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Thread: I HATE my MillerMatic 252

  1. #1
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    I HATE my MillerMatic 252

    I posted over on Miller forum also. 2010 MM252 worked great for years with .030 through .045. It NEVER would push .023. I've been through a bunch of suggestions & have bought a pound or more of drive rollers appropriate for each variety of wire.

    Progressively it is getting worse. The 100 amp mini gun they sold me as a cure for birdnest of .023 wire NEVER worked.
    The M25 gun that came with the welder melted when I tried Dual Shield, I replaced all the injured parts & it worked fine years with .030 & .035.
    I bought a 400 amp Bernard gun for dual shield. It worked fine a number of years.

    Now, three guns, four varieties of wire, I can push wire no problem, strike an arc, it'll birdnest.

    After taking the liner out today to inspect one more time, finding nothing, in desperation I squirted the spool of .045 Dual shield with a quick sprits of WD40. It seemed to help.

    12V71 suggested inspecting the ruined wire. It has tracks from the knurled U rollers, & spin marks where it slips on the wire.

    There is no drag on the spool I can see.

    What am I missing?

    No authorized service in my state or adjacent. Maine is closest I've found. All those close on the Miller website are closed. I can't live without this months!
    Last edited by Willie B; 10-17-2021 at 09:36 PM.
    An optimist is usually wrong, and when the unexpected happens is unprepared. A pessimist is usually right, when wrong, is delighted, and well prepared.

  2. #2
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    Re: I HATE my MillerMatic 252

    It's obvious that you don't want to listen, but here it goes. Check your drive roll alignment. Yours rolls are slipping because they are not in LINE. For .045 , get a piece of .045 stainless tig wire and check with that.

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  4. #3
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    Re: I HATE my MillerMatic 252

    Quote Originally Posted by M J D View Post
    It's obvious that you don't want to listen, but here it goes. Check your drive roll alignment. Yours rolls are slipping because they are not in LINE. For .045 , get a piece of .045 stainless tig wire and check with that.
    I believe rolls are aligned, but the bottom roll isn't touching the wire until I snap the upper roll against it. The pilot tube ahead of the rollers is bigger than the wire, so I don't know how critical that is. I'll say a few thousandths from touching. With rollers latched against the wire I see no deflection.

    What I am seeing is "tracks" on the wire when It comes out the end of the gun. I have the roll tension set about 2, just enough to push it through the gun, but the Miller recommended knurled U rollers are imprinting the wire. When it stutters in the rollers it digs a little spot in the wire.

    I'm Wondering if I should try smooth rollers. All that texture on the wire must increase friction in the liner. I recently replaced the liner, I could do it again.

    I did take the gun apart. It seems the recess in the back of the part the liner seats in could be deeper to best position the liner. Seems there is a very slight angle at the tip of the gun.

    I called Maine Oxy before 7 this morning, thought I'd get a voicemail. Somebody in Auburn Maine answered. He is NOT a welder. He says figure a week in transit each way, a week to diagnose, a week for ordered parts to arrive, they fit repair into the schedule quickly. I need a welder. I have a friend who has borrowed mine in the past. Maybe I can finish my hitch with his & send mine for repair.

    & nobody has ever accused me of not listening! I listen to all advice, then sort good from bad. This thing has me hamstrung & I've had a good bit of advice, tried each suggestion without a fix.

    Wracking my brain, what am I missing? The drive roller has a tiny bit of motion in its bearing. Is this normal?
    Last edited by Willie B; 10-18-2021 at 08:48 AM.
    An optimist is usually wrong, and when the unexpected happens is unprepared. A pessimist is usually right, when wrong, is delighted, and well prepared.

  5. #4
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    Re: I HATE my MillerMatic 252

    If I may:

    1. write the liner off and get a new one, if you haven't already. If there's a problem with it internally you aren't going to see it.
    2. knurled rolls for solid wire? What?? Sounds totally wrong. no-one ever recommends this. I would
    3. if you can't push .023 then why not just get the job done with .030? There's not much you can't do with .030 and you don't have headaches with it.
    4. where it birdsnests, it may damage the roller feedout tube. have you checked this?

    What does the wire feel like through the gun? Can you pull it by hand from the tip with the rolls undone? If it's not free moving, you haven't cured the problem, it's jamming somewhere. If it is moving freely, then you need to look for unsupported parts - from the rolls to the feed tube, and from the liner to the tip/tip holder - inspect for damage.

    Small wire will find an unsupported part and bunch there and jam - much like aluminium wire. Also make sure your liner is the right size for 023 - they often have size ranges. Stick a small wire through a big liner and you'll have problems.
    Last edited by Munkul; 10-18-2021 at 09:57 AM.
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  6. #5
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    Re: I HATE my MillerMatic 252

    No doubt frustrating. I describe bird nest as coming off the roll. Everything is a jam. To me.

    If it stops in the liner or at the tip mine do not jam if roller pressure is correct.

    Seem like two issues going on. Seems purely mechanical...

    Good luck. Look forward to the resolve.

