Little Known MIG Welding Tips
There are literally hundreds of tips on how to make your MIG welding jobs safer or easier. Many of these tips are passed down from older welders to newer ones. Other tips are easily found on many websites. Then there are some tips that are only found in a few places, usually with experienced welders, and are tips that are not as easy to come by. They're helpful but not talked about as often.
Picture Credit: Gill Metal Fab
Sometimes, you need to weld uphill.
Welding is often done downhill and that is fine if you are working with thin materials. Downhill welding also usually looks better, is easier, and is faster. Penetration is especially important when you have to weld thick materials and downhill welding simply doesn't provide the penetration that you really need.
If you have to weld something that is 1/4" thick or thicker, then welding downhill may not be enough to enable you to get a good weld. Some welds will most likely be okay but other welds will have a lack of fusion and cold lap.
Some welders feel that they are able to get better penetration at a lower voltage – say 15.5 – by welding uphill than they can welding downhill at 19 volts. While downhill is faster and easier, if you have to weld thicker materials try welding uphill. Many welds that are done on thick material like 3/8" thick steel suffer from cold lap and lack of fusion when checked.
Make sure you have a good ground.
One of the number one problems that welders face is a bad ground. And while it is a common problem, not many welders actually stop to think about it. Your MIG welding machine is not going to care whether or not you have a good ground. It will continue to feed out welding wire one way or the other.
Have you ever pulled the trigger and have your MIG gun sound as though you were trying to target shoot? That most likely meant that you had a bad ground. This is an easy problem to fix. A lot of welding machine companies are racing each other to produce cheaper machines and cut corners on things like clamps. Many of the clamps are simply a joke. They have only a tiny amount of copper in the jaws.
Buy yourself an old school copper ground clamp. Copper conducts electricity better than anything else. It will make it safer and easier for you to weld and you won't have to worry about the strange sounds or jerks that your welding gun makes.
Anti spatter spray doesn't have to be expensive.
Spatter can be dangerous. When it builds up inside of the MIG gun nozzle it will at some point arc out of the nozzle. Then it will contact the tips. When the spatter contacts the tip the arc will sputter. Once the arc sputters you will inevitably begin trying to adjust the settings on your welding machine. The entire time you simply need to get rid of the spatter that is built up in the gun nozzle.
There are lots of anti spatter sprays that you can buy to help with this problem. The problem is that they are also dangerous. They come with warning labels that warn about chemicals that cause cancer and other dangerous toxins in the sprays. If at all possible it is always better to avoid anything that may be dangerous to your health. You don't have to buy expensive or dangerous sprays in order to keep your nozzle clear. Instead, head to your kitchen.
Cooking spray (like Pam) will work just as well as those expensive anti spatter sprays. Plus, it's safe and won't give you cancer when you use it. So just keep a stock of cooking spray nearby when you're welding to make your job a bit easier.
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