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Why not just use the MIG for this job John???

It would be easier I would have thought.
When you want to get better at TIG...

i had a whole new setup with the welder, trolley and workbench layout. I also have a new foot pedal that I modified to raise the front 25mm.
I had just bought a new Optrel Crystal 2.0 helmet specifically because my Optrel Satellite was giving me flashes with low amp TIG.
This was a really good exercise for DC TIG and to see how all the new stuff was working out.

I don’t get any kind of a buzz doing MIG stuff now..
 

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I also have a new helmet, and as mentioned, I just bought a bench too which I have not had before. I found "set-up", which was mainly my position, to be critical for a newbie. So before I turn the machine on again, I will be setting things up to be in a good position to weld. That will mean the crossbar on my new bench will be moved, to allow a nice amount of room for the foot pedal, and I will fit an earth clamp to the bench so it does not have to go on the job. My workshop seat is also a bit low, so it will be replaced too at some stage. None of this mattered too much with the MIG!

So when I have the bench sorted I will do some more testing. Without knowing it, my initial testing and impressions were much the same as yours. How have you found the new machine John??
 

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The Razor is much smoother than the Renegade which didn’t have AC frequency adjustment.
The Renegade couldn’t pulse as low as the Razor but I find I’m using pulse a lot less now anyway.
I really like the digital settings as opposed to all the dials on the other machine that could easily be touched and moved accidentally.

I still have a soft spot for the Renegade because it got me into the world of TIG.
This is the last welding I did with the Renegade before I sold it.
Couldn't find caps for 2 x 273mm steel posts I used for my new sliding gate so I made them out of ally.

525944


525945
 

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This is the new sliding gate and front fence (72m) I built with my wife during the lockdown.
I also made the letterbox with the Renegade. I bought the front ally face from Bunnings and welded it into an ally box I made. Wish I’d had my panbrake then..

The half painted post is 2 x 1m lengths of 220mm diameter I welded together with the MIG.

Last pic is the old fence I ripped out with the tractor. That’s the old letterbox I also made with the Renegade.

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525948
 

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I figured the Unimig would be more user friendly. You do get what you pay for mostly.

I have only had a brief use of it, and the frequency is one thing I want to very next time. I did a couple of welds on the inside of 90 degree corners and it was quite odd. One piece of material would melt and the second would not, so more amperage did not help of course. I wondered if a lower frequency would make the puddle wider and that may be the answer. I think I was on 100hz.

Find out next time I guess.
 

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Don’t be shy to put up pics..
Filet welds are harder to do but if you push the AC to 250 Hz it makes a much narrower bead and helps get down into the root but it needs more amps. It also makes the machine scream.
There‘s no substitute for practice.

Did you maybe have one side against metal that might have acted as a chill block?
 

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Don’t be shy to put up pics..
Filet welds are harder to do but if you push the AC to 250 Hz it makes a much narrower bead and helps get down into the root but it needs more amps. It also makes the machine scream.
There‘s no substitute for practice.

Did you maybe have one side against metal that might have acted as a chill block?
Well there you go, I had considered lowering the frequency for a wider bead. I had not thought to do the opposite. An instruction video I watched showed them not altering the Hz between weld types, but skill level is very different, and so is the welder.

I was doing my testing on a timber bench, so heat soak should not have been an issue. But I only tried one weld I think before I hung the torch up. Oddly, I did a couple that were fine with two pieces of flat overlapping, so the same joint really, but with a size/height difference.
 

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On the subject of lighter torch equipment, this turned up this morning. It’s a flexible power cable/hose (carries both gas & current) that fits the Unimig TIG machines.
Cost $65 from AliExpress.

526004



It has a 35 - 50 dinse connector and gas quick coupler that fit the Unimig.

526005




A WP9 or WP17 torch screw straight on.

526006


I‘m going to replace the rubber hose I initially fitted in place of the original Unimig gear.

526007
 

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I will have to keep this stuff in mind John. No doubt the smaller and lighter equipment can only help with technique.
 

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The redemption package for the Unimig TIG showed up last week

It passed the CAT goods-in process.
526660

After a seemingly endless series of delays and false starts I got a work area set up, and had a go at welding for the first time in my life.
526663

As always, I did it the hard way and jumped in the deep end.
Tried to weld thin aluminium without a pedal...
First attempt, no filler rod, 20x3 flat bar. I managed to melt the bar quite thoroughly but not much else.
526661

Then, a 30cm x 1.6mm coupon, with filler rod. Welds start ok then the heat gets out of control.
Burns through, and the entire test coupon warps.
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The wins?
I didn't dip the tungsten.
I learned to add filler rod.
I learned a pedal is needed for ally.
I learned I should practice on cheap steel.
...to be continued...
 

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I know you don’t need any encouragement but, just in case, here is my first 2 minutes with a TIG torch.. :)

526668
 

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Now, having tried and made a mess (as expected) it's time to stop staring owlishly at videos of perfect professional welds, and begin looking at 'common mistakes and problems' sort of stuff.
Like this one.

Ah-ha.
Arc length and torch angle. As the work heated up I pulled the torch back, a natural reaction to try and reduce heat when soldering, but not a valid method with arc welding...
 

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Another thing you can try with that 20x3mm flat bar is to cut it into 100mm coupons and try butt, edge & filet welds. Maybe leave the filets for a little later..
That will also give you some practice tacking stuff before welding.
 

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You say you have never welded before Rick. I have been MIG welding for about 20 years, but I am of the view it is of little benefit to be honest. I doubt I have much of an advantage over you.

I agree with the use of the pedal. But I only use it for part of its potential. I use it for starting off more easily, and then to reduce the amperage at the finish of welds to prevent melting of the edges or corners, and also to reduce amperage as the ally heats up. If you run two welds back to back the second weld will puddle and weld much more quickly on the same amperage, sometimes too much. So the pedal can be used to reduce to amperage there too. But, I try and set the welder to the right amperage, so that I can mostly use the pedal at 100%, rather than cranking the welder up and varying the pedal for each differing weld. Hope that makes sense.

I am doing some practicing at the moment, but there is much to get right with TIG.
 

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You say you have never welded before Rick. I have been MIG welding for about 20 years, but I am of the view it is of little benefit to be honest. I doubt I have much of an advantage over you.

I agree with the use of the pedal. But I only use it for part of its potential. I use it for starting off more easily, and then to reduce the amperage at the finish of welds to prevent melting of the edges or corners, and also to reduce amperage as the ally heats up. If you run two welds back to back the second weld will puddle and weld much more quickly on the same amperage, sometimes too much. So the pedal can be used to reduce to amperage there too. But, I try and set the welder to the right amperage, so that I can mostly use the pedal at 100%, rather than cranking the welder up and varying the pedal for each differing weld. Hope that makes sense.

I am doing some practicing at the moment, but there is much to get right with TIG.
I've never welded anything, at all. My entire welding experience is encapsulated in those two pieces of alloy. I have been soft soldering electronic circuits for over 45 years, but Tig is way different.
Today I got a 2m length of 32mm x 3mm steel. Cut 1m into coupons. I'll practice on that, get the torch technique right, then go back to the aluminium.
...I won't be welding manifolds or intercooler tanks anytime soon...
 

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As I have a MIG for steel, I have just set the TIG up for ally. Perhaps I would also be better doing what you are, but I am just focussing on what I need it for at the moment. To me at the moment I am working on my heat control, so I think that is something that I can only do with ally anyway.
 

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I had an issue today when my weld just turned to poo. So I cleaned the surface, re-ground the tungsten and had another go with the same result. My MIG experience helped here though, as my next suspicion of gas being the problem was correct. After a quick test I found the regulator was set at about 7 or so instead of 14. It was correct when I started, and this is the second time it has happened.

I have one of the ball type gauges on it, which I am not a fan of, I prefer the normal needle gauge. So I will need to have a closer look at it to see if I can find a fault. I have not ever had my MIG regulator change itself, so this is a new problem for me.

I also tried some fillet welds again today without success, as it would not form a puddle in the middle of the joint. A bit of research showed a you tube welder doing the same size material with a lot more power than I was using. It seems that fillet welds need more amperage compared to other welds with the same size material. I will need to have another go at it. But he stated that to get started you need a fair bit of heat and then you can reduce it, so another instance where the pedal is necessary.
 

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I should add to that. Running beads on pieces of 3-4mm ally I was using around 100 amps. But even 125 amps was not enough to puddle the fillet weld on similar material. The video welder was using about 150. So I will crank it up a bit and see how I go.
 

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I was using 68 amps on the 1.6mm ally disc. 60 wouldn't clean, 70 was too hot.
Next time, I'll try the pedal and clean the ally thoroughly.
 

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I did a bit on thin ally box and found about 80 was right, so similar to you.

My experimenting has led me to believe I need to get serious with preparation. I am using old bits of scrap, and do not have a dedicated grinding wheel for the tungsten. This is not helping, so I better sort that out.
 
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