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Discussion Starter #1
Hi-Ya everybody,
Okay, here's a question I am sure will start a rather long thread. It has probally been asked before on the net, but, since you guy's know whats up, I thought I would post this question. But, before I do. Here's some facts:

Chicago Electric 90 amp Flux Wire Welder. (Harbor Freight model 98871)

My understanding is this welder is a mig without the gas. And not that amp's adjustable. Now, I am not new to welding. I have stick welded for years. However, thin metal, as in Auto body welding IS new to me.

I have tested, practiced today, and I did do all right. But, I did not practice on 1962 auto body steel. *I think* if I used a thicker wire, that would lower the amps, so the weld wouldn't burn through so fast. AND, would lower the amps to hopefully, stop warping. Was looking at the different sizes and models of welding wire, so at this point, I really don't know what size to use to give me better handling, and a better weld. So, here's the question I hope some of you can answer:

What would be the best gauge, Mfg, wire to use in this machine to do the patch work on my 62 Fairlane?. If you have a model number of the wire reel that would be helpful. If it's available at Home Depot or Lowes without special ordering that would be great.

I know a Mig with Argon is best. Don't have the bucks, and no one will lend me a welder like that (I don't blame them). So, at this point. This welder is what I have to do the body work on my car. What you guys think?

Bill
 

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You have to use the wire required by the welder. In this case .030 or .035 flux wire.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You have to use the wire required by the welder. In this case .030 or .035 flux wire.
Hmmmm, so, they don't make different wire wheels to use in these machines for specific welding jobs?. So, in that case, what would be best .030 or .035. I am assuming .035 because it's thicker?.
 

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Read the instructions that came with the machine.
 

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I saw at carlises attachments to place on your lead lines that was unother I have ever seen. Was planning to get one but being 350 bucks I was waiting till I sold some more stuff and didnot go back. It uses a third of your tank supplys and can cut, weld very thin metal as well weld back. It came with all kinds of wire for copper, alum, I think 6 different ways to use. I got a card so I would not forget but cannot find it. Anyone ever saw these attachments? Near every swap meet I see them there. I need to find those attachments and would solve any need you may have.
 

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http://manuals.harborfreight.com/manuals/98000-98999/98871.pdf

Had one of them they are junk and I would not use it for body work. but since it all you have read the manual it dose have adjustments you can make. get some junk panels and practice as much as possible to get used to the welder before you weld on your car...you still wont be happy but maybe you can get it welded without causing to much damage and extra body work..
 

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No this is not a welder or sticks of any kind. This is only a attachments to a torch and you use wire to weld by hand. It welds think and very thin metals. It will cut say your name in metal perfict at say even 1.16th .
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I have seen a repair done with this welder. The guy had two rust holes about the size of quarters in the front part of a hood on a 82 Ford Ranger. he did a nice job. Coulden't see any welds, and it was as smooth as the factory steel.

He did say, he had to take his time and find a comfy way of filling the holes. He DID NOT do a patch, rather, he filled the holes in with the welder wire. AND he did a lot of grinding to get it that good.

I was thinking... (I am told that can be a dangerous thing), In stick welding there are many different welding sticks for different jobs. upside down, side... sticks for different thicknesses... There are many different wire wheels for these kinds of welders. There has to be a wire designed to give optimal performance, handling, and heat for this kinds of body metal.

I have the manual right here. says: .030, Mild steel. 16, 14, 12, 1/8. Gives the feed settings (estimated). I have assumed the feed settings are also the ampage settings. So, in that case, what would the metal size be for the 62?. I don't have a micrometer.

When I practiced today, I started with setting 1, then progressed to full. I wasen't welding body though, I was welding on a old hot water heater beautification cover. Thicker then the 62's body metal.

I still have some experimentation/practice to do. The instructions on changing the wheel indicate wire size .030. No mention of any other sizes in the rest of the manual. Bummer:. I bet though, it'll handle different sizes. But they won't admit to it.

Anybody use this machine?. Tips?. Wonder if I could use a separate tank and torch of argon?. I'm off of work tomorrow, maybe I'll stop into the welding place and see if I can pry any information out of them about the sizes...

Any other comments or suggestions?.
 

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What I am talking about uses no elictricty or amps or any kind of welder, just like a torch. They have all kinds of 4 foot wires for any kind of metals, dif tips for cutting or welding even thick cast iron. Copper as thin as paper he took 2 sheets and with that small torch weled them together with the nices bead I ever saw. I got have one. I think my buddy that went with me has his card.
 

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I still have some experimentation/practice to do. The instructions on changing the wheel indicate wire size .030. No mention of any other sizes in the rest of the manual. Bummer:. I bet though, it'll handle different sizes. But they won't admit to it.
The same wheel will work for the .035 wire.. It is avail @ the same outlet you got the welder...
Anybody use this machine?. Tips?. Wonder if I could use a separate tank and torch of argon?. I'm off of work tomorrow, maybe I'll stop into the welding place and see if I can pry any information out of them about the sizes...

Any other comments or suggestions?.
Yes I have, and yes it CAN be done after a LOT of trial and error (which is bad) I dont know how big of an area you are trying to patch. I can tell you the welder isnt all that, but it will suffice MAYBE. I say this after using one helping a friend with a car project of his own. (He had no clue how to weld and bought the cheapest wire welder he could find, same as you did.{was same welder}) It is really pure junk... BUT after bad mouthing HF and its welders it CAN be done, Take your time, the warpage can be heald to a minimum buy 'jumping' around on the welding... you basically HAVE to tack weld it all the way until it is welded solid. Get the patch panel as close to exact fit in place of repair, tack it strategically until it is in place and tack from end to end keeping the tacks as far from each other as possible, when you are running 'out of room' to do this then really slow the pace down, waiting for 30 seconds or more between tacks as to not heat the area to much causing warpage... Trust me it will look like hen scratch but thats what the grinders and flap wheels are for... ( BTW I am a Cert Welder)... Hope you have better luck with the Chicago Electric 90 than i did, as the adjust-ability IS non- existent. Wire speed is about all you have for adjustment if i remember correctly... And High/Low for amps
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The same wheel will work for the .035 wire.. It is avail @ the same outlet you got the welder...Yes I have, and yes it CAN be done after a LOT of trial and error (which is bad) I dont know how big of an area you are trying to patch. I can tell you the welder isnt all that, but it will suffice MAYBE. I say this after using one helping a friend with a car project of his own. (He had no clue how to weld and bought the cheapest wire welder he could find, same as you did.{was same welder}) It is really pure junk... BUT after bad mouthing HF and its welders it CAN be done, Take your time, the warpage can be heald to a minimum buy 'jumping' around on the welding... you basically HAVE to tack weld it all the way until it is welded solid. Get the patch panel as close to exact fit in place of repair, tack it strategically until it is in place and tack from end to end keeping the tacks as far from each other as possible, when you are running 'out of room' to do this then really slow the pace down, waiting for 30 seconds or more between tacks as to not heat the area to much causing warpage... Trust me it will look like hen scratch but thats what the grinders and flap wheels are for... ( BTW I am a Cert Welder)... Hope you have better luck with the Chicago Electric 90 than i did, as the adjust-ability IS non- existent. Wire speed is about all you have for adjustment if i remember correctly... And High/Low for amps

Yes, it's not the best thats for sure... I have a Lincoln, stick welder, I built many trailers with it, repaired heavy steel. It is adjustiable down to around 30 amps, but thats too much for body steel.

I need to get some actual body steel sheet metal. I'm going over to a friends house later on with my sawall and tear up un-seen places on his 86 Crown Vic until we take it over to the scrap metal place. The 86 has to stay until he knows he dosen't need anything off it. (A doner car Motor and trans for his 55 Crown Vic) I can take places un seen metal for now until he knows he dosen't need any parts then I'll take some door, hood, trunk metal. Don't want to have a "holy" car in his back yard for the Code Enforcement to come around..

In the mean time, I'll experiment with it. The first places I have to patch is the front fire wall. But I want to practice with real auto body metal..

Here's another way of lowering the amps on the welder.... Kinda half ass, but might work... Use 2 100 foot extension cords (or more). That should lower the input amps down a little and may be enough to do decent welds without warping or burning through. LOL... I just might try that while I'm experimenting.
 

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the heavier the wire the more amperage you need to use to get it to "Burn". .023 is perfect for body work. Very low amperage, but you are using flux core and I dont believe they make .023 flux. Lincoln welding wire is quite simply the best wire out there.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Called HF today. There are several wires that can be used with that welder. However, the amp's are too high even with the correct wire. Maybe I'll play, maybe not.

I experimented with the machine. I had a 35 gauge, and the other, and it still burnt through. Tried slanting the torch even further, still burnt through.

Tried just along the metal no butting pieces, better, but you have to drag the torch quite fast, but naturally, the bead is erratic. Tryed the same on butted pieces, burnt through.

My Lincoln welder goes down in amps further then this wire welder. The dial says 40, but goes a little lower in turning the setting dial. I figure 30 maybe. The size stick: 1/16. Worked better, but still burnt through. Guess I have to drag the stick faster in a smaller bead. I'll stop into Lowe's tomorrow after work and see what sticks are available, and experiment.

I went over to a friends that has a 86 Vic thats junk, and tore some of the body metal off for testing with, and if I have any left, if I find the nitch, I'll have some patching metal too.

I don't want to use a welder I'm not comfy with. I don't want to burn or broken line bead, or have a bead with burn through every 1/2 inch or so. One wrong mistake, and your pissed... More experimentation OR save $$ to buy a REAL mig.... Humph, always something.... Stopping the process, especially during this time where the weather is favorable.

I'll have to think about this problem more, investigate, and we'll see what happens. No one here has a mig to lend.

Okay so, how about a Tig welder?. Whats the pros and cons of a TIG?.
 

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+2 on the .023 Lincoln wire. The only reason the welding supply near me carries it is for the body shops that buy it.

I'm a rookie welder, but have had good success with the .023 non-flux.

