need MIG training, but stuck in a rut! any ideas?

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Old 11-06-06, 01:43 PM
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Question need MIG training, but stuck in a rut! any ideas?

Hiya, Im wondering if anyone has got any ideas to help me.

Im 23 and have just left my welding job (was there for 2 months) as lets just say, I wasnt getting on with my boss. I havent had much training or experience, only done a bit of stick welding and mostly MIG welding on 1/4" mild steel? (heavy structural work and some plating) and can read drawings...to an extent, though Im not up on all of the symbols and things just yet.

I would like to get more experience in MIG welding as i really love doing it! I can do very neat welds and always watch my melt pool and parent metal as Im going, to make sure I can see it (parent metal) melting like butter to ensure good penetration. However I feel like a real novice (well I am), and I dont understand half of the terms I am reading on here and would love to know what your all talking about.

Does anyone have any suggestions how I can further my knowledge of welding, preferably with some hands on experience, without spending a year at college and paying a fortune to do so? I need an income but I dont want to give up on welding and get a shop job, as I really think I could be great at it one day, and I enjoy it so much!

I dont know if my experience is enough to get me a job, is it good enough to be able to do a pretty weld and see that it is penetrating too of course? Baring in mind I dont really have a clue about how to adjust my wire feed settings and all the others to start off with, can just use the machine when its basically in the right area, I can twiddle to get it right for me but thats about it.

All this about amps and voltage just confuses me as physics never was my strong point.

Anyone got any ideas or advice, Id be really glad to hear from you :-) sorry Ive gone on so long, condensing down my words never was a strong point either!

Thanks

MissWiggy xx
 
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Old 11-06-06, 05:09 PM
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Thumbs up MissWiggy, welcome to our forums!

The type of welding you have been doing over here is referred to as production welding.
A lot of employers in this area of welding offer on the job training in their factories.
In order to learn and still earn a living you would do well to find an employer who you get along with and is willing to train.
If you appear enthusiastic about welding when in an interview it could go a long way in helping you land a job.

Keep in mind that amps and volts are what make welders work and if you hope for success in this field you really will have to learn all about it.
Maybe there is a way of going back to school.
Here if you are a female wanting to learn a non-traditional job there is financial support available to help go back to school.
Maybe this exists where you are.


Here are two sites that have a lot of welding information:

http://www.lincolnelectric.com/knowledge/articles/list.asp

http://www.millerwelds.com/education/library.html
 
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Old 11-07-06, 10:58 AM
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Thumbs up Thanks GregH!

Thanks for reading my post and replying!

Nice of you to welcome me to the forum, I was reading posts from all you guys yesterday and found it really addictive.

Thanks for the advice and web links, they were very good, the miller.com one was especially helpful. Ive just been looking at the MIG training pages and answering the questions. Nice and easy for my simple brain to understand, especially with the diagrams, i need lots of diagrams! Feel like I know a little more now.

I still struggle with the whole AC/DC thing though. For instance, if it is DC and the electrode is positive (meaning clamp is negative? hope this is right so far), yet the current flows from the workpiece/clamp towards the gun, then how does that work? surely the current has to come from the gun first as it is connected to the power supply? Or can the power come through the clamp/ground first, then through the arc and to the electrode? Its so confusing!!

Did anyone else ever have trouble understanding all this, or is it just me with a problem?

Thanks again GregH

MissWiggy x
 
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Old 11-08-06, 04:47 AM
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I conclude that you are more a visual learner than a reader, but once you have a mental picture, you understand. That's good, because welding is learned more by doing than by reading.
I recommend that you keep a notebook of drawings to help you learn.

For instance, the AC/DC thing: Most electric welding requires a complete electrical circuit. No circuit, no arc. It DOES matter which way the current flows, but that's not the point.

With AC, the arc sometimes makes a buzzing sound because the current switches direction. This puts nearly equal HEAT into the electrode and the work.

With DC, the current flows only one way or the other, so the arc still makes a sound, but the buzz is not there. Depending on which way the current flows, the HEAT is unequally distributed between the electrode and the work.

The information that comes with the welding machine and the particular electrode tell you what's recommended. With practice, you learn things like weaving, pushing/dragging, wire speed, arc length and electrode angle. When you find something that works, draw a picture in your notebook to reinforce your learning.

You don't have to be able to TELL someone else how to weld, it's mostly SHOW how you do it. That's where the practice helps.
 
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Old 11-08-06, 04:57 AM
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"Did anyone else ever have trouble understanding all this, or is it just me with a problem? "

Answer: C. None of the above.

I don't need to know how a watch works or how it was made in order to read what time it is.

