            Make it fit.
                            You can't win and there is a penalty for trying!

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                            • #15
                              I'm betting you could put an in-line flow meter of some sort.

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