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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