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Mel85CJ 07-24-2003 10:55 AM

Welding a rollcage
Do most of you guys use a mig welder when welding a roll cage? We welded mine with a Lincoln 165 (220 volt).. discussion came up last night about penetration of a mig vs. a stick for roll cages.. Rick said he thought he got good penetration with his mig...
(no comments from that peanut gallery, hehe)


pbmcauliffe 07-24-2003 11:47 AM

Re: Welding a rollcage
I use a 220v 175amp mig for mine, and so far a few have survived multiple hard rollovers w/o any problems in the welds.

CTjeepnut77 07-24-2003 12:01 PM

Re: Welding a rollcage
That's a good enough machine to weld cage material Mel.
But, when welding a cage, the welder should walk away, totally confident that he got a good weld.
I wouldn't suggest destructive testing on the cage, but
if you have doubts, have him do some similar welds on some scrap, then try to bust em apart with a BFH.


CJDave 07-24-2003 09:29 PM

Re: Welding a rollcage
[img]images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img] It'z not so much the welder as it is the weldee. [img]images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img] The idea that a MIG doesn't penetrate is a myth born of hobby-shop experiences where the guy buys a box store 120V wire welder and all of a sudden he's an expert......until his weld fails and the boat trailer goes into the median. [img]images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img] Because of the way they operate, MIGs need more wire movement than stick, and MORE HEAT THAN YOU THINK YOU NEED to get good welds. [img]images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img]

Dirt Dog 07-24-2003 10:34 PM

Re: Welding a rollcage
[img]images/graemlins/goodpost.gif[/img] Dave. (hands clapping) [img]images/graemlins/40BEER.gif[/img]

RRich 07-25-2003 12:28 AM

Re: Welding a rollcage
Right on Dave!!!!!!

A mig can make a pretty weld without decent penetration.

As we all know, penetration is the important part (take that as you will.)

**DONOTDELETE** 07-25-2003 12:41 AM

Re: Welding a rollcage
We just bought a 125 amp Lincoln MIG welder from Home Depot for our shop. I'm not confident enough to attempt a cage but I keep getting conflicting opinions on the ability of this welder. If done properly, could this welder be used to build a cage (or repair cracks in the frame)?

Thanks in advance

Scott DeLano

RickB 07-25-2003 07:44 AM

Re: Welding a rollcage
I totally agree that a mig can get good penetration when done properly. I had a welder at my work use mig on mine. I tend to think that a stick would tend to blow through the relatively thin tubing. At least it would if your getting good penetration.

RRich 07-25-2003 08:02 AM

Re: Welding a rollcage
Lay a couple of pieces of 3/16 next to each other - for a butt weld about 1" long. (1/8" is typical cage material, 3/16 is typical frame material.)
Do the best job you can welding it.
Then look at the back - did it penetrate?
Is the back melted together? Or is there just dribbles spots?
Did the weld go all the way through?
1/2 way?
Or just stay on the top surface? That's penetration.

To be strong the weld has to be just as thick through as the base material or more -- and properly joined to the base material all the way through - else the weld's the weak part.

Put it in a vise - bend it toward the top till it breaks. Look at it close. How much through was melted - what broke - the weld or where it was attached? Or did it even break? You should be able to bend it like crazy.

Do another one just like it - this time cut across the weld with a chop saw or grinder. Look close - how deep did it penetrate? Dip the end in pool acid or battery acid a few minutes, wash it off. Now look at the cut end - you can see how the metal structure was affected by the weld and how far into the base material was mingled.

Unfortunately on frame fixes and roll bars you can't get to the back to run another bead or even see it.

The little 110 volt MIGs are great for sheet metal work - actually better than the big ones since there's better low end control - but for heavier you need more heat - especially in critical areas like safety equipment.

Not fun to be hurt by your own safety equipment.
If you are doing it as a business, think of what just one lawsuit would do to you.

NnF 07-25-2003 08:19 AM

Re: Welding a rollcage

I believe that MIG Welding will have enough penetration if enough amperage is used.

If you have a question about the penetration take a couple of short piece of the material, you used to weld the cage with, and weld them using the same method and settings. After they cool cut the pipe in half and see how far the penetration is.

Also, NASCAR requires TIG welding of cages and frames, mainly for heat contol on the metal.


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