How do I prevent wire feeding problems when using MIG welders (GMAW) or flux-cored arc welding (FCAW) processes?
Wire feed problems with a MIG welder can be caused by a variety of circumstances. Some of the most common reasons for wire feeding issues include:
Drive roll tension with the MIG Welder: The drive rolls that push or pull the wire through the system have a tension that is either too great or too little. Adjust the spring pressure until the tension is appropriate.
Drive roll size: The drive rolls may be the wrong size. For instance, if 1.3 mm drive rolls are being used to move 0.9 mm wire, slipping will most likely occur.
Drive roll type: Some wire requires specific kinds of grooves for optimal feeding. Flux-cored and metal-cored arc welding wires typically require V-groove drive rolls that are knurled. Aluminum wires require a smooth U-shaped groove.
Drive roll condition: Worn drive rolls will be ineffective at moving a wire through the MIG welder system.
Liner size: If a liner is too small for the wire it will not feed. If the liner is too big, the wire may have too much freedom to twist inside of it, causing an unpredictable feed.
Liner type: For most wires, steel liners work excellent. However, some wires, such as aluminum, require a nylon liner to help ensure proper feeding.
Liner condition: A worn liner will be detrimental to wire feeding. Replace the liner if it is worn or damaged.
Contact tip size: A proper contact tip size should be used. If the tip is too small, the wire will not feed; if the tip is too large, wire feeding and electrical conductivity may be negatively affected.
Wire condition: Not all wire manufacturers put out the same quality product. Some wires may have thin and thick spots as well as lubricants that can cause poor wire feeding.
When MIG welding was first invented, it used a constant voltage source of electricity for the arc. While this method is still used today, the invention of pulsed MIG (or MIG pulse) welders has allowed welders to realize several advantages over conventional MIG welders, several are listed below:
Pulsed MIG can be used to weld thin materials. Conventional MIG welders run at a constant amperage whereas pulsed GMAW welding runs a peak and background amperage. The constant switching between these two amperages enables the welder to put out a lower overall heat input into the material. This helps prevent blowouts on thin materials.
There is less spatter than conventional MIG welders. Pulsed MIG welders use peak electrical currents to cleanly burn the wire off at a high amperage. It also employs a lower background welding amperage immediately after the peak electrical current to prevent the interaction of the electrical arc and the wire from becoming unstable. This ultimately results in a reduced amount of spatter.
MIG pulse welding is excellent for out of position welding. At the same voltage and wire feed settings, conventional MIG tends to have a weld puddle that is larger and more fluid than that of pulsed. MIG pulse welding has a more controllable puddle that prevents it from falling out when gravity is a concern during out-of-position welding. Furthermore, the reduced amount of spatter that can be achieved with this method makes it safer for the welder to perform the out-of-position operation.
Red-D-Arc Carries a Number of Pulsed MIG Welder Machines
Whether you’re looking for an EXtreme 360 MAP, a Lincoln Power Wave S350, a D325K 3+12 Diesel, or Millermatic 350P – we have it all!
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