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Old 12-24-2005, 09:10 PM
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Default metal thickness and mig welding

hey everyone. merry christmas. im getting a mig welder for christmas. its going to be my first welder and im my dad will be teaching me the basics. its a lincoln sp-175 mig 220v. the box it recomends only using mig for up to 16 ga steel and to use flux cored wire for anything thicker. i figured id be able to do a lot thicker with a 175 amp 220v welder. is the box correct and 16 ga is the limits for mig use or will i be able to safely welder thicker metal using mig and stull get proper penetration. i realize im sure i will figure this out through experience but its just been bothering me til i get a chance to actually get started using it.

thanks
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Old 12-24-2005, 11:58 PM
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Default Re: metal thickness and mig welding

Congratulations! A swell Christmas present!

If you bevel the edges and make multiple passes you can go as thick as you want. Just as a test I welded two pieces of 5/8 plate together with my 120 volt machine. On testing it bent about 45* and then the base metal broke about a quarter inch from the weld. And I think that wouldn't have happened had I post heated it.

If you make a straight butt weld I would think that it would go to 10 gauge, if not more, with proper technique. The only way to know is to try it. Weld two pieces together and then see if you can break the weld. The manual that comes with the welder should illustrate destructive testing.

That will not only tell you what the machine will do, but also how the operator is doing.
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Old 12-25-2005, 09:49 AM
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Default Re: metal thickness and mig welding

11 gauge is real close to 1/8 of inch. the higher the number in gauge the thinner
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Old 12-25-2005, 10:23 AM
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Default Re: metal thickness and mig welding

Preheating I can do 1/4 with my 110v linc
Nice weld to. I bet i could go more but i have no need for anything more then 1/4
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Old 12-25-2005, 10:31 AM
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Default Re: metal thickness and mig welding

OH - at first I misinterpreted what you said. Yes, the higher the number the THINNER it is.

They are saying you need the flux core for most anything THICKER than 16 gauge.

The 175 will do you well.

I'd suggest you get the set-up to use shielding gas, like argon/co2 mix for steel. I's soooo much cleaner and nicer than flux core. Less spatter and -- You don't have to chip the slag off!

Remember - the key is practice practice practice, but you'll enjoy it.
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Old 12-25-2005, 10:50 AM
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Default Re: metal thickness and mig welding

I have a Hobart Handler 180. It is very similiar to your Lincoln 175. I have can weld 1/4" easily with it. With fluxcore wire you should be able to do 5/16" supposedly. I have never run fluxcore through my HH 180 yet. I think you might of read something wrong. There should be a label on the inside of your welder where you load the wire that tells you more info on settings and such. 16 gauge is very thin and with a 220 volt 175 amp machine you can safely weld 1/4" steel with multiple passes. You should be able to weld 3/16" in a single pass.

A welder is great tool to have and is a fantastic x-mas gift. Have fun making stuff! You will find more projects than you ever imagined once you get to using it.
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Old 12-25-2005, 11:20 AM
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Default Re: metal thickness and mig welding

I know with my miller 175 I can burn a hole right through 1/4" if it's cranked all the way up. Actually, I havent seen anything it wouldn't weld with one slow pass yet.
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Old 12-25-2005, 02:13 PM
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Default Re: metal thickness and mig welding

I have a Lincoln SP-175 and it will weld 3/16 single pass using .023 wire and gas shielding. Beveling and gapping are appropriate whenever welding anything where penetration is an issue. Beveled and depending on the type of joint, you should be able to weld 1/4" thick steel with your machine. My chart shoes 10 gauge as the limit for gas shielded solid wire and 5/16" for flux core.
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Old 12-25-2005, 03:13 PM
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Default Re: metal thickness and mig welding

Interesting that the chart shows that - I use a Miller 215 on thick stuff with shielding gas all the time - often 1/2" or more. The only time I revert to flux core wire is in windy situations. (I hate that stuff.)

Wondering if the way the gas is fed onto the work is different on the Lincoln vs. Miller?


A little O/T but -
Normally the gas pressure should be around 30 psi on mine, but I crank it up a bit to 45-50 - more in a breeze. You'll know when you have too much pressure when the gas flow deflects the arc.

Keeping a couple of big boxes around to make a screen helps too.

And - Sometimes I use a hunk of copper to back up the joint. Clamp it on. It keeps the gas on the back of the work piece, stopping the back from oxidizing as you weld.
Copper plate is expenside -- use a hunk of copper tube and flatten it. It won't stick to your work, but keeps the joint immersed in the shielding gas.
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Old 12-25-2005, 03:43 PM
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Default Re: metal thickness and mig welding

I use 75/25 gas with .035 wire in my miller 175 and don't have any problem welding 1/4" in a single pass with my bad welding skills.
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