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Thread: The old Cut 'N Etch don't lie!

  1. #1
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    The old Cut 'N Etch don't lie!

    I've been mostly doing TIG the past 2-3 years (hobby welding) and hadn't touched my MIG for a while but I have a project now that needs a bunch of welding and higher amps and my TIG torch is only 150A...so I swapped over to the MIG. I made a couple tacks at about the recommended settings and they just fell apart. Hmmmm. Obviously no penetration. So I ran a short fillet and cut it in the bandsaw, then dabbed a little Ospho on it to etch as it was all I had handy (hoping it would work - and it did after a couple min). Pic below. You can see decent pen in the Tee plate but the flat plate has ZERO. This is the weld on the top side. The one on the bottom was even lower settings and had zero pen everywhere.

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    Settings for the one on the left were about 22.5V, and 410-430 IPM on 0.035 ER70-S6 wire. I really wish the 22A feeder had a wire feed speed display on it as I am pretty much guessing from the 1-10 knob based on Miller saying "the full range is 75-750 ipm, Good luck" So it looks like I need to turn it up more and focus the puddle on the flat piece since it has more mass and needs extra heat to penetrate.

    Interesting how clear it shows and I didn't even polish it - straight off the bandsaw.
    -Dave
    XMT304 with: 22A Feeder, or HF251 Hi Freq DC TIG air cooled

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    Re: The old Cut 'N Etch don't lie!

    Quote Originally Posted by davec View Post
    I really wish the 22A feeder had a wire feed speed display on it as I am pretty much guessing from the 1-10 knob based on Miller saying "the full range is 75-750 ipm, Good luck"
    That was an option for the 22A and you can still buy the kit from Miller to add the ability to display either voltage or wire feed speed.
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    Re: The old Cut 'N Etch don't lie!

    Perhaps if you called Miller directly. I know it is/was an option but can never find anything about it on the web. I still find it a bit silly that it doesn't show wire feed or at least mark the dial with wire feed speeds instead of 1-10. Or a freaking quick ref chart! Sure if you have it dedicated and run only one thing, then you dial it in and forget about it, but that doesn't work if you are using it on a variety of things. So we just guess and go...
    -Dave
    XMT304 with: 22A Feeder, or HF251 Hi Freq DC TIG air cooled

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    Re: The old Cut 'N Etch don't lie!

    Don't guess at wire speed, you can measure it! Remove return lead, and point the gun into middle of the shop, pull the trigger for say 15 seconds exactly, and measure the length, multiply by 4 = inches per minute

    Unless it's got a slow run-in speed?

    Looks incredibly cold for what should be an easy weld, and with a genuine 400 ipm + it should be running around 160-180 amps. Looks like 3/16" plate?

    What's your stickout like? and are you hanging back in the puddle?
    Murphy's Golden Rule: Whoever has the gold, makes the rules.

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    Re: The old Cut 'N Etch don't lie!

    Interesting, thanks for posting. I'd be interested to hear the results of the CEP "BFH test" on that tee joint.

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    The old Cut 'N Etch don't lie!

    Is there a capability to swap the lugs to change polarity? Iím not that familiar with that machine but if you run flux core itís a different polarity and maybe itís already in that polarity and you might need to change it. Idk, may have nothing to do with your problem, just an idea...


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    Re: The old Cut 'N Etch don't lie!

    Quote Originally Posted by davec View Post
    Perhaps if you called Miller directly. I know it is/was an option but can never find anything about it on the web. I still find it a bit silly that it doesn't show wire feed or at least mark the dial with wire feed speeds instead of 1-10. Or a freaking quick ref chart! Sure if you have it dedicated and run only one thing, then you dial it in and forget about it, but that doesn't work if you are using it on a variety of things. So we just guess and go...
    I happened to pick up two 22A feeders really cheap recently, so I was doing some digging around and found the kit Miller offers for the digital display. It's not as easy to find as you'd think, so that's probably why you had trouble finding it. Here's a link....not cheap, but not much is these days.

    https://www.millerwelds.com/accessor...feeders-186498
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    Re: The old Cut 'N Etch don't lie!

    Quote Originally Posted by Munkul View Post
    Don't guess at wire speed, you can measure it! Remove return lead, and point the gun into middle of the shop, pull the trigger for say 15 seconds exactly, and measure the length, multiply by 4 = inches per minute
    This is what I was gonna say. You can do this for each speed tap setting and then youíll know. Voltage is a tough to measure while welding. And if you get yourself a clamp on dc amp meter, youíll know the welding amps. Just clamp it around the gun whip, pull the trigger and watch the meter. The amps might change as your stick out changes, but youíll have an idea if your close on amps. I did this with my everlast tig to see if the read out on the machine was close to actual amps or not.


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    Re: The old Cut 'N Etch don't lie!

    ive etched some of my mig welds and seen that it can look like a million bucks on the outside but have zero penetration. its easy to get poor qaulity welds with mig if you dont know what your doing.
    invertig 221 water cooled
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    Re: The old Cut 'N Etch don't lie!

    test post

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    Re: The old Cut 'N Etch don't lie!

    Thanks for fixing the 502 Robb

    Steel is 5/16" both pieces as that is the bulk of my project, so what I tested on. Stickout is pretty much as close as I can get the nozzle in as the big schnozz makes it hard to get close in a Tee fillet. It is a 300A Bernard gun. It might be 1/2" to 3/4" I guess? I haven't really tried to measure it. I think I just haven't learned how to do this well enough. I learned on stick, and the instructor showed me MIG for 5 minutes on the last night of class and I was like "this is easy!" Well maybe when he set it up for me...dunno. That is why i etched it. I wanted to see what it looked like underneath and compare to what I see on the surface. Learned a bit right there...

    Polarity can be swapped as the wire feeder is just that - a wire feeder. The power supply is an XMT304 which is separate. While it is certainly a good question to ask, the polarity is set correct for hard wire. I have never used flux core either so the only time the wire feeder is unplugged is when I run it in TIG mode. Since I do this very infrequently, I labeled all the wires as to where they go to get it right, quickly.

    I have actually measured the output by running the wire out on the ground and measuring the length after 15 or 60 sec (for the lower speeds). These are all plus or minus a fair bit as it is hard to get it very accurate, IME. I did it years ago and after trying a couple times, it seemed much less consistent than I expected. I have changed gun liners since then which helped a lot with some stuttering feed issues I was having, so may have impacted the consistency too. At 1 I get something that is close to 70-75 ipm, at 10 I got 850ish and the manual specs say feed range is 75-750 ipm. Just for giggles I did it again tonight where I have it set now (turned up slightly from the test above) and got 444 ipm which matches the graph I made decently close as the knob is around 5.75ish. Here is my simple graph based on the manual specs

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    I think we can all clearly assume that it is my poor technique with MIG... But I still think they should label the dang knob in IPM...
    Last edited by davec; 04-15-2021 at 01:22 AM.
    -Dave
    XMT304 with: 22A Feeder, or HF251 Hi Freq DC TIG air cooled

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    Re: The old Cut 'N Etch don't lie!

    No.

    Your problem is, you don't have nearly enough amps for 5/16" plate fillets. 160 amps isn't enough. That's your problem.

    You want 230+, to make sure it's really in there.

    The XMT304 is a beautiful mig source, dial voltage that's what you get. Does yours not have an average amps reading as well? It should display welding amps for 5 seconds after you finish the welds.

    I'd be around 430 IPM on 1mm wire (0.040") to achieve 230-250 amps with my own XMT304, and with the equivalent of C18 gas and around 25-26 volts, it'll get in there good and proper.
    Murphy's Golden Rule: Whoever has the gold, makes the rules.

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    Re: The old Cut 'N Etch don't lie!

    No time in the shop today but this weekend I will for sure. I will do a couple test pieces and look at the amp readout. I know it holds it for a couple seconds but when I am doing something real I am usually not positioned where I can see it or just too focused and forget. For test plaques I can remember to look. Or put my phone on video in front of it. i have been watching some of Jody's videos to get the technique better but haven't found one yet that covers the topic well. Still looking...

    But for 035 wire the listed multiplier is 1.6 so 250Ax1.6=400 ipm. I am well above that already. your example of 040 wire running at 430 ipm should make it around 430/1.3=330 A (guessing at the 1.3 as 040 is halfway between 035 and 045 but I know it isn't linear...). Still, I am sure it would math out at higher than 250A. What am I missing?
    -Dave
    XMT304 with: 22A Feeder, or HF251 Hi Freq DC TIG air cooled

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    Re: The old Cut 'N Etch don't lie!

    If you post a pic of the weld (not the cutaway), I'd bet it would be fairly easy to tell whether it was hot enough. The "tells" are the toes, and height of the bead, most of the time.

    Did the toe wet in, or is it just sitting on top of the plate. Is the bead high and ropey, or slightly flatish. After a while, it's fairly easy to judge parameters. Looking at the backside of the weld is also a good indicator, if the backside is accessible. The back should either be dark blue, or showing signs of near melt through.

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    Re: The old Cut 'N Etch don't lie!

    I did a quick search in my pic files. This popped up. A simple MIG weld, nothing fancy. But it gives you an idea of how something should look on the backside. This works on thinner materials, but won't work on heavy plate.

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    Re: The old Cut 'N Etch don't lie!

    Quote Originally Posted by farmersammm View Post
    If you post a pic of the weld (not the cutaway), I'd bet it would be fairly easy to tell whether it was hot enough. The "tells" are the toes, and height of the bead, most of the time.

    Did the toe wet in, or is it just sitting on top of the plate. Is the bead high and ropey, or slightly flatish. After a while, it's fairly easy to judge parameters. Looking at the backside of the weld is also a good indicator, if the backside is accessible. The back should either be dark blue, or showing signs of near melt through.
    That was one of the reasons I cut and etched it. I already knew they were weak since they were popping off easily. It looked to me like the toe on the flat plate was not wetted in but I have always felt it hard to tell for sure (at least for me). The one on the Tee piece seemed to look better to me. When i etched it it became obvious that what I thought I saw was indeed correct. And even without a pic of the full weld, you can pretty much see it from the section of the weld profile in the pic shown. But now I have a much better idea of what to look for and where to focus the heat. I just have to get back in the shop again, hopefully this weekend.

    Thanks!
    -Dave
    XMT304 with: 22A Feeder, or HF251 Hi Freq DC TIG air cooled

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    Re: The old Cut 'N Etch don't lie!

    Quote Originally Posted by davec View Post
    No time in the shop today but this weekend I will for sure. I will do a couple test pieces and look at the amp readout. I know it holds it for a couple seconds but when I am doing something real I am usually not positioned where I can see it or just too focused and forget. For test plaques I can remember to look. Or put my phone on video in front of it. i have been watching some of Jody's videos to get the technique better but haven't found one yet that covers the topic well. Still looking...

    But for 035 wire the listed multiplier is 1.6 so 250Ax1.6=400 ipm. I am well above that already. your example of 040 wire running at 430 ipm should make it around 430/1.3=330 A (guessing at the 1.3 as 040 is halfway between 035 and 045 but I know it isn't linear...). Still, I am sure it would math out at higher than 250A. What am I missing?
    You said it: it's not linear. The approximation breaks down at the higher end and the amperage reaches a "plateau" where more WFS just doesn't give more amps as the wire can only carry so much in short circuit.
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    Re: The old Cut 'N Etch don't lie!

    You'll struggle to run more than 250 amps on that wire. Not ran it myself but I bet its usable ceiling is around that, any more and you'll have an angry angry weld puddle.
    Murphy's Golden Rule: Whoever has the gold, makes the rules.

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    Re: The old Cut 'N Etch don't lie!

    Alllrighty! Finally got back to this. After struggling with the setup and figuring out that nothing I was doing was significantly affecting this enough to really melt in the weld I took a detour...to my LWS to get a roll of 045 and a box of contact tips to match. I tried it out again on 035 and kept cranking it up but no joy. It just would not melt in like it needs to. Pic of several beads I tried with 035 first. Still cold:

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    So I pulled the 035 and swapped 045. Oh yeah, baby! I did a small weld on the right first, then actually turned it DOWN a bit and ran the rest. The short bead on the far left was from the 035, as marked:

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    I was around 450fps or so on 035 and 250-270fps on 045 for the above pics.

