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Thread: Advise settings on a 200DX for aluminum?

  1. #1

    Default Post your favorite settings on a 200DX for aluminum?

    Can anyone advise what settings to start with on my 200DX to practice on a piece of 1/8" aluminum? I grabbed a piece of flat stock to practice on, and i blew holes in it, and melted my torch nozzle, and the end of my tungsten looks like a golf ball. I have 3/32 Red tungsten, with a WP9 torch. i will start with the torch switch before trying out the pedal. I am looking to find out what settings the brothers recommend for this machine to not blow up the torch, and make a big mess out of the aluminum. I destroyed three nozzles already.
    thanks
    Last edited by Joe from NY; 01-21-2012 at 09:47 PM.
    Some of the crap I use to keep busy:

    Everlast 200DX
    Millermatic 211 Mig
    Hypertherm Powermax 30 plasma cutter
    Lincoln Weld-Pak 100
    Century Stick welder
    Oxy set-up with Henrob 2000 torch
    Logan 200 lathe (60 years old)
    Jet band saw
    About 6 Harbor Freight grinders with different discs/wheels/brushes

  2. #2

    Default

    Joe,
    Sounds like you might of had your AC balance turned the wrong way. Right is more AC positive (indicated by the + sign)...The further this way the more likely you are to do what you described But it might be better to tell us what settings you started with. It's easier to see where you are at, than try to take a shot in the dark. But still, here some settings to try...

    Amps about 150. (max on pedal)
    AC freq about 2 oclock
    AC balance fully left.
    Make sure torch is in right hand side.
    Gas flow between 6-7lpm (our gauge)
    Also you should ONLY be using pure Argon. Using a gas mix or contaminated mix can cause the exact same symptom you described.

  3. #3

    Default

    What type of aluminum are you using? If it is anything other than 3000 series, 6000 series, or some 5000 series alloys, it can cause you grief as well.

    My 200dx has a fairly harsh start if I use the torch switch, even if I purge twice before striking an arc. Mine is much smoother starting with the pedal.
    Everlast 200DX
    Everlast PT185
    Shoptask 3-in-1 (not currently in my garage, but I own it...)

    Any day on a motorcycle like this that ends just needing parts and labor is a good day.
    4.82, 158.67mph 1/8th mile 7.350, 200.35mph 1/4 mile

  4. Default

    You melted the nozzle? That's pretty intense. Which cup size were you using? If you're using 3/32", you can use probably a 6 or 7.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Greater Seattle, WA
    Posts
    813

    Default

    The "weak link" in your setup for aluminum is your WP9 torch. It's only rated 100 amps AC @ 60% duty cycle. (Based on: http://www.weldcraft.com/products/wp-series/wp-9/ )

    Although it might be able to handle welding short stitches of 1/8" aluminum, welding very much of it at a time risks damaging your torch and/or cable.

    As others have mentioned, you can take as much heat as possible off the tungsten while in AC welding mode by rotating your machine's AC Balance knob fully counter clockwise (which on the 200DX as I understand, should put you at 30% EP / 70% EN).
    '13 Everlast 255EXT
    '07 Everlast Super200P

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jakeru View Post
    The "weak link" in your setup for aluminum is your WP9 torch. It's only rated 100 amps AC @ 60% duty cycle. (Based on: http://www.weldcraft.com/products/wp-series/wp-9/ )

    Although it might be able to handle welding short stitches of 1/8" aluminum, welding very much of it at a time risks damaging your torch and/or cable.

    As others have mentioned, you can take as much heat as possible off the tungsten while in AC welding mode by rotating your machine's AC Balance knob fully counter clockwise (which on the 200DX as I understand, should put you at 30% EP / 70% EN).
    The wp-9 that everlast sells is rated at 125 Amp DC, 80 Amp AC @ 60% duty cycle... http://www.everlastgenerators.com/Ev...ig-Torches.php

    I'm not knocking it... just stating the specs.
    2013 250EX : SSC Pedal : I-MIG 250P 20' Profax gun : Power Plasma 60 p80 torch : 3M Speedglas 9100XX : Evolution Rage 3 DB cold saw

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe from NY View Post
    Can anyone advise what settings to start with on my 200DX to practice on a piece of 1/8" aluminum? I grabbed a piece of flat stock to practice on, and i blew holes in it, and melted my torch nozzle, and the end of my tungsten looks like a golf ball. I have 3/32 Red tungsten, with a WP9 torch. i will start with the torch switch before trying out the pedal. I am looking to find out what settings the brothers recommend for this machine to not blow up the torch, and make a big mess out of the aluminum. I destroyed three nozzles already.
    thanks
    I did the same thing! I probably messed up 3 pieces of tungsten! After taking notes form Jody's video's AC balance was turned the wrong way. Welded like a champ after that! I can't remember crap, I have to take notes so I can remember everything.
    Lincoln Eagle Engine Drive
    Everlast MTS 250
    Everlast Power Tig 225lx
    HTP Mig 2400
    Everlast Power Plasma 60C --> Just need to finish my CNC Plasma Table!
    Miller Spectrum 375 Extreme Plasma cutter
    Victor cutting torch
    HF 20 Ton Shop Press
    HF 4x6 Band Saw
    HF Air Compressor
    Northern Tool Drill Press


    www.murphywelding.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Greater Seattle, WA
    Posts
    813

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by zoama585 View Post
    80 Amp AC
    Indeed, thanks for adding that correction, Zoama.
    '13 Everlast 255EXT
    '07 Everlast Super200P

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Virginia Beach, va
    Posts
    7

    Default

    great thread, just what I needed as I'm about to fire up my new 200 this week, .., ..

    curtis
    Race Flow Development.LLC

  10. #10

    Default

    Yes, and to any brother who has had success with the 200DX with aluminum, could you please share your machine settings that worked for you? I am getting closer to success with the pedal, but my results are still erratic. Maybe I am not cleaning the workpiece enough.
    Some of the crap I use to keep busy:

    Everlast 200DX
    Millermatic 211 Mig
    Hypertherm Powermax 30 plasma cutter
    Lincoln Weld-Pak 100
    Century Stick welder
    Oxy set-up with Henrob 2000 torch
    Logan 200 lathe (60 years old)
    Jet band saw
    About 6 Harbor Freight grinders with different discs/wheels/brushes

  11. Default

    Just about everything I weld with my 200dx is aluminum, Mostly .063 and .090. I run the balance all the way to the left and I never touch it. I usually run frequency at about the 1oclock position maybe a little further to the right if I need a really small focused bead. I normally leave my amperage knob on my pedal to where if I floor it I get around 125-140 amps and just control puddle with my foot.I always use 3/32 tungsten mostly 2% thoriated, but recently switched to 2% lanthanated with same results. Also im using a gas lens set up on my torch with a number 6 cup. What I have found is get the puddle formed very quickly and then back off the heat a bit and start the bead. I have produced some very nice looking welds with these settings.

    If I can help anyway dont hesitate to ask.

    JB

  12. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe from NY View Post
    I am getting closer to success with the pedal, but my results are still erratic. Maybe I am not cleaning the workpiece enough.
    Hi Joe, Can you give us some more details on what it meant to you to get "closer to success"? Sound like you saw some good results somewhere along the line?

    Also more details about what you meant by erratic? Burned thru? Cold bead? Dirty bead? Erratic arc? I suppose a picture would help but I'm sure some additional description to help us all visualize your situation would help.

    I've only had a chance to run a few beads on new 1/8" 6061, weld up an aluminum snow shovel with major cracks (unknown AL alloy), fix my motorcycle sub-frame (I was happy, my welds looked better than Honda's) so far but it's all turned out nicely. I'm always on the hunt for AL things to repair for practice until I start my first fab projects.

    I've cleaned everything down to shiny metal around the weld areas with one of those 3M Roloc rubber bristle disks and wiped with acetone. Until I put my CK torch on it I'm using the stock torch which is a bit large and stiff but quite workable and the pedal. 1/8" lanthanated tungsten with a sharp point. Frequency at around 2 o'clock with the balance around 8 o'clock but I'm sure I could tweak the balance to even less cleaning. Lots of pedal to start the puddle then backing down and adjusting as needed to maintain a nice puddle. The shovel repair just soaked up the heat, especially until it all got nice and hot. I'm just a hobbyist and I've been away from aluminum TIG for a couple of years but the 200 DX is working fine for me with these initial settings.

