Is Flux Core that Bad?
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  1. #1
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    Post Is Flux Core that Bad?

    Hello,

    I'm in the market for my first MIG welder, and I've been doing a lot of research to try to make a smart investment. I've put a lot of consideration into what the setup is going to have to be like for my situation. I live in an apartment (with a 1-car garage in which I can probably get away with welding). I'm a po' boy and I'm already dropping a good chunk of change on the welder itself, so it may be awhile before I can afford the gas tank (I want to wait until I can get a fairly large one). I'd like to try to get away with using flux-core wire for the first couple of months while I'm learning. It seems as though the general attitude toward welding with flux-core is not a positive one though so I wanted to see why.

    It looks like the main detractor is the appearance. The stuff I'll be welding is minor things like a table to do my work on, maybe a barstool or something so I don't really care about the looks. Just basic little odds and ends with the purpose of getting in time so I can handle bigger projects later on. How much does the practice of welding with flux-core translate to welding with MIG? If you're good with one are you good with the other? Is flux-core really that bad?

    Thanks for your input!

  2. #2
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    Re: Is Flux Core that Bad?

    depends on what you want to do with it. Flux core on body panels is probably a no go. For every day odds and ends, it is fine if you can ventilate the smoke. But honestly, if you get a decent welder, especially one with an inductance setting, you could always go with CO2 gas for welding. Go get something like this for $70. https://desmoines.craigslist.org/for...627229017.html

    A 20 lb CO2 tank hold the equivalent of about 170 cubic feet of gas. That will keep you welding for a long time. Plus CO2 is CHEAP to refill. I picked up my 20lb CO2 tank for $25. Bargains are out there if you search.

    https://omaha.craigslist.org/tls/d/c...660511686.html
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  3. #3
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    Re: Is Flux Core that Bad?

    You would be surprised what is built with self shielded flux core wire. In heavy civil, and marine construction / structural welding world.
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  4. #4
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    Re: Is Flux Core that Bad?

    Wow and Airgas quoted me $260 for a 70cf 25/75 tank... ridiculous. Thanks for the advice, I'll have to get on there and take a look!

  5. #5
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    Re: Is Flux Core that Bad?

    I mostly run straight co2 from a used tank - paid $50.
    Dave J.

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  6. #6
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    Re: Is Flux Core that Bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by Louie1961 View Post
    depends on what you want to do with it. Flux core on body panels is probably a no go. For every day odds and ends, it is fine if you can ventilate the smoke. But honestly, if you get a decent welder, especially one with an inductance setting, you could always go with CO2 gas for welding. Go get something like this for $70. https://desmoines.craigslist.org/for...627229017.html

    A 20 lb CO2 tank hold the equivalent of about 170 cubic feet of gas. That will keep you welding for a long time. Plus CO2 is CHEAP to refill. I picked up my 20lb CO2 tank for $25. Bargains are out there if you search.

    https://omaha.craigslist.org/tls/d/c...660511686.html
    How will I know if the tank is acceptable for airgas (or whatever company) to exchange? Have you ever had any issues with them not wanting to do it for you?

    Thanks in advance.

  7. #7
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    Re: Is Flux Core that Bad?

    Actually that is pretty close to going price to buy a tank. You could save money by buying an 80 cubic foot tank used https://omaha.craigslist.org/tls/d/2...644592519.html

    or buy one on line https://store.cyberweld.com/shielgascyl8.html

    The other option is to buy a used welder that already comes with a tank. But again, that takes patience and diligence, to make sure you get a good deal and the welder you want.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Is Flux Core that Bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by Louie1961 View Post
    Actually that is pretty close to going price to buy a tank. You could save money by buying an 80 cubic foot tank used https://omaha.craigslist.org/tls/d/2...644592519.html

    or buy one on line https://store.cyberweld.com/shielgascyl8.html

    The other option is to buy a used welder that already comes with a tank. But again, that takes patience and diligence, to make sure you get a good deal and the welder you want.
    Good advice, thanks! Seems like just straight CO2 from a used tank is the way to go, should save me a lot of money.

