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Thread: TIG torch overheating? (Super200P WP17)

  1. #1
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    Default TIG torch overheating? (Super200P WP17)

    I was welding some 3/8" aluminum, at minimum (20% EP) balance with max (200 amp) current my Everlast Super200P could deliver, with no pulse. The aluminum was cleaned pretty well - sanded, brake parts cleaner'ed repeatedly until the rag came back clean. I even scotch brite and solvent cleaned the filler rod.

    I could manage about 2.5" of shiney clean weld bead, and then it would start welding nasty - oxidized, contaminated, etc. A little bit gradually at first, (just a little "pepper in the puddle",) but then the oxide skin would grow worse until it would get to thick it would prevent the puddle from wetting out.

    I tried a bunch of things to fix it - changing the tungsten, changing the collet, changing the cup, checking the gas flow. The problem always kept coming back as I welded. My tank of argon was running low, about 400 psi left (which is about 20% of new fill pressure for me) so I did one last test to see if it was bad gas at the bottom of the tank. I hung things up and let it all cool off, and then came back the next day to try again. I again got a few inches of shiny weld bead and then the contamination would come back as the torch and cable heated up.

    When the torch was hot, I was still able to hold it by the handle (but not up close though.) I also noticed a distinct smell which is hard to describe, but maybe was melting plastic. It seemed like the argon gas coming out of the cup has this smell. And I noticed that the power cable, draped over my shoulder, was getting noticeably hot too, especially the portion up close to the torch. (The portion of the cable back by the machine wasn't hot.)

    So my end diagnosis was, running the torch/cable too hot somehow caused contaminants to be introduced into the shielding gas. Does this sound like I got it right?

    I tried tightening the connector inside the handle where the power cable connects to the torch, but it didn't cure the problem. Is the torch I have (says "WP17" on the side) just inadequate for this 200 Amp machine?

  2. #2

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    Yep, you have reached the limit of a WP17 torch, Weldcraft rates their wp17 at 150 amps, you are using 200 amps without pulse, that's gotta heat things up, time for a water cooled torch.

  3. #3

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    Jakeru, had a problem like that with 1/4" a while back. It was stuff that had been hanging around for a while. I ended up throwing it in the oven at 400 degrees for an hour and then re-cleaning it. That's a trick I use on cast outboard motor blocks and it worked here also.

    Your torch reached it's limit at about 150amps like was said by geezer. Looks like it's time for a water cooled. Check out Weld Craft's torches they have a little better cooling design than the WeldTec's. I have both a WeldCraft and WeldTec 20-250 torch. The WeldTec still gets warm at the higher amps but not severe like my air cooled 17. The WeldCraft stays pretty cool. I have the WeldTec cooler. I'm not sure if there's a difference in them. Mine seems to work well.
    Steve

    Miller 212
    Everlast 250EX
    Everlast PowerPlasma 60
    Victor O/A
    Current Project: 21' Jet Sled Rat Boat.

  4. #4

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    Jakeru,

    I normally tell people 140amps (keep them from burning it up), but Geezer is right, it is 150 or 160 on the spec.

    You might want to call into the office and get a price on a water cooled torch. It's not hard to make a cooler if you're on a budget, or you can run city water through it for occasional jobs. Some guys only use the tap actually.
    Mike R.
    Email: everlast@us-it.net
    www.everlastgenerators.com
    www.everlastwelders.com
    877-755-9353 x203
    M-F 12 - 7PM PST
    FYI: PP50, PP80, IMIG-200, IMIG-250P, 210EXT and 255EXT.

  5. #5
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    Thanks Mike. I think I've actually been struggling with overheating this torch since I got the machine, but only recently just figured it out. I just never made the connection that overheated torch = contaminated welds and tungsten. I just thought the torch would just get too hot to hold, or perhaps somehow visibly externally "melted".

    I would like to upgrade the torch to allow fully using the machine's 200 amp capabilities. Do you guys sell or have you sold a 200 amp air cooled torch option?

  6. #6

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    Just so you should know, torches have different ratings for AC & DC, a typical WP 18 water cooled torch is rated @ 350 amps DC & 250 amps AC, the reason AC is lower, cause the electron flow is towards the torch from the base metal on the AC cycle, on DC the flow is towards the base metal.