    So I cut and etched it, picking the spot that was the best on the 035 side. Clearly better, all around. I'd still like to see a bit more penetration on the flat piece, but as I keep welding it should improve a bit. Now I am at the point where I am at least not worried about the welds so much any more for my ongoing project. Here is the etch - both sides of the same cut:

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    So with it looking good I went and welded up one of my brackets and the welds look good to me. Winner Winner! Chicken Dinner!

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    So I would say it was like a couple folks said - I was bumping against the limit on 035 wire. According to the charts I should be good up to 3/8" steel, but here 5/16" just isn't working with it, no matter how much I turned it up on 035. But 045 was a huge improvement.

    Thanks guys!
    -Dave
    -Dave
    XMT304 with: 22A Feeder, or HF251 Hi Freq DC TIG air cooled

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    Re: The old Cut 'N Etch don't lie!

    What sort of amps are you running now?

    Huge improvement. I'm surprised that it wouldn't run the 035 wire properly - i wonder if it was a feed roller issue. Anyway, glad it's working properly now, and biting in nicely.

    You should be able to run 045 wire up to a comfortable 300+ amps and in spray transfer you can more or less weld any thickness at that, multi-run where required.

    Maybe if anything a bit too much voltage, but certainly not bad!
    Murphy's Golden Rule: Whoever has the gold, makes the rules.

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    Re: The old Cut 'N Etch don't lie!

    Dave, those last welds look good, you only have to work on angle and travel speed. Practice, practice, practice. Its nice to see your projects.

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    Re: The old Cut 'N Etch don't lie!

    Thanks, Tom. I'll never get great at it as I just don't have the touch or the volume of practice time I would need. But on the plus side, I'd say my TIG welding is better than my MIG! Thanks again for the help with that. Just finally realizing I needed bigger wire was a major step in getting decent MIG welds here.

    Munkul - I think I was around 210-230A but I rarely remember to look. I've got it so ingrained now to hold the torch over the weld for post flow on SS TIG, that I can't break the habit with MIG (which has no post flow in my case, and most cases I think). By the time I realize I am not TIGging, it's too late...
    -Dave
    XMT304 with: 22A Feeder, or HF251 Hi Freq DC TIG air cooled

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    Re: The old Cut 'N Etch don't lie!

    Figured I should follow-up with some welds from my latest project to show the improvement from going up to 045 wire. I'll never claim to be great at this, but this is much better and some welds were actually quite decent, if I do say so.

    Here's a couple good sections on the 5/16" main rail for a support bracket:

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    This is 5/16" to 3/8" (the front plate is a mount for a hydraulic pump):

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    And just to let you know they certainly all weren't good...but I am at least confident it will hold:

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    And what is all this welding on? This is a subframe I made to bring the Mid=PTO up to the front of the tractor to drive a hydraulic pump for a rotary broom I picked up used.


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    -Dave
    XMT304 with: 22A Feeder, or HF251 Hi Freq DC TIG air cooled

  28. #24
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    Re: The old Cut 'N Etch don't lie!

    And installed for a test fit:

    The front end view:
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    Side view of the mid mount and the rear mount (up under the tractor):
    Name:  Subframe welded out (4) (Large).jpg
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    -Dave
    XMT304 with: 22A Feeder, or HF251 Hi Freq DC TIG air cooled

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    Re: The old Cut 'N Etch don't lie!

    You didn't bevel your butt joints, post #23...pic 3, if I'm seeing correctly. The weld is just laying on top of the seam. Not good at all.

    "Penetration" is misunderstood. It's used to describe the depth of fusion(your etching test), and in this case it's used to describe mechanical joint prep.

    To do the weld right, it must be beveled to allow the filler material to "penetrate" the entire joint profile. You need a "V" to develop the full strength of the joint.

    Few minutes with a grinder, and you can make it right. grind off the weld, then plunge into the metal to make the required "V"

    Name:  concrete mixer130-1.jpg
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    Name:  concrete mixer124-1.jpg
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Size:  131.3 KB This is how to prepare the plate. Always bevel as far as you can. In this case I needed a thin land to hold dimensions when the plates were clamped in place. It's technically not a "full pen" weld, but it's adequate for this application. And it would be adequate for your application.

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