I have two electric welding machines. I know how to set the switches and dials to fit the electrode and material that I want to weld. I have never gone inside either machine to see what makes it work. Don't need to. All I know is that the ground clamp must be attached and I must do my part with the electrode holder. Everything else is just plain magic.
 
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Old 11-08-06, 07:48 AM
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Smile cheers!

Ooh thanks for that IBM! I feel much better now! I spent the last 2 days reading all about electricity, polarity, welding machines etc trying to make sense of it, but maybe it doesnt matter after all. I can pick up a welding gun and make a pretty good weld, and I have a technique that works well for me, generally pushing and weaving, only slightly for a smaller weld.

I am just concerned about the fact that I dont know how altering the settings affects the weld, because its not something ive really done much, as the machines I used in my previous job were 'tapped?' and only had 3 dials with ABC on one, 123 on the other and wire feed speed so there wasnt much to adjust. I know that the machines and dials can vary enormously and so Im worried that if I go for a weld trial, there will be a machine with 6 different dials and loads of different symbols, and I wont have a clue what they are or how to adjust them.

I know settings etc come with practise, but I dont own a welding machine and need the job to get the practise.

Im sure Ill figure it all out and get sorted soon. Thanks for your help!

MissWiggy xx
 
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Old 11-08-06, 09:18 AM
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"I can pick up a welding gun and make a pretty good weld, and I have a technique that works well for me, generally pushing and weaving, only slightly for a smaller weld."

You are well on your way! You can recognize a good weld. To the untrained, a cold weld laying on top of the parent metal looks just as good as one with correct penetration. Most folks can recognize a hole where there should not be one.

All of the operator's manuals for current MIG and stick machines are available on the internet. Ask the prospective employer what welding machine you will be using and go read the instructions for it. The machine itself usually has a chart inside specifying starting settings, so the first try is not completely a guess.
My small 110 volt MIG only controls wire speed and heat, so all the other factors are in my hand.
 
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Old 11-08-06, 09:44 AM
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Smile thanks again!

Ah I didnt realise all the operator's manuals were available on the web, that could be really useful thanks.

Hmm I hope I can tell good and bad welds, I might try and find an online test of some kind to see what I need to improve on and if I know all that I should.

Id love to have a welder of my own, must save up the pennies first though! Howcome you have a 110 volt MIG and not the highest you could have to run off mains electricity in your house (240 is it?)?

Sorry about all the questions, hopefully one day Ill be giving answers instead :-D

Miss wiggy xx
 
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Old 11-08-06, 10:34 AM
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I started with the little 110 volt MIG because it's easy to learn and will do nearly any 1/8" mild steel as well as thinner stuff without burning through. Very portable as well.

The second welder is for everything else: 225 amp AC / 210 amp DC 100% duty cycle engine drive, 8500 watt generator that will do CC (stick) as well as CV (wire feed). But it weighs 600 pounds. Portable in the bed of a pickup truck.

I still do use the small machine because it's so quiet and lightweight.
 
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Old 11-08-06, 10:45 AM
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Smile English? Really??

Oh i see, kind of, hehe. wow, that whole second paragraph was almost like another language to me! Thanks for your reply though IBM

I definately need to learn more about them amps and such like! Im thinking of doing an apprenticeship at my local college, because my knowledge is shockingly small on the subject compared to all you guys on here, sometimes I havent got a clue what you're all talking about. Has anyone on here done a welding apprenticeship? If so, would you recommend it? How did others of you get started in the business?

There I go being nosey again!

MissWiggy xx
 
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Old 11-08-06, 02:27 PM
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Before you start an apprenticeship, you may want to talk to a professional welder about the career in your city or area.
How much can you earn when you have learned the craft well?
How long is it likely to take to become well skilled?

It is a trade, just like carpentry, electrician, plumbing and plastering. You should compare it as a career to any other field where you have some aptitude and interest.
At one point I had a desire to become a professional electrician. Then I talked with someone who had done it all his life - he started quite early. The starting pay was completely insufficient compared to my current profession. I can do some wiring now and then as community service, but I cannot afford to make it my new career. The pro told me that it's a young man's job and I am no longer young.
 
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Old 11-08-06, 02:58 PM
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Thats a good idea, I could do with finding a welder in my area to chat to and get a bit of advice from. I think theres a few in my local, ill have to go in someday soon, now theres a good excuse to go for a few drinks, hehe.

Ive thought of doing a number of things so far career wise, i went to college and started studying child care but then gave it up to do art and design and now I want to be a welder, but I am much more excited and passionate about doing this than I have been about anything else. I think its because I have actually tried it and still love it whereas the others where more like trials. So you have been doing welding for a few years then? Do you still enjoy it?

To anyone else reading this, if you have been a welder for a long time, do you still feel passionate about it, or do you wish you were dong something different?

