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Picking the right consumable

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Consumable matching is key when welding. If you are running .030 wires in your MIG welder, make sure the liner, drive rolls and contact tips match. Any mismatch will cause feeding and weld consistency problems. It’s also important to pick the right wire size for the job. Don’t use .035 wire to weld 22 gauge steel. As a rule of thumb, the wire shouldn’t be bigger than the material thickness. If it is, you’ll spend most of your time blowing holes in the base metal instead of melting the weld wire.

Gas is technically a material, too, so determine the correct mix before beginning. Miller offers some tips on consumables here. For MIG steel, a 75/25 argon/CO2 mix will give great results. Straight CO2 can also be used to get more penetration, but this gas will also produce more spatter. Typical flow rates are 25-30 CFH. Too high of flow will cause turbulence and contamination. Too low flow will not give enough shielding of the weld area and also produce porosity of the weld bead. For all TIG processes and MIG aluminum, 100 percent argon gas is typically used. Flow rate will depend on cup size with most flow rates being near 12-20.

Until next time,

Andy Weyenberg
Motorsports Marketing Manager

Cotati Speed Shop, Miller Use Diversion™ 180 to Create Aluminum Air Pan for ’48 F1 Ford Pickup

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

In this video, I used a Diversion™ 180 TIG welder to create an aluminum air pan for a ’48 F1 Ford pickup truck. In this video, you’ll see that I also demonstrate how to weld with different material thicknesses. As always, make sure you start with clean material. I am using 5356 aluminum filler for this particular project, but cut it in half for easier use. When you’re welding with materials with different thicknesses, the Diversion™ 180 is an ideal welder for the DIYer because of its ability to let you easily dial in the material type and thickness on the machine. When working with thinner aluminum material, consider skipping welds to prevent warpage and evenly distribute the heat. An example of skip welding would be making a one-in weld and then skipping six-inches before making the next one-in weld. When skip welding, try using silicone filler to create a better seal. Another tip to remember when using different material thicknesses is to preheat. In this video, the ½-in plate is outside maximum capability of machine. To get around it, preheat the thicker material to make it easier for puddle to wet out.

John Swartz
TIG Commercial Product Manager

Clamps, fixtures, vise grips and magnetic squares are your friends

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Clamps, vise grips and magnetic squares help keep materials in place and offer stability while you’re welding. The magnetic square is a useful tool if you’re welding at a specific angle. For example, if you have two pieces that need to be welded together at a 45-degree angle, you would set your magnetic square to 45 degrees and use it to connect the two pieces of material. Clamps, vise grips, magnetic squares and fixtures definitely benefit the DIY welder, because they let you keep your hands free and your materials in place. This is especially helpful when TIG welding, because you have your TIG torch welder in one hand and the filler material in the other. Unless you’re pretty flexible and can use your feet to hold your materials in place, use a vise grip or clamp. The Miller ArcStation™ includes an optional X-pattern that allows you to insert and slide clamp placement as you progress through a job.

Until next time,

Andy Weyenberg
Motorsports Marketing Manager

Plasma Cutting Tips & Tricks

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Looking for some tips on plasma cutting? On a visit to see our friends at Cotati Speed Shop in Santa Rosa, Calif., we created a cylinder rack for welding gases. Here are a few suggestions and watch the video for more! We start by measuring out the plate size, making sure to compensate for the edge of tip. Roll the tip over and see where the plasma is going to penetrate the metal. It’s important to be comfortable when you’re plasma cutting, so don’t press down too hard on the metal. Let the tip sit on your work piece and drag, using your free hand for leverage. Before cutting, test the cut and make sure you’re able to make the cut comfortably in one move, so that it is as straight as possible. If you’re cutting a bevel, use a stand-off guide to make sure you don’t damage your tips and to get a perfect cut. When you begin cutting, start and an angle and roll the tip until it pierces the metal – this keeps the splatter from getting back into the tip.

Steve Hidden
Plasma Product Manager

Importance of tungsten condition

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Poor condition of your tungsten can be compared to putting bad gas in your car; it’s that simple. TIG or GTAW is a precision process that requires attention to all areas in the system, but the tungsten is the last piece that the electrons flow from, and if it is not maintained in a sharp or clean condition, it will affect the arc. Two of the most important areas are arc staring and directional control, which can have an effect on increased heat input when it is critical to keep this as low as possible. Whatever you do, take the time to recondition your tungsten if you touch it to the work of the fill material.

Mark Kadlec, Welding Technician
TIG Product Development

Replacing your MIG gun liner

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Ben Romenesko, Miller MIG product manager, walks through the process for replacing your MIG gun liner in the video below. For more welding tips from Miller, visit the Racing, Customizing, Restoring page on

Keep materials clean and in good condition

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Paint, rust and mill scale are your enemy. Clean the joint area before welding with a grinder/sander, wire brush or other metal cleaner. Keep wire in a clean, dry place when you’re not welding. Contaminants on your wire lead to poor welds.

Establish a good ground connection and always check your cable condition. Loose or bad connections, or poor cables, will cause heat. That heat is a loss of welding current you should be using at the arc. You can’t jump start a car with a lamp cord, so don’t weld with one either. A welder needs heavy cables in good condition to weld effectively. Also, don’t forget to change contact tips. They are NOT made of gold and they DO wear out. Also keep them tight and check them often as they will naturally loosen up from heating and cooling.

Until next time,
Andy Weyenberg
Motorsports Marketing Manager

Using a gas lens to your advantage

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Many people ask…why or when should I use a gas lens? The main reason is to allow you to flood the area you are welding with the best possible gas coverage to ensure you are reducing the possibility of oxygen contamination. Another great use of the gas lens is reaching difficult areas that need to be welded. A good example of this is a tight cluster of tubing that you may encounter on many of today’s sport utility and race vehicles. By this, I mean that it allows you to stick out the tungsten much farther while still maintaining gas coverage to access these hard-to-reach areas (see photos).







Know when to push or pull

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

When MIG welding steel – you can push or pull, just stay consistent. Changing from a push to a pull during a weld will affect weld penetration and appearance. This is because it normally takes a slight change in wire speed when changing from pushing the gun to pulling it. Also, the angle of the gun determines if the weld wire is hitting the colder edge of the puddle (as in a push angle) or pointing to the hotter part of the puddle (pulling). The pull will give you deeper penetration, so if you are welding thinner material, use the push method to prevent burn through.

When you’re TIG welding, push the torch at a 10- to 15-degree angle, whenever possible. And never pull a TIG torch. This makes sure you have proper gas coverage and cleaning of the weld zone. If you pull the torch, it will cause the weld bead to appear black and contaminated.

Until next time,
Andy WeyenbergMotorsports Marketing Manager

Arc Outage (Arc Transfer)

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

If the plasma arc extinguishes while trying to cut, it could be that the arc has not transferred and the plasma cutter still thinks it is in pilot mode. While in pilot mode the plasma cutter will limit how long the machine is on for safety reasons.

In order to ensure that the arc transfers to the workpiece and into cut mode, make sure that there is a good connection from the work clamp to the workpiece. Grind off any rust or paint in a small area, and hook up the work clamp to that spot. The plasma arc can cut through paint and rust, but the work clamp needs to have contact with bare metal.

Also remember that electricity is lazy and takes the path of least resistance. Make sure that the torch is close to the workpiece. All Miller plasma cutters come standard with a drag shield on the torch, so go ahead and drag the shield on the piece you are cutting. The drag shield provides the optimized standoff height for cutting.

Brian Brown
Engineering Technician, Plasma Products