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  8. #6
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    Re: I HATE my MillerMatic 252

    The inlet tubes are quite large, shouldn't be a problem. Wire should touch bottom roll without forcing it down. As for a loose bearing, are you talking about the pivoting roll, those typically have some play, the lower drive roller, not so much. Think of the drive system like a V belt pulley, the wire needs to be parallel to the lower roll or it will do exactly what you say about marring up the wire. I doubt its rolls as you said all wires don't feed correctly. Once alignment is set, run out some wire and put a bend in it. Set roll tension so it just pushes back the gun when the wire is butted up to the table, floor or whatever. I've seen guys use a knurled roll on the drive and a smooth idler but it's probably not necessary. Also under the front panel that flips down are menus for settings such as run in and burn back, I would try them at factory default settings as well as run in may be affecting your birdnesting.

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    Re: I HATE my MillerMatic 252

    Replace the work clamp. Usually the bolt on the factory clamp goes bad and causes a high resistance circuit. Make a few welds and feel the clamp or cable for hot spots. I have also found work cables that were cut internally and o ly had a few strands holding them together.

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  11. #8
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    Re: I HATE my MillerMatic 252

    Set up a camera as close to the roller as you can get it to focus. Then capture video of it birdnesting. There are apps that will let you play it back at any speed right down to frame by frame. Maybe you will see something that will help you get closer to a solution.
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    Re: I HATE my MillerMatic 252

    Willie, if it will help I can pull a gun off a machine and send it to you. If you tell me what wire size and tyope you are running I will set that up on a machine and test the set up before sending the gun your way. The only draw back is that I am out of town this week so it would have to wait till next monday for me to ship it out. Just let me know an address and it will be headed your way.
    Mike

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  14. #10
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    Re: I HATE my MillerMatic 252

    Thanks everybody.
    Munkul;
    I'm running Dual Shield flux cored wire at present. They recommend knurled u groove rollers.

    MJD;
    It's the bottom roller I question, the main drive roller. There's very little motion in it but I am questioning everything. Behind the rollers there are gears, Upper roller swings & is powered through these gears.

    Walker;
    I'm an electrician by trade, First thing I think of is solid connections. Clamp is recent & very heavy duty. Cable connections have been checked. I have been known to forget to grind a clean spot on the work to connect it to, so symptoms of bad ground are familiar. Work lead & all its terminations run cool.

    Bead boy;
    I'm not sophisticated enough to have that sort of video camera gear, but I'll watch while somebody tries to weld.

    Leightrepairs;
    Thank you, a generous offer. Perhaps I'll take you up on it if I can't resolve my problem.
    An optimist is usually wrong, and when the unexpected happens is unprepared. A pessimist is usually right, when wrong, is delighted, and well prepared.

  15. #11
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    Re: I HATE my MillerMatic 252

    I stared at the wire drive and gun connection block on my 252 today and saw very little in the way of possible electrical connection problems. I normally only run .035 and .045 hardwire through mine, when I do use dual shield it's always .045. I run the standard V rolls and it feeds just fine. I have never liked serrated or U cogged rolls, the point between slip and birdnest is a very fine line. Another trick I learned with my 12VS feeders running .045 self shield is to run an .052 contact tip, welds just fine but seems to help prevent burn-backs.
    The memory bank just hit me with the other trick with the 12VS feeders, I would run an .045 smooth V roll on the driver and a .035 smooth V on the driven roll, a little more "grab" with out distorting the tube wire too much.
    The thing that makes me think of all this is the problem you have as soon as you strike an arc VS free feeding. Distorted wire is going to get tight in the tip when the current flows.

  16. #12
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    Re: I HATE my MillerMatic 252

    A loose wire spool will cause birdnesting. If it's not tight enough (just tight enough to stop moving when the trigger is let off, and has a bit of tension on the wire).

    A bad tip will cause undue friction. If it's hard to pull wire through it,, it might be messed up, or the wrong size for the wire.

    Trash in the liner will cause friction. Take it out of the machine, remove the tip, and blow it out with compressed air.

    A kink in the liner will mess things up............and this is a thing you can't usually see........chances are ya messed it up by standing on it, or hooking it on something.

    If the liner isn't close enough to the rollers, it won't feed properly. The spring lookin' thing should be about 1/8 to 1/4" in front of the rollers, and aligned with the groove rollers. My Hobart, which is the same as a Miller, has various positions for the grooves in relation to the liner............all controlled by the spring/indent thingy on the rollers. Have to have the grooves lined up with the liner.

  17. #13
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    Re: I HATE my MillerMatic 252

    Quote Originally Posted by farmersammm View Post
    A loose wire spool will cause birdnesting. If it's not tight enough (just tight enough to stop moving when the trigger is let off, and has a bit of tension on the wire).

    A bad tip will cause undue friction. If it's hard to pull wire through it,, it might be messed up, or the wrong size for the wire.

    Trash in the liner will cause friction. Take it out of the machine, remove the tip, and blow it out with compressed air.

    A kink in the liner will mess things up............and this is a thing you can't usually see........chances are ya messed it up by standing on it, or hooking it on something.

