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Thread: First beads on a PowerArc 140ST

  1. #1

    Default First beads on a PowerArc 140ST

    I finally got a chance to run my first beads on my new welder. Actually, my first beads ever. When I discovered that the local community college classes were all full, I just opted to buy a basic welder and teach myself through trial and error and internet research. I had a 2-foot-long piece of 6" square tubing, 1/4" wall thickness, left over from a project a few years ago that I'm using to run stringer beads on for awhile just to figure out what the heck I'm doing. It's rusty, but I brushed it off fairly well on one side, so it doesn't look TOO bad. Arc is supposed to manage light rust OK, right (or am I wrong on that?)? I'm plugged in to a 240V outlet, BTW.

    I bought 5 pounds each of Lincoln 3/32" 6011 and 3/32" 7018 from the Home Depot and ran some 6011 first. I started right in the middle of the range printed on the box, about 60-65 amps, then bumped it up to about 80 amps after a few rods. I tried 90 also, but that seemed too hot to me. It certainly was a quick learning curve, seeing what the puddle looked like, sounded like, felt like, trying to hold a tight arc, trying to keep up with is as the rod burned off, etc. As expected, I'm not maestro with my first rod! I was moving too fast horizontally and I was pushing rather than pulling, so I couldn't see the puddle real well. When I figured this out, and corrected both problems, it got MUCH better results, perhaps

    All in all, I burned about a dozen rods. I was secretly hoping that I'd be able to make welds that looked like Jody's from weldingtipsandtricks.com, but I knew that wouldn't happen right away (or perhaps ever). I'm probably still using the wrong heat, difficult rod, and possibly a rod too small for this metal thickness. I'll post pictures when I get some, because I'd like whatever feedback you guys can offer to help me pick this up faster. There's definitely a level of art to it!

    But, one thing was exactly as I suspected: it's hella fun and I'm really looking forward to getting better at this. Still have the grin on my face! I think I'll bust open the 7018 tomorrow to see what that looks/feels like. I figure once I can do decent welds by stick welding, I'll play with the TIG function on this machine (and I gotta go to the LWS to pick up a bottle anyway).

    Thanks, y'all!
    Everlast PowerArc 140ST

  2. #2

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    Same beads, not quite as uniform as I'd like, but maybe not horrible? These were at 80 amps, 3/32" Lincoln 6011 w/a bit of drag angle.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I think tomorrow I"ll go back to a lower current and see if it burns the rods down slower, making it easier to manage the arc length.
    Everlast PowerArc 140ST

  3. #3

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    Make sure your stick torch is in the positive. Looks like it was done in straight polarity (negative).

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by performance View Post
    Make sure your stick torch is in the positive. Looks like it was done in straight polarity (negative).
    Nope - it's definitely in the (+) terminal, and the ground clamp in the (-) terminal.
    Everlast PowerArc 140ST

  5. #5

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    Ok, then that tells me you may be holding too long of an arc. 6011 has a tendency to burn a little quicker so they can cause a longer arc.

  6. #6

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    I believe that. Whenever I focused for even a moment on the molten pool, the arc would get longer than I intended. Just takes practice until it's automatic I guess - like so many things in life. Thanks for the feedback - I'll give it another go tomorrow and see how it goes. Should the bead height be shorter and broader - is that what I should be looking for? Sorry for the remedial questions.
    Everlast PowerArc 140ST

  7. #7

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    OK - I've been practicing a bit, and my results (to my eyes) definitely look to be a bit regular. The ripples are more consistent, probably down to my learning how to hold a more consistent arc length.

    3/32" Lincoln E6011, 65-70 amps. Base metal is a section of 6" square pipe, 1/4" wall, a bit rusty from sitting in the backyard for years, but wire brushed to remove the major rust.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    The first part of each weld has more buildup than the rest of the weld -once I get going I must get into a rhythm of something, or the metal heats up making the puddle spread a bit more, or ... ?

    Not as professional looking, and more variability from bead to bead, than I'd like, but I think it's adequate to actually join something together soon. I think I'm going to get some tubing and make a rolling stand for my radial arm saw. I'm planning basically a simple square of angle iron with casters on the bottom that the existing stand will set into. It'll probably be ugly, but I'll do a little grinding to clean it up if it's too bad. Should be a bit more fun (and practical) to actually join metal rather than just make lumps on a sheet, I think!

    Any suggestions for how to smooth out the start of the weld, and how to better reduce the crater left at the end of a weld would be appreciated. I've been experimenting around a little bit, but nothing seems to work great so far. Thanks!
    Everlast PowerArc 140ST

  8. #8
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    Default

    I'm in the exact same boat as you are. The 140ST is an amazing little box isn't it? The lincoln fleetweld 3/32 6011s are my staple. Also tried the Hobart 3/32" 6011s too but prefer the lincoln. Have not broken open the 7018s yet. Wonder how they'll do.

    My main issue was arc length too. I was either long arcing because I'd focus on the puddle and delayed moving or just ramming the rod in there to stop the long arc cus I was burning too hot. Was using the lincolns at about 80 amps and seems to be good but when I turned it down to 70 amps it all clicked. I stuck a few times but as my hands got steadier, the weld was more controlable. Most of the material I was welding was 1/8" light carbon square tubing. I had a few brake rotors lying around but couldn't get a decent bead on them. (Too Rusty)

    As for the ending, are you coming back onto the weld and snapping out? That's what worked for me and leaves fewer craters. The lower amps allowed me more time to adjust the weld so that improved my starts, although it stuck more often.

    Cheers and lets see a project.
    Last edited by Tanh; 01-28-2013 at 04:25 PM. Reason: gramma and speeling
    PowerArc 140ST
    Victor VPT-100FC

  9. #9

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    I'm definitely impressed by this little welder. My neighbor came over the other day and marveled how tiny it was. I just bought an 80cf bottle of argon, so I'll probably try TIGing before long - even more amazing this little box does that also!

    Lately, I'm holding a little bit at the end of the weld, and instead of just snapping out all at once, I'm pulling away a touch more slowly. That's helping a bit - the crater is still visible, but still above the level of the original base metal. I'll try backing over the weld for a second or two to see how that works for me. I've tried running everything from about 55 to about 85 amps, just as an experiment, and 65-70 amps definitely seems to be the sweet spot for these rods. Good to know we're not getting completely different results!

    I plan on getting out to the local steel supply house this week to get the material for my radial arm saw cart/stand/trolley. That should give me a few real-world joints to practice on, and as long as it holds, I'll be happy. I've been using a circular motion, so I'm doing to do a little more practice with a whip-and-pause motion (for slightly narrower welds) before I build my saw trolley, and maybe I should practice some uphill welds before building, because I might need that as well.
    Everlast PowerArc 140ST

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuttonHawg View Post
    I finally got a chance to run my first beads on my new welder. Actually, my first beads ever. When I discovered that the local community college classes were all full, I just opted to buy a basic welder and teach myself through trial and error and internet research.
    Good for you! It's nice to see someone jump in feet first to learn a new skill! Welding takes years of practice, and it seems like there is always something else you can learn from someone.

    Quote Originally Posted by MuttonHawg View Post
    I was secretly hoping that I'd be able to make welds that looked like Jody's from weldingtipsandtricks.com, but I knew that wouldn't happen right away (or perhaps ever). I'm probably still using the wrong heat, difficult rod, and possibly a rod too small for this metal thickness.
    It's funny to watch people that have been welding for 20 or 30 years (like welding instructors) attempt to demonstrate incorrect welding procedures (wrong amps, travel speed, arc length, etc.), because most of the time they finish their weld and it really doesn't look bad! I remember thinking in college at 19 years old, "If you and I just made the same mistake, why does your weld look like a million bucks and mine looks like garbage?" My instructor had been teaching welding for 40 years full time at the local college and he couldn't just turn his brain off and weld like a complete rookie. It was simply second nature for him after all those years. He used to tell us "I'm off surfing the Bahamas right now and I can almost close my eyes and weld by feel" (while he demo'd a new technique for 15 of us to watch).


    Quote Originally Posted by MuttonHawg View Post
    I plan on getting out to the local steel supply house this week to get the material for my radial arm saw cart/stand/trolley. That should give me a few real-world joints to practice on, and as long as it holds, I'll be happy. I've been using a circular motion, so I'm doing to do a little more practice with a whip-and-pause motion (for slightly narrower welds) before I build my saw trolley, and maybe I should practice some uphill welds before building, because I might need that as well.
    That sounds like a good project. I look forward to seeing pics when you finish it. Vertical welds are always good practice in my opinion, even if they end up not being the prettiest welds you've ever done. Practice does make perfect (although it seems to take 100 years of practicing!).
    Andy
    New Everlast PowerTig 250EX that is begging for me to come up with a few welding projects so it can stretch it's legs. Did someone say aluminum???

    MISC. TOOLS:
    Atlas 618 lathe
    Milwaukee Porta Band with custom made stand
    Dewalt 4-1/2" angle grinder
    Dewalt 14" chop saw

    Strong Hand Nomad portable table
    Juki sewing machine I've had for years (yes I know sewing is for girls)

  11. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MuttonHawg View Post
    I'm definitely impressed by this little welder. My neighbor came over the other day and marveled how tiny it was. I just bought an 80cf bottle of argon, so I'll probably try TIGing before long - even more amazing this little box does that also!
    Tig function is just as capable. This was a test on 1/8" wall stainless before heading into a big stainless project. Click image for larger version. 

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    You'll find yourself sharpening the tungsten a lot compared to HF starts.

  12. #12

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    Good to know - thanks! I'm accumulating everything I'll need to try out the TIG function, and I'm almost ready to give it a go. After some practice stringer beads, I think I might try to use TIG for my next little project - a basic little welding cart. I don't expect pretty welds right away, considering how ugly my first project turned out, but it's definitely much more fun to actually build something rather than just make lumps on a metal plate.
    Everlast PowerArc 140ST

  13. #13
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    I originally thought that all I needed was the welder to weld and the reality slowly dawned on me that there's a lot more to be invested before you can do much. I'm collecting equipment too. Grinders, Argon, saws, etc. All I need now to tig is the argon. I started exactly as you are though and jumped right into my first project. You learn faster that way.
    PowerArc 140ST
    Victor VPT-100FC

  14. #14

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    Same here - my tool collection has made its biggest jump in size in a very short period. New welder, protective gear, angle grinder, argon bottle, etc. (I'm trying to resist purchasing a portaband until my next pay period - should make for cleaner and easier cuts than using a cut-off wheel with the grinder) I just need to find time to go get some tungsten and filler wire, and a regulator, and I'm ready to start causing trouble.

    I gotta say, I'm looking forward to not dealing with the smoke and mess of stick welding - even if it only means trading the post-weld cleanup time for pre-weld prep/clean time.
    Everlast PowerArc 140ST

  15. #15
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    I have been actually making a lot of tools, fixtures, and other misc. needed items for my tool collection, especially since I got my Everlast welder! I noticed years ago that it's all the "little" items that seem to kill your tool funding, like Vise-grips, squaring devices, and quality clamps! You'll need those things sooner or later for building even simple projects. The portaband is one of my favorite power tools since it doesn't take up a lot of space, and blades are very inexpensive (not to mention easy to find at any local hardware store). I need to finish my stand for it to make things even more user friendly.

    You'll like TIG welding once you get the hang of it a little. If you upgrade to another welder later on that has more features (high frequency, a foot pedal, gas solenoid, additional settings, etc), you'll wonder how you ever did without for TIG welding! At least you don't have to deal with the splatter and such with TIG. Prep the metal, weld, wire brush it, and you're done!
    Andy
    New Everlast PowerTig 250EX that is begging for me to come up with a few welding projects so it can stretch it's legs. Did someone say aluminum???

    MISC. TOOLS:
    Atlas 618 lathe
    Milwaukee Porta Band with custom made stand
    Dewalt 4-1/2" angle grinder
    Dewalt 14" chop saw

    Strong Hand Nomad portable table
    Juki sewing machine I've had for years (yes I know sewing is for girls)

  16. #16
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    This Porta Band thing you speak of comes highly regarded by many. Is it that ingenius? I might have to borrow one and find out for myself.

    I'm sure if I really get into tig, a larger more capable machine will be in the works. But I really like the stick process. It's a lowtech go anywhere type of method and just plain works. When I get my workshop built there'll be more chances for a tig setup but until then most of the welding that's going to be done will be outdoors or in my cave (underground). The issue right now is that if I use any type of gas in the cave it's going to have to be vented. So it's stick for me, for a while.
    PowerArc 140ST
    Victor VPT-100FC

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tanh View Post
    The issue right now is that if I use any type of gas in the cave it's going to have to be vented. So it's stick for me, for a while.
    TIG with argon is way cleaner than stick. I would worry more about ventilation with stick welding. The flux burning gives off a lot of gases that are not great to breathe. About the only thing argon will do is displace some oxygen. A little venting is needed, but nothing like stick. I've have TIG welded inside a house or car on many occasions, but would never want to try that with stick or even MIG.
    Long arc, short arc, heliarc and in-the-dark!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tanh View Post
    This Porta Band thing you speak of comes highly regarded by many. Is it that ingenius? I might have to borrow one and find out for myself.

    I'm sure if I really get into tig, a larger more capable machine will be in the works. But I really like the stick process. It's a lowtech go anywhere type of method and just plain works. When I get my workshop built there'll be more chances for a tig setup but until then most of the welding that's going to be done will be outdoors or in my cave (underground). The issue right now is that if I use any type of gas in the cave it's going to have to be vented. So it's stick for me, for a while.
    The Portaband simply makes life easier as it's very versatile. You don't have all the grinding grit flying all around like with a metal chop saw, the noise is far less, and there are no sparks present when cutting. All grinders and cutting tools have their purpose, but I enjoy the portaband more than a lot of other saws. I like the lighter weight of the typical sawzall though (hence my reason for building the vertical stand).

    You are absolutely correct about Stick being low tech. That is one of it's greatest features when needing a portable welder, as it doesn't have spools of wire to change out, you never run out of shielding gas, and lugging a cylinder of shielding gas to your project is never an issue! It's as simple as they come, plus they can be purchased much more reasonably than the other more complex setups.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rambozo View Post
    TIG with argon is way cleaner than stick. I would worry more about ventilation with stick welding. The flux burning gives off a lot of gases that are not great to breathe. About the only thing argon will do is displace some oxygen. A little venting is needed, but nothing like stick. I've have TIG welded inside a house or car on many occasions, but would never want to try that with stick or even MIG.
    I completely agree with Rambozo on all points mentioned. Granted, you can inhale toxic fumes from welding with the TIG process (like when welding stainless steel), but electrocution is a possibility too and nobody ever gives up welding due to that! Welding and at least a little ventilation go hand in hand. Unless you're grinding and cutting metal, Tig welding is almost totally clean (meaning that you don't get dirty). The exception is when grinding the tip of your tungsten. No fuss, no muss!
    Andy
    New Everlast PowerTig 250EX that is begging for me to come up with a few welding projects so it can stretch it's legs. Did someone say aluminum???

    MISC. TOOLS:
    Atlas 618 lathe
    Milwaukee Porta Band with custom made stand
    Dewalt 4-1/2" angle grinder
    Dewalt 14" chop saw

    Strong Hand Nomad portable table
    Juki sewing machine I've had for years (yes I know sewing is for girls)

  19. #19
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    I'll take your word for it as right now I don't have the tig feature setup. I can see it's much cleaner than stick, mig or even gas for that matter. About welding in the cave, it's been done and after a while I wear a respirator until my vent fan has time to catch up. The fumes are up in the air and get cleared fairly fast though. The unknown is how argon would do in this situation, being denser than air. I think I'll try it for the first time with my wife outside so if I pass out then she can crack open the o2 bottle or get someone! Living dangerously! lol.

    Or not and stick it out till I get the workshop done in the fall.

    I was never a big fan of metal cutting band saws. They are generally very slow cutting through solid and flat stock. Most of the material I was cutting before was tough stuff though. (HSS, W2, O1 ...) For mild steel though they work great. That's left a bad taste in my mouth for years though. Maybe it's time to revisit the band saw and see if it'll fit the bill. As long as it gets me a true cut at a reasonable speed.
    Last edited by Tanh; 02-06-2013 at 08:21 AM. Reason: Speeling and more info
    PowerArc 140ST
    Victor VPT-100FC

  20. #20
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    The name brand portable band saws have a dial that you turn to adjust cutting rpm's, and you can speed them up pretty darn fast! I cut mild steel, stainless, aluminum, magnesium, brass, and copper with my portaband with ease, and most of the time I slow the RPM's down for accuracy and longer blade life. They still cut pretty fast though.

    I have to agree that the large stationary band saws that I used at work were VERY slow cutting due to slow RPM's!
    Andy
    New Everlast PowerTig 250EX that is begging for me to come up with a few welding projects so it can stretch it's legs. Did someone say aluminum???

    MISC. TOOLS:
    Atlas 618 lathe
    Milwaukee Porta Band with custom made stand
    Dewalt 4-1/2" angle grinder
    Dewalt 14" chop saw

    Strong Hand Nomad portable table
    Juki sewing machine I've had for years (yes I know sewing is for girls)

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