3 Plasma cutters tips: how to become a better welder and how to choose the top welding equipment. For DCEN welding on steels, 1/16″ will work in the 20 to 100 amp rage as long as you prep it right. If you are using 20 amps, you will need a needle sharp point to get good crisp arc starts. At 100 amps, you might not want quite a needle sharp point or you might be putting a smidge of tungsten in the weld. You need a blunter taper. Some charts extend the range to 150 amps for 1/16, but I think that’s way too much. Why not just swap to a 3/32 at that amperage.? 3/32″ is good from about 65 – 200 amps. And 1/8″ 2% thoriated electrodes are good in the 85 – 300 amp range. ( Drop all these numbers by about 30% for A/C) Using helium mixed with the argon will also change the recommended currents because the arc is hotter with the same amps. These recommendations are from down and dirty experience and don’t come from a chart. Most charts I have seen tell you a 1/16 tungsten is good all the way to 150 amps…Please.
TIG welding filler wire and Mig welding wire from a spool are essentially the same composition except that mig welding wire often contains more silicon and that can actually be a good thing for TIG welding steel. Don’t hesitate to use steel or stainless steel mig wire if you run out of TIG welding filler metal. If its too small, double it up and twist it up in a cordless drill. Standard Tig wire for welding mild steel is E70S2 It seems like the standard mig welding wire off the shelf these days is almost always E70S6. The 2 and the 6 indicate the addition of silicon and deoxidizers in the wire. Stainless tig and mig wire is most often E308L unless you ask for something else.
Look for ways to support your hands. Having good support for your hands or arms is crucial for moving the torch with precise control. I do my best welding when the base of my hands or my wrists is supported in some way. Often you can rest your wrists on the part being welded. I keep an assortment of wood and metal blocks near my welding bench, and I often can get better support by positioning a block to rest my torch hand on. There are occasions where I rest my forearms, or even my elbows, on something for support. Many welders set up special support bars, positioned parallel to the joint being welded, and they slide their torch hand along the bar to help follow the joint with fine control. For some out-of-position work, I’ve had to rely on resting only my shoulder on something, and while not ideal, it’s better than having no support at all. Even placing my hip against something stationary can offer a bit of support, but I can’t weld very well when standing ‘free,’ with no support at all.
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Improper drive roll selection and tension setting can lead to poor wire feeding. Consider the size and type of wire being used and match it to the correct drive roll. Since flux-cored wire is softer, due to the flux inside and the tubular design, it requires a knurled drive roll that has teeth to grab the wire and to help push it through. However, knurled drive rolls should not be used with solid wire because the teeth will cause shavings to break off the wire, leading to clogs in the liner that create resistance as the wire feeds. In this case, use V-grove or U-groove drive rolls instead. Set the proper drive roll tension by releasing the drive rolls. Then increase the tension while feeding the wire into your gloved hand until the tension is one half-turn past wire slippage. Always keep the gun as straight as possible to avoid kinking in the cable that could lead to poor wire feeding.