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Thread: Flux core welder

  1. #1

    Flux core welder

    I been kicking around of getting a Mig welder but now a flux core, I am not planning to weld more that a quarter inch and I dont want to store gases. So does anyone elase does welding?

  2. #2
    Was a pipefitter most of my life and welded most of the time. Unless you are going for nuclear grade welding a mig welder would be fine for the type of welding you want to do

    Bob

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by marlin adams View Post
    I been kicking around of getting a Mig welder but now a flux core, I am not planning to weld more that a quarter inch and I dont want to store gases. So does anyone elase does welding?
    Hi Marlin,
    Was that a "typo", or are you planning to buy a flux core? If you are contemplating a flux core (or not), I will be happy to offer you some knowledge based on my experience as a "professional welder". Please offer some more details of your plans and expectations.
    David

    Desert Hybrids Precision

  4. #4
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    I keep a little 120v Lincoln Mig set up with flux core wire. They come up cheap on CL all the time. I forget the model number of mine, but it doesn't weigh much more than 45 pounds, with a handle on top, so it's easy to take where you need it.

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    My son is a union ironworker and certified welder. He has a small 120 volt Miller mig welder at home. He usually takes his welding to work where they have good stick welders. His welder uses flux core and he does not have it set up for gas. He gets a lot of spatter, I understand using gas would give a much cleaner weld.
    NOW you tell me...

  6. #6
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    i have a 120 volt Hobart that gets a decent amount of use, its next project is welding up some cracks on the old back blade for my tractor. It works great for what it is, and is set up for gas incase the need arises. I will probable set it up for gas when i start working on my jeep project. In the small welders, there is not a lot of quality difference between the makers, I got the hobart on sale on the old toolking site that is no longer around. I would take a serious look at the harbor freight offering today.

    AVE youtube channel has tear downs of the harbor freight and the Lincoln, worth a look.

  7. #7
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    My son and I own a metal fab/welding shop.

    Stick with the better welder brands and you will have better parts and service availability. Better re-sale and trade in prices this way too. Miller, Hobart (now part of Miller), Lincoln, and ESAB are the brands to choose. Harbor Freight and most other brands are very hard to sell when you want to upgrade or quit welding. A good portable light duty welder for beginners is the Miller 211 or it's equivalent in one of the other brands and is a great size to start with. The Miller 211 can be used on both 120 and 240 volt power, but don't expect it to weld much thicker than about 1/4" steel. It can use both gas or flux core. CO2 and Argon can both be used, but a mix of the two produces the best results for general purpose welding. You can buy it pre-mixed in different percentages by the tank full. The larger the tank, the cheaper the gas becomes at refill time. The gas companies will swap empty for full tanks with you for faster service. Make friends with the sales people at the local welding supply and you will get all kinds of help and advice.

    A MIG welder that uses gas will give you much better results than flux core. If it has gas capability, you can run flux core too. You will need to clean rust, scale, paint, etc. off of the work area (area being welded) or these will melt and mix into the weld pool, preventing you from getting a good strong weld. A right angle 5" grinder with a flap disk is best for cleaning the weld area. Clean back about 1" from the joint being welded on both sides of each piece.

    With a MIG welder, doing many small spot welds along the joint will help you keep the joint aligned as you go and minimize warping too. Clamps help to keep warping down. Skip from one end to the other and then back, adding one spot weld at a time to distribute the heat and keep the warping down to a minimum. Avoid making large areas extremely hot all at once. Take breaks, if necessary, to let it cool down. Keep alternating weld positions and doing small spots until the seam is completely welded. An auto darkening hood helps a newbie significantly, but the cheaper helmets leave a lot to be desired. We now use Miller Digital Elite helmets because they work so well. Your eyes will thank you, and you will be able to actually see what you are welding with a good auto darkening helmet. You are going to need good welding gloves, a leather apron, Cotton clothing that won't matter if it gets burn holes in it, and never weld with any skin showing toward the weld. The welding arc will give exposed flesh a bad Sunburn very quickly. Button up your shirt as high as you can (my biggest fault). It helps newbies if a soap stone line is drawn close and parallel to the joint being welded. Then it's easier to stay on the joint by welding a fixed distance from this soap stone line. If you wear glasses to read, you will likely either need to wear them under your helmet, or buy what they call "cheater lenses" that snap into the inside of the helmet. Don't attempt to weld while wearing contacts. Get dime store glasses if you don't go with one of the other options, but safety glasses with prescription strength lenses are best, since you really need safety glasses when doing any metal work.

    When a MIG welder is adjusted correctly for the work that you are doing, the weld process will make a buzz sound, kind of like eggs frying. The smoother this buzz, the better the quality of the weld. The dials on the Miller are marked with information to help you get the settings close to correct for what you are welding, but variations in line voltage, drops in voltage in long power cords will cause a need for slight corrections in these adjustments. They get you close though.

    Charley

  8. #8
    “Storing gas” is not dangerous as you are using an inert gas. It cannot ignite. I run a Miller 211 and it is excellent. Multi voltage. If you can swing it, you do want a 220 machine. It is just so much more capable. Flux core is ok but running straight wire is so much cleaner and you can see what is happening with the puddle more clearly, not having to deal with the flux. The famous last words of welding is “I am only going to need up to 1/4”. Ole’s comment about his son who owns the 110v machine, but takes his heavier stuff to work where they have real machines is your caution. I wish I had bought a 252, but that is the way these things go.

  9. #9
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    I have an somewhat older Lincoln 220 volt (Model SP 170T ) which I only run flux core wire in. Yes, it's a lot more messy than running solid wire with gas, but I don't have to worry about my gas bottle being empty, and my welding needs are pretty modest.
    Last edited by Dave Cav; 06-24-2019 at 1:58 PM.

  10. #10
    Storing inert gas is not dangerous. I would really recommend getting a mig welder. It can use flux core, but you will inevitably run into situations where you want the cleaner weld. If you haven't welded with mig then give it a try. I know i will never go back to flux unless I really have to. I would also recommend getting a 240v machine if you have the power for it.

  11. #11
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    I much prefer gas shielded welding, but it's easy to tote the small flux core mig welder to something too large to get in the metal shop, or off on a jobsite. I really like the Miller 250 series (251,252 depending on years made) Mig welders for gas shielded mig welding. Even with the flux core wire, I'll still grind the surfaces, because it makes a cleaner job. I'd rather grind the metal, and weld with gas shielded than deal with the flux on the surface, but both have their place.

  12. #12
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    I have read that some folks run flux core with pure CO2. it is supposed to make a nicer looking job. Maybe easier to chip. Ther eis no need to use more expensive mixed gasses with flux core.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Dufour View Post
    I have read that some folks run flux core with pure CO2. it is supposed to make a nicer looking job. Maybe easier to chip. Ther eis no need to use more expensive mixed gasses with flux core.
    Hi Bill,
    There are basically 2 types of flux core wire. One is for use with CO2 or C25 (argon/co2 mix), and the other is for use with no gas. Most "hobby guys" will use the flux core wire that does not require inert gas. This is the one that is "self shielding" and leaves all the spatter and creates lots of smoke. The other is used mostly for industrial applications on larger machines for heavy structural steel work. Here is some information (below) that may help clarify the distinction. In fact, many of the inexpensive flux core welders to not have provision for inert gas. I know - because I do have one of those models ($300 on Ebay) that is for occasional use around the house for stuff that can't be brought into the shop - for example - some small welds on gutters already installed to the house. My welders in the shop - 4 MIG and 2 TIG - all require inert gas. For the MIG welders, the C25 mix will allow a much nicer weld than using CO2. The CO2 does afford slightly better penetration, and is used mostly for heavy structural applications with the welder operating in the "Full Spray Arc" region. I use pure Argon with my TIG welders, although some use a Helium mix to weld titanium.
    David

    "Flux cored wires that are designed to be self shielding do not benefit from running CO2. In fact, in most cases it can be detrimental and cause changes in the metallurgy of the filler metal."

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUztns6ed00

    Flux Cored Welding with Gas vs without Gas.jpg
    Last edited by David Buchhauser; 06-28-2019 at 5:07 AM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Günter VögelBerg View Post
    Storing inert gas is not dangerous.
    "Not dangerous" as in, "not flammable/explosive".

    A cylinder of inert gas can displace most/all the oxygen in a non-ventilated area pretty quickly, leading to hypoxia. Probably not an issue in a garage or out-building shop, but definitely a concern in a basement shop.
    Jason

    "Don't get stuck on stupid." --Lt. Gen. Russel Honore


  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by marlin adams View Post
    I been kicking around of getting a Mig welder but now a flux core, I am not planning to weld more that a quarter inch and I dont want to store gases. So does anyone elase does welding?
    Marlin, I missed this the other day.

    I think a small flux core welder is well worth having. If you haven't had a welder on hand, you will find it adds a new dimension in ways to fasten and fix things.

    I have a small Lincoln MIG welder I use with flux core without gas, a MIG with gas, a TIG machine, and a stick welder. The small welder was all I used for years. I don't weld commercially but for fun and for building/repairing things for the farm and for friends. (I was a welding inspector in the '70s for transportation and nuclear applications so I have some idea of what makes a good weld.)

    I like the small MIG welder only with flux core although it can be used with gas. I like it for several reasons, one it the size and weight without the tank of gas makes it much more portable. Two, it runs nicely on 110v. While my bigger Miller MIG can also be run on 110v if needed, it is far more trouble to lug around even if I did remove the tank. Three, it didn't cost much but still does the job! Also, I consider it my "spare" welder and one of the very few tools I'll loan to others.

    The flux core wire does in fact splatter more. You can spray with anti-splatter but it doesn't help much. I just weld then clean up.

    I can easily weld 1/4" mild steel with my small welder. In fact, I've welded much thicker by making several passes, cleaning and grinding between passes. I have also welded thin sheet metal (for example repairing a truck door) although I prefer oxy-acetylene torch or TIG for thinner steel.

    JKJ

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