Broken Welder Experiment Part 2

Introduction: Broken Welder Experiment Part 2

About: I am a 16 year old who likes building stuff, being active outdoors and enjoying nature.

Im gonna apologize in advance. This project was a failure. After testing, this machine simply did not weld sufficiently enough for it to be called a welder, so I re-assembled it to its original form and will figure something else to do with it. One thing I learned is that 110 volt welders are not as bad as I thought. I was attempting to run the flux core welder on a 15 amp circuit when it was rated for a 20-30 amp circuit which was my fault and lack of knowledge. After this I saved for awhile and bought a cheap DC stick welder. It works well enough on 110 volt power and beats the hell out of this machine.

Lets take a look at the results

Step 1: Beads Produced

The bead produced on the left is by the DC stick welder and the bead on the right is the AC welder. If we examine both, The beads of the AC machine have less penetration and are shorter. The welding arc becomes far less stable under AC and I found it was difficult to keep an arc going. The beads on the left completely penetrated the steel and are longer because it was easier to keep the arc going, it was far more stable. The rod did get stuck but it still out performed the homemade unit.

Note: My welding skills are terrible, I didnt keep the rod going long on DC due to time shortages. I am not a welder by trade, I just like making things out of metal.

Step 2: Welding Rods Used

Part of the problem may have been the rods used. I used Lincoln Electric E6011 rods because they were cheapest at the hardware store. These skinny electrodes may have been too small for the AC welder, (it blew right through them), while the DC welder which is bought ran them far better. I have tried 6011 rods on larger AC tombstone welders in the past and they did not weld sufficiently. The rod burnt too quickly and did not form a decent puddle.

These rods are made to run on either AC or DC based on the package, but I guess they run better on inverter welders with AC outputs rather than transformer output welders with AC. Perhaps using thicker electrodes would produce better welds with the significant amperage.

Step 3: Conclusion:

In conclusion, trying to turn a broken cheap welder into a usable welder is VERY hard to do. Im stupid when it comes to electronics and the machine I tried to make turn out to be a failure. Maybe in the future I may try again. For now, I re-assembled the welder back to its flux core welder form based on the instruction manual and plan to try it on a proper 20 amp service. Because the torch is kinked, I think I may try to re-use the wire feeder components into a spool gun and use it based on that.

Thanks for reading and happy holidays!

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    Phil B
    Phil B

    1 year ago

    Inexpensive $100 flux core welders usually produce only an AC welding current, but flux core wire needs DC current to make a suitable weld. Some users add inexpensive rectifier bridges imported from China and sold through places like Amazon. It is not a perfect solution, but does make quite an improvement. Further, with flux core wire the electrode gun needs to be set to negative polarity while the ground clamp is set to positive polarity. Flux core welding can do a very good job and is preferable to gas shielded MIG welding in some situations. But, flux core welding produces lots of smoke and it is difficult to see what you are doing. A fan to blow the smoke away from the weld while you are welding helps a lot, as does good light on the weld area. Flux core wire burns hotter than MIG wire, but still has a difficult time with steel as thick as 3/16 inch or about 4.75 mm. You can give your welder a power boost by preheating the weld area with a propane or MAP gas torch. Make certain the ground clamp makes good contact and the cable connection to it is not frayed. Clean the metal where the ground clamp attaches and where you will be welding. Also, 6011 rods require proper technique and some practice. 6013 rods are much more forgiving and easier to use. They do not have as much penetration as 6011 rods, but good preparation of the weld joint can make up much of the difference.


    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks for the advice. I looked at the cost of rectifying the welder with rectifiers and capacitors but it was more than what I paid for the machine and didn't want to spend more money on this as something else may break. I will try to clean the ground clamp and the grounded areas too. I appreciate the input and knowledge. Thank you

    Phil B
    Phil B

    Reply 1 year ago

    A guy who does welding videos on YouTube puts copper mesh in a less than idea grounding situation between the jaws of the clamp and the steel to make a better contact. I once added aluminum bar to a similar ground clamp to improve the contact. I wish you well.