Wire speed vs. voltage. Which to Adjust....
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  1. #1
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    Wire speed vs. voltage. Which to Adjust....

    would like input from the resident experts. There is a general range for each thickness/type of weld/machine etc, But I really have not seen a good discussion, guide for dialing in the weld. Which should get adjusted and how much to get that right weld. we know voltage controls the profile of the bead and amperage controls the current or heat of the weld. but what guide/suggentions/ approaches do you use to fine tune once you are in the range? When, why, where, which one first etc.
    Assume there is no WPS for the specific weld/project... Defualt is mild steel but free to add SS or Aluminum too if you so desire, hopefully this can be and educational thread...
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    Re: Wire speed vs. voltage. Which to Adjust....

    I've found door MIG settings to be a good starting point. Our MM251's door chart is off one volt. If the door chart says 19 volts we set it to 20 volts, read the weld and turn the wire speed up until we get a strong and even frying bacon sound. I adjust for good tie in heat, how weld toes are washing in.

  3. #3
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    Re: Wire speed vs. voltage. Which to Adjust....

    I adjust the wire speed the most. But will adjust the voltage if I want the puddle to dry up, or wet out a little. Inductance control / pinch / arc force are also nice to dry up, or wet out the puddle too.
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  4. #4
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    Re: Wire speed vs. voltage. Which to Adjust....

    From the Miller resource "Guidelines for Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)", Page 8, from the Miller website (similar info available from the Lincoln website and from the rather nice info on the ESAB "ESAB University" site at http://esabna.com/us/en/education/esab-university.cfm ):

    - general parameters is 1 amp per each 0.001" steel thickness of workpiece (short-circuit transfer mode, spray transfer runs a much higher voltage)

    - using wire diameter info to get a relationship between WFS and amperage as follows (solid wire only, cored wires are different)

    0.030" = 2 ipm/amp
    0.035" = 1.6 ipm/amp
    0.045" = 1 ipm/amp

    example: using some 1/8" thick steel and some 0.030" wire gives us ~125 amps desired (1/8"=0.125") and thus 250 ipm (125 amps desired x 2 ipm/amp = 250 ipm WFS)

    - set voltage

    low voltage = wire stubs into workpiece
    high voltage = unstable arc, excess spatter

    Set voltage midway between too low and too high, so that you get a Goldilocks JustRight voltage, set also by getting that nice 'frying bacon' sound (short-circuit transfer only).

    Fine-tune specific parameters (adjust voltage slightly if you have a that ability with a continuous control for voltage, if not pick the 'closest' voltage and then fine tune WFS/amperage only, fine tune WFS/amperage during test bead for specific machine and shielding gas being used, operator 'preference' as to how the bead is being made, joint specifics (butt joint usually needs a bit less power than a lap or fillet joint, etc), weld position (out of position usually needs a slightly lower parameter setting than a flat position), joint fit-up, etc, etc).

    Watch the puddle and adjust WFS and/or travel speed to get the desired results.

    Oh, and maintain a consistent stick-out and gun angle too.

    Simple, right?

    Unless I'm waaaaay off with the voltage setting I started with, I'll usually fine-tune just with the WFS (amperage). If I had to keep turning the WFS dial down, I may then slightly nudge the voltage control dial down a bit as well (continuous voltage control machine, if a tapped machine holpefully I'm not that far off to start with ). Blowing a hole right through the (hopefully just the test bead) piece, turn down the settings. Not quite getting enough penetration, turn up the settings. Etc, etc.
    Last edited by MoonRise; 09-17-2013 at 10:22 AM.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Wire speed vs. voltage. Which to Adjust....

    moonrise, you did mention one that I forgot. Inductance control. fortunately on my Lincoln SP250, I just select the correct wire and gas on the digital panel and it presets the correct inductance. better explanation of inductance would be nice here too.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Wire speed vs. voltage. Which to Adjust....

    Quote Originally Posted by soutthpaw View Post
    better explanation of inductance would be nice here too.
    This might help.

    http://www.esabna.com/EUWeb/MIG_handbook/592mig3_6.htm
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  7. #7
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    Re: Wire speed vs. voltage. Which to Adjust....

    Quote Originally Posted by CEP View Post
    Is that example stainless? Why else would you short arc with 98/2?

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    Re: Wire speed vs. voltage. Which to Adjust....

    @ southpaw - good points listed above. Would also add the following:

    * Read/digest the 'GMAW Welding Guide' from Lincoln. Available free in .pdf format at http://www.lincolnelectric.com/asset...L-56/c4200.pdf . Excellent primer on GMAW setups, electrode characteristics, shielding gases, and welding MS/SS/Al with short-circuit/globular/axial spray transfer. The tables in each section are nice supplements to the data listed on the panel of a typical MIG welder. Find myself referring to this .pdf (actually printed out a copy and bound it) over and over, especially when running a machine for the first time.

    * WFS controls amperage and heat into a workpiece, while Voltage controls arc length/shape. Increase the WFS and more electrons flow to the work piece per unit time, resulting in greater heat/fusion delivered to the work piece. Increase the V and the arc length (distance from electrode to work piece) lengthens, resulting in a wider arc. The challenge is WFS & V need to be in-sync to maximize the performance for a given diameter MIG wire. 'MoonRise' and CEP are spot-on.
    Last edited by ManoKai; 09-17-2013 at 04:05 PM.
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    Re: Wire speed vs. voltage. Which to Adjust....

    ManoKai, your last sentence is what i was getting at with this thread, when dialing in that final setting which way works best for each person. do they adjust volts first or IPM. etc, how much of a change to one before adjusting the other.. MY SP250 is kinda trick that way in that on auto I can adjust either the voltage or IPM on the fly with the on gun trigger. once the IPM changes past a certain point it automatically starts adjusting the voltage. I think it works the other way around too but not tried that... Again I'm shooting for "trade secrets" if you will from guys that do tons of MIG welding that will help out the hobbist
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  10. #10
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    Re: Wire speed vs. voltage. Which to Adjust....

    Quote Originally Posted by vwguy3 View Post
    Is that example stainless? Why else would you short arc with 98/2?
    It doesn't say, I took it as for mild steel. Don't know why anyone would use 98/2 except for spray transfer.
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  11. #11
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    Re: Wire speed vs. voltage. Which to Adjust....

    Quote Originally Posted by soutthpaw View Post
    I'm shooting for "trade secrets" if you will from guys that do tons of MIG welding that will help out the hobbist
    I don't know if anyone can explain it with the type written word. I know, I have to see and hear the weld to know what to change.
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  12. #12
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    Re: Wire speed vs. voltage. Which to Adjust....

    OK, how about this.

    Step #1 - check material thickness

    Step #2 - check door chart or manual for suggested parameter settings

    Step #3 - based on joint fit-up and type, make SWAG about whether to turn settings (mostly WFS, sometimes a little bit of voltage adjustment as well if using a continuously-variable voltage machine) up or down slightly

    Step #4 - make test weld

    Step #5 - adjust parameters as desired after/during making test weld. Usually just WFS adjustments for fine-tuning, unless original parameter SWAG was waaay off. Blowing hole right through, turn things way down (check door chart or manual for next lower suggested settings and adjust as needed). If you get no arc and the wire stubs into the workpiece and just pushes back the gun, make sure you have the workpiece clamp attached and attached well. If no nice 'sizzle' sound, turn up voltage slightly and leave WFS alone and try again. Too much spatter and/or the bead looks 'burnt', then turn down the voltage a bit.

    Watch the puddle and listen to the arc.
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  13. #13
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    Re: Wire speed vs. voltage. Which to Adjust....

    Quote Originally Posted by MoonRise View Post
    OK, how about this.

    Step #1 - check material thickness

    Step #2 - check door chart or manual for suggested parameter settings

    Step #3 - based on joint fit-up and type, make SWAG about whether to turn settings (mostly WFS, sometimes a little bit of voltage adjustment as well if using a continuously-variable voltage machine) up or down slightly

    Step #4 - make test weld

    Step #5 - adjust parameters as desired after/during making test weld. Usually just WFS adjustments for fine-tuning, unless original parameter SWAG was waaay off. Blowing hole right through, turn things way down (check door chart or manual for next lower suggested settings and adjust as needed). If you get no arc and the wire stubs into the workpiece and just pushes back the gun, make sure you have the workpiece clamp attached and attached well. If no nice 'sizzle' sound, turn up voltage slightly and leave WFS alone and try again. Too much spatter and/or the bead looks 'burnt', then turn down the voltage a bit.

    Watch the puddle and listen to the arc.

    I stand corrected!
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  14. #14
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    Re: Wire speed vs. voltage. Which to Adjust....

    @ MoonRise - 'zactly. Watch n Listen. Nice step-wise protocol. Gun'a start using it myself. Ha! Mahalo.
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  15. #15
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    Re: Wire speed vs. voltage. Which to Adjust....

    Quote Originally Posted by MoonRise View Post
    OK, how about this.

    Step #1 - check material thickness

    Step #2 - check door chart or manual for suggested parameter settings

    Step #3 - based on joint fit-up and type, make SWAG about whether to turn settings (mostly WFS, sometimes a little bit of voltage adjustment as well if using a continuously-variable voltage machine) up or down slightly

    Step #4 - make test weld

    Step #5 - adjust parameters as desired after/during making test weld. Usually just WFS adjustments for fine-tuning, unless original parameter SWAG was waaay off. Blowing hole right through, turn things way down (check door chart or manual for next lower suggested settings and adjust as needed). If you get no arc and the wire stubs into the workpiece and just pushes back the gun, make sure you have the workpiece clamp attached and attached well. If no nice 'sizzle' sound, turn up voltage slightly and leave WFS alone and try again. Too much spatter and/or the bead looks 'burnt', then turn down the voltage a bit.

    Watch the puddle and listen to the arc.
    This is what I do as well - only better stated than I would have done

    I always start with the door settings and adjust only if needed.