  7. #7
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    Mike, it was nice chatting with you on the phone today. I am always impressed when I call a company, and someone just picks the phone right up like you did.

    I have a feeling my Super200P's "coaxial" WP-17 torch argon/power cable (rubber hose with some type of conductor inside) overheating was what was causing the contaminants introduced into the shielding gas.

    I wanted to post a picture of one of the decent welding beads I managed, connecting a sawed in half aluminum road wheel to a 3/8" aluminum plate, which I managed with the ~150 amp rated WP-17. I had to do this about 2"-2.5" at a time, then set the torch down and keep the post-flow running for a minute or two to cool it. Before the next bead, I'd then pre-heat the work with a good 10-15 second blast from a high-BTU propane "weed burner", which made it easier to get the next 2-2.5" weld bead started. Rinse and repeat.

    I got the job done, although some of the welds weren't the best before I figured out the contaminated gas from overheating argon/power cable thing. :eek: The project is just a sign however, and luckily the customer was going for the "industrial look" and was completely happy with my welds, so its all good. Just took me a while (A LONG WHILE!) to get this done with the WP-17 holding me back.

    I am liking your suggestion of a water cooled torch upgrade. I think that's great that I could use a water cooled torch without water, at lower current levels for convenience, just like an aircooled torch. Sometimes I really appreciate keeping my setup portable so good to know I wouldn't need to lug around a cooler or need city tap water wherever I took it. I like to sometimes just throw my argon bottle, welding machine, and the couple necessary cables (torch/ground), into the back of my car, plus my little welding toolbox (with little clamps, some filler rod, safety gear, etc) into the back seat of my car, and be ready to weld wherever there is a 240V 30A clothes dryer outlet. I look forward to connecting with Everlast sales about a torch upgrade after they return from fabtech.

    My customer says he has some additional 3/8" aluminum pieces planned (in addition to a few ~1" or so cubes!) he still is going to want me to weld onto this custom sign I am helping him make. :o
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    Last edited by jakeru; 11-05-2010 at 03:32 AM.

  8. #8

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    hey could you post the settings yu were using when you welded that wheel up? balance, frequency, tungsten type and size, amperage and flow rates? One of the first jobs I attempte on ac after I got my 256 was welding on a wheel like that and I could never get it right...

  9. #9
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    200 amps (max of my Super200P), 20% EP AC Balance (min of Super200P) 60 Hz AC frequency (nonadjustable on Super200P), no pulse. Used on/off torch switch (no footpedal on this.) A TIG finger was useful on this, as was walking the cup. And of course, crank the post-flow up to the max (and keep tapping the switch to keep it flowing, to help cool the torch.)

    1/8" 1.5% lanthanted tungsten, sharpened tip with a flat on the end, switched between gas lens and standard collet bodies (whatever was coolest... kind of preferred the gas lens), #5 and #6 cups both worked fine, about 10-15 cfh or so argon flow. 100% argon gas. 3/32" 4043 filler. (Liked this better than my 1/8" 5356, probably because of 4043's slightly lower melting temp.)

    Maintained torch temps by taking breaks (leaving the gas flowing through the torch most of the time) every 2"-2.5", and pre-heating the part for 10-15 secs with a 281k BTU propane weed burner before the next weld.

    Gotta really watch the torch angle on this to keep the end of the filler from going molten by the way!

    Here is an overall picture of the sign. I am not proud of some of the welds on this however, before I developed the torch overheating prevention techniques, necessary to keep clean shielding gas.

    Tack welding without any pre-heating worked just fine. Just hold the torch still for however long it takes (7, 10 seconds?) for both parts to melt, and bridge the gap with some filler. 1/8" 5356 made for for nice and strong tacks on whatever material this was (I have a feeling the bar and plates were 6061.)
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  10. #10

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    Jakeru, just curious. Is this the only welding process you have? The reason I ask is that I use a Miller 212 and a 3035 Spool Gun when I have that much welding to do on thicker Al.

