Seeing what you are doing
RSS | Subscribe | Contact Us | Advertise | About Us
Results 1 to 17 of 17
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    1,066

    Seeing what you are doing

    I am having some difficulty seeing my joints while mig welding (flat position, GMAW). It is hard for me to stay on course and make a perfectly straight weld. Today I tried using soapstone and it helped a lot, but it feels like I'm cheating.

    I also lightened my lens to 9, but that's prolly not such a great idea at 170A. Maybe I am not looking at the right angle while dragging the torch (I can do better pushing, but I want to be good at dragging). I have been angling my torch to the right while dragging left to right and trying to watch my joint by leaning my head to the left and watching the joint just behind the stickout as I travel along. I also tried angling the torch back toward my body and looking over the top, seems easier to keep a straight line but I get more smoke in my face.

    I have been practicing all day on pieces of 3/16" plate, doing butts, overlaps, edge welds, outside corners and tees. The tees are easy because I can feel my way along, also the overlaps. The butts, edge and outside corners are where I have the most problems.

    Sure would appreciate any advice from you guys out there, thanks.

    P.S. my machine is a Miller Challenger 172
    Last edited by bigb; 02-07-2010 at 08:34 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    32

    Re: Seeing what you are doing

    No Master welder here,but I use Soapstone all the time to keep a straight Line,specially when Hardfacing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Tampa, FL
    Posts
    208

    Re: Seeing what you are doing

    The sign of a professional is knowing when to use the tools he has to get the job done correctly. Soapstone isn't cheating. If you run enough beads using the soapstone as a guide your muscles will start to get a momory and you will get better and better. Practice practice practice!
    If you cannot convince them, confuse them.
    Harry S Truman

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Ca, USA
    Posts
    5,241

    Re: Seeing what you are doing

    I can see using soapstone if you're running beads on plate, but for an actual joint, you should be able to see the joint and move the torch along and watch that the puddle is equal on both sides of the joint. If you can't see, you need to figure out why. Change your cover lenses if they're scratched/pitted. Shine a shop light on the weld area if you're welding inside a dark garage or at night. Lighten your shade if you still can't see. Or, maybe you need reading glasses or a cheater magnifying lens?
    MM350P/Python/Q300
    MM175/Q300
    DialarcHF

    HTP MIG200
    PowCon300SM

    Hypertherm380
    ThermalArc185
    Purox oa
    F350CrewCab4x4
    LoadNGo utilitybed
    Bobcat250
    XMT304/Optima/Spoolmatic
    Suitcase12RC/Q300
    Suitcase8RC/Q400
    Passport/Q300

    Smith op

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    315

    Re: Seeing what you are doing

    I am almost 60 and I have always had a hard time seeing a crack when making a tight fitting butt weld. So I grab a side grinder to make a ditch. Gives me a deeper weld and a better weld. And I can see a grove. Harold

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    315

    Re: Seeing what you are doing

    I can see but cant spell. Ha ( Groove)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Northern Cal., Shasta County
    Posts
    7,121

    Re: Seeing what you are doing

    Back from my wood working days I thought more light was better, and it was for wood work. I have fluorescents everywhere. With GMAW it seems like a lot of light in from up above and the backside of your hood hurts more than it helps. Try more light on the piece or less from behind, or both. I find myself putting the work piece under the light and positioning myself out of the light.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    1,742

    Re: Seeing what you are doing

    Fluorescent lighting and mig don't do well together or at least they don't for me. Before I retired the company I worked for built me a nice big shop with fluorescent lighting. A lot of it. Things were just fine with stick but lines just disappeared when doing mig. I didn't have any problems in the old shop that just had a few incandesent lights. I had to mark each side of my weld as it would just disappear when I started welding with mig. Changing lens made no difference. I had a talk with the boss about it and the electrician put up a couple of big lights. I think they were mercury vapor but I'm not sure. No more problem with seeing anything in that shop with those new lights.
    .

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    1,066

    Re: Seeing what you are doing

    Thanks for all the responses. I guess I won't worry so much about the soapstone, but I don't want to end up with a crutch if you know what I mean. Skelter that's a good idea with the ditch, cept we aren't allowed to use grinders in class.
    Good point about the fluorescent lighting, I do have a lot of it. I'll try something different with the lights.
    Yes, I do need reading glasses, and it does help when I wear them while welding.

    How light would you say it is safe to go on the lens?
    Last edited by bigb; 02-08-2010 at 12:06 AM.
    Miller Challenger 172
    Linde 235 AC Stick
    Miller Thunderbolt AC/DC 225/150
    Lincoln Weldanpower 3000LX
    Miller Maxstar 150 STL
    Victor 100C
    Harris O/A
    Smith O/A

    No, that's not my car.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Posts
    733

    Re: Seeing what you are doing

    Too much "back light" was my initial thought. If that is the case and you can't position yourself to escape being "blinded" by it, Try taping an old flame retardant fabric to the top of your helmet to hang down on the back side, blocking any direct light from reflecting inside your lense.
    "SOUTHPAW"
    A wise person learns from another persons mistakes;
    A smart person learns from their own mistakes;
    But, a stupid person.............never learns.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Eastern Washington
    Posts
    1,039

    Re: Seeing what you are doing

    Yes, light coming in the back of your hood while welding makes it difficult to see. You really should be around shade 11 for what you are doing. Possibly you have the cup so close to the weld that its covering the entire area? If you havent done it much, it may take some time before your eyes adjust and get used to looking at a weld pool.
    UA Local 598

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Grande Prairie, Alberta Canada
    Posts
    823

    Re: Seeing what you are doing

    I am kind of confused, so I will just give you a list of how I position myself to weld.

    GMAW - Push Technique.

    Right handed, I weld from Right to Left, starting on the Right side of me, gun angled (left) in the direction of travel, and I look at the puddle as I weld towards my helmet.

    Left handed: I weld from Left to Right, starting on the Left side of me, gun angled (right) in the direction of travel, and weld towards my helmet.

    FCAW - Drag Technique

    Right handed: Weld from Left to Right, gun angled (left) opposite the direction of travel, and I watch the deposit behind the nozzle.

    Left handed: Weld from Right to Left, gun angled (right) opposite direction of travel, and watch the deposit behind the nozzle.

    It is important to maintain proper arc length, and that you position yourself properly so that the nozzle does not interfere with your line of sight to the weld.

    Using a Push Technique, you should be in front of the nozzle "Looking where you are going" - looking at the arc in front of the nozzle, so you can see the puddle, and manipulate the gun as needed to compensate for gravity, and to have proper dimension welds.

    Using a Drag Technique, you should be behind the nozzle "Looking at where you have been" - looking at the arc on the backside of the nozzle, so you can see the puddle, and manipulate the gun as needed - EXACTLY the same as if you were stick welding.

    Wear a hoodie if you have to, and pull it up over the back of your helmet to block out background light - I do it all the time in low light conditions so I can "see" through a shade 10 lens on one of my manual helmets. Worked like a charm about 3 weeks ago when I was welding on some matting boards outside the shop in a snow storm. I made sure that the light "Outside" my helmet was greater, relative to the light "Inside" my helmet, and away I could see just fine.
    Later,
    Jason

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Grande Prairie, Alberta Canada
    Posts
    823

    Re: Seeing what you are doing

    Quote Originally Posted by bigb View Post
    I have been angling my torch to the right while dragging left to right and trying to watch my joint by leaning my head to the left and watching the joint just behind the stickout as I travel along. I also tried angling the torch back toward my body and looking over the top, seems easier to keep a straight line but I get more smoke in my face.
    I just re-read your post, and it sounds like you have your body positioning all out of whack for what you are trying to do...

    If you are using a Drag Technique, and welding from Left to Right (Left handed) your gun should be inclined to the Right (opposite the direction of travel) - All of this you have correct so far, BUT - your head should be on the RIGHT SIDE of your hands watching the weld deposit from behind the nozzle.

    Sounds like you are all scrunched down trying to see past your nozzle, and are losing sight of your joint.

    You cannot learn to weld if you are not (reasonably) comfortable - All the contortionist, and mirror welding comes LATER.

    Concentrate on developing good welding habits, and body positioning as you learn.

    Now, I have to ask - WHY are you trying to use a DRAG TECHNIQUE with GMAW on 3/16" plate? It will not be the same as using FCAW and a Drag Technique. Basic body mechanics are the same, but FCAW is MUCH more like stick welding than Mig welding.
    Last edited by Black Wolf; 02-08-2010 at 01:54 AM.
    Later,
    Jason

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    235

    Re: Seeing what you are doing

    I agree with being comfortable, position yourself so your comfortable, where the proper protective gloves and leathers so you can focus on what your doing, and so you can see what your doing and maybe throw a new cover lens on and give it another go, I wouldn't use shade 9, thats the start of a bad habit to turn down your shade to see, I highly advise against that
    "Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal" -Henry Ford

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Brookville, Ohio
    Posts
    606

    Re: Seeing what you are doing

    Quote Originally Posted by bigb View Post
    Yes, I do need reading glasses, and it does help when I wear them while welding.
    Here's a clue. If you need reading glasses, you definitely need glasses while welding . . . and may need additional magnification. I wear my glasses and add a 1.50 magnifier inside the helmet.

    There's an easy way to determine what combination of optics you need. Remove the filter from your helmet, but leave the cover lens. Then with the welder turned off, assume the "welding position". Adjust your glasses and/or cheater lens until you can see clearly. You can evaluate your seating/torch position at the same time.

    Jim

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    1,066

    Re: Seeing what you are doing

    Quote Originally Posted by Black Wolf View Post
    I

    Now, I have to ask - WHY are you trying to use a DRAG TECHNIQUE with GMAW on 3/16" plate? It will not be the same as using FCAW and a Drag Technique. Basic body mechanics are the same, but FCAW is MUCH more like stick welding than Mig welding.
    Black Wolf, thanks for the advice. I didn't explain it too well but I am positioning myself and my torch just how you said in your other post. The reason I am dragging is because at school we have to learn push and pull. We get 8 weeks of GMAW and 8 weeks of FCAW. He is having me perfect pushing and pulling on GMAW. I guess when I get to FCAW I'll only be pulling?

    Anyway all the tips helped a lot. Today I went and got a new Miller hood that can accept a magnifying lens. I also covered the back of my head yesterday at school, that helped A LOT. (I saw another guy doing it as well, wonder if he read it here?)

    I tried the new hood tonight with a 1.5. I am pretty sure I have solved my visibility issues in a real hurry thanks to all you guys.
    Miller Challenger 172
    Linde 235 AC Stick
    Miller Thunderbolt AC/DC 225/150
    Lincoln Weldanpower 3000LX
    Miller Maxstar 150 STL
    Victor 100C
    Harris O/A
    Smith O/A

    No, that's not my car.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    In A Nice Comfy Chair
    Posts
    15,920

    Re: Seeing what you are doing

    Basically it comes to this..

    No matter what process..
    You need to learn to look...

    In front of what you are doing..
    What you are doing...
    And what you just did all at the same time...


    And that takes practice..


    Simple enough.


    ...zap!


    I am not completely insane..
    Some parts are missing

    Professional Driver on a closed course....
    Do not attempt.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
RSS | Home | Penton Media | Contact Us | Subscribe | For Advertisers | Terms of Use | Privacy Statement