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Little Scrapper

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Yeah, this is the part of homebuilding that takes time. The actual building is easy, it's all these little things that add up.
 

Winginit

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Me, too! :) Turns out the 220V jack I have in the garage is of the 30A variety, but my welder has a 50A plug on it (different shape). It'll do 115V, but I live in an older house, and the circuit that feeds the garage is shared with the kitchen, and it's only 15A. Couple that with an extension cord, and I think it's just asking for a "lackajuice" condition. So I went to Menards and bought a new 50A plug to replace the 30A one, as well as a 10ga extension cord made for welders. And yes, I checked with my electrician brother to make sure the wiring was compatible and codeworthy! :)

I think tonight will be a good opportunity to get things set up to give it a go. I also wanted to get some work done on the plane this week, so I spent yesterday on that (and yard work). Someone told me not to forget to work on the plane, having shiny new toys to play with. Great advice. :)

In the interest of safety, I have to say I'm a little confused about how you are making your circuit. Are you just running a new circuit from your electric panel, and leaving the original circuit alone and intact ? Or, are you trying to tie the new stuff to the existing circuit ? I'm only asking because I would hate to see you do it wrong and fry some wires. I know you said you asked your brother if it was compatible, but how the question was asked may have had a bearing on his response. Your electric panel may be compatible (large enough and 220), but the 115V wiring leaving the panel probably isn't. I wonder why there is an existing 30 amp plug installed on a 15 amp circuit to begin with, especially one that services your kitchen too. Maybe you mean two 15 amp breakers in parallel. Also, some older houses used aluminum wiring for a while until it was proven unacceptable for smaller circuits. Anyway, if its dual 15 amp circuits and its also serving the kitchen, I see potential problems.

As I said, I'm only inquiring for safety reasons and for your benefit. I would hope that the 15 amp line is not the only/main source of electricity to your kitchen. If it is, I would look into upgrading your kitchen circuit. Second, I would suggest that the wiring to the garage welding plug be its own individual circuit . Then watch craigslist or local industrial auctions for some long used wiring cable to make you a 15-30 ft extension cord.

Anyway that's my concerns/suggestions. Be safe first :) (if I misread your post, then sorry for wasting your time)
 

Chris In Marshfield

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In the interest of safety, I have to say I'm a little confused about how you are making your circuit. Are you just running a new circuit from your electric panel, and leaving the original circuit alone and intact ? Or, are you trying to tie the new stuff to the existing circuit ? I'm only asking because I would hate to see you do it wrong and fry some wires. I know you said you asked your brother if it was compatible, but how the question was asked may have had a bearing on his response. Your electric panel may be compatible (large enough and 220), but the 115V wiring leaving the panel probably isn't. I wonder why there is an existing 30 amp plug installed on a 15 amp circuit to begin with, especially one that services your kitchen too. Maybe you mean two 15 amp breakers in parallel. Also, some older houses used aluminum wiring for a while until it was proven unacceptable for smaller circuits. Anyway, if its dual 15 amp circuits and its also serving the kitchen, I see potential problems.

As I said, I'm only inquiring for safety reasons and for your benefit. I would hope that the 15 amp line is not the only/main source of electricity to your kitchen. If it is, I would look into upgrading your kitchen circuit. Second, I would suggest that the wiring to the garage welding plug be its own individual circuit . Then watch craigslist or local industrial auctions for some long used wiring cable to make you a 15-30 ft extension cord.

Anyway that's my concerns/suggestions. Be safe first :) (if I misread your post, then sorry for wasting your time)
No worries. :) All is fair in love and electrical safety.

There's an already-existing 220V ciruit in the garage fed with 8/3 from the panel. I was saying that the welder runs on 110V as well, but the 110V circuit that feeds garage isn't likely heavy enough to handle it and the load of the kitchen as well. Can't run the welder and the toaster at the same time, I'll bet. :)

The 220V plug has a 30A socket on it (angled blades), but the welder has a 50A plug on it (straight blades). So I need to change the plug type to accommodate. It's protected with a 40A breaker in the panel. This particular welder will not likely pull 50A, so the the 40A breaker should be sufficient. But since this circuit is wired with 8ga, if I need it, I can upgrade to a 50A breaker in the panel and still meet code.

Thanks for making sure I stay safe!

~Chris
 

Chris In Marshfield

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Well, here's what I think. First, don't let your first weld be on .030 material.

image.jpg

First round, I just lit it up to see what the arc looked like. I wasn't getting enough arc to see, so it's likely that my shade is set too dark for this amperage. I could probably also use a higher-magnification cheater. But it might just be the light. Either way, I couldn't see much.

Then I tried with filler. I promptly buried the tungsten, so it's pretty much gunked up and needs to go through the grinder again. But hey, I struck that arc!

I know it looks like crap. I wasn't trying to do anything significant, but see how the torch felt. Baby steps.

Any suggestions on first pieces' thickness to weld on to get a feel for it? I've got a few thicker mild-steel coupons I could clean up.
 

Little Scrapper

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Thick or thin doesn't matter, heat does. Adjust your amps.

The only reason to avoid .30 is the warping so put it on something thick for a heat sink.

Avoid filler, I know your excited but you want to focus first on control. Run beads.
 
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Chris In Marshfield

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I was set to 30A for .030 to start with, based on the course recommendations. I'll bump it up a bit and watch the puddle as I bring in more of the foot pedal. Appreciate the tips.
 

Matt G.

