very confused new welder

  1. mojobaby

    mojobaby New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    France
    Hi, I'm new to this forum but I'm I'm a long time member on Malcolms Renault 4 website.
    I'm South African, but have been living in France for the past 10 years.

    A few years ago I decided to teach myself mig welding and bought a Mig152 welder made by FAR tools. I think it is a 140Amp machine. It came with some 8mm flux cored wire but also has the option to use gas, which I've never used.
    I've done a few repair jobs at home, (and burnt some holes in some outdoor metal garden furniture) and then I packed it away and decided that I'm not a very good welder.

    Now I have to do some repair work on my car. I took my door off and gave it to a professional welder who is going to charge me 80Euros for 5 or 6 tack welds on the bottom inside panel of the door. So, as I have some more repairs to do I'm going to have to learn how to weld properly. (on scrap metal first, of course).
    Various websites I've looked at are a bit confusing so maybe someone on this forum can point me in the right direction as far as consumables are concerned,.

    So my questions are if I'm welding 0,8mm metal......
    Is 0,6mm flux core wire okay to use?
    Is gas better and if so do I use a solid wire? There is a grey wire, which I have now, but I've seen a copper coloured wire for sale too. What is the difference?
    I think the correct gas would be Argon/Co2 mix?
    Also should the regulator on top of the gas bottle have a gauge on it or is the gas released when I pull the trigger.

    Thanks in advance for your help and advice:). I'll probably have a few more questions further down the line, but I don't want to buy the wrong stuff.
     
  2. Shedendman

    Shedendman Member

    Messages:
    3,784
    east sussex
  3. zx9

    zx9 Member

    Messages:
    3,626
    Location:
    South East London
    Hi welcome to the forum, I just mess about with welding at home so am no expert, I expect they will be along soon.

    I have never used flux cored wire but the general wisdom seems to be solid wire with a gas shield for thin materials.
    The correct wire will be copper coated, do you know what the grey wire is? Sounds like stainless steel to me which would be unsuitable for car body work unless you have a Delorean.
    Many people use CO2 but yes Argon / CO2 mix is probably the one to go for.
    The regulators on the little disposable bottles often don't have a gauge but as the little bottles are a waste of time and money you are better off looking for the larger 10L or 20L size bottles either rent free or on rental from a gas supplier. We have a few members from or living in France so I suppose they can point you in the right direction for gas suppliers.
     
  4. mojobaby

    mojobaby New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    France
    Yes thank you, I did and thats where I found out that Argon is for aluminium and that Argon/Co2 gas would be better for thin metal.
    But I don;t know if I'm supposed to use flux wire with gas or solid wire.
    I have 0,8mm flux core wire at the moment but it's useless for thin metal. Or maybe its just me using the wrong settings?

    Is welding with gas more forgiving?
     
  5. zx9

    zx9 Member

    Messages:
    3,626
    Location:
    South East London
    In your application the gas is for solid wire. (Flux core and a shielding gas can be used in some industries but not for car body work at home)
     
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  6. mojobaby

    mojobaby New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    France
  7. addjunkie

    addjunkie Member

    Messages:
    5,442
    Location:
    Northumberland. Reet oot in the sticks
    This type for gas
    https://www.weldequip.com/5kg-mig-wire.htm.

    0.6 is for thin metal, but others advocate .8, i personally prefer.8, but its what you get used too.

    Mix gas at 95% and 5%.

    Another issue if using gas, its best inside, as the wind blows away the shielding gas.

    With car welding, its best to do a series of tacks, rather than trying to run a bead and burning through.
     
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  8. mojobaby

    mojobaby New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    France
    Thanks ZX9 and Addjunkie for all that very useful information. Now I know exactly what I should be looking for.

    Far better to ask someone experienced in welding than trying to work it out myself from all the conflicting websites that I've looked at. I also have no faith at all in the salesmen at our local hardware shop, who don't even shave yet.

    So let me buy some wire, gas and a regulator and take it from there. Thanks once again;)
     
  9. bricol Member

    Messages:
    847
    N.Yorks, UK
    I used flux cored wire for car bodywork for 20yrs successfully - takes practice, but it's not impossible. It is dirtier and needs more clean up afterwards. But if you can get a good weld with it, when you do swop to gas shielded, your welds will look perfect ;-)

    Make sure you know how to swop over to gas - swopping the polarity over for the torch and earth lead. In fact, it might be an idea to check you have it correct for the shielded wire you have now?

