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Welding help requested

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civdiv99

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#1
Hello all,

I have 2 problems, one of which I’m sure the forum can assist me with.

Equipment is a 220v Lincoln MIG welder, .030 wire, 75/25 gas.

When I hit the trigger to start a weld, i get essentially one “pop” and the wire is blown back to the tip in a ball and stuck. Mess with it to free up, try again, and same thing. Before long I give up on the messed up tip, change it, and try again. Sometimes it welds, but let’s just say I budget 30 min per inch of weld and I don’t start a project without a bag full of tips. I’ve had this problem for many years and I’m sure it’s kept me from projects that just weren’t worth the hassle.

The puzzling thing is I am using a voltage (letter) and feed rate (#) combination from the panel on the welder so it should not be that far out of whack. Nevertheless I haven’t the experience to know what it’s telling me and what to change.

The second problem is when the welding goes as intended I never actually see what I am doing. The lens is a #11. The arc strikes and I try to weld of memory of the layout and what I think is a good rate. My eyes never have a chance to focus and adjust to the changes in light. I have never actually seen a puddle. I think that’s an age thing but just in case there are ways to work differently I’m all open to ideas.

Thanks (frustrated)
 

682bear

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#2
A few things to check... first, make sure you have the polarity correct... then check to make sure the tension is correct on the spool. The spool should be just tight enough to prevent the spool from turning on its own. Next, check the pressure on the drive roller... to loose and the roller will slip on the wire, too tight and it will deform the wire and be difficult to feed through the tip.

I had the same issue with a Lincoln Weld-Pak 100 a few years ago... after learning to properly adjust the spool tension and drive roller, it began welding nicely...

-Bear
 

682bear

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#3
As to not being able to see the puddle... a #11 may be too dark... I use an auto- darkening helmet, and I'm pretty sure I keep it set at a #9 shade... I would have to check that to be sure, but I think that is right.

-Bear
 

brino

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#4
Hello @civdiv99

Have you checked polarity?
Some machines allow you to switch the polarity of the ground clamp and torch for gas shield vs. shielded core wire.

As for seeing what your welding....that is VERY subjective.
I used a ~$100 dollar ebay helmet for MIG and thought it was great.........but then bought a ~$300 helmet for TIG(Lincoln Viking 3350 K3034-3 ) and now I hate to wear anything else for any welding process MIG, TIG or ARC....the new helmet meets _ALL_ my needs.

Also, some helmets allow you to mount a "cheater" lens inside to help with raw magnification.

Keep trying and don't give up. We will help you thru this!

-brino
 
Last edited:

GL

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#5
If the arc strikes and the wire burns back to the tip, your wire isn't feeding right. I would look at control issues on the wire feed or maybe you need to clamp the wire tighter, or the wire groove in the feed wheel is oversized for your diameter. Look at the later before the former, it's the cheaper solution.

If you can't see what you are doing, it's very hard to do a good job. Maybe back the lens down a shade or two, or get an automatic lens that you con adjust. I have had good luck with the Harbor Freight Vulcon helmet, lots of reviews out ther to look at to see if it meets your needs.
 

BtoVin83

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#6
Too much voltage, not enough wire feed
 

westerner

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#7
I have never actually seen a puddle.
Goodness! You must keep changing shade, helmet construction, eyeglass prescription, cheater lens power, or all of the above, until you can SEE the puddle. That is the single most key and fundamental aspect of the welding craft. Every single measure of welding success depends on the weldor's ability to manipulate the puddle as required.
 

royesses

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#8
Like Brino I use a Lincoln Viking 3350-4C technology K4034-3 hood that has fixed most of my vision problems. Very comfortable headgear also with many adjustments. Also my old eyes like a magnifier or reading glasses about 1.7 diopter. It helps a lot if I use a flood light shining on the project.

It sounds like there is a problem in the wire feed of your mig. Maybe a kinked or torn cable liner? Or too much tension on the wire roll.

1534039235143.png

Roy
 

Groundhog

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#9
I'm old (70) and can find it nearly impossible to see the puddle at times too. (I started welding as a summer job in high school - so it isn't necessarily inexperience.)
I too tried to use lighter and lighter lenses (or settings) but that didn't help as much as you would think. I find that if I make sure I have ample (read - lots of bright) light on the weld area I can see fine (don't let it shine or reflect in the back of your helmet). And I use the lenses I used to use (normally a 10). I think trying lighter shades of lenses to make up for old eyes makes it worse. The brighter arc makes your irises close down and the puddle gets it darker again.
 

JimDawson

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#10
I'm old too, 69, and my poor old eyes don't work as well as the used to. I find that a pair of Dollar Store reading glasses help immensely, about 2 diopter I think. I also bought a $120 Radnor auto hood the other day, not sure what model, but it's an order of magnitude better than the $60 Harbor Freight auto hood, and has replaceable batteries. For MIG I have the shade set to 9 as I recall.
 

Ed ke6bnl

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#11
I am listening, my Lincoln wirematic 255 is burning back also, new liner.
 