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In A&P school we started with thicker material (gas welding, no TIG) and that seemed easier than the thinner material. I'm a step or two behind you, I have a Miller Multimatic 200 and a bunch of MIG experience. It's time for me to get the 100% argon bottle and start TIG welding. I did the workshop at OSH this year and have enough background info to start. Just waiting for my current gas bottle to run out so I can kill two birds with one stone...
 

Little Scrapper

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To be clear....

The 30 amps to .30" is following recommendations, sure, I get. That doesn't mean schit.

Remember when I said the biggest problem is travel speed? Feed rate?

Videos never mention this. I'll explain.

30 amps at 12 inches per minute is much hotter than 30 amps at 24 inches per minute. See why 30 amps is kind of a worthless number?

It's worthless on its own, but not worthless when you consider feed rates and travel speed. 30 amps will work great at a certain speed, this is the art of welding.

Welding is heat control. Period.
 

Chris In Marshfield

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Experimenting with amperage and torch speed. I feel like Goldilocks. This one's too hot, this one makes holes...

image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg

Sure is fun getting a feel for the puddle, the torch speed, the heat, and different positions.

I got better magnifiers for my helmet, too, and it helps a lot. Seeing is a good thing.
 

Little Scrapper

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Wanna know why those tube clusters didn't work out?

Because you didn't practice enough with running beads on flat plate. Haha
 

Chris In Marshfield

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Yep, I figured as much :). I'll get back on the plate. The thicker stuff I have is really dirty and needs cleaning up. But the tubing was taunting me! I'd like to blame it on the fitment , but you'd know that's a lie!
 

Little Scrapper

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Yeah, it does that.

Flat first. Then build boxes. Then tube.

One thing you can do to speed up the process of box building is the following.....

Buy 2" square tubing, 1/8" thick. Buy 2" wide steel strips, 1/8" thick. Cut the 2" strip 2" long so you have 2" squares.

Weld the 2" tube cap on. Then cut it off, about an 1 long. Repeat.

You can't avoid fundamentals. Practice with intent, don't weld to weld, practice with intent. Fundamentals first will ultimately save you time in the learning curve.
 

Winginit

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Scrapper is right about torch speed, but what I think you are overlooking is that thin material has less of a "safety factor" for heat changes. Slightly more heat than needed equals a burn through while thicker metal gives you a little more room to vary the amps. Try something flat and 3/16 or 1/4 inch thick. Set your amps for about 100 which will be more than enough. Remember that you don't need to use all of that, but it will give plenty of latitude to vary.
Now, don't try to weld or use a filler rod. Just hold the torch slightly above the metal and SLOWLY step on the pedal. An arc should start and look kina neat. Bring the torch closer to the metal and establish the beginning of a puddle. When you have a puddle established, begin to move and try to just keep the puddle going. Do that, and ONLY that for about 10 times.
Next, do the same thing, and tilt the torch sideways more. This will give you the opportunity to see what affect torch angle has on the arc flame. Do it once again and try to apply more amps, maybe 10 more amps than what you used before. The puddle will want to grow and you will then need to move faster. That goes back to what Scrapper was saying about controlling heat AND speed. This just gives you the opportunity to do something simple and see what the results are. Don't worry about welding yet' just try to develop a little hand/eye/foot co-ordination for now.

Two things, keep foot movements slow, and try to get all the black coating off the steel before attempting your "weld ?".When you add amps with your foot, it takes a moment for the result to happen in the puddle. If you add more than needed because you didn't proceed slowly,.you will ruin the puddle or blow a hole in thin material.

Something you might want to consider is going to a local fab shop and asking about buying their off fall. You might also inquire if they would shear you a bunch of 2x2 or 3x3 squares. I would think for a $100-$150 "cash" you could get enough pieces to last a fortnight or so. Trying to find cheap metal and then continually cut it to size is time consuming.
 
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Little Scrapper

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If amp setting is right you won't burn through.

Chris, I dumped 8 water heaters off today at Waukesha Iron, scrap is 95 a ton. Dirt cheap.

You can show up with a truck and load up fresh clean steel and they'll charge you per pound. They have piles of it every day.
 

Winginit

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Chris, hopefully you tried the drill I mentioned. The point to the drills is simply to build just a little co-ordination and not worry about real results. Within reason, it's always easier to learn with thicker material because you are learning to gain control over the adjustments you make. Hand movements will become more co-ordinated but the foot control is where you initially will be "all over the place" and cause burn thru. You press the pedal a little and it's not quite enough, so you give it a little more, AND suddenly it's too much ! Hold that puddle and creep up slowly with the pedal till you get the hang of it. The thicker material will allow you room to play with the puddle and see what works. Sometimes too much heat causes the puddle to splash up on your tip. There are lots of things that seem to cause your tip to need regrinding,again and again. All these mistakes are actually learning experiences. Just try to notice what caused it.

Once you get a little comfortable playing with the puddle, then put two pieces of metal side by side in a vice and puddle them together. Practice that a few times.

Oh, have you accidently stepped on the pedal yet while having your free hand anywhere near the tip ? It will get your attention really quickly !
 

Chris In Marshfield

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As always, I appreciate everyone's guidance. Last night's adventure was on a whim at 10:30p when I finished the evening's work on the Expedition. I haven't been back at it yet, and I'm away from home this weekend. But I'll certainly be back at it when I get home. My son is working on an internship across from a fab shop. So, as suggested, I'll swing by and see if they'll let me dumpster dive for some weld able scrap. There's also a metal scrap yard a block away from them, as well, so the water heater idea sounds like a good one, too.

Definitely plan to follow yours and Scrapper's advice.
 
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