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Using a tip different than wire size?

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  • Using a tip different than wire size?

    A couple of weeks ago I bought a used Miller Spoolmate 100 on E-Bay at what I thought was a good price, $167 including shipping. The gun showed nearly no signs of use, even the clear plastic covers over the wire feed rollers and the wire spool are still scratch-free. There's no splatter inside the nozzle and I'd guess that there haven't been 20 feet of wire run off the spool.

    Now here is the thing, the wire that was (and is) in it is a 2-pound AlcoTec ER4043 in 0.035. I pulled off the nozzle and then the contact tip to take a look at them right after I got the gun. The nozzle was like new with nearly no splatter but the thing that caught my attention was the tip. It was nearly clean with only slight signs of use but instead of it being a .035 tip what was in it - to match the .035 wire being fed through it - the gun had a .030 tip in it. The wire seems to slip right through it with no binding what so ever and if I hadn't seen the engraved size in the side of the tip I'd never have guessed that it is a different size, smaller, than the wire it services.

    So how is that the case? I didn't know you could do that, which should come as no suprise to anyone. I may have been sticking things together with a MIG welder for 40 years but that time number is misleading. I'm just another home-use, light repairs, "hobby" sort of guy with no formal training as I'm sure as many bad habits as one old guy can get. I'm perfectly ready to learn better so if someone would be good enough to explain to me about if and when its OK or even desirable to mix-to-match your wire and tip sizes if in fact its actually ever OK to do it at all. I am always appreciative of being taught better.

    And on a somewhat different note, but Spoolmate-100 related. Every-time I see a discussion about them the things are treated with some derision. People imply that they are somehow poorly made and undersized for the duty they will receive. That said their specs seem to indicate they are more or less perfectly sized for the machines they are recommended for and after what seems to be about three years on the market, time enough to amass hundreds of Forum discussions about them across the internet, and I have never found a single instance of anyone reporting that one had broken or in any way failed to work. I've seen many cases of people not knowing how to work one, but no cases of anything gone wrong with the spoolgun itself. Granted the things have limited capability, nothing too thin, nothing too thick, but to say that they are junk really seems to me to be missing the mark. Granted a lot of guys just want to brag about the wondrous capability they have in their own perfect shop and contribute nothing useful to the discussion and a whole flock of other geese simply echo any negative opinion they hear in hopes it will make them look smarter, but when you get down to facts and experience I just don't see anyone saying something about the SM-100 was either poorly designed or somehow defective. What has your experience been with one?

  • #2
    I was under the impression that tips were marked for wire size. With that who's to say some one miss marked the tip, modified it because it was easier to drill it out then buy the right one or tolerances are wide enough to get away with the larger wire size. Who knows. Curiosity would have one measure with a tip/wire gauge and call miller or welding shop that has data on it or compare with a new .35 tip. Sounds like to much work for me though.


    As to gun info I'm not familiar with the 100 as I use the 30. Most threads I read here are most buy a machine, then try to run it beyond its intended capability. For hobbiests like my self which don't use machines many hours in the day it works just fine. For your application it should work as intended.

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    • #3
      We use .030 tips with .035 wire on all our robotic welders at work.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by 1_old_man View Post


        but when you get down to facts and experience I just don't see anyone saying something about the SM-100 was either poorly designed or somehow defective. What has your experience been with one?
        I prob have been messing with the SM3035 and SM100's more than anyone for the last 15 years or so. The gun itself is perfect!!! the tips suck. They are too small to take the heat and will stick the wire inside. Since my tip conversion many years ago i have found the perfect setup with them. I can even run .035 wire all day thru a .030 tip since my conversion uses good tips now. And i ran a robotic welder and it always got a .030 tip for .035 wire no matter what the weld tech said or the "salesman" that thought he knew everything...Bob
        Bob Wright

        Spool Gun conversion. How To Do It. Below.
        http://www.millerwelds.com/resources...php?albumid=48

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        • #5
          Well, there is a good bit to be learned here

          Bob,
          First off you deserve a hearty thank you for taking the time to post those pictures and explaination of your gun modification to allow the use of the more common MIG tips in the small spool gun. I am in the hospital now, will be here until saturday evening (I have cancer and have just begun the second of a series of 5-day long chemo infusions) and when I get back home I'll modify my gun per your instructions.

