Welding for Noobs

Can anyone recommend some references for a beginning MIG welder? I did OK in the class with @JoeN looking over my shoulder, but working on my own I’m having a hard time getting good penetration. I’m not sure if I’m struggling with technique or machine setup.

I found a reference sheet (don’t remember if it was Lincoln or Miller) that said to use 16V for 16ga steel, but at that power I was just leaving globs I could knock off with a hammer. Around 20V I got burn-through. My welds seemed to be welding around 18V, but it never sounded right.

I’d love a picture/video troubleshooting guide – something the effect of “if this is what you’re seeing, here’s what to change” would be super-helpful. It’s also possible I need more basic tutorial with different materials. I’m definitely open to suggestions.

16 ga is pretty thin. The reference sheets for most welders is a very conservative number. Keep changing the voltage and do a tack weld on a test piece till you get the weld you want. Then play with the wire speed till you are comfortable. I would then do test welds on similar scrap before welding.

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Always test a new material with a little test piece if you can. Joe is right, the numbers given in textbooks and by the manufacturers is low/conservative and you have to just weld enough times to get a feel for the settings you need to get good penetration and good welds.

Also, remember to brush/clean and make the metal as pristine as you can before welding. Any oxidation buildup will mess with your puddle and penetration.

Hey Joe, I’ve been wanting to get back into welding again but I’ve never used the equipment at ATXHS; please let me know if I can get a refresher (mainly I just forget what the correct number the gauges should be on the tanks for both acetylene/oxy and the mig set-ups. Also I’ve never utilized the space so I’d like to become more familiar before I can feel at ease. THANKS!

@JennyAlva you are not a noob. I can meet Sat morning to do a walkthrough since you have welded before? If anyone else who has welded prior and need a walkthrough. Let me know?

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See you Saturday :slight_smile: