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  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

    Default

    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

    Default

    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
    Join Date
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    Whine Country, California
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    Default

    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)

  8. 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.

  9. #9

    Default

    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

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Cambridge, ON. CA
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    111

    Default

    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

  11. #11

    Default

    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

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Whine Country, California
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    Default

    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)

  13. Default

    All of the stainless pipe in our dairy was welded without HF welders. Lift arc for everything. Correct technique takes practice (like everything with tig). Give the machine a chance, but work within its capabilities. Don't expect to work too thin or too thick.

  14. #14

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    Oh, I'm not badmouthing this machine at all! I love it, and I like the chance to learn on a basic (but still very capable) welder. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles, but still does a great job. Or, to put it another way, the welder is certainly not the reason my welds aren't fantastic - my lack of skill is the real reason!

    I absolutely think that for me, the 140ST was the right choice to start with. For a little over $250, I can learn to stick and TIG weld, and make stuff for my garage. Yes, I still drool over fancier hardware, but for now, I'm stoked. Just bought the material for a little compressor/welder cart today, and hopefully I'll get to building it (or at least starting it) this weekend - all with lift TIG
    Everlast PowerArc 140ST

  15. #15

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    So I got some steel - square tubing and some sheet to make a simple shelf (overkill for what it is, but an excuse to make some real-world TIG welds). 1" square tubing, 13ga, and 13ga sheet, using amperage between 65A and 80A (slowly increased amperage as I got more confident). I realized after they cut the order that it's FAR heavier-duty material than I need (18ga would've been more appropriate), but oh well. The thicker wall means I'm less likely to burn through it.

    I built a rectangle out of the tubing, then set the sheet inside the frame and welded that flush with the top. Or, at least I tried to. I need to get something better for fixturing - my garage floor certainly isn't perfectly flat, and I'm assuming that not having the pieces clamped down is allowing a little more movement due to heating/cooling stresses. I'm wishing I had something like one of those BuildPro tables, but that'll have to wait for awhile.

    I welded in 3-4" sections around the perimeter of the shelf, always working right to left and it's pretty obvious where the tie-ins are. I definitely got better as I went along - the ripples are more even toward the left end of each edge. I'll practice working with the torch in the other hand and moving the other direction on the next shelf.

    Darn - the photo uploader isn't working for me today. So I guess I'll just ask this question - I had a little trouble feeding in the filler rod smoothly - it was tricky to hit close enough to the arc so it would melt and flow, without hitting the tungsten. Any suggestions? And does clamping the work down help resist the warping? Or do I need to get more clever about the sequence of the welds I make to try to get the warpage to cancel out better?
    Everlast PowerArc 140ST

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Whine Country, California
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    Default

    Try welding smaller sections than your 3-4" sections at a time. Stitch welds would be necessary if you have a lot of welding to do, or if the sheet has nothing to stiffen it (which helps prevent warping). If you're right handed, you should be going from right to left (sounds like you are), but it certainly can't hurt to practice left-handed welding for fun or "kicks". I would wait to get good with your dominant hand first before throwing another "stick in the spokes."

    Clamping down your work pieces is a great habit to get into, especially when working on larger projects. Nothing worse than fitting everything up and rotating or flipping your item to weld the bottom side, only to find that things shifted around on you and got welded in the wrong position!

    Pics for the filler rod question would help (a visual of what your bead looks like). You obviously can't produce a bead that is narrower than the diameter of your filler rod, so try to get just enough heat (amps) to make that puddle slightly wider than your filler rod's diameter. That will be a rough starting point than you can dial in as you go (for more penetration, for example).

    If the puddle gets too wide while welding, increase your travel speed or simply turn the amps down a little. If you have to sit and "dilly dally" for the puddle to form, turn the heat up slightly. With lift arc, you will probably want things slightly cold as the piece will heat up towards the end of the weld. When doing 1" or 1-1/2" welds at a time, things won't heat up as much (which will give you more control), thus allowing you to run higher amps.

    I was browsing Jody's site the other night to watch a video on his welding stool fabrication, and I found myself 10 pages in with my face glued to the screen 20 minutes later. Here is one of the pages I remembered stumbling onto that I thought explained things clearly for any beginners who are trying to learn TIG welding (maybe it will help you?):

    http://www.weldingtipsandtricks.com/...ding-tips.html
    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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