    Let's hear back on the details...

    Gary

  13. #13

    Default

    Gary- i saw your reply after i answered your PM, so i will copy it here for the benefit of thread continuity.

    i found out that the pedal works best, just as you said. i had to push the heat, and then back off the pedal to get it to work right. the puddle was running like water and just collapsing, so i figured it was too hot. once i get the right combination of settings dialed in, it will go smoother. i am getting closer to getting a nice bead. i ran out of scrap to play with, so tomorrow, i will go to home depot again and grab a 3 foot piece of 1/8 inch flat stock. my problem is that i wasnt cleaning it enough. i watched some more of jody's videos, and i realize i have to get a bottle of acetone also. i always had schmutz in the weld puddle, so i know i am not getting clean enough.

    i was looking at the Miller 165 before i decided on the 200DX, because i liked how simple the controls were on the Miller. Just dial in the thickness, and switch AC or DC. i was hoping for my machine i could find some basic settings that i could just set to get close to ideal results. we will see.

    As i mentioned about something i saw in the weldingtips... website videos was how too much heat makes it run like water and collapse. i was having to push the heat for awhile to get a puddle going, and then it would just run like liquid and the piece would crumble into itself. what makes it even harder to get repeatable settings on this machine (200DX), is the lack of divisions or markings on the pedal dial. If i find a spot that works OK, then i adjust out and it doesnt work, it is hard to find the spot i had before that worked good. It makes you wonder how many pennies the factory saved by not putting markings around the pedal knob, thereby making it more difficult to repeat settings after trying different positions.
    Some of the crap I use to keep busy:

    Everlast 200DX
    Millermatic 211 Mig
    Hypertherm Powermax 30 plasma cutter
    Lincoln Weld-Pak 100
    Century Stick welder
    Oxy set-up with Henrob 2000 torch
    Logan 200 lathe (60 years old)
    Jet band saw
    About 6 Harbor Freight grinders with different discs/wheels/brushes

  14. #14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe from NY View Post
    Gary- i saw your reply after i answered your PM, so i will copy it here for the benefit of thread continuity.

    i found out that the pedal works best, just as you said. i had to push the heat, and then back off the pedal to get it to work right. the puddle was running like water and just collapsing, so i figured it was too hot. once i get the right combination of settings dialed in, it will go smoother. i am getting closer to getting a nice bead. i ran out of scrap to play with, so tomorrow, i will go to home depot again and grab a 3 foot piece of 1/8 inch flat stock. my problem is that i wasnt cleaning it enough. i watched some more of jody's videos, and i realize i have to get a bottle of acetone also. i always had schmutz in the weld puddle, so i know i am not getting clean enough.

    i was looking at the Miller 165 before i decided on the 200DX, because i liked how simple the controls were on the Miller. Just dial in the thickness, and switch AC or DC. i was hoping for my machine i could find some basic settings that i could just set to get close to ideal results. we will see.

    As i mentioned about something i saw in the weldingtips... website videos was how too much heat makes it run like water and collapse. i was having to push the heat for awhile to get a puddle going, and then it would just run like liquid and the piece would crumble into itself. what makes it even harder to get repeatable settings on this machine (200DX), is the lack of divisions or markings on the pedal dial. If i find a spot that works OK, then i adjust out and it doesnt work, it is hard to find the spot i had before that worked good. It makes you wonder how many pennies the factory saved by not putting markings around the pedal knob, thereby making it more difficult to repeat settings after trying different positions.
    I have noticed the same thing with the pedal vs. the torch switch. The torch switch is to "harsh" on startup on my machine. Perhaps that is why I often question why some folks on here tend to focus on using the torch switch and I see little use for it.
    As for the pedal, it is fairly common to supply higher amperage for initial start and then back off as the base metal starts to get some heat in it.

    If you are buying metal from Home Depot, you are probably getting 6063 aluminum. Using 4043 filler will probably be the easiest for this. 5356 filler will also work, but it tends to wet out a bit less.

