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Hot Rods Welding or lack there of

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by B.A.KING, Sep 10, 2016.

  1. B.A.KING
    Joined: Apr 6, 2005
    Posts: 3,703


    Some of you may remember my post about exhaust pipes about a week ago.well I tried to repair what i had for the time being. Using the cheap little Harbor Freight wire welder. Now i admit, I learned how to weld as i'm sure a lot of you did on that little cracker box Lincoln about 45 years ago. I can do pretty good with that but wire welding...... well. Any way I'm getting a WHOLE LOT of splatter with this thing. LOTS!!! Is it just the nature of the beast,am i doing something wrong or cheap wire, what?. I had forgot how the hot splatter sizzling in your ear sounds/feels.Understand I'm laying under truck trying to weld pipes and i know that's a whole new set of issues.I am open to suggestion.Just tying to be self sufficient.
  2. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 18,027

    from California

    flux core or gas? you will get lots of splatter without gas.
  3. roundvalley
    Joined: Apr 10, 2005
    Posts: 1,773


    Are you using shielding gas?
  4. 325w
    Joined: Feb 18, 2008
    Posts: 5,488


    Also maybe the aluminized pipe along with the flux core wire

  5. tape your ears closed and throw a welding blanket over yerself.
    1932tub likes this.
  6. Sinister Sleds
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 44

    Sinister Sleds
    from Gloucester

    Mig will splatter more than tig or gas. I don't think the Harbor Freight welders have a provision for gas so I am assuming you are using flux core wire which will produce the most splatter. If your machine has the ability to accept gas then change the wire, add the gas and you will reduce the splatter. Then you can reduce the splatter more by controlling the wire speed / feed.

    I find cupping the end of the torch 3/4 of the way with a gloved hand helps to direct the splatter as well but sometimes this is not possible due to material thickness (too hot to touch) or access / close quarters working.

    Sent from my SM-G900P using Tapatalk
  7. Hombre
    Joined: Aug 22, 2008
    Posts: 1,048


    I would just bet that the cheapo machine you are using does not support a shielding gas, and thus you are using Flux-Core wire--Correct?

    That can be a huge set-back when first learning Mig welding. Mig welders can be a wonderful addition to your welding skills, you just need the proper equipment. Check into getting a quality welder that does support shielding gas and you will be amazed at the difference.

    Mig is not I repeat "NOT" a cure all for a bad welder. You need to develop the skills and what works really well is practice. I have been welding for decades and at times use Mig-Tig-and Stick welding. However when I have been away from it for a while I find I always benefit by a little practice before I do my best work.
    Flathead Dave likes this.
  8. RoadScholar
    Joined: Sep 18, 2012
    Posts: 4


    B.A.: since you've done welding before, I assume you cleaned the welding area well before you started. As 49ratfink and roundvalley stated, gas is then likely to be the key component. For flux core, maybe not as important, but I've seen some people use it and get better results. For wire only, definitely needed. Most people use CO2, and it usually does a good job. Some use Argon, and it might give better results, but it's also more $$. Being on your back under the truck (and out of position) may contribute to your problem. Are you able to get pretty close to the weld area with the torch? If not, then you may not be getting a good amount of gas at the weld spot. You could try turning up the gas pressure at the regulator a little to get more around the weld. The last thing to consider is, are there any breezes or drafts? That could be blowing the gas away from the places you are trying to weld. Hope this helps.
  9. I would imagine your exhaust is coated. That will give you a lot of spatter no matter what you do.
  10. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 14,558

    from oregon

    No, I don't recall your earlier discussion.
    I'm curious if you are "repairing" exhaust tubing that has been previously run, your spatter issue may be from oil contamination inside the tubing.
  11. Flathead Dave
    Joined: Mar 21, 2014
    Posts: 3,191

    Flathead Dave
    from So. Cal.

    Not properly prepping the area to be welded can also cause splatter and grief. If you are being sure to keep the arc at the proper length and getting the "frying bacon sound", you are doing good. You will get splatter if you are using flux core or using wire with no gas. Gas will still get you splatter if you don't control the arc. I'm not a pro welder and I never played one on t.v., but I get by. I use the Harbor Freight 90 amp and 170 amp. The 170 is equipped for gas but I just don't use gas. Hope this helps a bit.
  12. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,448

    Rusty O'Toole

    Old exhaust pipes are nasty to weld at the best. Brazing is easier if you have an acetylene outfit.