    If the liner isn't close enough to the rollers, it won't feed properly. The spring lookin' thing should be about 1/8 to 1/4" in front of the rollers, and aligned with the groove rollers. My Hobart, which is the same as a Miller, has various positions for the grooves in relation to the liner............all controlled by the spring/indent thingy on the rollers. Have to have the grooves lined up with the liner.
    Smaller guns have spiral wound liner material offered up to the rollers. The big Bernard 400 amp gun has a nozzle that almost touches the rollers.

    Now you have me wondering about spool tension, I loosen it more & more. I've watched it faltering as I run wire without arc. It'd run all day if I didn't strike an arc.
    As for tips, not many choices. .045 jumps to 1/16" in Bernard tips. I do rasp them out with tip cleaners made for acetylene torch.
    Last edited by Willie B; 10-18-2021 at 07:54 PM.
    An optimist is usually wrong, and when the unexpected happens is unprepared. A pessimist is usually right, when wrong, is delighted, and well prepared.

  18. #14
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    Re: I HATE my MillerMatic 252

    Check it out............


  19. #15
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    Re: I HATE my MillerMatic 252

    Dood sounds like the Rick Steves of Miller machines. Could probably pour a pail of liquid sht on his head, and he'd come up smilin'

  20. #16
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    Re: I HATE my MillerMatic 252

    I really hope this helps, you've been a bit of help to me in the past. I just dunno where your machine is going wrong

  21. #17
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    Re: I HATE my MillerMatic 252

    One way to test wire drive roller tension, is to put a bend in the wire, and put that bend against a 2x4, then squeeze the trigger. The wire shoudn't stall, and should feed smoothly against the 2x4 while coiling upwards.

  22. #18
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    Re: I HATE my MillerMatic 252

    Kinda like the dood did with his hand. It works, believe me.

    It's just another measure of the tension on the drive roller adjustment

  23. #19
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    Re: I HATE my MillerMatic 252

    251 is VERY similar to 252. The rollers on 252 are oriented to pull from the top of the reel. It might work to take feed mechanism from one, use it on another.
    An optimist is usually wrong, and when the unexpected happens is unprepared. A pessimist is usually right, when wrong, is delighted, and well prepared.

  24. #20
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    Re: I HATE my MillerMatic 252

    Quote Originally Posted by farmersammm View Post
    One way to test wire drive roller tension, is to put a bend in the wire, and put that bend against a 2x4, then squeeze the trigger. The wire shoudn't stall, and should feed smoothly against the 2x4 while coiling upwards.
    It does that until I strike an arc. All goes wrong the instant it sparks. It begins with a series of stalls while the rollers move, then it birdnests. A new tip works well for less than a minute.
    An optimist is usually wrong, and when the unexpected happens is unprepared. A pessimist is usually right, when wrong, is delighted, and well prepared.

  25. #21
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    Re: I HATE my MillerMatic 252

    If you ever ran that machine without a diffuser, bare tip............ And you happened to arc the tip against the metal, the current has nowhere to go but back into the machine. It can mess up components, but most common is burning out a diode. I imagine it might mess up a board too. Dunno The contactor circuit might be messed up, Hell, I just don't know.

  26. #22
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    Re: I HATE my MillerMatic 252

    Samm, all I know about my MM175 is at times I've had slag build up between the diffuser and the tip so when the diffuser touched the parent metal I'd lose the arc but did no damage to the machine.
    Willie, With everything you've tried I'm wondering if maybe the factory drilled a couple of holes slightly off center, I mean a few thousandths, and that's causing the problem. Just throwing this out there.
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  27. #23
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    Re: I HATE my MillerMatic 252

    Quote Originally Posted by Willie B View Post
    Thanks everybody.
    Munkul;
    I'm running Dual Shield flux cored wire at present. They recommend knurled u groove rollers.
    Sorry I was confused... I thought you were running 023 solid wire.

    What does it run 045 solid wire like?

    I would be tearing my hair out too... sounds like a nightmare.

    I've not ran much FCAW or FCAW-G but the little i did try was 035 NR211 through my XMT/60 feeder, I didn't change a thing other than to back off the tension, but it has a 4 roll feeder and works with practically anything.

    If the wire is coming out of the rolls squished or knurled, you're damaging it, and if you're damaging FC wire, then all bets are off.
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  28. #24
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    Re: I HATE my MillerMatic 252

    I hope to try my gun on a friends 255 today. Not sure it'll all fit together. He doesn't use Dual Shield & doesn't have a .045 gun. I hope to narrow down whether the problem is gun or welder.
    An optimist is usually wrong, and when the unexpected happens is unprepared. A pessimist is usually right, when wrong, is delighted, and well prepared.

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  30. #25
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    Re: I HATE my MillerMatic 252

    Bill, I fought birds nest problems for years with my late 2000’s Miller suitcase MiG when using flux core and dual shield wire.

    My LWS advised me to back the pressure off all the way on my rollers, and then only tighten 1/4 to 1/2 turn once they made light contact against the wire. I’m using knurled rollers.

    No problems since I made that change. Apparently I was deforming the wire by having too much tension, which led to the birds nesting problem.
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