    You can buy material much cheaper from other sources. Even they are not "cheap" online sources such as onlinemetals.com or even mcmastercarr.com are likely a better deal. Ebay can also be a source.

    If you have a local scrap yard, most will sell scrap material (which can often be first quality materials that have actually never even been used) for quite a bit less than retail pricing.

    John
    Everlast 200DX
    Everlast PT185
    Shoptask 3-in-1 (not currently in my garage, but I own it...)

    Any day on a motorcycle like this that ends just needing parts and labor is a good day.
    4.82, 158.67mph 1/8th mile 7.350, 200.35mph 1/4 mile

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Fridley, Minnesota
    Posts
    376

    Default I'm pulling for you, Joe

    I'm confident that you'll get things ironed out with the help of our fine folks here on this forum. It scares me that you would even think if the diversion as an alternative to this machine, instead of this as a no-brainer upgrade, especially given the price that you got it for. Heck, you could get a water cooler, and a wp20 torch for less than the price differential between the two, and have a machine that'll literally run CIRCLES around a diversion. I can understand where simplicity has it's place, but based on your posts, you sound more like the rest of us, where once you had gotten a diversion, and hit the "performance wall" that it has at it's high end, you'd be wanting more and end up wishing for or at least wondering about Everlast anyway. Plus in addition to all the features, you have what has been touted by all that have tried and posted about it, on heck of a stick welder built in to the setup, too. I plan on posting detailed info on my 250EX and the 185 micro I have coming FROM DAY ONE, to share in the experience. Not that I expect the same from you or others. Point I'm trying to make, is that I'm pulling for you on this one, and hope that you get any trouble you have worked out to your satisfaction, and that the help you get from forum members is of use to you. You've already figured out that properly cleaning your aluminum will help with smut issues. I noticed, even as a relative nood to TIG, that the layer of oxidation on what I thought was "clean enough" made for a puddle that didn't even look like a puddle, until it dropped onto the welding table! I might suggest that you start with 50/50 AC balance, and work your cleaning action down (more DCEN) gradually, until you're all the way to 70% DCEN, for max penetration. Then adjust your pedal knob to the right position where "floored" puts you in bead-running mode for your situation. The key to this, like everything in welding, is PRACTICE! I can foresee that you'll be the envy of your friends and neighbors in no time at all, with your deft skills, wielding a TIG torch. The old saying about pictures being worth a thousand words, well in your situation, taking the time/hassle to show us what you're going through will work wonders. Keep at it, and good luck!!
    "It's not magic it's experimental, kind of like washing your hands after pooping used to be." -House

    Everlast PowerTig 250EX-arrived 1-26-2012
    Everlast PowerCool W300-arrived 1-26-2012
    Everlast PowerTig 185 Micro-arrived 1-26-2012
    Everlast PowerPlasma 70-arrived 1-26-2012
    ESAB MigMaster 250-borrowed
    HyperTherm 151 AKA "The Light Sabre"
    Linde UCC-305-964 lb. of old time water cooled TIG love-SOLD-Bad MOJO
    Purox OXY/ACETYLENE

  16. #16

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hooda View Post
    I'm confident that you'll get things ironed out with the help of our fine folks here on this forum. It scares me that you would even think if the diversion as an alternative to this machine, instead of this as a no-brainer upgrade, especially given the price that you got it for. Heck, you could get a water cooler, and a wp20 torch for less than the price differential between the two, and have a machine that'll literally run CIRCLES around a diversion. I can understand where simplicity has it's place, but based on your posts, you sound more like the rest of us, where once you had gotten a diversion, and hit the "performance wall" that it has at it's high end, you'd be wanting more and end up wishing for or at least wondering about Everlast anyway. Plus in addition to all the features, you have what has been touted by all that have tried and posted about it, on heck of a stick welder built in to the setup, too. I plan on posting detailed info on my 250EX and the 185 micro I have coming FROM DAY ONE, to share in the experience. Not that I expect the same from you or others. Point I'm trying to make, is that I'm pulling for you on this one, and hope that you get any trouble you have worked out to your satisfaction, and that the help you get from forum members is of use to you. You've already figured out that properly cleaning your aluminum will help with smut issues. I noticed, even as a relative nood to TIG, that the layer of oxidation on what I thought was "clean enough" made for a puddle that didn't even look like a puddle, until it dropped onto the welding table! I might suggest that you start with 50/50 AC balance, and work your cleaning action down (more DCEN) gradually, until you're all the way to 70% DCEN, for max penetration. Then adjust your pedal knob to the right position where "floored" puts you in bead-running mode for your situation. The key to this, like everything in welding, is PRACTICE! I can foresee that you'll be the envy of your friends and neighbors in no time at all, with your deft skills, wielding a TIG torch. The old saying about pictures being worth a thousand words, well in your situation, taking the time/hassle to show us what you're going through will work wonders. Keep at it, and good luck!!
    Keep me posted on the 185. I have my eye on one of those to put in the trailer to use for those unfortunate mishaps at the track. Welder and one of those little dinky argon bottles that'll only last a half hour.
    Everlast 200DX
    Everlast PT185
    Shoptask 3-in-1 (not currently in my garage, but I own it...)