  9. #9
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    Re: Is Flux Core that Bad?

    How will I know if the tank is acceptable for airgas (or whatever company) to exchange? Have you ever had any issues with them not wanting to do it for you?
    Call them and ask. Virtually every welding supplier will swap 80 cubic foot tanks since they consider those to be owned by the customer. The larger tanks (125s and up) are in a gray zone. Some companies will consider them as customer owned and some won't. Generally (not always) on tanks larger than 80 cubic feet, if the neck ring is blank, it is customer owned. If the neck ring is embossed with a supplier name, it belongs to that supplier. On 80 cubic foot tanks, the neck ring really should never matter. Virtually everyone treats those as customer owned.

    Customer owned tanks and small CO2 tanks are almost always just swapped out in my experience and not refilled while you wait.
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  10. #10
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    Re: Is Flux Core that Bad?

    Also on CO2, you don't need to only go to airgas, you can go to brewing supply houses, paint ball shops, etc. Lots of places will refill CO2.
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  11. #11
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    Re: Is Flux Core that Bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by Louie1961 View Post
    Also on CO2, you don't need to only go to airgas, you can go to brewing supply houses, paint ball shops, etc. Lots of places will refill CO2.
    I'm sold! Never would have known that.

  12. #12
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    Re: Is Flux Core that Bad?

    Glad I could help
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  13. #13
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    Re: Is Flux Core that Bad?

    I'm with CEP fcaw/self shielded or whatever it's called works great deep pent rating not fussy about prep, good learning with flux core you can see every move just like 6010, to fast to slow to much inconsistentey ect

  14. #14
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    Re: Is Flux Core that Bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by pat h View Post
    I'm with CEP fcaw/self shielded or whatever it's called works great deep pent rating not fussy about prep, good learning with flux core you can see every move just like 6010, to fast to slow to much inconsistentey ect
    I use the self shielded wire (Lincoln Innershield NR 233 1/16) all the time for buckets on mining machinery, dozer blades, and everything else. I never had any issues with it. Ive repaired busted lips, broken tooth bases, and cutting edges on loaders, excavators, and draglines, Never have I had any trouble afterwards. I really like not having to wrestle bottles of gas or the wind blowing the gas away while working outside which is most of what I do. Only thing I don't use it for is booms on shovels because the welding repair procedures recommend 7018, or for small cracks in frames where its to tight to get the gun into. Its also don't work so good if what your working on is less than 1/4" thick and that might be just me as I am used to running pretty hot and pouring a lot of weld metal into stuff 1/2 thick and up to 5 inches thick, so you tend to move a bit slower. Someone who uses it a lot for thinner stuff might have better luck with it. Id recommend it for anything you might want to try it on

  15. #15
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    Re: Is Flux Core that Bad?

    Ya'll have been real helpful, I appreciate the input. Surprised at the amount of folks willing to take some time and put in their two cents.

  16. #16
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    Re: Is Flux Core that Bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by Olon View Post
    Hello,

    I'm in the market for my first MIG welder, and I've been doing a lot of research to try to make a smart investment. I've put a lot of consideration into what the setup is going to have to be like for my situation. I live in an apartment (with a 1-car garage in which I can probably get away with welding). I'm a po' boy and I'm already dropping a good chunk of change on the welder itself, so it may be awhile before I can afford the gas tank (I want to wait until I can get a fairly large one). I'd like to try to get away with using flux-core wire for the first couple of months while I'm learning. It seems as though the general attitude toward welding with flux-core is not a positive one though so I wanted to see why.

    It looks like the main detractor is the appearance. The stuff I'll be welding is minor things like a table to do my work on, maybe a barstool or something so I don't really care about the looks. Just basic little odds and ends with the purpose of getting in time so I can handle bigger projects later on. How much does the practice of welding with flux-core translate to welding with MIG? If you're good with one are you good with the other? Is flux-core really that bad?

    Thanks for your input!
    flux core gets a bad rap because beginners often buy the cheapest crappiest welder they can find.
    different wires behave different. some can be really touchy to dial in and cheap welders have very little adjustment making it damn near impossible to dial it in.

    the other thing is that people see mig as being easy to weld with. in fact its easy to weld a good looking weld thats actually bad.

    for a beginner i recommend a stick welder. a little bit harder to learn but teaches you important lessons.
    plus you get a better machine for the $$$ compared to mig. easy to have lots of different rods for different metals and sizes. works outdoors in the wind etc where gas mig will have trouble.

  17. #17
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    Re: Is Flux Core that Bad?

    This two foot bucket has two pieces of grader blade stitched together for the cutting edge it was welded together aprx. 4 years ago with 6011 we do a lot of concrete asphalt demo for trench work repairing utilities and such so lots of beating, prying. scraping etc... well it broke diagonally in two places over a year ago while in the middle of a job beating on concrete... so I stuck it back together with a my trusty miller 211 running .035" E71T-GS flux core wire... since then it has a good 500-1000 hours on this bucket with no signs of recrack... yet was in a hurry the day so it wasn't my best work but it seems to be holding pretty well despite all the rough treatment it gets

    Probably 75 percent of my welding is now done with flux core mainly because it is on site outdoor field work with plenty of adverse weather including heavy rain... the flux core wire doesn't seem to mind the weather at all stick would work also but sometime I just want to weld and not get a buzz...

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  18. #18
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    Re: Is Flux Core that Bad?

    Flux core has its applications and it is a great tool... but for home uses (notice I didn't say FARM uses) it might not be so suitable. It seems to be aimed to thicker metals and at home, most of the odds and ends that need some welding, are usually on the thin side.

    Go with metal core wire and gas. Ar/CO2 is better but more expensive (less spatter and again, suitable for thin stuff).

    Mikel

  19. #19
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    Re: Is Flux Core that Bad?

    Go with metal core wire and gas. Ar/CO2 is better but more expensive (less spatter and again, suitable for thin stuff).
    The OP is a hobby guy who is just starting out and worried about expense. I don't think metal core is in his immediate future.
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  20. #20
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    Re: Is Flux Core that Bad?

    CO2 doesn't spatter on lower amperage <150 or so any more then C25...IF you know how to tune the machine settings.
    Everone oooh'd and ahhhh'd when the sales monkeys showed up with C25 30-35 years ago. Especially the ones in job shops that couldn't adjust properly. Our shop was one of them.
    Elroyz construction company welding bent rebar to column bases..those sorts of guys. " farm welding"---as they still promote welders and gases today.
    Set it "more or less" and the C25 was indeed a "miracle".MM200 High 3 and 65 on the wire. Weld everything from 20 ga ZZZt ZZZZt ZZZZT to multi pass 1/2 with it right there.You could have cut the knobs off in that shop and left it there.
    C25 and Millers auto-set. A marriage made in......well....dunno. Idiotlandia (we accept Visa/Mastercard)
    Last edited by Bonzoo; 08-10-2018 at 08:21 AM.

  21. #21
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    Re: Is Flux Core that Bad?

    Quote Originally Posted by tweake View Post
    flux core gets a bad rap because beginners often buy the cheapest crappiest welder they can find.
    different wires behave different. some can be really touchy to dial in and cheap welders have very little adjustment making it damn near impossible to dial it in.

    the other thing is that people see mig as being easy to weld with. in fact its easy to weld a good looking weld thats actually bad.

    for a beginner i recommend a stick welder. a little bit harder to learn but teaches you important lessons.
    plus you get a better machine for the $$$ compared to mig. easy to have lots of different rods for different metals and sizes. works outdoors in the wind etc where gas mig will have trouble.
    This.
    I think a beginner should start with stick or flux-core. Starting project would be like building a BBQ rig, table, stool, welding table, dolly, things like that. Stock sizes would be like L1x1x1/8 to L2x2x1/4 and similar thickness tubes and plates, expanded metal sheets, etc. This is perfect for stick/FCAW.

    If you can stick/FCAW, MIG is going to be a piece of cake, but the other way around is not true. The flux-core haters are folks that can only MIG, LOL. It is easy for a beginner to make cold welds that look great with little 120V MIG welders! At least in my experience: I would weld something with my Ironman 210 and I was like, "damn, that looks awesome, like a caulked bead", only to have the weld fail when put it in a vice. FCAW was not as "pretty" but never failed in the same type of test (base metal yielded and ruptured.)

    Just my experience. I hope this helps.

  22. #22

    Re: Is Flux Core that Bad?

    I would look for welder that runs 240volt
    My self I own two 120v machines they just did do job right (flip the breaker ever few minutes)

    Flux core works great but for 0.030 &0.035 wire needs stick out of 1/2" to work good
    Most will try welding to close
    I use E71T-11 0.30"

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by Olon View Post
    Hello,

    I'm in the market for my first MIG welder, and I've been doing a lot of research to try to make a smart investment. I've put a lot of consideration into what the setup is going to have to be like for my situation. I live in an apartment (with a 1-car garage in which I can probably get away with welding). I'm a po' boy and I'm already dropping a good chunk of change on the welder itself, so it may be awhile before I can afford the gas tank (I want to wait until I can get a fairly large one). I'd like to try to get away with using flux-core wire for the first couple of months while I'm learning. It seems as though the general attitude toward welding with flux-core is not a positive one though so I wanted to see why.

    It looks like the main detractor is the appearance. The stuff I'll be welding is minor things like a table to do my work on, maybe a barstool or something so I don't really care about the looks. Just basic little odds and ends with the purpose of getting in time so I can handle bigger projects later on. How much does the practice of welding with flux-core translate to welding with MIG? If you're good with one are you good with the other? Is flux-core really that bad?

    Thanks for your input!

  23. #23
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    Re: Is Flux Core that Bad?

    I repaired this railing earlier today used E71T-GS .030 flux cored and the steel was:: top rail:1.5"x1.5"x.0625"Sqr., balusters:1"x1"x.125"Sqr., rail plate 1.25"x1/2" C, newel posts 1.5"x1.5"x.0625" was easy welding at moderate power level (5+) on my miller 211. I can see even a newer/inexperienced weldor doing just fine with this setup just turn the power down until you can handle it without blowing through and the better you get on control of the torch keep upping the power a bit

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  24. #24
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    Re: Is Flux Core that Bad?

    flux core is fine down to about 1/8", 12-14 guage when you get a little more experience. Thinner than that you want to get into hard wire and gas. Any welder is better than no welder. If you have any stick arc weld experience , flux core should be straight forward transition. A lot of guys get out the flux core and hook it all up to make a spattered mess and ropey ugly beads, however they may have missed 1 valid point. A lot of flux core wires want to run straight polarity, that's right the gun is run off the negative stud, opposite of how the mig gun runs off the positive stud. I think this is why Flux gets a bad rap from a lot of beginners. With the small 110 machines flux will allow you to do just a little heavier material than hard wire as well. Add CO2 and hard wire and your good to go. Don't forget Beer and Soda tap run off CO2 bottles so you may check some of your local merchants may have a surplus bottle they may part with. Perfect size for small operation, the ones I have the flow meter goes right on like any CO2 bottle.
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  25. #25
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    Re: Is Flux Core that Bad?

    I run MIG, stick, and flux core. My flux core welding is more frequent than the other two put together. I keep my suitcase feeder loaded with .045 E71T-11. It is great for repair welding. A bit more spatter than MIG, but convenience is king. Strong welds.

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