Groundhog

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#12
I'm old too, 69, and my poor old eyes don't work as well as the used to. I find that a pair of Dollar Store reading glasses help immensely, about 2 diopter I think. I also bought a $120 Radnor auto hood the other day, not sure what model, but it's an order of magnitude better than the $60 Harbor Freight auto hood, and has replaceable batteries. For MIG I have the shade set to 9 as I recall.
Yeah, I wear reading glasses and have a magnifer in my welding hood on top of that. I use an older SpeedGlass hood that I like real good. I usually TIG weld and set it on 8 or 9 depending on amps. 9 or 10 for MIG and I use a fixed lens hood with a 11 lens when stick welding (which isn't often anymore).
 

francist

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#13
This might seem really goofy, but I read (in one of my beginner welding books) about attaching a small penlight to the gun for better visibility. I don't have the best lighting at my welding area, nor do I have the best skill level at my welding area, but amazingly enough this cheezy little lamp thing really helps. It's just one of those 2.99 specials that they sell in the hardware store, but it works surprisingly well. The switch gives up before the battery most times which is the only thing I find annoying about it. Still pretty goofy, though.

-frank

image.jpeg
 

civdiv99

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#14
My problem is the time it takes my eyes to adjust to the change in light level when the arc strikes. I am going to try the accessory light idea, I hadn’t heard about that before. My son also commented he thought my #11 may be a bit dark for MIG so he will bring home a helmet or 2 from his work for me to try and maybe I need to just pony up for higher quality than what I have.

I will try again tomorrow with lower voltage. The feed is smooth and steady and changes linearly with the feed dial. I have observed the feed and roller with the cabinet open and it’s not slipping. It’s been a while so I will work with some scrap using various helmets, and voltage.
 

682bear

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#15
It may appear to be smooth and steady, but is it feeding as fast as it should? I recommend double checking the voltage and speed settings per the chart, they are usually pretty close to being correct. If they are correct, then make sure that the tension on the spool is not too tight... if it is, it will create a drag on the wire and slow the feed rate down significantly.

The spool should be able to turn freely, with just enough tension to keep the wire from wanting to unwind.

Hold the spool with one hand while loosening the spool with the other... when it gets loose enough for the spool to turn on its own as the wire tries to unwind, then tighten the spool 'just enough' to hold the spool from unwinding...

Too loose and the wire (acting as a coil spring) will spin the spool and 'birdnest', too tight and the feed roller will not be able to feed the wire fast enough to keep up with the arc...

-Bear
 

Aukai

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#16
Check grounds, and clean the object to be welded also.
 

JimDawson

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#17
One thing that occured to me is when I start the arc with the wire hanging out too far that is many times will instantly burn back to the tip. So normally I start with about 1/4 inch or less of wire hanging out of the tip, and with the nozzle almost touching the work.
 

DHJ

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#18
Check grounds, and clean the object to be welded also.
All of the above, also make sure you cut the wire at the contact tip before each start. I like to bend the wire at the contact tip, place the wire against a gloved hand pull the trigger and the drive rolls should be tight enough to coil the wire against the hand with .030/.035 hard wire. If not you have one of the problems listed above, process of eliminanation.
 

BobSchu

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#19
I had the same problem a week or so ago with my Miller 252. Had to weld some 1/2" plate and I adjusted the voltage up, but forgot to adjust the feed rate and it kept burning back until I was able to get a good arc stabilized with the slower feed rate. Finally figured it out and adjusted the feed rate and everything went smoothly.
I also have the problem seeing my arc and adjusted my auto darkening helmet to 9 and it works better, but for a really good view, it was suggested to put light on the welding area and it worked great. I can see the puddle better and control my weld much better seeing what I'm doing.

Bob
 

RockingJ

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#20
On my old Miller mig, when I set the voltage and speed at the settings on the chart I seem to be doing spray welding, I had to back them down quite a bit from the suggested settings, so the chart could be wrong, also .030 wire can be a bit small for anything but muffler pipe. Try using .035 wire and make sure you have the correct sized tip in the gun for the wire size you are using.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

KBeitz

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#21
Rust/dust on your wire can also cause burn back...
 

civdiv99

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#22
I ended up without time to get back to my project this week. Hopefully this weekend. I live in a very low humidity climate, and the wire is in great shape.

I’m going to stick with .030wire due to convenience (I have it). The work I do is never critical to anything, just odds and ends projects such that if a weld fails, the implications of failure never gets past “annoying; more practice needed.”

My son didn’t bring a good helmet from work as planned yet, so that was another hold up. I’m going to experiment with settings and try to fine tune this. There was some paint residue in the area I was having trouble with and given my vision issues I could absolutely have been off the mark when starting.

Will be employing all the above thoughts so even though I have been quiet this week, your replies have not gone unnoticed. Just work getting in the way of hobby stuff.
 

civdiv99

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#23
All of the above, also make sure you cut the wire at the contact tip before each start. I like to bend the wire at the contact tip, place the wire against a gloved hand pull the trigger and the drive rolls should be tight enough to coil the wire against the hand with .030/.035 hard wire. If not you have one of the problems listed above, process of eliminanation.

Cool I’ve never tried this. Added to list of things to check.
 

Alphonse

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All of the above, also make sure you cut the wire at the contact tip before each start. I like to bend the wire at the contact tip, place the wire against a gloved hand pull the trigger and the drive rolls should be tight enough to coil the wire against the hand with .030/.035 hard wire. If not you have one of the problems listed above, process of eliminanation.
GOOD ADVICE
 

Cadillac

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#26
One thing I had happen to me was the tip on the end of the torch the hole was a touch tight. The wire should slide nice through the tip. Spatter messes them up sometimes. Drive rollers adjusted right? Not to tight they mash the wire that could play havoc on your arc. With wire speed up take your ground OFF push trigger on gun on material it should push your gun and hand away from the material.
 
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