    Any day on a motorcycle like this that ends just needing parts and labor is a good day.
    4.82, 158.67mph 1/8th mile 7.350, 200.35mph 1/4 mile

  17. #17

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hooda View Post
    I'm confident that you'll get things ironed out with the help of our fine folks here ... (snip)
    thanks for the encouragement and assistance. i thought about taking photos, but what i was looking at was so far from what i was supposed to be getting, that i figured that posting them would be useless. i will try to use my camera the next time i get down there to waste some more gas.
    Some of the crap I use to keep busy:

    Everlast 200DX
    Millermatic 211 Mig
    Hypertherm Powermax 30 plasma cutter
    Lincoln Weld-Pak 100
    Century Stick welder
    Oxy set-up with Henrob 2000 torch
    Logan 200 lathe (60 years old)
    Jet band saw
    About 6 Harbor Freight grinders with different discs/wheels/brushes

  18. #18

    Default

    Hooda,
    You might not be aware yet, but our units deal in percent of positive, not negative. On our machines, that would be 30%.

  19. #19

    Default

    Here are a couple of shots of my latest progress. I was using the settings given in post #2, with the pedal knob as pictured (I wish there was some kind of divisions marked around the pedal knob, so i could make my best adjustment closely repeatable).

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I didnt get a chance to pick up some acetone yet.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Some of the crap I use to keep busy:

    Everlast 200DX
    Millermatic 211 Mig
    Hypertherm Powermax 30 plasma cutter
    Lincoln Weld-Pak 100
    Century Stick welder
    Oxy set-up with Henrob 2000 torch
    Logan 200 lathe (60 years old)
    Jet band saw
    About 6 Harbor Freight grinders with different discs/wheels/brushes

  20. #20

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe from NY View Post
    Here are a couple of shots of my latest progress. I was using the settings given in post #2, with the pedal knob as pictured (I wish there was some kind of divisions marked around the pedal knob, so i could make my best adjustment closely repeatable).

    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	4705Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	4706Click image for larger version. 

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    I didnt get a chance to pick up some acetone yet.
    You're way too hot on those welds. Lower your current and focus on a small area at a time, then move on. It is not a race and may take a bit of time to get teh puddle to form.

    You want to use just enough heat to get a very small amount of melt then dip the rod and move teh torch to teh adjacent location and repeat. You may need to pause a bit at each "spot" to get it to flow.

    From the looks of things, you will likely be better off starting with steel, first just pushing a puddle with no joint, then moving to joints. With steel, you will be able to distinctly see the puddle forming, not so much with aluminum and it will melt through as you have been experiencing.

    Try not to focus so much on teh settings of the foot pedal. It is variable, nothing says you have to mash it "wide open" to weld. Set it and then just use the pedal to adjust the current as needed. That is the reason for having a pedal., otherwise, just try using the torch switch.
    John
    Everlast 200DX
    Everlast PT185
    Shoptask 3-in-1 (not currently in my garage, but I own it...)

    Any day on a motorcycle like this that ends just needing parts and labor is a good day.
    4.82, 158.67mph 1/8th mile 7.350, 200.35mph 1/4 mile

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