Question about MIG wire thickness
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  1. #1
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    Dec 2005
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    Question about MIG wire thickness

    This is probably a really simple question, but I haven't been able to find an answer. I have been running my 120 V MIG welder with 0.030" solid wire and C25 shielding gas (with nice results). If I kept all other settings constant and changed the wire to 0.024", how would the welding bead be affected? Sorry if this is a stupid question.

  2. #2
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    no its not a stupid question, yet the answer is it will be affected. The smaller the wire the less current needed to melt it. Dont know your age or your personal experiences, however, if youve got electrical experience of much youll understand that the more voltage and amperage the thicker the wire needed. Well same concept in welding. If in your electrical circuit you run too small of a wire you can create a fire and burn up the circuit. Add a heavier wire and youre safe. Of course one must remember you cant just add a heavier wire and go safe, you need to have a wire matched for length and the amperage. Ok, so back to your question.
    By runninga smaller wire you will have too much current. Therefore you will need to turn your machine down. If you were to add a thicker wire like .035 or .045 youd need more current. Also youre shielding gas can carry some variations, but thats not important. C25 is real good to use. Besides that, need to make sure you have the right drive rollers and the proper tips and liner in your whip for the smaller wire. I dont know off handwhich sizes are interchangable and which arent. Good luck
    IF it Catches...Let it Burn

  3. #3
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    Dec 2005
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    Tx - thanks a bunch. I was wondering whether I could get the weld to lay down a bit better by going to a smaller wire diameter, which I thought might make the arc hotter (?). With the 0.030" solid wire I've been using, even on the highest current setting, it the bead forms a small dome instead of spreading out on the base metal (1/16" sheet metal). This is my first attempt at using gas shielding and I'm amazed at the difference from flux core. Using pretty crude testing methods (BFH), the gas-shielded weld seems acceptably strong (wasn't able to break the weld even after beating the h*ll out of the piece). I will definitely check the manual before trying the smaller wire, though, since I don't want to damage the machine. I'm also going to try cleaning the base metal more thoroughly before welding in case the lack of spreading is caused by contamination.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Back in HB, close to my boys!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vette Gator
    Tx - thanks a bunch. I was wondering whether I could get the weld to lay down a bit better by going to a smaller wire diameter, which I thought might make the arc hotter (?). With the 0.030" solid wire I've been using, even on the highest current setting, it the bead forms a small dome instead of spreading out on the base metal (1/16" sheet metal). This is my first attempt at using gas shielding and I'm amazed at the difference from flux core. Using pretty crude testing methods (BFH), the gas-shielded weld seems acceptably strong (wasn't able to break the weld even after beating the h*ll out of the piece). I will definitely check the manual before trying the smaller wire, though, since I don't want to damage the machine. I'm also going to try cleaning the base metal more thoroughly before welding in case the lack of spreading is caused by contamination.
    I have, and have run for many moons, a Lincoln 100 welder. The BEST performance I have gotten with it is with .023wire. And, as you read in the post above, it gives the correct reason. Wire thickness to amperage available. A 100/135 just can't melt that much base material and add a filler wire easily. But... with a thinner wire, the heat is more focused, and the actual weld is smaller. So, you get BETTER penetration, and better fusion. Once the weld is getting hot, you can add more material to fill voids and gaps easier, and the welds stay smaller, and lay in easier. And though a smaller welder may be able to fuse heavier wire, it will do so at absolute peak output, which puts more stress on the machine over time. And .030-035 wire is for much heavier base than what you are welding. The thick wire is meant to still feed into the hellfire when you are pooling up on thick material. Try some .023/.024 wire, and you will possibly turn down the heat a touch, and speed up the wire a little bit. You will get some very nice welds that way with some trial and error, with less bulging, and less welds not really sticking to the material. With the thinner wire, the heat is more focused, so the speed may need to go up a touch, or you will start to see some burn thru. Stitch welds may help to stop that. Start, hold, stop. 1-2 seconds. Move a bit, and repeat. Let us know how it goes!!! Good luck, Paul.

  5. #5
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    If its beading up and your trying to fix that, you running too low a voltage...therefore if youre on the highest voltage you can get with .030 wire by running to .024 wire will need less voltage to do the same job. Therefore yes this should help solves the problem. You may actually find yourself running to a lower voltage, just varies. Good luck
    IF it Catches...Let it Burn

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    utcia michigan
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    all so you can try runnig an argon mix you can get a little more out of your welder

    Chuck
    ASME Pressure Vessel welder

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Thanks for the info. I'm running 25% CO2 / 75% argon mix now, and it seems to be good. I have the spool of 0.024" wire sitting in next to the welder, but haven't tried it yet. I'll put it in this weekend and see what happens.

  8. #8
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    The higher the argon content the lower the effective heat. 25 % is a good choice for low spatter and good heat. 100 % CO2 will give you more heat but at the cost of a lot of spatter.

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