Figuring Wire Speed For MIG Welders

Across the industry, MIG welders have any number of ways for adjusting MIG wire speed. The most common, cheaper MIGs used fixed taps, that offer preset MIG wire speed adjustment and voltage. More advanced MIGS offer infinite adjustment, but they may actually read in amps, inches per minute, meters per minute on the display or have no display at all. However, the problem that most people face, is adjusting wire speed accurately and repeatedly. Some machines may just have a 1-10 setting for wire speed with little reference to actual speed, and some may have a digital meter. However, to set these welders accurately according to the recommendations that you will find that are largely based in inches per minute readings, you can do a quick wire feed test. To determine actual wire speed, simply turn on the welder, while the gas is off and squeeze the gun trigger (be sure you do not contact any metal while doing this) and let it despoil wire for an even 15 seconds. Once the 15 seconds are up, instantly release the trigger. Cut and measure the length of the despoiled wire (in inches). Then multiply the number by four and you will have your inch per minute reading. This is good for verifying the accuracy of your digital readout as well, which can be out of calibration. But whether you have a meter or not, it is always good to have a good idea of actual wire speed because it will help you set up the welder properly.