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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK guys, I finally got time to start to teach myself how to weld. These pictures are my first attempts. Can you let me know what I may be doing right or wrong? I am using an entry level welder from Craftsman, so not ideal, but it will do until I get a better one.

any and all feedback welcome.


First attempt-



closer-



other side-



another one-



that is it as I had to quit early...
 

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Can you tell me some info on what your welder is? Stick, Mig, ??? Amp rating? If that's a Mig, are you using flux core or shielding gas 75/25? Off hand it looks like you need a lot more heat, and with really thick metal like your test pieces, your entry level machine might not have enough amperage. Another thing to check is whether your polarity is correct. Some small Mig machines can't reverse polarity, so they are flux core only.
Some more details and maybe I can help with what limited knowledge I do have, and others more experienced can chime in.
 

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Yes please clue us in on what kind of machine you're using. What thickness material are you welding on,looks pretty thick. As Vall stated your welds are very ropey looking, which indicates a cold weld. However, I've welded with some high nickel rod in the past that came out ropey looking, so with some more information on your equipment we could better guide you in the correct direction.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I guess that would help huh? it is a Craftsman flux MIG welder. Extremely entry level as it has a high amp and low amp setting. no wire speed dial. I checked for reverse polarity and it is correct. It has no ability for adding gas. I too thought it was cold and did not penetrate very well. My boss gave it to me for as long as I wanted it, because he does not like welding. I am using 1/4 inch thick steel because I have a ton of bar stock left over from all my chopper builds. I can get some 1/8 inch stuff to practice on and I may just bite the bullet and get a better machine. It is fun though....
 

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Hi Dave
As an entry level welding machine, my thoughts are you may want to start with some 1/16th mild steel. The reason why I say that, is you will learn much more on penetration and what it looks like. Practice with different welds like butt welds lap welds and spot or fillet welds. Here you will get to see your results. Wth heavier steel you won't be able to track or see your accomplishments when the machine isn't really capable of reaching the higher tempretures needed to properly weld.
 

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Dave, I also started with a flux core welder. I was surprised at the difference the Argon gas made with the welds. They were cleaner and seemed to penetrate better. My welding is still ugly, I have to live with that. :) I just don't practice enough. So I would have to recommend practicing with the flux core as Steve advised and then when ready for your project moving up to a shielded gas machine, more practice and then have at it. We all pretty much learned the same way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
OK thanks guy! I will go out and get some smaller metal to practice on. I will post some pics of that when I get a chance!
 

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It will always be tough to get a good clean weld with flux core, but as mentioned the thinner material will at least give you a better idea if you're doing well or improving. No wire speed adjustment will make things tough too! You'll need to learn how fast to move to either not build up, or not burn back to the tip.
My first welder was a HF flux core, and penetration was always an issue. Don't do any body panels with flux core, as the flux residue will have a nasty affect on any paint that's put over the welds. It does have one big plus though. If you material is dirty the flux core wire is much more forgiving!
 
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