          Just a couple of things to think about. The problem is obviously the inability of SM-100's tip to disapate heat quick enough. It seems to me that there are at least two things that can be done in addition to your modification that may provide a bit more protection of the tip. First is to use the gas for additional cooling. I tend to run mine at about 18~20 but it occurs to me that bumping that up to maybe something on the order of 25 might help cool the tip enough to reduce the burnback. The other thing that occurs to me is that I could easily increase the outside surface area of a handfull of tips by tossing them in a lathe and cutting a series of grooves in them in the meatiest part of the body above the threads; I'm thinking something along the lines of 0.030 wide and about the same depth, maybe 4 or 5 grooves in total. That would give a good bit more area for the tip to disapate heat (into the shielding gas) but not be such a series of cuts that would weaken the tips. Can't hurt to try it.

          Oh, and this is just another note for those who think the SM-100 is Chineese made junk. The box mine came in says Made in USA on its side and the only reference I can find on the Internet also claims that the SM-100 is an American made product. Personally I am inclined to go with your assessment, that the SM-100 is very well sized to the machines it is designed to be used with and for the severity of use you'd expect to see with those machines. Some of us spend more time reapairing aluminum lawn furniture than we do building bridges and size our equipment purchases accordingly - you clearly understand this, many guys don't.

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          • #6
            Hope your treatments are effective.
            It will be interesting to see if the grooves make a difference and how they affect the gas flow(turbulence?). You may have to experiment with long spirals or straight longitudinal grooves milled in. Just a thought. I guess excess gas flow could cause turbulence as well but there is nothing like hands on experience. Good luck.---Meltedmetal

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            • #7
              Bob, I'd like to know about the conversion. I have a Spool Mate 3035 and could see where it would be beneficial to have standard tips. Thanks

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              • #8
                Originally posted by JWDESIGNS View Post
                Bob, I'd like to know about the conversion. I have a Spool Mate 3035 and could see where it would be beneficial to have standard tips. Thanks
                This is open to anyone here. I don't charge to do the conversion if you just send me the tube and return shipping. This is for the spoolmate 185, 3035 and spoolmate 100. I have been blessed in so many ways just giving some back...Bob
                Bob Wright

                Spool Gun conversion. How To Do It. Below.
                http://www.millerwelds.com/resources...php?albumid=48

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                • #9
                  Pretty generous of you Bob, how do I contact you? I'm fairly new to the forum and ain't quite got it all figured out yet...

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                  • #10
                    Never mind I see now you sent me a message. Thanks!

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                    • #11
                      Does anyone have any dimensions for contact tips? What is the typical ID vs wire diameter?One brand i saw showed 0.006"-0.012" over the listed wire size. (0.035" would actually be 0.041"-0.047")

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by iloveturbolag View Post
                        Does anyone have any dimensions for contact tips? What is the typical ID vs wire diameter?One brand i saw showed 0.006"-0.012" over the listed wire size. (0.035" would actually be 0.041"-0.047")
                        I have seen .010-.014 over what is stamped on the side of them. I quit buying .035 tips as i just buy the .030 even for my .035 wire. I ran a robotic welder and i changed them over to .030 vrs .035 as they held the wire in a more uniform place for the welds. I have checked lots of tips with different dia wires and a micrometer and i came up with about the same .010 clearance also..Bob
                        Bob Wright

                        Spool Gun conversion. How To Do It. Below.
                        http://www.millerwelds.com/resources...php?albumid=48

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thanks Bob, I will be using these on robots for the same reason. Should get better tip life as well.

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