Originally Posted by Air Randy
Heres another tip for improving your tool: Go to Harbor Freight and get their el cheapo 12" crescent wrench. Weld your homemade set of adapters to both sides of the jaws of the wrench. That way they can be opened wider or narrower if needed and the handle is built in.
Looks like you are welding with flux core wire. If you ever get a gas tank and go to solid core wire, your welds will be prettier with better penetration and less spatter.
That is a good idea with using a cheap crescent but ajustability should not be too big an issue - functionally it needs to push the works down and get purchase on the cap for rotating. I do like the idea of having a handle that allows both hands to press down on the spring.
I am using gas, the splatter is very minimal and would wire brush out if I really worked it. While practicing yesterday, I did a weld with the gas turned off (didn't realize it) and it was very obvious that something was not right as the weld was dirty, very pourous and riddled with splatter.
Originally Posted by rover67
your welds actually look pretty good man... I mean the machine settings look alright.
do you rest your hand while welding?
Steady it with something to keep the bead in the right spot, tune your speed in a bit (more consistent) and the welds will be sweet.
Thanks. I was using two hands resting on the table, but obviously still not very adept at being smooth and stable when moving the gun. The welds are just an inch and a half long - it gives you real appretiation for welds that are several inches long. I was trying to move the arc between the two pieces and it is clear I was all over the place
Yesterday, I made a few coupons from my piece of strap and practiced butt welds. I am seeing the puddle just fine, but not clearly seeing the joint. So I took to placing a third tack weld in the middle so that it was easier to follow the joint. I ground down my butt welds as I wanted to see if the metal was "fully melded", i.e. no trace of the joint could be seen. Once the welds were ground away, it looked like a piece of strap metal that had not ever been cut.
I did some reading and my issue with not seeing the joint could be two fold; I'm not beveling the edges (shouldn't really be necessary with 1/8") and/or I'm not leaving any gap between the edges - either of these two adjustments should make the seeing the joing much easier. I do think that I'll start beveling as it appears to be a sound preperation step to be in the habit of doing. I'll be doing some more coupons to improve my technique