View Full Version : Thanks you Thank you all

07-11-2008, 06:04 PM
After many questions, a new welder, and lots of practice my welding is "Satisfactory" enough for me to tackle the loderunner...

What made the most difference....

The help from this forum ...nuf said...
A new 80A Inverter Stick Welder. Wow what a difference from a cheap wire welder. That it is tiny and light weight also
is a nice benefit. Its the small beigh box in the first picture.
Welding Rods... I ended up with 1/16th" 7014's, easy to strike, and re-strike, medium hot, medium penetration. Get an assortment and try different rods and find the one that YOU can lay down a smooth weld with...
Cutting my welding rods in HALF so I could get up close and personal with my welds
Joint prep... What I thought was clean wasn't. Shiny new metal with a 'V' cut in the joint is best. Not always possible on weird
corners, but ALL but joints and anything you can should have a valley BELOW the surface for the weld to fill in.
Don't be afraid of higher current. It "penetrates" deeper and makes everything easier. More current doesn't necessarily burn through, you actually burn through LESS because you are moving faster..
New auto darkening Helmet that wasn't as dark as my old one..
Practice, Practice, Practice, Practice... you get the idea...A picture of one of my better welds..not perfect, still a bit high... but SOooo much better than I was doing before....

07-11-2008, 07:35 PM
Wow - Looking good. I think I love those little inverters. One day I hope to score a cheap used Maxstar 140 or 150S, but so far the price has kept me away, but HF practically gives them away, and most important - you are happy with it. If I ever do get one, I will put my Thunderbolt on the block (don't need two sticks).

It looks like that 7014 is really laying down some metal! It did the same thing to me, but that is why they put the extra metal in the flux (to fill gaps on sheet metal welds). You may want to move faster with it, or just drop back to 6013 once you get the hang of welding a bit more. I want to try some of the 1/16" 6013s from HF next.

You are right about cranking up the heat. It seems counter-intuitive, but its easier to weld just shy of burn through than to have too little heat. I think that may be why I had such an easy time with the 1/16" 7014s. They box said they should not be run over 55 Amps and I cranked em up to 60-65 amps on 16ga and had at it.

Are you getting full penetration? I can't tell from the picture if you are getting a bit of undercut, or the weld is just so large that is curled under?

What current setting where you using?

I think its great progress. That welder is going to be the cat's meow for you, once you get everything dialed in. 8 pounds of Dynomite from Harbor Freight!

07-11-2008, 08:43 PM
I am not getting quite the penetration I want, but it will hold. I am running 55+ amps... and get some burnthrough but not much...

The welds clean up nice, I leave a bit of bump if I haven't remembered to "v" channel them... That makes so much difference it is not fair... but it means the cuts need to be better...

07-11-2008, 08:58 PM
I am not getting quite the penetration I want, but it will hold. I am running 55+ amps... and get some burnthrough but not much...

The welds clean up nice, I leave a bit of bump if I haven't remembered to "v" channel them... That makes so much difference it is not fair... but it means the cuts need to be better...

On 16ga, you really shouldn't need to V at all - just clean the steel and leave a tiny gap, if any at all. I know when I was trying to do some 1/8" angle iron with 1/8" 6013s, if I didn't leave a gap I could not get full pen welds with these small rods. Then again, some tell me I shouldn't do any gap on 16ga, since it leads to blow outs on metal that thin, but I would try it anyway and see if it improves things for you. When you do bevel a V, you still generally need to leave a small gap at the root.

I have been too busy with inside work the last few weeks to do any welding, but seeing your progress makes me want to get out and burn some rods.

07-12-2008, 01:32 AM
When I bought the stick welder, I went by some instructions on the Net that said not to exceed 35 amps with 1/16" 6013's. I finally started getting good results when I cranked it up to 65 amps. I still haven't tried that little inverter unit on bikes, but the more I hear about it, the more I want to use it. I was planning on using it to weld aluminum support rods for the Streetfox fairing, which I put on hold until the Hauler is ridable.

07-12-2008, 01:39 AM
The best thing you can do is cover up the numbers on your welder's dial. Those numbers can be very different on machines, or even depending on the temperature in your shop. I have had 2 basic AC Millers in the last 4 years. One would typically run on 60-65 amps while my new one is usually set between 85-95 amps. I only use 3/32 6013 for all work. I usually don't look at the numbers on the dial now - just set it until it feels right.


07-12-2008, 07:13 AM
I have to agree with Brad (as usual) on the amp setting thing. My old Thunderbolt seems to be missing something on the amp setting indicator inside the machine, so I am only guessing that the little part I can see is the part that holds the amp setting dial. I guess you could say mine already came with Brads amp setting mod [g]. I know that thing runs so cold (according to the part of the knob I can still see) that I thought for awhile that I had a burned out a diode or two in my SCR. I still wonder that sometimes, but am too lazy to check and if I just crank the amps up to where I am getting a good puddle and the rods light and stay lit well, it works fine.

If any of you have the Wall Mountain Arc Welding I video, he spends some time talking about what the puddle looks like when the amps are set right and shows some excellent videos and closeups of the weld in progress when it is just right, too hot and too cold. If its too cold, the puddle will not spread out and tends to follow the electrode too much (like a little puppy). If its too hot, the puddle gets too agitated. When it is just right, the puddle is about 1.5-2 times the width of the rod, and well behaved with the sides wetting out well. You can't really see the tiny captures from the video in this ad, or get the full effect of a full screen moving picture, but they are very large and clear on the video. Once again, highly recommended for beginners without instructors. Knowing how to watch the puddle is worth way more than a dial.


Northern Tool or Tractor Supply or by internet order $24.95. You can rent them, as well, but I have watched parts of mine so many times, I would have more than paid for them many times over with rental fees. They are great to have on business trips with your laptop when you have some time in the airport waiting, and waiting, and waiting....

07-12-2008, 07:25 AM
That's basically what I ended up doing. I kept cranking it up until it felt like it was working right. That came to about 65 amps on the stick welder.

07-12-2008, 07:41 AM
The little red circle shows the triangular indicator that my TBolt seems to be missing. I just have a stub :eek: