Machine function v Skill Level

  1. Curious New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Northumberland
    Guys,

    I have a small engineering business and from time to time I need to weld, typically 3mm-8mm stuff. I used to manage fine with an old Oxford oil filled stick set I had, it packed in one day so I bought myself a Sealey 140 Supermig to replace it.

    Being new to MIG welding it never gave me the same results as the stick machine and I put that down to me. Ive had the machine about 4yrs now and although Ive got better with it its never been as nice as I might have hoped for. I like these smooth runs that I see others getting and it just doesnt seem to happen for me. I feel as though the arc isn't as stable as the old stick machine was, its seems to jump about a bit and some days the MIG seems to weld better than others.

    Im starting to wonder if these mixed results could be more down to the quality of the machine than my skill? I accept the machine I have is a cheap hobby level MIG and if I thought spending a few quid on a decent machine would give me better results I would.

    Problem I have is knowing if its me or the machine, any thoughts?

    This is about my ability level to give you some idea of where Im at.

    Screen Shot 2020-05-15 at 19.17.58.png
     
    Nick DV and optima21 like this.
  2. slim_boy_fat

    slim_boy_fat Forum Supporter

    Welcome aboard :waving:

    If you have the 'return' [earth] clamp too close to the tip it can cause that problem I believe.
     
    metalmelt and Autotec like this.
  3. addjunkie

    addjunkie Member

    Messages:
    5,995
    Location:
    Northumberland. Reet oot in the sticks
    Doesnt look too bad, do you weave like you do with a stick?
     
    metalmelt likes this.
  4. Screwdriver

    Screwdriver Member

    Messages:
    6,256
    UK London
    If that’s your typical result, I’d say you’re bang on the money with that. I am firmly at the hobby level so I’d be delighted to be able to do that consistently. Of course I could post a picture of the rare occasion when I do get lucky, remembering most of the time people will post their best.

    OTOH there are some folk on here (a dedicated welding forum!) who are right at the top of the game. Don’t beat yourself up if your results aren’t at the level of a time served professional. They’ll be along in a minute to offer advice on how to improve. You might even find one or two here happy to provide training (post Covid).

    welcome aboard by the way.
     
    Nick DV, anjum, zx9 and 1 other person like this.
  5. a111r Member

    Messages:
    463
    Location:
    London
    Looks good to me. But not really up to a production environment re. the duty cycle ... 20% @ 80A
     
  6. slim_boy_fat

    slim_boy_fat Forum Supporter

    @Curious Please ignore this post, apart from the 'Welcome' bit, I was focussed on the position of a magnet in a hold-down clamp...which you hadn't even alluded to. :doh::ashamed:
    Completely off the mark on that one....:rolleyes:, it must be later than I think. :whistle:

    To the other contributors, thanks for not making me look a complete divvy by :flame:, not that it wouldn't have been deserved in this instance.
     
    Nick DV likes this.
  7. Curious New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Northumberland
    It depends on the size of the joint.
     
    Matchless likes this.
  8. Curious New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Northumberland
    My welds aren't always so nice but the point of posting the picture was to try and show that Im not hopeless without a clue and trying to blame my machine.

    My main question still remains, will a higher quality welder produce better results all other things being equal and if the operator has a reasonable skill level?

    Yes the duty cycle on mine is poor and when it gets towards the end of it the weld quality deteriorates before the machine cuts out. But the fact the arc seems to be quite unstable at times also has me wondering if the machine is more to blame than the settings?

    I have only 4 basic power settings, Hi/Lo and 1/2. So roughly 35, 70, 105 and 140 amps so there is a lot of room for fine tuning Im missing with such basic amperage controls? For example could choosing 125amps on a machine make a big difference to weld quality when I have to go 105 or 140 for a given material thickness. It seems to me my machine is lacking fine control as well as maybe not having the best overall performance?
     
    Screwdriver likes this.
  9. Jacktegla

    Jacktegla Member

    Messages:
    384
    Location:
    Denbighshire
    I’m no professional welder but when I changed from my old Clarke welder to my parweld i really felt their was a difference in quality. And I understand what you mean about the on/off quality that you were saying it happened with my old welder I could not change any setting, use the same gas, same material, and on one day the weld would come out clean and to something that rambled an ok weld, and then next day it would be impossible to get it to work.
     
