Welding has various methods depending on the outcome you want. We all have varying expertise. All in all, you still need a set of skills to carry out your welding successfully.
This article is to guide you on what to do and don't during welding. It acts as a beginner's guide to the basics of wire feed welding.
What Exactly Is Wire Feed Welding?
The term sounds like rocket science. But fear not, it’s a pretty simple concept. It comes from the combined ARC and Gas welding. This is the type of weld where you join metals through heating the workpiece and a continuously fed plaster metallic electrode with an electric arc. It uses the same concept as MIG welding and GMAW.
This process deploys a shielding gas that protects the weld from the external environment and produces a clean weld. The softer and fragile nonferrous metal is welded with the wire feed welding because the machine's design allows it to perform such complex welds.
Tools and Gears Needed To Perform The Welding
The wire feed system uses a DC power. The power to be provided depends on the wire feeding speed and the length of the arc.
The selection of the wire defiantly depends on the task that you have at hand. There are two types of wire designs, which are ER70S-3, which is a designed rounds' rod mainly used to do typical weld and the second is the ER170S-6 intended to tackle the massive task by weld the hard or rusty metals.
When welding thinner metals, we advise the use of 0.023inch because it produces less heat. It reduces burnout, but when working on thick metals, we recommend using a 0.035 inch-0,045-inch-thick metal, but the steel metal mail uses the 0.035inch thick rod.
I) How Long Should The Welding Wire Be?
The required standard for the wire protruding out of the gun should be 3/8th inches long. Any longer than the recommended average, and your going to set yourself back from burnbacks and overheating.
The gun plays the most crucial role, for it brings the three vital components; the rod, gas, and the current welding transfer to make the single weld. The choice of the gun is also crucial during the welding process.
Two main guns are the water-cooled and air-cooled guns. The air-cooled firearms are to conduct light tasks, for they have minimum current carrying capacity and rely on the gas to cool. Meanwhile, the water-cooled guns are for heavier jobs.
A proper weld from the MIG requires 25% carbon dioxide and 75% argon combination, and if you achieve this, you will get a clean weld with less spatter and adequately spread. On the other hand, you accomplish a deeper penetration when you combine 100% carbon dioxide but you're weld won't look as smooth.
Amperes and Voltage
The amount of voltage or amperes to be used depends on numerous factors such as wire diameter, position you’re welding from metal type, the thickness of the metal you are welding, and the shield gas. You can use some tools to set voltage and amperes on your machine.
I) A convenient recommendation chart is usually at the interior of the opening, covering the feeder assembly.
II) Miller's automated technology works with a simple algorithm where you set the wire's diameter and dial the metal thickness. The metal you will use to weld everything will be charged automatically from the amperes to the voltage.
Safety Wire Welding Equipment
The dark helmet protects your eyes, so we recommend you not weld without this equipment. It protects your eyes from the high fleshes produced during welding, and it turns light blue after the flash to allow you to see your weld.
The gas produced during the weld is usually not safe for humans, though MIG welding is relatively low. We still strongly recommend using a respirator while you weld or if air vents are closed.
This will protect you during the wire feed weld polish and ensure that they are UV ray protective.
Welding jackets or aprons are a special kind of apron that protects you from molten metal sparks that may stray to your cloth or skin. They are also heatproof; thus, they cannot burn up.
Welding gloves are essential during the welding process since they protect you from burning, coming to contact with the weld, or any other hot areas' molten parts.
Work boots protect your toes during welding. They should also be made from lather similar to the apron to ensure they don’t also burn.
Metal and Equipment Preparation
This method has a lower tolerance to rust and oil; thus, it is essential to smoothen the surface and allow a strong weld. The use of a sandpaper or wire brush helps to remove rust and dust particles. The uneven surface also allows one to have better penetration and get a clean, accurate welded joint.
Check For Wire Tension
The tension provided should be adequate to fit the work at least moderate, thus avoiding too much pressure or too little stress. Both these cases lead to terrible welds.
Check The Wires
Before making any weld, make sure you check for any loose, correct connections or necked cables to avoid any incidences while working.
Check On The Polarity
The wire feed weld requires a DC connection; thus, it is essential to check on that.
How Exactly Do We Wire Feed Weld?
A wire feed weld is a complex machine connected to a roll of rod interconnected to a gun. When activated, various components come together to create a robust single weld.
When you turn on the gun, there is power production, and the currents start flowing. Meanwhile, the shield gas rushes through the weapon's tip while you continuously feed the wire until the weld turns off. According to welding headquarters, there are several most commonly used methods that you can use to produce a clean, strong weld.
Push or Pull
During wire welding, you can use either pull or push; however, I would recommend using the pushing technique because it allows you to see where your welding is and make any correction.
