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Thread: Welding Processes, Tips, Tricks, Facts, and Techniques

  1. #1
    Smash it 4.3 zach's Avatar
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    Welding Processes, Tips, Tricks, Facts, and Techniques

    This is just a slight overview of a few of the welding processes and welding related things. I will be adding onto this and going more in depth on the different processes too in the future. If you have a specific question not covered here feel free to post here or send me an email: Zachary188 “at” aol.com

    Even though this is something often overlooked and something you probably don't want to read about right now it is the most important part of anything.
    Safety:

    Gloves
    Protect your hands! Get used to wearing gloves when welding and fitting or you will regret it later in life when your hands feel like sandpaper and are wrinkled.

    Welding gloves should be made from leather. Your nylon mechanics gloves can and will burn and melt to your skin. I generally use 3 different types of welding gloves
    1.A thick leather welding glove. Usually use this when doing a lot of mig or stick welding at one time where the heat can really get to your hands.
    2.Is a lightweight tig welding glove which are nice to mig weld in too when doing light work. The extended cuff helps to keep sparks off of your wrists.
    3. Is a cheap all leather glove I often use when fabbing, fitting, and tacking parts.
    Shirts
    Shirts should be made of Cotton or leather which do not melt/burn the way nylon does. I know long sleeves are hot but they really do help to save your arms from sunburn and sparks.

    Another thing to consider when pulling clothes out of your closet before getting to work is color. I like to wear white shirts because they seem to feel cooler when out in the heat, BUT for the same reason they shed heat they shed light as well. Light is reflected off of white vs. being absorbed by black. It might not seem like a big deal but it can be reflected up into your hood. It took me one solid day of welding to figure that out.. actually got flash burn from it! So be very careful if you are wearing light colored clothing when welding as it can come back to haunt you.
    Welding Hood
    First off don't try and be cool like the OCC boys and tack without a hood. Closing your eyes does not protect you from anything. All of the harmful rays still hit your face causing a tan and can later lead to skin cancer. The light still penetrates through your eyelids even if your eyes are closed. Once again I got flash burn recently when fitting for another guy at work. I fit and he tacked each piece for about 12 hours straight and even though I would close my eyes while he was tacking I still managed to get flashed.

    Choose a welding hood that is lightweight and fits you well. I personally have never found an auto darkening hood that works well for me but that is probably just because I don't need one. If you are a beginner I would learn how to weld with a standard fixed lens welding hood. If you get used to one you will not need an auto darkening hood and it will be much easier to adapt to different things in the future and not be bound to an auto hood because that is what you have always used.

    Safety Glasses
    Once again don't try and be cool and grind without safety glasses. Your not going to look so cool when you are wearing the big bulky glasses from the eye doctor after he drills a rusty shard of metal from your eye. Safety glasses are cheap so go buy some that fit you well and aren't so ugly if thats what you are worried about. They really do their job to keep shit out of your eyes.
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  2. #2
    Smash it 4.3 zach's Avatar
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    Mig (Metal Inert Gas) or GMAW (Gas Metal Arc Welding)
    Mig welding uses a positively charged solid steel wire and an inert shielding gas pushed through a welding gun. This is probably the easiest and the fastest welding process

    Welding Wire
    ER70s-6 has a 70,000 psi tensile strength and is great for clean and mildly dirty metal.

    Shielding Gasses
    Straight co2 offers deeper penetration than some argon mixes however the argon mixes are cleaner and better suited for all around mig welding.

    Technique
    Depending on the angle of the mig gun you can “push” or “pull” the weld. Angling the gun down towards the weld and pushing it provides better gas coverage, visibility, and form than pulling or dragging the weld. But in a pinch pulling is acceptable, just not as preferred or recommended as pushing is.

    Circular motion ()()()() moving the weld pool around in interlocking circles allows the weld to wet out and flow into both pieces of metal without a bunch of buildup in the center. This motion is very easy to do and produces very strong welds which tie into both pieces of metal.

    Stepping >->->-> (hold..... move.. hold.... move.. hold....) This motion requires more heat than the circular motion because the weld pool is not being moved around onto both pieces of metal, it has to flow outwards on it's own. This is capable of producing some very cosmetically appealing welds if the machine is set up just right and each step is consistent. But it can be more difficult to produce a sound weld than when using a circular pattern.

    Weaving in a /\/\/\/\ pattern is usually used when welding uphill because it spreads the metal out across the weld rather than piling it all up in the center and allowing it to droop or drip down.

    Uphill/downhill welding
    You should avoid welding downhill at all costs despite what others my lead you to believe. Although it is very easy to produce a good LOOKING downhill weld it is actually not very strong. When welding downhill it is very easy for slag and other contaminants to become trapped beneath the surface of the weld compromising strength.

    A common misconception is using more heat when welding downhill will help get more penetration. This is false because the hotter the weld pool is, the more gravity is going to pull the weld down. The weld gets pulled down faster than it should be which causes very little penetration and a weld that is basically just sitting on top of the base metal.

    Although mig welding uphill can be a challenge at times once you get used to it and learn how to properly set your machine up for it your welds will become cosmetically appealing as well as structural.

    Stitch Welding
    Another thing to avoid on structural parts is stitch welding "tack, tack, tack, tack" in a series. Although it is easy to get the "stack of dimes" look with this method it produces insufficient and inconsistant penetration on materials over 14 ga. This technique should be limited to thin sheet metal only where warpage is of concern.
    Last edited by 4.3 zach; 05-14-2007 at 11:44 PM.
    06 ccsb 2/5 drop, SS 20's, 370, L92 Heads, LT's/ORY, 237/242 .603/609 112, 2pc. driveshaft, 4l80e, 3500 stall, 12.8 @ 106

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    Smash it 4.3 zach's Avatar
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    Flux Core (FCAW)
    Flux core arc welding is very similar to mig welding as it uses the same gun and power source but instead of an auxiliary shielding gas for protecting the weld from impurities a solid flux within the wire (the core of the wire lol) turns into a gas as the wire is melted away on the weldment and shields the weld. As the weld pool cools the slag or flux solidifies on the surface and must be brushed away. Also this process uses electrode negative current. (ground clamp is positively charged and wire is negatively charged. Opposite of MIG) This process burns slightly hotter than Mig welding and is better suited for outdoor work where wind may tend to blow shielding gas away from the weld. But due to the flux in the it produces a rather nasty looking weld before cleaning.
    06 ccsb 2/5 drop, SS 20's, 370, L92 Heads, LT's/ORY, 237/242 .603/609 112, 2pc. driveshaft, 4l80e, 3500 stall, 12.8 @ 106

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    Smash it 4.3 zach's Avatar
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    Stick (SMAW)
    Stick welding is mostly used in construction because of its simplicity and effectiveness. All arc welding is is a constant current power source, ground clamp, electrode holder, and a consumable electrode. The electrodes have a solid flux on the outside which melts away and turns to a shielding gas and solidifies as it cools on top of the weld.

    Electrodes
    6010, 7018, and 7024 are the 3 electrodes I use 95% of the time. The first 2 digits are for tensile strength. ex. 6010 has a 60,000 psi tensile strength. The 3rd number pertains to positions the rod can be welded in. 1 means it can be welded in any position, 2 means only in the flat or horizontal position and 3 means the electrode can only be welded in the flat position.

    6010 is a fast freeze electrode meaning it cools quickly. Also it gets better penetration than the 70xx electrodes. This rod is doesn't weld as pretty as the 70xx electrodes and the slag can be harder to remove but it has its uses. I generally use this electrode for tacking, first pass in a multi-pass weld, and burning through paint/galvanized coating. Usually with this rod you can step, do circles, weave, anything.

    7018 is a low hydrogen rod with a 70,000 psi tensile strength. This rod must be kept in a sealed container or in a rod oven and have limited exposure to the open air to retain its low hydrogen composition. This rod does not penetrate as well as the above but welds a lot smoother and will produce a very nice looking weld. Also the slag produced by this electrode is very easy to remove and if you produce a good weld the slag will actually curl up and fall off on its own. This rod you must do circles or use a weave pattern while welding.

    7024 welds totally different than either of the above. It can only be welded in the flat and horizontal positions but in English this welding rod is bad ass lol. Before mig welding it was used in production because of its ease of welding. Basically all you have to do is strike the arc and guide the electrode in a straight line, it will do all the work and produce a perfect looking weld on its own. You can practically just lay the rod/electrode hold down on the piece of metal and walk away and it'll weld by itself. The slag or flux is similar to that of the 7018 electrode and is fairly easy to remove.

    With practice it is possible to achieve a very good looking and sound weld with stick welding and is often overlooked for people on a budget in the trucking scene simply because it is best suited for thicker materials. But if you already have something for body work a small, inexpensive arc welder may fit your low budget suspension/chassis work needs.

    Attached is a picture of a quick 3/32" 7018 bead on a couple pieces of 1 5/8" x .120 wall tube I did a while back
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    06 ccsb 2/5 drop, SS 20's, 370, L92 Heads, LT's/ORY, 237/242 .603/609 112, 2pc. driveshaft, 4l80e, 3500 stall, 12.8 @ 106

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  5. #5
    Smash it 4.3 zach's Avatar
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    TIG (tungsten inert gas) GTAW

    COMING SOON hopefully ;)
    06 ccsb 2/5 drop, SS 20's, 370, L92 Heads, LT's/ORY, 237/242 .603/609 112, 2pc. driveshaft, 4l80e, 3500 stall, 12.8 @ 106

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  6. #6
    Smash it 4.3 zach's Avatar
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    ill go ahead and add joint prep toooo
    06 ccsb 2/5 drop, SS 20's, 370, L92 Heads, LT's/ORY, 237/242 .603/609 112, 2pc. driveshaft, 4l80e, 3500 stall, 12.8 @ 106

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    Registered User blznNP's Avatar
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    just a thought, but how about adding information about FCAW-G? easier, better penitrating than MIG, and can look very good to
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  8. #8
    Smash it 4.3 zach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blznNP View Post
    just a thought, but how about adding information about FCAW-G? easier, better penitrating than MIG, and can look very good to
    Well IMHO dual shield is best suited for industry dedicated to welding plate > 1".

    Your looking at 30-50% higher cost per lb of wire compared to solid cored wire yet your also still consuming shielding gas. Plus added cost of more frequently replaced consumables. And more time lost due to post-weld cleanup.

    With proper joint prep mig welding is more than adequate for 99% of the members on this site and will most likely be much more effective.
    06 ccsb 2/5 drop, SS 20's, 370, L92 Heads, LT's/ORY, 237/242 .603/609 112, 2pc. driveshaft, 4l80e, 3500 stall, 12.8 @ 106

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    Registered User blznNP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4.3 zach View Post
    Well IMHO dual shield is best suited for industry dedicated to welding plate > 1".

    Your looking at 30-50% higher cost per lb of wire compared to solid cored wire yet your also still consuming shielding gas. Plus added cost of more frequently replaced consumables. And more time lost due to post-weld cleanup.

    With proper joint prep mig welding is more than adequate for 99% of the members on this site and will most likely be much more effective.
    for sure, i fully agree with you. its just that i think that people should know about dual shield since everyone always thinks of FCAW-S when they hear flux core, just for added knowledge. for some people though that have never welded, and just start running MIG and keep asking everyone on the forum "how do my welds look" some times it might be better to spend a little more money and get dual shield that is way easy to run and penetrates very good. just another fact/option that i think people should know about also, thats all.
    2008 f350- stock

    95 4 door blazer- SAS, crate 350. th350/205 37" swampers, dana 44/14 bolt....

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    Registered User toals's Avatar
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    Thanks zach! Lots of stuff I didn't know. How did I miss this?

    (subscribing)

  11. #11
    Under Construction 98low4x4blazer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toals View Post
    Thanks zach! Lots of stuff I didn't know. How did I miss this?

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    pic's of what my blazer used to be
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  12. #12
    Smash it 4.3 zach's Avatar
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    I'm glad it's of use to you guys. I wrote everything needed to *finish* it on a piece of paper in math class a few months ago and have been too lazy to find it and type everything up lol. Ill try to get it done within the week.
    06 ccsb 2/5 drop, SS 20's, 370, L92 Heads, LT's/ORY, 237/242 .603/609 112, 2pc. driveshaft, 4l80e, 3500 stall, 12.8 @ 106

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    V8 Super Beetle V8SuperBeetle's Avatar
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    Very useful! I learned to arc (stick) weld in high school years ago and intend to buy a cheap little arc welder, that'll run off of your standard home outlet, for my project car. This was a good refresher coarse. The work I intend to do will be about 50/50 chassis work and sheet metal work. What rod and technique would you suggest for welding sheet metal and for doing the chassis work (.125"-.25")? A 7018 rod using a stitch weld technique for sheet metal to prevent warping (vertical welds)? 6010 rods, multiple passes, but welding 1"-1.5" sections at a time to prevent warping (I use the circular technique to produce a sound weld and nice looking bead)? Any advice will help! Thanks!

  14. #14
    Registered User Veritas's Avatar
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    welding sheet metal with an arc welder sucks very easy to burn through if your not very good, takes skill... id buy a cheap little mig instead.

    The cheapest welder youll find that will effectively weld 1/4 inch thick steel is probably gonna be about 500-700 bucks. 3/16 you could probably get by on a welder that cost around 250.
    Last edited by Veritas; 12-20-2007 at 08:34 PM.

  15. #15
    ls1+t56+01=love low86blazer's Avatar
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    Definitly dont bead on sheetmetal especially with a stick!!! i dont care if your doing the magic fairy dust technique, its gonna warp.
    Quote Originally Posted by bayhustle81 View Post
    can i add the vortec to this 4.3 if it didnt come with one?
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