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Any tips for a beginner welder? I have gotten pretty good at getting a nice bead, but I have heard that experienced welders have tricks that make the weld much stronger. Right now my bead is mostly on top of the seam. Any tricks or is it just practice makes perfect?
 

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boomerang opeler
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practice practice practice
what are you using (oxy acetalene/mig/tig/stick)?
as a rule if the bead is on top then use the tim allen rule MORE POWER
but it depends what you use
 

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tips

Plenty of tips available but need to know welding process, type of machine used,gas, wire, and what type of material you are welding.
 

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from my experience (only mig) if the weld is building up you either need to increase voltage or decrease wire speed... or a little of both, if your burning holes then you can turn down the voltage, but if your already running low voltage for thin metals, then its usually better to increase wire speed, and if you are using mig, always remember to turn the gas on, when i was just starting i could never remember to turn it on for the longest time.... really ugly welds that way
 

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Opeler
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I assume that you're welding sheet metal since the subtext of the question was related to Opels. If you're working with sheet metal, don't lay down a continuous bead, it will warp the metal. Instead, use a series of "tack welds" to build the bead. Move around a lot. For example, make the first tack at the bottom, then a tack 1/4 of the way up, then 1/2 way and then the top and repeat from the bottom.

If this is for body work, be really careful grinding down the weld. The grinding process can build up a lot of heat quickly. I found out the hard way :eek:
 

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As was said before, practice, practice , and practice some more on scrap metal. I'd recommend starting with thicker metals and working your way down to the thinner gages. It was easier for me to learn the basics without worrying about burning through thinner metal. With body panel replacements go slow, very slow or like bendele said you will warp your work.

The best advice is to have a accomplished welder watch and critique you as you practice but if this is not possible the next best thing is to take your practice work to one for advice. A good welder can tell a lot by your finished welds. One mistake most novice welders make is watching the flash and ignoring the puddle of molten metal. Watch and guide the puddle!

Also, don't forget to TURN THE GAS OFF after you're done. If you forget you may wind up replacing the cylinder sooner then you expected to. Don't ask me how I know!

Take your time, practice, practice some more, and go slow until you get the hang of it. Also, don't forget to wear a shield and use gloves.

Brian
 

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The best welds are made to a joint that is actually a slight gap. That way your weld goes the full depth of the metal. As Brian said, practice. Also as he said, the puddle behind the arc is what you need to be looking at. Depending on what exactly you are welding, there are several different patterns to learn, start by making little circles with the arc.
 

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Is this a question about welding body sheet metal? If so, I'll move it to the Body Repairs and Modifications Forum.

All good advice. Especially the tip about practice. And see if you can get either a welding course many high schools and community colleges offer them) or get an experienced welder to watch you weld and give some tips. I belong to a Vintage Sports Car Club that is lucky enough to have a club MIG welder and a plasma cutter, and even luckier to have a retired welding instructor as a member. He has given a couple of sessions on welding and plasma cutting, and I have learned a bunch each time I go.

HTH
 

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If you use CO2 the weld will be "higher" then if you use Argon or "mixed" gas on your Mig/Mag. For "hobby" and body work is CO2 no good choice...
 

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c/40 or straight argon is the way to go on sheet metal, CO2 will make an ugly weld.
 

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All,

Straight argon is normally used for alum. Use C02 or 75/25 mix for carbon steel. Some claim C02 is better but not imo.

bsmith,

Realize that a "MIG" machine is what's called a constant voltage power source. The machine attempts to keep voltage at the arc constant, and the amperage will vary up or down with any change in resistance at the arc. The closer you keep the "torch" to the puddle, the higher the amperage, and vice-versa. For light stuff, I'd aim for a "stick-out" [amount of wire electrode protruding from the tip] about 3/8". Use a bit more stick-out for heavy stuff. Try to keep very little stick-out when you start a weld, then back out to 3/8" or so [on light mat'l].

Like someone else said, more voltage or less wire feed speed [or both] will help the weld lay down.
Dave


jordan said:
c/40 or straight argon is the way to go on sheet metal, CO2 will make an ugly weld.
 
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