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Need advice on welding thicker metals

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strantor

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#1
I am a welding novice. I have been welding for years, but I don't do enough welding to maintain proficiency or gather a wide pool of experience. My main welder is an Eastwood TIG200, AC/DC 200A TIG/Stick machine. I also have an old craftsman MIG (125A? I believe) that's pretty much useless for anything outside of sheet metal. I opted for TIG as my main machine because I wanted the cheapest (larger/more capable) machine I could get, that I could also use to weld aluminum. I have done lots of smaller jobs with it and have been happy with it so far.

I had my first experience last week doing a larger job on thicker steel with the TIG, and I am not at all happy with how it went. I made some modifications to a friend's trailer, probably a total of 25 linear feet of weld on 3/16" and 1/4" steel, and it took over 12 hours. The welder has a rated 60% duty cycle, but I empirically discovered that the WP17 torch (or, maybe my hand) has its own duty cycle which is significantly less than that. After 1-2 minutes of welding at anything over 150A, the torch gets too hot to hold with a gloved hand, and takes 10 minutes sitting in front of a shop fan to cool down. Probably only an hour or two of the 12hr job was spent actually welding.

I did a bit of research and I'm still researching, but I thought I would post here for help in addition. One thing that I came across on someone else's post on another forum, was a suggestion to upgrade to an 18 series torch. I don't know much about parts interchangeability with these torches. I went to the Eastwood website looking for a bigger torch, or a water cooled torch, and they do sell some stuff, but they only advertise it as being compatible with their bigger machines. Will any welder that uses a 17 torch, also use an 18 torch? And what is meant by "series?" Is there a specific 18 torch I need? What about a water cooled torch? What would fit my machine?

One thing I did find on the Eastwood website that they guarantee fit, is the stick holder torch for this machine. The specs that Eastwood provides seem only to apply to the TIG process. Very little is said about its stick capabilities. Will stick welding give me better results on a project like I just did? Also as far as stick goes, I would like to know if I can weld even thicker materials with stick, than what the machine is rated for on TIG. I have a project coming up where I will need to weld 1/2" steel, possibly even 3/4"; I am pretty sure I know the answer for that - I'm going to need a bigger welder. But I thought I would ask just in case.

Thank You
 
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Canus

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#2
A 200 amp machine with a 60% duty cycle used in stick mode should have allowed you to finish in a couple of hours max. Get yourself some stick rods and practice some. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
 

Mitch Alsup

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#3
a) water cooled torch for Tig
b) the job sounds like a Mig/stick job in actuality
 

strantor

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#4
a) water cooled torch for Tig
b) the job sounds like a Mig/stick job in actuality
I am about to order the stick holder lead for it. I would also like to order a water cooled torch. Do you know specifically what type/series/model/whatever of water cooled torch will work for a machine that was designed for wp17 torch? And is there some other equipment required to go with it?
 

Mitch Alsup

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#5
"This Old Tony" did a youtube video recently on this.
 

Asm109

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#6
You can switch the wp17 for an HW20 water cooled torch. You will need a recirculating water cooler. Once you use a water cooled torch you will never want to go back.
 

Tim9

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#7
When I think of TIG I always think that TIG is best for precision work. Welding a trailer doesn't fall into precision work. To weld a trailer, I'd definitely use a stick welder. And for 1/4" you'd easily get by with 125-150 amps stick welding.
 

Cooter Brown

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#8
You have to get the water out first..............(LULZ)



Preheat
 

Richard King 2

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#9
On thicker material...grind a V groove so the rod can flow into the metal on both sides I used to move the in a small sweeping motion as I moved it sideways. I have not wilded a lot of thick stuff on a wirefeed. I used to have a stick welder. Loved to weld and see the flux curl up and have that pretty weld. Also the smoke from the rod really worked good with hangovers the day after...lol
 

SamI

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#10
You have to get the water out first..............(LULZ)



Preheat

I wouldn't have thought that preheat would be required for this although it certainly wouldn't cause any harm.