    Those Miller guys tested the settings to be "pretty close"

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  16. #16
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    Re: Wire speed vs. voltage. Which to Adjust....

    Quote Originally Posted by CEP View Post
    It doesn't say, I took it as for mild steel. Don't know why anyone would use 98/2 except for spray transfer.
    I thought the same thing.

    This post is exactly why I think Autoset is NOT a good thing for noobies,you never learn to set the machine yourself.I do undersatnd that Autoset is aimed at the person that has never welded and makes setting the machine easier with limited skills.
    Last edited by vwguy3; 09-17-2013 at 04:47 PM.

  17. #17
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    Re: Wire speed vs. voltage. Which to Adjust....

    Since I started out mig welding with a millermatic 200 which has a stepped switch for voltage control, I usually set the voltage first and then dial in the wire feed speed to suit, guidelines from miller are ballpark but are seldom dead on for me.
    Last edited by norite; 09-17-2013 at 05:07 PM.
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    Re: Wire speed vs. voltage. Which to Adjust....

    Quote Originally Posted by MoonRise View Post
    OK, how about this.

    Step #1 - check material thickness

    Step #2 - check door chart or manual for suggested parameter settings

    Step #3 - based on joint fit-up and type, make SWAG about whether to turn settings (mostly WFS, sometimes a little bit of voltage adjustment as well if using a continuously-variable voltage machine) up or down slightly

    Step #4 - make test weld

    Step #5 - adjust parameters as desired after/during making test weld. Usually just WFS adjustments for fine-tuning, unless original parameter SWAG was waaay off. Blowing hole right through, turn things way down (check door chart or manual for next lower suggested settings and adjust as needed). If you get no arc and the wire stubs into the workpiece and just pushes back the gun, make sure you have the workpiece clamp attached and attached well. If no nice 'sizzle' sound, turn up voltage slightly and leave WFS alone and try again. Too much spatter and/or the bead looks 'burnt', then turn down the voltage a bit.

    Watch the puddle and listen to the arc.
    Unless you are Deaf then the whole listening thing goes out the window.. though i tend to feel for the smoothness of the gun...
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    Re: Wire speed vs. voltage. Which to Adjust....

    Quote Originally Posted by soutthpaw View Post
    Unless you are Deaf then the whole listening thing goes out the window.
    Listening to a weld is very important to me. I remember the first time I couldn't hear a weld. I got dispatched out of the hall to a Kaiser Aluminum can plant. Got signed in, went out on the floor to start working. It was so loud in that plant we had to scream in each others ear to be heard. Fitter said to start welding on a conveyor, I had to stand on the top step of an 8-feet step ladder and reach as far as I could to make an over head weld. When I struck an arc I was really set back by not being able to hear the weld. I thought there was something wrong with the welder.
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  20. #20
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    Re: Wire speed vs. voltage. Which to Adjust....

    My LN-25 and my Super S-32P do not have door settings.

    Great thread, I've always wondered what others do but forget to ask. I start with the settings from the Miller app on the iPhone, and I usually adjust the WFS to fine tune.

    How would you handle, in GMAW, the old saying for SMAW, comparing it to a woman? "If a woman is standing (high weld bead), and you want her to lay down (flatten the bead), you need to get her hot (turn up the heat).
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  21. #21
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    Re: Wire speed vs. voltage. Which to Adjust....

    Set your voltage for material thickness being welded, then tune it with wire speed. It used to be a l lot easier with the tapped machines, as you had more limited voltage control, usually a tap every 2 volts. Now with better controls, it kind of muddies the waters on what to adjust. I generally just set the voltage, tune the wire speed, weld and look. Tune as needed.

  22. #22
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    Re: Wire speed vs. voltage. Which to Adjust....

    When you can snatch the welding rod from my hand , you have learned all that you can and it will time be to leave the temple
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  23. #23
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    Re: Wire speed vs. voltage. Which to Adjust....

    Quote Originally Posted by Broccoli1 View Post
    When you can snatch the welding rod from my hand , you have learned all that you can and it will time be to leave the temple
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  24. #24
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    Re: Wire speed vs. voltage. Which to Adjust....

    Quote Originally Posted by vwguy3 View Post
    I thought the same thing.

    This post is exactly why I think Autoset is NOT a good thing for noobies,you never learn to set the machine yourself.I do undersatnd that Autoset is aimed at the person that has never welded and makes setting the machine easier with limited skills.
    Biggest reason I sold my MM212 and got a MM252. Didn't like Autoset or the tapped settings. I wanted the digital numbers to help understand what was going on.

  25. #25
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    Re: Wire speed vs. voltage. Which to Adjust....

    Quote Originally Posted by vwguy3 View Post
    This post is exactly why I think Autoset is NOT a good thing for noobies,you never learn to set the machine yourself.
    You wouldn't believe how many certified welders I've had work for me over the years who could not set their own machines. Had one certified welder tell me polarity means nothing, it is just a wife's tale.

    I've taken several tests when I walked into the test booth there was duct tape over the gauges. First part of the test was to set your machine within manufacturer's specs. If not, test over you go home right then and there.
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