MIG welding 1050 aluminium and feeding issues

  1. Munkul Member

    Messages:
    776
    Cumbria, UK
    (I hijacked another thread but thought this would be better on its own)
    Hello,
    We have been replacing an ancient ESAB step mig with push pull gun, it was beyond economical repair. But one thing this used to do was run 1050 aluminium for our ducting and fans - we use pure aluminium for it's resistance against acid gas in our process plant. We TIG weld thinner stuff and used this MIG for thicker stuff. It was never pretty - but it worked.

    So a lincoln speedtec 405 with PF44 feeder was purchased (poorly informed decision made by management, nothing to do with me), it's not a bad welder TBH - even without pulse it runs Mg and Si alum really nicely, BUT it can't feed 1050 wire to save its life. With the best and most sympathetic setup possible on a 3m gun, it birdsnests every 2 runs, whether cold or hot.

    So we bought a Binzel push-pull on the advice of LWS, they fitted it to the Speedtec with a specific lincoln power connection, sync'd up etc... but it's an 8m gun (standard) and it doesn't have the power to pull the wire properly. So it ends up pushing more than pulling... and birdsnest city. (it's a PP36 and they have finally admitted it's not fit for the job)

    We need a powerful 4m push pull gun, but the LWS is struggling to find once since all the major manufacturers make 8m ones as standard. They called Lincoln UK and they weren't interested.

    for info, we are running 1050 1.2mm wire at around 240amps and 26volts on some large fillets stepping between 20mm hubs and 10mm blades. It's probably on the limit of a Binzel 36 aircooled gun, but the duty cycle is quite low. (it never runs for long enough before it mis-feeds!)

    Does anyone have any experience of running this wire like this? I'm at my wit's end, the fab guys are refusing to do the job because it's such a soul destroying job of clearing a birdsnest every 2 minutes.

    I've been given the go-ahead to buy a new welding package outright, been talking to a supplier about Lorch Saprom S3 but I'm wondering if they'll manage to source me a 4m push-pull gun...? One encouraging thing is that Lorch already has a 1050 synergic program.

    Of course, this time, we won't be putting money down til we've proven the package works for our application.

    Anyone else went through this hassle?

    cheers,
    Matthew
     
    Brad93 likes this.
  2. Maxakarudy

    Maxakarudy Member

    Messages:
    322
    Location:
    West Mids
    I use 1.2mm 1050 ali with a standard 3m Binzel torch, I'm using a Kemppi welder with a Synergic 1050 programme twin roller w/feed & I don't have a w/feed problem, but haven't tried a 4m torch, make sure you have the correct ali rollers specific for ali and the correct contact tip, which is 1.2A, not a 1.2
     
  3. Munkul Member

    Messages:
    776
    Cumbria, UK
    Interesting...
    the setup we tried (and it does work sort of) is a 3m binzel MB36 torch, wire liner trimmed right back to the feed rollers (with a notch in it to get it even closer!) 1.2mm U groove rollers, yes a 1.2A tip (and tried 1.4 tips as well with no difference). also tried polyamide vs nylon liners, with correct neck liner as well.

    None of it makes much difference - best we ever got was 2 runs down (20" of weld?) before it mis-feeds again.

    One thing I have realised since, is that the Lincoln feed rolls are far from optimal. it has a 4 roll feeder, but bottom two are driven and the top two are flat faced idlers. Cheap and nasty. They also put a flat on the wire since you physically can't take enough tension off - the thumbscrews top out against the control box.
    Basically it's a poor design for feeding aluminium to start with - sure we could fiddle with it, modify for grooved idlers, put lower pressure springs in it etc, but we're sick of it so just gonna buy something else.

    I can imagine your Kemppi being vastly superior - our two basic Kempomat 4200's we use for steel fab have a fantastic 4 driven grooved roller feed.
     
  4. Maxakarudy

    Maxakarudy Member

    Messages:
    322
    Location:
    West Mids
    I have used a Lorch S3 /rebadged Thermal Arc with the same setup, this worked well, Kemppi have a snake setup I believe, but it's costly
     
  5. Munkul Member

    Messages:
    776
    Cumbria, UK
    So we demo'ed an ESAB Aristo Mig Pulse 4004i yesterday, very similar Binzel-design torch but water cooled and designed to work with the machine by ESAB. It was a 10 metre torch because that was all they were able to get hold of for the demo, but it worked impressively well. It has its limitations at very low wire feed speeds, but was more than enough for our needs. Pulse mig welding 2mm aluminium was very impressive, and the top end is way higher than we need anyway.

    If we do buy it (I have a demo of a Miller setup to go as well before making a decision) we'll spec a 6m torch which will work better at low wire feed speeds (we think).
     
  6. Brad93

    Brad93 M J B Engineering

    Messages:
    5,959
    Location:
    Essex
    Did you try the lorch?
     
  7. Munkul Member

    Messages:
    776
    Cumbria, UK
    Finbarr at Express weld thought the full Lorch package might come to well over the budget guide I gave, so he didn't bother bringing it :laughing: We might still try it, though.

    To be honest we don't *need* something as capable as the Lorch for thin stuff, so I'd have a hard time justifying it over the ESAB if it costs a couple of £k more.

    In the end it has to come down to what our fabricators are comfortable using to produce the sort of quality we need (for example we need full penetration butt welds with a few mm reinforcement in the root, to ensure chemical attack can't begin in an area of incomplete fusion, and our guys are more comfortable using the TIG set on 2mm ducting for this, even though this MIG set would do it)

    I would have no problem recommending Express Weld as a company, they came to demo a machine to us despite being 2 hours away on the back of no promises, they made sure the machine actually worked before coming up (which is more than I've seen in the past with some companies!) and they actually know and stand by their products.
     
  8. Brad93

    Brad93 M J B Engineering

    Messages:
    5,959
    Location:
    Essex
    Yes the ESAB set is certainly capable of doing what you require. Was it the U6 or U82 panel?

    I used to work for Esab though and would say the lorch set (like an S3 which I own) is far, far superior in terms of weld quality, build quality and reliability.

    The 4004i is fairly reliable, but I’d be worried about the push pull torch if it’s the same as the one supplied whilst I was there.

    Although the powersource and feeder may be cheaper make sure you price up the unit with all the accessories.

    People often think Lorch is expensive, until you actually sit down and price everything up.

    A 15m interconnection/umbilical from Lorch is a ⅓ of the price as the same thing from ESAB.
     
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  9. Munkul Member

    Messages:
    776
    Cumbria, UK
    I never did finish this thread off...

    In the end, we returned the Binzel PP 36 for credit to the LWS.

    We realised that we didn't REALLY need to buy another £8K welder, so in the end we worked out a hire arrangement for the 1050 job.

    Express Weld specifically ordered some 1050 wire to try with their Lorch S3 machine, and sent me a video of it working on a 4m gun with a knot tied in it, before they even brought the machine for us to try. We demoed it, liked it, hired it for around 6 weeks in the end. The feed system was far superior to the Lincoln PF44 and it worked a treat for a couple of weeks full time on the 1050 wire.

    The pulse program (think it was speedpulse) worked an absolute treat, the lads certainly liked the control of the arc and puddle compared to CV, which is what we always used to use, around 24V and 250 amps IIRC.

    I think now that maybe the problem was in the wiring up of the Binzel gun to the Lincoln welder, since the (pretty much the same but rebranded) ESAB gun worked fine on the 4004i.

    the other major improvement was watercooled vs air cooled, at 250 amps spray arc it heats up tips pretty fast, and cooler is definitely better.

    Brad, it was the U6 panel IIRC, the simplified panel over the U82 with a single pulse program, wasn't as nice as the Lorch program but still decent. Probably comparable to the pulse program on my Miller.



    What machine would I buy next time?
    Well, I have to say I liked the Lorch very much, and as you say, it doesn't absolutely break the bank. Especially when you can keep it simple without a push-pull gun. Just simple things like proper metal wire guides and a nice 4 driven roll feed system, it's enough to feed any wire, where a sub-optimal setup just doesn't cope.
    I'd still prefer the build and design of a Miller, where the feeder system is better again, but they're ruinously expensive and have very outdated pulse tech.
     
    Brad93 likes this.
  10. henry Kadzielski Member

    Messages:
    769
    Location:
    Australia Wollongong
    good afternoon @Munkul. I think your major problem was the air cooled torch, at 250amps things heat up quite quickly and you then have feed trouble. You think Miller is costly, try Fronius:o:o:o, but in this case you get what you pay for. Air cooled torch, I have an esseti query350 (two actually) which I have been using with 1.2mm steel wire, initially on a MB36 4meter gun, Feed issues. Not straight away, but after some welding time. I changed to a Binzel 455t torch which has a much higher rating and even used Binzel silver tips, still feed issues. Any way frustrated got out the MB 36 water cooled torch and presto no feed issues. I am running 28.5 to 30 volts with wire speed to suite and have welded on sunday about 7kg of 1.2 wire in about 2hours, no feed issues. Even the power lead for the welded got warm. Once the heat is in the torch it takes quite some time to dissipate. I have MB36 binzel type push pull guns 8m air cooled and doing an alli tank gave trouble with feed. Switched over to the water cooled version, no feed issues. I have a water cooled gun for 'Francis' (Tps 320i) just in case I need it, however so far not required, Francis has so far performed better then everything else I have had:thumbup:. Just hope that continues
     
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  11. Brad93

    Brad93 M J B Engineering

    Messages:
    5,959
    Location:
    Essex
    If you’re doing any amount of serious aluminium welding you should definitely be water cooled and really should be considering push/pull.
     
    Munkul likes this.
  12. Munkul Member

    Messages:
    776
    Cumbria, UK
    I think you won't be far wrong there - Personally I think it was a combination of things, including air cooling as well as feed issues.

    I've done long, long seams at over 200amps with a cheap Parker MB36 aircooled 3m gun with my Miller, ok that was just 5356 wire which is easy to feed, but still, no tip overheating.

    The other thing is, if it was overheating with the push/pull, then the feed issue should have gone away by using an oversized tip (or at least, been a bit more consistent) yet it made absolutely no difference - sometimes getting an inch or two, sometimes getting half a foot, before birdsnesting.

    And you can tell if it's actually overheating because you feel it surging as everything gets tight in the neck of the gun with heat-soak. I think it was with both the Lincoln at work, and my own Miller, both aircooled push guns, IIRC I was around 280 amps to find the limits. But they manage on 200-250 amps for long seams, if you don't push it continuously.

    But ultimately, you're correct. The Lorch, while we had it, was our first experience of watercooled MIG, and we liked it so much that I ordered a Tecarc cooler and an MB501D for one of our Kemppis...

    ...and now today, I'm ordering the same cooler and torch for the other Kemppi. This is just for steel, too, we are doing a lot of medium to heavy fabrication atm and what a difference in comfort and tip life!
     
  13. hotponyshoes Member

    Messages:
    1,263
    Location:
    Somerset. Uk
    *Blatant Plug*
    There is a water cooled kemppi torch in the for sale section. (My advert so I will delete this post if anybody considers it inappropriate)
     
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  14. Munkul Member

    Messages:
    776
    Cumbria, UK
    argh... I'd have it if it was my money, but it's easier going through Purchasing to a supplier here at work :(
     
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