    Please don't mis-understand me. TIG is always going to look better and produce a stronger weld but with MIG, you'd have been done in an hour or less.
    Steve

    Miller 212
    Everlast 250EX
    Everlast PowerPlasma 60
    Victor O/A
    Current Project: 21' Jet Sled Rat Boat.

  11. #11

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    I have a IMIG200 and spool gun with 4043 in it, but I normally go TIG on smaller things.

    That is about the max size I would do though. When it comes to hurricane shutter, I use the MIG and gun.

    The good thing is, the sign will never rust. Is that a sign box and you're adding lighting in the box?
    Mike R.
    Email: everlast@us-it.net
    www.everlastgenerators.com
    www.everlastwelders.com
    877-755-9353 x203
    M-F 12 - 7PM PST
    FYI: PP50, PP80, IMIG-200, IMIG-250P, 210EXT and 255EXT.

  12. #12
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    Mike - I spoke to Alex this morning and he is looking into which upgraded torch is available to fit my Everlast Super200P. Sounded like it was a bit crazy after just returning from Fabtech. In case it might be helpful for you guys, here is a pic of my machine's front panel where the torch hooks up.

    I am hopeful to be able to try an upgraded Everlast torch for the remainder of this thick aluminum sign welding project. The customer is bringing it by again tomorrow to drop off along with some extra 3/8" pieces he wants welded on. Thanks for your help!

    Steve - No I don't have a MIG aluminum outfit. Not much interest in stick welding aluminum either. (I used to oxy-fuel weld aluminum before I got my TIG setup, and am so glad to get away from the corrosive aluminum flux.) I do also have the oxy-acetylene outfit, but it mostly sits and gathers dust now.
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  13. #13

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    Steve - No I don't have a MIG aluminum outfit. Not much interest in stick welding aluminum either. (I used to oxy-fuel weld aluminum before I got my TIG setup, and am so glad to get away from the corrosive aluminum flux.) I do also have the oxy-acetylene outfit, but it mostly sits and gathers dust now.
    Jakeru, don't write of the O/A completely. I still use it on occasions. I just picked up a couple fresh tanks today along with a couple of new 250cf Ar and He bottles. Ka Ching.... Helium is expensive but you'd be suprised how much easier and faster that 1/4 and 3/8 Al TIG's with a 80he/20ar mix. You still want to get that Water Cooled Torch though.
    Steve

    Miller 212
    Everlast 250EX
    Everlast PowerPlasma 60
    Victor O/A
    Current Project: 21' Jet Sled Rat Boat.

  14. Default Torch overheat

    Hello gents, hey just wanted to jump back a few posts to wrenchtamers question about Jakeru's settings. Great post of info by jakeru there, but Tamer, i just wanted to make a comment, .... from an old timer Tigger, ya know back in the day we didnt have Inverters, Balance adjustment, Nor Freq.
    The point i'm tryin to make is that those features are great tweaks to allow you to really dial in your process, but the basic process itself does really just fine at it's most basic. What i mean to say is that 5 different welders will get a job done in at least 3 different ways! So someones settings are great if you have the EXACT material, age (corrosion, cleanliness, etc). I would by far encourage someone to really understand the process and features, and oh yes, ...... the technique to really become a great welder. Not saying that a good starting point isnt way helpful, just that it's really easy for a newer welder to get a little to wound up about some of the features and capabilities of the newer technology and search for success therein.

    I'm a pedal guy so amperage for me is set enough or then some on the machine, ( no biggy cause your gonna regulate it with the pedal anyway) , balance, well most of the "older" machines that could lay down AMAZING welds, were fixed anyway so rather think about what it does. Really in practice, 2 things, if your metal is kinda dirty old and ratty or castings, it offers additional cleaning. Start at your most electrode negative setting and little by little dial in some positive till you see desired results, ... of course with the upper limit of EP being starting to erode or melt your tungsten. The other thing you might use to advantage with the balance control is varying or tweaking penetration and bead width. The more electrode negative the more penetration, but narrower bead profile, and visa versa. The take home point is that on most garden variety welding, if your within acceptable limits on any of these you still will be able to make nice welds. the exact settings dont really matter except for when you really get a hold of your technique and want to dial in the welds. Thats when these machines get really fun!

    Frequency is really in the same boat. where ever you have it set (whithin practical limits) is still going to yield good welds if your prep, and technique are up to speed. So thats all I'd like to add. Its really a game of basics, till ya get rockin, ..... then worry bout all the toys! Clean and prep the parts and make your fit ups well. Just like the guys are sayin tho, thick aluminum is going to give a newer aluminum welder fits unless its good and hot (pre-heated). I use an old grill, and put parts right in there to preheat. hope ya don't mind a few cents worth of 30 some years at it. Rock on!

  15. #15

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    Trackmaster,

    I fully understand your sentiments. Great shoes didn't make Michael Jordan a better basketball player. He could have played great in pumas from walmart. He had the fundamental basics to do anything he wanted with a little orange ball and a woven net hung on a round metal rim.

    One thing I have found though, that should be considered, is that these settings, if the right spot is found, makes tig welding a little easier and learning to lay a good weld much faster. The 60 hz and 50/50 balance of the older welders sometimes offers a unique challenge when welding aluminum by keeping the ball just right and the arc stable. With the inverter settings that can be achieved, improved arc stability is gained and new students can learn basic technique without having to battle things that become second nature after years of practice, that you may no longer remember were a challenge.

    The challenge is to inform the new welding student/customer about the impact each function has on the weld and how to find the optimum settings which will be best for their situation.

    So, one thing we have done is to introduce the new PowerTig 185 Micro for those guys who prefer more basic performing tigs so that they are not distracted by a lot of extra controls and functions. It does have frequency and balance control on the AC, but no pulse no fancy settings or startings or even other processes. Just plain and simple TIG...with the slightest bit of frills to keep things interesting.

  16. #16

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    Trackmaster, great post. Mark, that's cool that Everlast took the time to look at it from a different perspective and give welders an option.
    Steve

    Miller 212
    Everlast 250EX
    Everlast PowerPlasma 60
    Victor O/A
    Current Project: 21' Jet Sled Rat Boat.

  17. #17
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    OK folks, I have ordered up locally a CK trimline 210, which is supposed to be one of the less cumbersome torches in the "aircooled 200 amp" category. I'm hoping its about as maneuverable (or more so) than my current WP-17 torch, which has aside from the overheating issue, been working just fine for me. The simplicity and portability of the aircooled setup had appeal. I also sprung for the flex neck and superflex hose options, so hopefully it might even be easier to use, despite having more current carrying capacity.

    However, this CK torch is going to come with a 5/8"-18 male threaded argon fitting, so I'm still going to need a female 5/8"-18 to female M16x1.5mm adapter to get the new torch connected to my Everlast machine. Neither my local welding supplier, nor CK had ANY metric fittings or adapters.

    I'm hoping the folks at everlast, or perhaps someone else reading this can help me locate a suitable adapter.

    PS - here is an adapter I found on ebay that is similar to what I'm looking for; I just need it to be M16x1.5mm female to 5/8x18 female
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Hose-Coupler-Ada...#ht_680wt_1139
    Any ideas?

  18. #18

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    You might consider just changing the connector on the machine. I think that's the route I might take so I would be done with it once and for all.

    Mark probably has a solution for you.
    Steve

    Miller 212
    Everlast 250EX
    Everlast PowerPlasma 60
    Victor O/A
    Current Project: 21' Jet Sled Rat Boat.

  19. #19
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    Thanks for the helpful suggestion, Steve. However if I changed the "gas out" fitting on my machine to 5/8"-18, then my plasma cutter (which also uses the M16x15mm "gas out" connector) would not longer hook up. :o

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by jakeru View Post
    Thanks for the helpful suggestion, Steve. However if I changed the "gas out" fitting on my machine to 5/8"-18, then my plasma cutter (which also uses the M16x15mm "gas out" connector) would not longer hook up. :o
    Ahh, that makes sense.
    Steve

    Miller 212
    Everlast 250EX
    Everlast PowerPlasma 60
    Victor O/A
    Current Project: 21' Jet Sled Rat Boat.

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