    I have used the wire feed flux core welder and find it penetrates better and works better generally if I leave the heat low and the wire speed lower. Assume you are savvy enough to grind the metal clean. I found the name brand wire like Lincoln works better and has less spatter than the cheap store brands. It is not going to be as good as a more expensive welder or as nice to use but will do a job if you are careful and take a little time to learn how it works best.
    spooler41 likes this.
  13. I always oxy/acetylene weld exhaust tubing.
    roadwarrior84 likes this.
  14. roadwarrior84
    Joined: Dec 13, 2014
    Posts: 14


    You are going to have some amount of spatter with flux core weather you are using a shielding gas with the wire or not. You will have a lot more spatter with flux wire when not using a shielding gas.
  15. Tape your ears??? Where is the fun in that?
  16. B.A.KING
    Joined: Apr 6, 2005
    Posts: 3,703


    Well i think i got it. Its flux core wire/no gas.I have a mig with gas.Its on a large cart just kind of hard to maneuver around shop.The unit i used is a 110 unit.The pipes were clean. That's the very first thing the guy that taught me welding drove into my head.Of course that was 46 years ago . As far as "Repairing" the pipes I had to put new headers on and the original pipes would not fit.$.450.00 to get new system run. the system on there was less than 2 years old. I Don't mind spending money on it, but no need to throw money at it. Had new pipes made from collector to straight pipe before muffler.Total cost $40 /2 Saturdays several small burns. Anyway, tubing is coated .And there is no "oil" in it.
    Figure between flux core wire,coated tubing and my short comings with mig is the problem.I plan on "Trying" to do my own exhaust in the future with the tubing kit from speedway.I'll Tack the pipes together, take them out, weld them on my bench. And it has been quite a while since i had done ANY welding. Thanks for the responses.I have a plan for the next time.
  17. clunker
    Joined: Feb 23, 2011
    Posts: 1,612

    from Boston MA

    You probably got it figured out, sounds like you were using flux core wire in a MIG welder, which is fine but will not behave like MIG wire with gas.

    Forgive me if the following is redundant to you, but it may explain it to someone else reading this thread that may not understand the issue.

    MIG stands for "metal inert gas" and it is a subset of GMAW "gas metal arc welding". FCAW stands for "Flux-cored arc welding".
    There are two types of wire-fed welding machines; MIG and Flux Core.

    I can't stand stand when people fixate on minutia, especially welding people get really uppity with it, just check out some welding forums and see what douchebags people can be. but the reason to understand these two terms is this;

    Wire fed welders can be machines that are "flux core only" NOT having the capability of shielding gas, OR wire fed machines that can use shielding gas, "MIG".

    A lot of people use the term "MIG" for any wire-fed welder, but it can get them into trouble when they are buying wire.

    You can use flux cored wire in either machine, (just shut the gas off with the MIG machine), but you CANNOT use MIG wire in a flux core machine, without any shielding at all, arc welding won't work.

    When buying wire it's important to get the right kind. If you try to use MIG wire without gas it spatters like crazy and the welds will not have been shielded so they will be porous and horrible. The flux in the core of the other wire actually provides shielding to the weld , it does splatter but should be manageable and you knock off the slag after to clean up the weld.

    All the rest of the details you can adjust ( prep, rust, voltage, etc), but if you are mistakenly using the wrong wire it can make a welder seem like it's malfunctioning when it's just fine.

    The little Harbor Freight flux core welder works great, the larger one can handle gas but you have to make sure it's set up right and the gas is actually coming out or it will be a splatterfest.
    Flux core arc welding, whether wire fed or stick welding is actually better than MIG on old slightly rusty metal, it's more forgiving and has better penetration.

    I got a good deal on an old Solar MIG welder from a closing service station. And I have the cheapy Harbor Freight Flux machine, a couple other kinds from Eastwood. I hate welding snobs and they can keep their expensive welders and bad attitudes where the sun don't shine, the cheapy machines work ok if you set them up right. If I'm on a limited budget and need a machine for a hobby and the the choice can be either Harbor Freight or NOTHING. Easy choice in my book. My 2 cents

    Anyone that wants to learn different welding techniques that is a novice can just go to YouTube and dive into ChuckE2009 , he is is just a kid but is a natural teacher and breaks it all down without attitude so anyone can understand. That's how I learned to weld. I am writing him in on the ballot in November, that's how much I I recommend his free lessons.

    For the rest of you who are welding experts already, disregard this entire post and carry on with your HAMB experience.
    cactus1 and pat59 like this.
  18. B.A.KING
    Joined: Apr 6, 2005
    Posts: 3,703


    I should have been a little more clear.I have both welders Mig with gas and the little 110 flux core. I bought the little H/F deal to use just when i need small job ,outside or other end of shop.I can pick it up and carry it where i need it. Anyway i think i got it figured out from the posted info.
  19. I appreciated your input on this discussion as I'm totally still learning (with burns to prove it). Any way the real reason I'm with you @clunker is that the first video on ChuckE2009 is the first drive of a totally off topic (but great nonetheless) 6000lb Intergalactic Harvester tractor hahaha! That was great thank you.
    clunker likes this.
  20. rustyironman
    Joined: Mar 26, 2011
    Posts: 471