Preheat is important in steels with a higher carbon content or other highly alloyed steels to slow the cooling of the weld pool in an effort to reduce the hardness of the weld / Heat Affected Zone (HAZ). It does become more critical as the thickness increases but 1/4" steel isn't that thick in the grand scheme of things.

As for water, water is a source of Hydrogen in the weld pool. In thicker sections or in alloys that are prone to cracking Hydrogen can build up in the weld metal until enough pressure is present to crack the weld and / or the HAZ. Again, I can’t imagine that this would be a problem in ¼” (presumably) mild steel however if the grade is unknown then preheating could be a good idea. 95°C is often recommended as a minimum for C-Mn steels although as the carbon equivalent creeps up you may need to go higher (i.e. chromoly steels).

Hydrogen cracking can be particularly hazardous because the cracks don’t always appear immediately and a weld that has passed inspection can suddenly fail in service. Because of this it is worth checking your welds again after 72 hours if the material you are welding is known to be susceptible.
 

Karl_T

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#11
Yep, most certainly a stick welding job here. you need to practice this first. you're first welds will looks like chicken s&^t and have poor penetration. Weld two pieces together for two inches then put in a vice and try to break it by bending.

6011 rod gives best penetration especially on rusty poorly prepped metal. hard to get a good looking bead.

6013 has penetration problems, easy to drag and get a nice looking weld. I sometimes root pass with 6011, then weld over it with 6013

A "V" grind is a great idea on 1/4" and thicker.

here's a chart for settings
 

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Silverbullet

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#12
On thicker material...grind a V groove so the rod can flow into the metal on both sides I used to move the in a small sweeping motion as I moved it sideways. I have not wilded a lot of thick stuff on a wirefeed. I used to have a stick welder. Loved to weld and see the flux curl up and have that pretty weld. Also the smoke from the rod really worked good with hangovers the day after...lol
Want a good fix weld some galvanized steel. That stuff will mess YA up even but good if inhaled to long.
 

Silverbullet

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#13
There right use some 7014 , 7018 , it'll weld good on trailer work , it's good for rusty or dirty welding. Flows good for me , I hate 6010_11 rods seems all they do is stick and drip. Just my preference with my old craftsmen 230 ?? Welder usually run at 165 with 1/8" rods 185 with 3/16".
I'm no pro but never ever had a weld break , even when rear ended by a car on a hitch haul I built for my power scooter . The metal bent but not one corner or bracing weld cracked or busted. Go old times use stick on jobs like that , really does work better . Grind fillets to be welded up it'll make you look like a pro. With multiple passes 3/4" can be welded successfully.
 

pontiac428

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#14
For a gee-whiz welding process on structural steel, you could try pushing FCAW wire through your MIG, using Ar/CO2/O2 mix for a deep penetrating profile. Set your dials for spray transfer with high amps and high feed. Does a beautiful job, best in the flat position but okay for all positions.

That said, I'd probably go straight for the stick electrodes as already mentioned above. That's the rule for heavy structural applications with the high degree of liability that comes with any catastrophic failure involving road equipment.
 

MrWhoopee

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#15
+1 for stick/wire

Stick is probably best unless the material is pretty clean and rust free.

This is not a TIG job, even with more amperage and water-cooled torch. Not to say it can't be done, you just wouldn't want to.
 

vocatexas

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#16
I'd find me an old Lincoln tombstone. You can probably find an A/C tombstone for $100 on Craigslist if you keep your eyes open. Quarter inch steel plate could be welded with a 1/8 6011 at about 90 amps without chamfering the plate.

The old tombstones will last for a couple of lifetimes with minimal care. I've got one my dad bought for the farm in the '50s. It needs new leads now, but you can still burn 5/32 7018 with it all day long.
 

MrWhoopee

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#17
I'd find me an old Lincoln tombstone. You can probably find an A/C tombstone for $100 on Craigslist if you keep your eyes open. Quarter inch steel plate could be welded with a 1/8 6011 at about 90 amps without chamfering the plate.

The old tombstones will last for a couple of lifetimes with minimal care. I've got one my dad bought for the farm in the '50s. It needs new leads now, but you can still burn 5/32 7018 with it all day long.
I paid $50 for mine, a 1974 model in beautiful condition.
 
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#18
he already has a welder capable of stick welding , just needs leads .

I do agree with it being a job for stick , I am a fan if 6011 myself , easy to use and strike an arc . I don't have an issue with getting nice looking welds , once I practice with a rod and a piece of scrap beforehand anyways . but if you aren't used to using it it can be a bit tricky as mentioned but it does penetrate good , good looking beads or not
if your machine has high frequency striking an arc wont be a problem with most rods a home welder will use .

maybe already mentioned but its a heck of a lot easier to stick weld dc then ac
 

FarmDad

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#19
Stick weld it . 6010 ( dc only ) or 6011 ( ac or dc ) is a fast freeze rod that is good for minimal prep because they burn through paint, rust , ect well . If you can prep it well 7018 is the go to rod of " real welders " though it can be a problem on restarts for inexperienced and really needs to be used fresh or stored in a rod oven . Farmer rod ( 6013 ) is forgiving of technique and plenty good for most applications though it does not burn through poorly prepped areas as well as 6010/11.
 

Smithdoor

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#20
A good MIG welder is best
Need at less 100 amp 20% duty cycle MIG
If planning on doing a lot welding a 200 amp 60% duty cycle would better but will cost lot more.

Dave

I am a welding novice. I have been welding for years, but I don't do enough welding to maintain proficiency or gather a wide pool of experience. My main welder is an Eastwood TIG200, AC/DC 200A TIG/Stick machine. I also have an old craftsman MIG (125A? I believe) that's pretty much useless for anything outside of sheet metal. I opted for TIG as my main machine because I wanted the cheapest (larger/more capable) machine I could get, that I could also use to weld aluminum. I have done lots of smaller jobs with it and have been happy with it so far.

I had my first experience last week doing a larger job on thicker steel with the TIG, and I am not at all happy with how it went. I made some modifications to a friend's trailer, probably a total of 25 linear feet of weld on 3/16" and 1/4" steel, and it took over 12 hours. The welder has a rated 60% duty cycle, but I empirically discovered that the WP17 torch (or, maybe my hand) has its own duty cycle which is significantly less than that. After 1-2 minutes of welding at anything over 150A, the torch gets too hot to hold with a gloved hand, and takes 10 minutes sitting in front of a shop fan to cool down. Probably only an hour or two of the 12hr job was spent actually welding.

I did a bit of research and I'm still researching, but I thought I would post here for help in addition. One thing that I came across on someone else's post on another forum, was a suggestion to upgrade to an 18 series torch. I don't know much about parts interchangeability with these torches. I went to the Eastwood website looking for a bigger torch, or a water cooled torch, and they do sell some stuff, but they only advertise it as being compatible with their bigger machines. Will any welder that uses a 17 torch, also use an 18 torch? And what is meant by "series?" Is there a specific 18 torch I need? What about a water cooled torch? What would fit my machine?

One thing I did find on the Eastwood website that they guarantee fit, is the stick holder torch for this machine. The specs that Eastwood provides seem only to apply to the TIG process. Very little is said about its stick capabilities. Will stick welding give me better results on a project like I just did? Also as far as stick goes, I would like to know if I can weld even thicker materials with stick, than what the machine is rated for on TIG. I have a project coming up where I will need to weld 1/2" steel, possibly even 3/4"; I am pretty sure I know the answer for that - I'm going to need a bigger welder. But I thought I would ask just in case.

Thank You


Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-J320A using Tapatalk
 

P. Waller

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#21
What size electrode did you use?
 