    I'd buy a decent quantity of replacement tips - you will block a few up as you learn and keep getting the wire melted into the end. You might be changing them every few minutes at first - but once you get the hang of it, you'll only change them because you think you ought to - they will last years with hobby use - but maybe my standards of wire control are low ;-)
     
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  10. eddie49 Member

    I think this is your FARTools MIG152 machine:
    https://www.idealo.fr/prix/4502560/far-tools-mig-welder-inverter-mig-152.html#moreMainDetails
    I'm confused by some of the Specs - the advert says that it's an Inverter MIG ( rather than an old-fashioned transformer-based set ), but the "Fiche Produit" lists the weight as 29Kg, which is a lot for an inverter. Additionally, an inverter would normally have continuously variable current settings, not a stepped range switch.
    It states that the minimum welding thickness is 0.6mm, which if true would be great for car bodywork, but the range of adjustment for current is shown as 55 to 140 Amps. That sort of range is typical for a low-end Far Eastern transformer machine, but does not go low enough for 0.8mm car bodywork ( needs to be 20 - 30 A ). This would explain why you were burning holes. With a 55A minimum and gasless wire, it's not surprising that you decided welding was not for you and gave up.
    Does the machine have a printed nameplate showing the actual specifications?
     
  11. mojobaby

    mojobaby New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    France
    Thanks Eddie49
    Here are some photos of my machine, please let me know what you think.
    First comes the front of the machine, then the inside and then the label on the back:

    I don't understand anything that is written on the label

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    IMGP1711.JPG
     
  12. eddie49 Member

    In the last photo, it shows a "block diagram" symbol for 1-phase input, a transformer ( two linked circles ), and a rectifier, so I'm sure it is not an inverter machine.
    The current range does start with 30 Amps at 15.5v, which should be OK for thin metal, and so it is worth investing in the set-up for using gas.
     
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  13. mojobaby

    mojobaby New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    France
    Thanks Eddie!, You've no idea how relieved I am to hear you say that. Thought I had bought a "white elephant".

    So now I can go ahead and get some supplies:)

    At least I now have a 2019 New Years Resolution
     
    fizzy likes this.
  14. fizzy Forum Supporter

    Messages:
    5,056
    uk
    Get a good auto welding helmet - I find it much easier as a beginner to see what I am doing!
     
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  15. mojobaby

    mojobaby New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    France
    Thanks for the advice Bricol
    I have the + and - wires in the correct position for now, but I'll be sure to swop them around when I add a gas bottle. I'm going to start off with one disposal gas bottle to see how long it lasts; probably not too long with all the practice I'm going to need.
     
  16. chris pruteanu Member

    Messages:
    766
    Location:
    ROMANIA
    Dont bother with disposable gas bottle, buy/rent a small 5-10kg hobby/pub size refilable bottle from your local gas suplier and be done with it!
     
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  17. KemppiFrog Member

    Messages:
    3,049
    Location:
    Aquitaine
    Bit confused about the info on the back of the welder. 30amps is the stated min, but it also seems to mention 55amps. As for inverter/transformer: It seems to be the latter
    Now, gas... You are a bit stuck for suppliers in France. I rent from Linde and it costs me about €80 p.a. You can buy a bottle off leboutiquedesudure.fr at about €300 odd, or do what I did when I lived in Iberia and find a friendly supplier of CO2, as used in beer machines. Much cheaper and not bad. My Linde bottle is Argon +Co2 at 8%, Labeled Mison 8 and I find it very good, also using it for some stainless work. You will need a regulator from somewhere (the above online shop has a quite good cheap one)
    If welding .8mm prob stick to 6m wire and use the techniques in the tutorials at the top of this page. i.e. short tacks, so as to not put too much heat in and blow holes.
    Where are you in France? I am just north of Saintes, in the Charente-Maritime and if you are anywhere close, you are welcome to come over and chat and get some hands on experience with my machines and yours.
    KF

    Link: https://www.laboutiquedusoudeur.com/ Got the link above wrong:doh:
     
  18. eddie49 Member

    I think the 55A figure is the maximum current that can be used at 100% duty factor. That corresponds to 16.5v on-load. Lower currents can also be used at 100%, and stepping down to the 30A minimum will drop the voltage to 15.5v. You can confirm these voltages with a voltmeter between the tip of the welding torch and the earth clamp. With no load, it will read higher; you could try with a modest load - e.g. two 12v 60 Watt car headlamp bulbs in series.
     
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  19. mojobaby

    mojobaby New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    France
    Thanks for the offer Kemppifrog, but its a bit too far for me. I stay near Villeneuve sur Lot, about 4 hours away.

    I visited Saintes about 3 years ago, a beautiful town.

    I agree with you regarding gas suppliers, they're nowhere to be found. I will be collecting my car door from the panel beater on Thursday, I'm sure he'll know where to hire a gas bottle. I can't really afford to buy a bottle at this stage, so hopefully I'll find a place to rent one.

    Thanks for the laboutique link:)
     
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