    I learned and grew up on farm the same thing; a Lincoln buzz box.....I would use thin rod and weld my exhaust tubing together.
    Even though these days I have wire feed, I still prefer to stick weld my exhaust systems - I get much better penetration through aluminazized coating. That being said, it takes a bit of skill to stick weld exhaust tubing, but seeing those pretty swirled beads is all worth it. Never liked a wire welder for much other then sheetmetal body repair - one can't mix or pool the material like one can with a stick welder.[/QUOTE]
  21. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,792


    The very first thing you should do with a Harbor Freight Flux welder is throw the wire in the trash and buy some good wire. There are tons of videos on Youtube to back me up. The rest is setting the heat and practice.
  22. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 7,258

    from Nicasio Ca

    Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe on my Lincoln you switch polarity when going between gas and flux core. Sounds like maybe your HF machine does not have a polarity option?
    Mark Hinds likes this.
  23. B.A.KING
    Joined: Apr 6, 2005
    Posts: 3,703


    Completely forgot about you-tube, crap i know you can find about anything on Y/T. I'm getting old boys....
  24. B.A.KING
    Joined: Apr 6, 2005
    Posts: 3,703


    Nope ,this is strictly cheap wire welder.Bottom of the line,less than a hundred bucks.
    Like i said i have, a Daytona Mig with gas.On a big cart.with this one i can pick it up and move it with one hand .Figure if i change wire i'l be in better shape.......and use ear plugs.....It just seemed like a Awful lot of splatter.But it had been a while since i had done ANY welding.
    Joined: Jul 20, 2016
    Posts: 409

    Member Emeritus

    TIG or braze....
  26. Mike Colemire
    Joined: May 18, 2013
    Posts: 1,340

    Mike Colemire

    Use ear plugs or something please. I was under a ambulance at work the other day using a torch to cut the shock bolts. Some pieces popped and went in my ear, hurt like hell for awhile and then quit. A week later my ear started burning a little, all at once something popped in my head and felt like being hit in the head with a sledge hammer. Haven't heard anything out of it since. One piece of metal got behind the ear drum and it ruptured. Got to go back thursday to see what they are going to have to do. You think of eye protection, but never really thought about my ears.
  27. If it's been a while, Then it's best to practice a bit on the bench with similar thickness material. (you know, get your groove going) :)
  28. clunker
    Joined: Feb 23, 2011
    Posts: 1,612

    from Boston MA

    That stinks, sorry to hear that. I definitely will think about earplugs, hope they can fix it.
  29. jamesgs4
    Joined: Aug 22, 2007
    Posts: 253

    from denver

    that hf welder is AC only, so it is going to splatter no matter what. there are tuitorials on youtube to convert it to DC electrode Negative for about $30 in parts.
  30. Modelabc
    Joined: May 11, 2016
    Posts: 29


    Learning to arc weld is no harder that trying to weld with cored wire. Before I was able to buy a gas MIG I welded the exhaust pipe with a 6013 1/16th rod. No problem and easier than a torch. I really believe that a person, on a strict budget, that is looking to get a welder, should FIRST look around and find a used 'cracker box' stick welder. Spent a lot of years building cars with just an arc welder; this wire feed thing is something few rodders owned until 30 or 40 years ago. I pick them up for very little money [often for less that the leads transformer are worth in copper] and give them to friends, after a couple of lessons, they stop talking about 'settling" for a Harbor Freight core-wire MIG. The smart move, with no money wasted on junk core-wire stuff [throw-away], is to 'get by' with an Arc Welder....then with the money saved, and the time to save, at some point buy a machine that will be worth owning. Ya, a 'good' MIG is really nice, but is limited in a number of ways. An old arc welder with a carbon rod will cut anything. A MIG requires a [very expensive] roll of Stainless Steel wire and a different bottle of gas to work with Stainless Steel [$$$ I know because I bought the bottle and the roll of SS wire]. The little [lowly] cracker box does a nice job with arc rod on stainless. The high-zoot MIG which I have managed to own will not weld cast iron. My arc welder will do just fine fixing broken castings with NiRod. Hard facing? Ya, it can be done with a wire feed [$$$ investment] if you got the money but hard facing rod, at very little cost does just fine. Also, arc rod is CHEAP! I pick it up at yard sales and often get lots from folks for free that have been silly enough, when they 'stepped up' to a MIG, to get rid of the little cracker box. Recently I built a rather large car trailer. The thing was tacked together with the MIG [nice and easy]....then welded off, in almost its entirely, with the arc welder with free arc rod. Saved a bundle in wire and gas. And, the fact is, you can get into and weld places that a MIG cup will no way fit into. Personally, I have trouble seeing how, in general work, a guy can get along happily with just a MIG. Just starting? I advise that a guy try and find out how easy it really is to arc weld...then pick up a used low buck cracker box and then save up for a gas MIG. But never get rid of that little guy.
    b-body-bob and tfeverfred like this.

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