NCjeeper

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#22
he already has a welder capable of stick welding , just needs leads .
Yep. Get you a stinger and DC weld with your machine. 1/8" 7018 rods and machine set at 125 amps. I think Lincoln Excalibers lay in the best and the slag just lifts off.
 

rock_breaker

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#23
A half,a---d stick welder here but support the 7018 DC. Everything that was said about 6011 and 6013 being difficult is certainly true at my place. My SiL commented on difficulties with 6013, he is a welder from the gold mines in Nevada now retired
Can't recall the exact model but part of my crew had to rebuild impact crusher bars on a weekly basis. The bars were 5 feet long and the work was done with a wooden stick fastened to the stick electrode holder until we bought a Stoody automatic wire feed system. The job became pretty cool even when changing out 250 pound spools of wire feed (flux inside).
Have a good day
Ray
 

Old Mud

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#24
Ok Stran, as no one has mentioned it yet if you go the stick route go DC reverse with 7018. (What i would do) . 6011 is ok but the 7018 is 10,000 psi. stronger and is much more ductile than the 6011. An important factor for over the road or any trailer. My first choice would be Mig with 70S wire and Argon/Helium 70/30. If for nothing else the speed you can obtain with Mig. It is also much easier to tack and quickly with Mig. Stick will weld as good but take longer and take more practice with out of position, (Vert. and overhead).

Don
 

Downunder Bob

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#25
I'd prefer to mig weld most jobs including this one, but your mig machine is a bit light, yes it will do it, but you will probably have to do multi pass and you may have duty cycle issues, but it will do it and will look fairly good.

With the equipment you have stick would be the best, but you will need to practice up a bit. Use any of the rods the guys have suggested above. I'm no expert on TIG, but love my 175A MIg and stick machine
 

strantor

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#26
UPDATE:

I've purchased/made (local welding supply didn't have all the right stuff) a stick electrode holder for my TIG machine, and done a couple of odd jobs with 7018. I don't really like it TBH. I'm sure it has everything to do with my lack of skill, but this seems to be more trouble than it's worth. I really want a nice capable MIG welder. I'm spoiled from the place where I used to work, where I had access to a Millermatic 252. That thing was awesome. I know it would do everything I would ever need. However, lack of funds at the moment will probably force me into proficiency with the stick welder.
 

strantor

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#27
That being said, there will always be a special place in my heart for the TIG welder. It just justified it's existence again and almost paid for itself for probably the 15th time.

My shop fan started making a big racket, and upon inspection I see that the Chinese aluminum blades have cracked almost all the way across from fatigue. These blades are less than 1/16 in thick, and I know the welds look like hammered turds, but it's really tough to weld this thin aluminum and I'm only a hobbyist. There is no other welding process that could have "fixed" this, that I am aware of. Hopefully the welds last at least as long as the original b-grade aluminum lasted.
20180712_091219.jpg 20180712_095712.jpg 20180712_105232.jpg
 

Old Mud

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Stran, with this statement "will probably force me into proficiency with the stick welder. " you will be glad you learned it. If you do enough metal work over time you will see all the different welding processes have their place. I'm surprised you could een weld that Chinese Aluminum. :) When your proficient in the different processes it just opens up a whole new thing.
 

strantor

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#29
Ok I was planning on doing paid work today, but in order to do that I need 3ph 480V, so I return to my monster RPC project. It's only half done-up, sitting on a cart, haphazardly wired and pretty much an embarrassment. Sooner or later the customer will be here to witness the panel I'm building, and I don't want this questionably dangerous eyesore to be an example of my work. so instead of getting comfortable using the RPC in this state, I'm going to go ahead and build a skid for it with forklift/pallet jack pockets, and wire it up properly.

This will be a fair amount of stick welding, and I'm using mostly scrap metal which is painted, rusted, and everything else. I have 7018 and 6011. I should use the 7018, right? Mostly this will be 1/4" and 1/8" steel. What amp settings do you recommend? Do I need to grind off paint/rust? I heard stick just burns through it, so much less prep is required; does that mean no prep is required?

20180712_150802.jpg 20180712_152600.jpg
 

Old Mud

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#30
Sorry i'm just seeing this. If you have rusted or painted steel you really should grind the paint and rust. That is on Any welding you do. With just a little rust you could use the 6011. It will weld through rust but is not really the way you should do it. I know some farmers or fishermen may say it dosn't matter but it Does !!. While that flux is keeping the atmosphere out of the puddle the melting paint and rust will displace what that flux is doing. As in soldering plumbing or wires, Clean is the key.
 
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