I) Front/Push Welding Technique
This is when you weld away from your position. This method allows for lower penetration but more extensive spread on the surface.
II) Back/Pull Welding Technique
This method is when one makes a weld towards oneself. This method allows for better penetration and has a stronger bond.
The working angles vary from the joining technique, the material, and the shape. There are four central working angles.
I) Flat Position
In the flat position, the varieties break down into butt weld lap joint and T-joint.
Do a butt weld to metals held back to back at a 180-degree angle, and you keep the gun at a 90-degree angle, then the flame is passed front and before several times to avoid undercut and obtain a strong weld.
When you do a lap joint, then a 90-degree angle is welded on a flat surface, and the weld made is greater than the pitch.
T-joint's are obtained when two metal rods join at a 90-degree angle, and you hold the welding gun at a 90-degree angle. The make a weld passes several times while avoiding undercuts.
II) Overhead Position
Overhead welding techniques require a fast push or pull method. However, it is essential to note that the welding speed should be fast enough to prevent the molten metal from falling on the joint at any particular point. You can achieve it by lowering the amperage, using a smaller sized diameter wire and voltage, thus allowing the more manageable weld.
III) Vertical Position
Vertical welding is the most difficult of all the techniques, thus requires presetting up of the weld. Since you are going against gravity, you should lower the voltage to obtain good quality weld.
This method can be used to weld in fragile metal since it avoids melt through, and the gun travels at a 15 to 80 degree angle to the workpiece.
When welding on the vertical position, I recommend beginning from the top weld going down to achieve a good quality weld.
IV) Horizontal Position
There is an excellent effect of gravity on this position, and the working angle to the gun has dropped from 0-15 degrees, which may cause the filler metal to droop or rollover on the other side of the weld. In this position, the application of push or pull techniques can apply. The welding voltage on this position can remain the same or drop slightly from the flat position.
To top up the techniques you have learned from the steps above, watch a YouTube video that will further illustrate the wire feed technique. The video is a post of Hobart welding and provides essential tips and techniques that will come in handy in polishing your skills.
How Does Wire-Speed Influence The Final Product and The Wire Feed Welding Process At Large?
The travel speed of the wire can affect the shape of a weld bead. You don’t want to lower the quality of the weld bead as well, so ensure the rate at which you move the gun along the combined part is just right. According to Miller welds, you can quickly know the speed you’re using by looking at the weld puddle size relative to the joint thickness.
If the weld drip is larger than the thinnest part of the metal you're welding, you should reduce the speed. The tip here is to ensure that the weld drip is NOT more extensive than the welding's most delicate metal. You can also try keeping the arc on the top brink of the puddle and ensure that the molten metal is at all times ahead of them. Miller Welds suggests that with a little more practice, you can easily create quality weld end products.
Frequently Asked Questions About Wire Feed Welding
Q: What roles do work angle and travel angle play in making a good weld?
The work angle plays a considerable role in the joints positioning and the final product’s shape. On the other hand, the travel angle can influence the condition and quality of the excellent weld.
Q: Does a wire feed weld need gas?
Wire feed weld and MIGs need gas for welding. In this technique of welding, you need to use inert gas.
Q: Do you push or pull in when welding?
In welding, you use the push technique to have a clear view of your welding and make corrections easier if any are necessary.
Q: How does wire-speed affect welding?
Speed is an essential part of welding. At the wrong wire speed, the weld bead’s quality will lower, and so will the shape.
Welding has never been easier. A wire feed weld allows a welding enthusiast or a professional commercial welder to make the most types of repair welds and maintenance. It's a flexible and straightforward process for a DIY Welder, and with practice and the techniques illustrated in this article, you can quickly master the skill. It’s vital to remember that safety comes first, and you should never forget to put on protective gear before a welding session.
Besides, the gear does not cost much. To only summarizes the wire feed weld technique, the following are essential points to note throughout the article.
First off, ascertain the amount of wire sticking out at the end of your welding gun tip. It should not be longer than three-quarters of an inch.
You should also ensure that the metal you want to use is clean. Metal preparation will go a long way to ensure that your wire feeding performance is top-notch. Apart from metals, check your other equipment and choose your wire wisely.
It’s important to note that you should use the push technique to ensure that you get the best results in after welding. For the travel angle, not more than 15 degrees is sufficient to make perfect penetrations. The work angle, on the other hand, may vary with the welding position you use. For overhead, vertical, horizontal, or flat positions, use varying work angles.
Well, with that, the welding process is a wrap. And note that all these take practice to make perfect. It's a trial and error kind of thing, and a reference guide will be a bonus. You can get the best reference guidebook online, and you can be sure that your skills will improve drastically.