Newbie Needs Help with MIG
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  1. #1

    Newbie Needs Help with MIG

    I'm a beginning welder with a new Lotos MIG 140. I got some 1/8" thick angle steel to practice on, but I have trouble getting decent weld penetration. The recommended settings with the machine are 100% for both voltage and wire speed. The machine displays 24.8 volts and about 550 in/min. When I try to weld, the wire just melts into a blob on top of the steel.

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    I have to turn the wire speed down to around 20% on the dial (which reads at 50 in/min, interestingly) to get the wire to melt into the steel at all. Even then, the bead seems to be very narrow and sit up pretty high.

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    I've tried to vary the weld speed, angle, stickout, push/pull, and switching polarities without better results than the photos.

    I'm running 0.030 ER70S6 wire and C-25 at 14 L/min plugged into a 110V 20 Amp circuit.

    The settings of 100% voltage and 20% wire speed to get a weld seem troublesome, but is a 50 in/min wire feed speed abnormal? Is there something I'm missing or need to try differently?

  2. #2
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    Newbie Needs Help with MIG

    Stop trying to weld old bed frames.
    : (first pic)



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  3. #3
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    Re: Newbie Needs Help with MIG

    How long is your arc? And can you actually see the gap with the arc jumping through it? Kind of looks like the wire is just piled up there. I would turn down the wire speed until the gap is really long, as there is where the heat comes from.
    Weld like a "WELDOR", not a wel-"DERR"
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  4. #4
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    Re: Newbie Needs Help with MIG

    Recheck the manual for their recommendations. Clean metal and good ground connection. Check cable connections inside for correct polarity .

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2018
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    Re: Newbie Needs Help with MIG

    I love this forum!

    I, too, just started welding today. Penetration was also very shallow for me. I experimented with voltage (Regency 250 running off a 230V/30a plug) and found that speed (going slower) helped get the penetration. I still have a lot of things to fix with my setup (mismatch between tip and wire size, and possibly a bad ground connection).

    I’d offer help, but i have the smallest bit of experience to draw upon. I have heard that bed frames are of a very tough alloy and that you want to grind the finish off to nice clean metal.

    Good luck!
    Rob
    StogieRob
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  6. #6
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    Re: Newbie Needs Help with MIG

    sorry i can't help, i'm not much of a mig person and i can't think in imperial.

    i think your settings are probably far higher than what the machine can actually do so i would start at the bottom and work up.
    start with cold welds and increase it and see the changes in heat.

  7. #7
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    Re: Newbie Needs Help with MIG

    Based on the low wire feed speed and maxed voltage to run it on 0.030" wire, my guess is that machine is broken.

    Did you check for correct polarity? You should be on DCEP for solid wire.
    Last edited by MinnesotaDave; 07-27-2018 at 09:58 PM.
    Dave J.

    Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance. ~George Bernard Shaw~

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  8. #8

    Re: Newbie Needs Help with MIG

    To answer some questions: yes, I checked polarity. And just in case, I switched polarity (which made it worse). The arc length was somewhat non-existent at the higher wire speed. The wire just sort bounced into the metal and would form the globs shown in the first picture. It was only at the very low end of the wire speed dial (<20%) that I got any arc at all. The metal was cleaned and ground connection was on the piece itself, in an area that was also cleaned.

    I searched online for wire speed settings and couldn't find any numerical values -- only machine-dial specific numbers or letters ("50%", "5", "C")... does anyone know what typical wire speeds should be in inches (or cm) per minute?

    RE: Tweake,
    The thickness of the steel (1/8") is well under the recommended maximum of 3/16". Is it possible for me to adjust any setting beyond what the machine should be able to deal with in this case?

    Also, yes it is crappy, old mild steel. Should that matter as long as I have ground it down to bare metal? Or can bad steel mess me up here?

    Thank you to everyone for the advice and help.

  9. #9
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    Re: Newbie Needs Help with MIG

    1/8" material is 0.125"

    Common rule of thumb, 1 amp per thousandth. So 125 amps.

    Miller table below puts that at 250 IPM for 0.030" wire.

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    Dave J.

    Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance. ~George Bernard Shaw~

    Airco 300 - Syncro 350
    Invertec v250-s
    Thermal Arc 161 and 300
    MM210
    Dialarc
    Tried being normal once, didn't take....I think it was a Tuesday.

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Re: Newbie Needs Help with MIG

    Quote Originally Posted by roesch View Post
    I'm a beginning welder with a new Lotos MIG 140. I got some 1/8" thick angle steel to practice on, but I have trouble getting decent weld penetration. The recommended settings with the machine are 100% for both voltage and wire speed. The machine displays 24.8 volts and about 550 in/min. When I try to weld, the wire just melts into a blob on top of the steel.

    I have to turn the wire speed down to around 20% on the dial (which reads at 50 in/min, interestingly) to get the wire to melt into the steel at all. Even then, the bead seems to be very narrow and sit up pretty high.


    I've tried to vary the weld speed, angle, stickout, push/pull, and switching polarities without better results than the photos.

    I'm running 0.030 ER70S6 wire and C-25 at 14 L/min plugged into a 110V 20 Amp circuit.

    The settings of 100% voltage and 20% wire speed to get a weld seem troublesome, but is a 50 in/min wire feed speed abnormal? Is there something I'm missing or need to try differently?
    on a 140 machine have the voltage at 100% isn't out of the ballpark at all, and with the wire speed keep in mind that low end machines (which is almost all 120 volt machines, even from the big names) the dials are far from accurate, it may say 50 inches per minute, that doesn't mean that's what you're getting.

    it's very common even with high end machines for the indicated voltage and wire speed to be off by a large margin, even the brand new, $7'000 Kemmpi 400 amp industrial machine at work was found to read 3 volts high on the panal when tested with a multimeter, and the wire feeder is out by 10% of it's indicated speed and Kemmpi's are known to be quality units

    Things I suggest you try.

    1. Get yourself some thinner material, 1/8th is starting to get towards the upper limit of a 140 machine except in the hands of an experienced operator once you start doing joints rather then pad welds, I think you'll find it much easier with some 3/32 material once you start learning T joints and the like, get rid of the old bed frames as well, they are actually made from some fairly high end spring steel and are quite difficult to weld, find some plain old hot rolled steel and grind the scale off, it will be much easier.

    2. Pay no attention to actual number given for voltage and wirespeed, use the numbers as a reference only, when you do find a setting that works well, write down in a note book all of the parameters used to get that weld outcome including:

    - The indicated voltage setting and wire speed.
    - The material thickness
    - The joint configuration and position (is it a flat, overhead, vertical, T joint, open root butt weld, lap weld ect)
    - The gas composition and flow
    - The wire brand, spec (ER70S-2 ect) and diameter

    Writing things down for later reference will drastically reduce you're learning curve, trust me.

    3. Can you post a pic of the contact tip and gas shroud on your handpiece? I find that especially when teaching people to weld on a low power machine that it is MUCH easier to run a really short stick out and slightly less wire, MIG is a constant voltage process, so the machine varies that amperage to maintain the voltage you've chosen, and there are two things that effect the amperage, stick out and wire speed, more wire give you more amps, and at the same time a shorter stickout also gives you more amps, by running a shorter stick out and slightly less wire this will reduce you're travel speed which makes it far easier to run a bead for a beginner, but it also increases the heat put into the weld per inch traveled as with less wire and a shorter stick out the volts and amps are still the same, but the travel speed is slower, which on a 140 amp machine which is really limited on power output makes a huge difference to getting a flatter and deeper penetration weld.

    I find a really easy and effective way of reducing the stick out while still being able to see what you're doing is to just push the gas shroud onto the gun further until the contact tip sticks out out of the shroud by about 3/32 of an inch, or if you cant push the shroud down on your handpiece cut the shroud down a little bit, I like to run 1/4 inch of stick out.

    4. try using smaller wire, .030 is already pretty small, but .023 will likely be easier to learn with especially since its obvious that your machine has the wire feed speed to handle the smaller wire, although depending on the quality of the feed roller unit on your machine you may run into feeding issues, but I think its worth a try for sure.


    and keep at it, your actually doing quite well, even though the bottom pic obviously has no fusion the bead is fairly consistent which is an excellent starting point, its really hard to try and learn how to set a machine without being able to run a consistent bead, and running a consistent bead I find is where most people struggle when starting out, so you've got the hard part down I think.
    Last edited by ttoks; 07-28-2018 at 03:12 AM.

  11. #11

    Re: Newbie Needs Help with MIG

    Thank you to all who offered help. Especially MinnesotaDave, that chart is exactly the sort of thing I've been searching for. Really helps to know what my wire speed should be and let me know that something wasn't quite right.

    I did find the problem that fixed most everything: I was running the welder off an extension cord that must not have been up to snuff. I plugged directly into the outlet and everything makes much more sense. With my wire speed at 200 inches/min and everything else the same, I get this sort of a weld:

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    From here, I feel like I just need to dial everything in per ttoks advice.

    Thanks again. Seems to be a great community here.

  12. #12
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    Re: Newbie Needs Help with MIG

    Quote Originally Posted by roesch View Post
    Thank you to all who offered help. Especially MinnesotaDave, that chart is exactly the sort of thing I've been searching for. Really helps to know what my wire speed should be and let me know that something wasn't quite right.

    I did find the problem that fixed most everything: I was running the welder off an extension cord that must not have been up to snuff. I plugged directly into the outlet and everything makes much more sense. With my wire speed at 200 inches/min and everything else the same, I get this sort of a weld:

    Name:  IMG_20180729_172834.jpg
Views: 224
Size:  77.6 KB

    From here, I feel like I just need to dial everything in per ttoks advice.

    Thanks again. Seems to be a great community here.
    awesome to see mate!, you're definitely on the right path, that is a nice looking and consistent bead, in no time you'll be building whatever you it is you need made

  13. #13
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    Nebraska
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    Re: Newbie Needs Help with MIG

    I'm just about to buy my first MIG. Looking at a small Lincoln electric and I'm real excited to get started. Seeing threads like this is encouraging!

  14. #14
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    Re: Newbie Needs Help with MIG

    Quote Originally Posted by StogieRob View Post
    I love this forum!

    I, too, just started welding today. Penetration was also very shallow for me. I experimented with voltage (Regency 250 running off a 230V/30a plug) and found that speed (going slower) helped get the penetration. I still have a lot of things to fix with my setup (mismatch between tip and wire size, and possibly a bad ground connection).

    I’d offer help, but i have the smallest bit of experience to draw upon. I have heard that bed frames are of a very tough alloy and that you want to grind the finish off to nice clean metal.

    Good luck!
    Rob
    NO. Bed frames are complete garbage that aren't really even any good as a bed frame.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
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    Re: Newbie Needs Help with MIG

    used bed frame for support.

    lower legs rolling welding table

    when drilling holes, notice chips just flake around drill bit, not
    a regular curled chip

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    Charl

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