  10. slimjim Member

    Messages:
    1,118
    UK Cumbria

    The answer is yes, mostly


    Better quality welders will have more circuits, to give smooth and consistent power, and better quality motor for the wire drive, and finer control of the output which is probably over a higher range, and electric gas valves, and that’s before you add the high end controls that an expensive welder can add.
     
  11. slimjim Member

    Messages:
    1,118
    UK Cumbria
    I had a Clarke,

    and I found that when you pull the trigger the power starts, but I had make sure I squeezed the trigger fully or it would put less or no gas out, and that was hard to do for any length of time, due to the nature of the manual gas valve
     
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  12. toddy

    toddy Forum Supporter

    Messages:
    589
    Location:
    Didcot, uk
    I would agree but put a note in.

    A good welder should be able to get a nice weld with a cheep set, but it is definitely easer with a better set
     
  13. slimjim Member

    Messages:
    1,118
    UK Cumbria
    I said mostly,

    However good the welder is, welding thin sheet with a welder that starts at 50a minimum, is going to be challenging.
     
  14. Matchless

    Matchless Member

    Messages:
    1,052
    Location:
    Essex UK
    well that could be the issue, don't smoke that stuff while welding!

    and that weld looks far better than 90% of mine!
     
    anjum likes this.
  15. tom2207 Member

    Messages:
    1,604
    Location:
    uk northern ireland
    I would say that lack of power is your main problem here ,, few more amps in your hand and you would be laughing , as your workshop based and not lugging the machine about a decent transformer based machine would be the direction .
    3 to 8 mm is a bit ambitious for a 140 anything.
     
  16. addjunkie

    addjunkie Member

    Messages:
    5,995
    Location:
    Northumberland. Reet oot in the sticks
    Your power settings adjust the voltage, and fine tuning is done by tweaking the wire speed.

    I replaced a 180 amp ERP welder with an Oxford 270-1, a professional quality machine. It has 16 volatge settings in comparision to 5 before. A far better quality torch and wire feed set up.

    Do I get better welds, probably yes if I remember to put on my glasses, its certainly smoother and less cause to use.

    Not sure where you are in Northumberland, but once all this Corona malarky abates, and I clean up all the wood etc in my shed your welcome to try my machine sometime.
     
  17. Curious New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Northumberland
    Thanks, thats a kind offer although I will probably buy something soon.
     
  18. kaiser Member

    Messages:
    15
    South Africa
    I wish there was somebody that could tell me a bit about the Oxford machines.
    Both ito of quality of build, weld etc, but also what makes them special, being somewhere in between inverters and transformer machines.
    I am just curios as I have never seen or used one, but their philosophy appeals to me.
    Let me know, if you have any experiences.
     
    tom2207 likes this.
  19. kaiser Member

    Messages:
    15
    South Africa
    that is the gift of a cheap price. they avoid using an electrical solenoid gas valve, and in stead use a mechanical cut off of the gas supply. So you have to counteract a heavy spring pressure to keep the gas flowing. Not a nice design.
     
  20. tom2207 Member

    Messages:
    1,604
    Location:
    uk northern ireland
    I was using a 180 couple of days ago , I really like it . It is one that was bought by a friend of mine to replace a borrowed Cebora 160 I think , it was an old transformer machine , .. The 180 is probably too small for what you want , but its doing 0.8 mm to 4mm very very nicely , I was doing 6mm with it , but that was two hot passes , and as it was only in small runs it had no issues the semi senergic thing works well , laying about a farm workshop the reliability of an old transformer was the draw , and the machine didnt have to be lifted any where , just wheeled about the floor. It was humble money , It has no bells and whistles but it does have the extra capacitors that makes it smoother , wont do anything fancy , but thats not what it was bought for , it was bought to be simple . As far as I know the boards are bought in from China , and a few odds and ends changed , and put in a box which is made locally , with the guys making their own transformers , they offer a good warranty , and spares back up for many years .
    All of that is just what ive read on the site or picked up from here and there ,, they are made in York , by Tech Arc .. If I was buying again , I would add the timer option , but go for the finer control option on the power side ... thats it really.
     
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