Thanks,

MissWiggy xx
 
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Old 11-08-06, 03:29 PM
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I have never been a professional welder. Graduated from high school and went to college. Started computer programming as a part time job in September, 1966. Been doing programming ever since.

In 1993, an adult education course at the local high school (very much a farming community then) offered some welding instruction. One night per week for four weeks for $25. Use any equipment they had: MIG, stick, oxy-acetylene, abrasive saws, drills, etc. They had some scrap bed frame metal to practice on. Stick it together, burn some holes in it, lay a stringer bead at different amperages. Clean off the slag, see what it would do. They had an old DC stick machine that was SO smooth. Much better than the AC buzz boxes. I had a good time. It was SO helpful to have the instructors who KNEW what the weld should look like and tell me what I needed to change.

Then I went to a professional welding supply house. Not a home center that carries welders along with lumber, paint and plants. Nothing but welding gear and machines. I got both electric welders as well as an oxy-acetylene cutting outfit from there. I picked up a discounted abrasive saw as well. You will find that metalworking is:
1/4 cutting
1/4 welding/joining
1/2 measuring, marking, cleaning, grinding and fitting

Most every day, I work with a mouse and a keyboard to a PC doing computer work.
 
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Old 11-08-06, 04:01 PM
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Talking

Ah computer programing! Now then, that tells me you must have a lot of patience. I feel like throwing my computer through the window half the time! I already spent 165 on it so far just getting it working properly, and the A drive doesnt even work in it still.

Why is the term 'illegal operation' used when the computer decides to throw a wobbly? Thats what Ive always wondered. Mine must be ready for a hefty jail sentence some time soon, as its broken the law too many times to count!

That 4 night course you did sounds good, I wish there was somewhere around here offering an opportunity like that at the moment. Then I could find out what an AC buzz box is

Is it always this quiet in the forum? Anyone want a laugh check this out (hope the link works) its really funny! *link now posted in chats and whines forum, in kids say the funniest things* Presumably I can post links in there?

http://xxxxxxxx

MissWiggy xx

Moderator edit:
The reason it seems so quiet around here is that this is not a chat forum.
A small amount of chit chat relating to your question is ok but if conversation is what you want we have a chats and whines forum.
 

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Old 11-08-06, 05:24 PM
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thanks, sorry i spoke.
 
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Old 11-09-06, 11:45 AM
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Figuring current flow isn't that hard if you remember that electricity is just current flow. Current is the movement of electrons, which are negatively charged. Therefore, wherever the negative side of the circuit is, that is going to be the source of the current. So if the nozzle is positive, the current flow is going to be from the clamp to the nozzle.

I know that doesn't help you lay a good bead with nice penetration, but it's good to know.
 
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Old 11-09-06, 03:25 PM
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ah thanks! that is handy to know and I understood it too, hehe cheers
Misswiggy xx
 
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Old 11-09-06, 05:10 PM
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Smile No problem Misswiggy, we just try to keep on topic.

I am more inclined to lean towards the belief that the more knowledge you have the better you can be.
The more you know, the more valuable you will be to a prospective employer.

I am a self taught hobby welder and have my sights set on an evening course in general welding.
One course here is a short sixteen hours, eight in the classroom and eight in the welding shop.
I find that with infrequent welding I have to spend quite awhile getting the hang of it each time, hopefully some theory will help with this.
 
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Old 11-09-06, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by GregH
I find that with infrequent welding I have to spend quite awhile getting the hang of it each time,

No truer words ever spoke

As a retired pro painter, I can jump right in and do a good job of any type of painting no matter how long it has been since I preformed that particular task BUT when it comes to things I've done as a hobby or homeowner, even things I've done well in the past have to be relearned [to an extent] when it has been awhile.

Welding and using torches definetly falls in that catergory for me. The local Linde dealer went belly up [nearest dealer now over 100 miles away] and I went several years before I purchaced tanks from another vendor. I'm now in the process of relearning how to braze well.
 
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Old 11-09-06, 07:04 PM
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thanks guys, yea I agree with keeping in practise and keeping up to date, as I know these things are ever improving. Im trying to learn what I can from the internet and Im looking into doing an apprenticeship, although the guy at my local college today gave the impression he didnt think it was likely to happen for me, as im 23 and so Im a bit late going in for one. He seemed to think I will have trouble finding an employer to take me on as an apprentice. Maybe I will just have to save up my pennies and hope that I can buy myself a welding machine to practice with before Im grey and collecting my pension.

It does get frustrating though, all employers seem to want qualified, apprentice trained employees, yet apparently none are willing to help with the training in the first place. They want there cake and all the frostings, and us at the bottom of the ladder just go round in a circle of sh_te!

oops sorry, seem to have gone off on one there thanks for the advice guys

misswiggyxx
 
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