Paul

1969 R-Code, 4-Speed, Drag-Pack Cobra Fastback Project
1967 Mercury Commuter Wagon w/mild 429

My Car Restoration Projects
 

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Yeah, using a low-quality flux-core welder is like trying to play a guitar concert with a shoe box and fishing line. Yes, it can be done, but if going that route, consider it like stick stitch welding. Zap it 1/2 a second, move to the other side of the panel and do it again. Do not try to run a bead, as it will overheat, burn through and warp with the added heat. If you move faster to avoid burn-through, it will not penetrate and will give you fugly beads that won't hold anything together. I'm no expert, but this is what I've learned myself. You'll probably buy a bumper sticker that says "FLUX SUX". ;) Great for farm repairs - comparatively poor for bodywork.

Also +1 for .023" wire, as (just like stick) the bigger the rods the hotter the weld when you arc it. The wire speed is the most useful adjustment, and actually increases or decreases the heat in the weld puddle. More wire in the puddle = more amps = hotter. If it says .030 to .035, then that's what you can use. No tricking the machine here.

Your easiest setup is to set your amps (try LOW first), then trigger an arc, and turn the wire feed from low to high slowly. The adjustment will be by both sight and sound. I haven't used your particular machine, but wire speed (if wide enough range) will begin with a chuffing hiss (too slow) and will deposit metal by spray transfer. This can actually be useful, as it has low penetration, but very uneven and hard to control. Doing rosettes in overlapped panels sometimes goes well with this setting. The effect really isn't a rosette, but more like welding with a tiny spitting spray can. By sight, you can see the tip of the wire ball-up some and melt back, spitting onto the sheet as it goes, until it gets too long and loses arc. This typically repeats several times a second. It is very hard on the tip and nozzle though.

Turning the speed up, the chuffing hiss will get faster (as the arc that's burning back gets shorter) and become more of a crackling buzz., Penetration increases as heat increases in the puddle, but the bead becomes smoother. The crackling buzz will become even and smooth in sound, and will look like just a bright spot where the wire enters the puddle. This is your general setting, and will give the best all-around results - considering that's what you get and the rest is all skill in working the arc and bead. Yes, crappy equipment requires more skill to use than good stuff. Settings at the low-end of this range are cooler. At the high end it gets quite hot and penetration is greater, along with more deposit. BTW - be careful at the high-end of this range on sheet metal as you'll get some very low and pretty beads (just shy of burn-through), but if you flip it over, you'll see a mountain range of metal that beaded on the back side. :mad:

As you increase wire speed beyond this point, the crackling buzz will become unstable again, with the wire going in faster than it can handle. While it will be pumping max amps (within the LOW range), the excess of wire will cool the weld fast and you end up with welds no better, but huge and tall. In the extreme you will see the wire turn white hot before the puddle, and just fold onto itself like spaghetti. Obviously bad.

Play with the settings a while and see how it works. Then do it all again on the HIGH amp setting. Sometimes a fast blast at high amps will give better results. Hope that helps, and it all takes experimenting and getting a 'feel' for what it's doing.

TIG? TIG is awesome, but unless you can sink the heat, you're still stuck with lots of stitches as the heat into the panel is high - like oxy/acetylene with more concentrated pinpoint heat. No beads here either or you'll warp it up. Another great tool, but again requiring skill to get those results. Much easier for guys to learn that have used gas.

Having said all that... I suggest brazing if you're an "all metal" fanatic (simply awesome results with minimal finishing - but you must have good prep and good heat control), or panel bonding for fast, strong, and easy if you're willing to step into the technology of the current century. Panel bonding simply rocks.

David
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Yeah, using a low-quality flux-core welder is like trying to play a guitar concert with a shoe box and fishing line. Yes, it can be done, but if going that route, consider it like stick stitch welding. Zap it 1/2 a second, move to the other side of the panel and do it again. Do not try to run a bead, as it will overheat, burn through and warp with the added heat. If you move faster to avoid burn-through, it will not penetrate and will give you fugly beads that won't hold anything together. I'm no expert, but this is what I've learned myself. You'll probably buy a bumper sticker that says "FLUX SUX". ;) Great for farm repairs - comparatively poor for bodywork.

Also +1 for .023" wire, as (just like stick) the bigger the rods the hotter the weld when you arc it. The wire speed is the most useful adjustment, and actually increases or decreases the heat in the weld puddle. More wire in the puddle = more amps = hotter. If it says .030 to .035, then that's what you can use. No tricking the machine here.

Your easiest setup is to set your amps (try LOW first), then trigger an arc, and turn the wire feed from low to high slowly. The adjustment will be by both sight and sound. I haven't used your particular machine, but wire speed (if wide enough range) will begin with a chuffing hiss (too slow) and will deposit metal by spray transfer. This can actually be useful, as it has low penetration, but very uneven and hard to control. Doing rosettes in overlapped panels sometimes goes well with this setting. The effect really isn't a rosette, but more like welding with a tiny spitting spray can. By sight, you can see the tip of the wire ball-up some and melt back, spitting onto the sheet as it goes, until it gets too long and loses arc. This typically repeats several times a second. It is very hard on the tip and nozzle though.

Turning the speed up, the chuffing hiss will get faster (as the arc that's burning back gets shorter) and become more of a crackling buzz., Penetration increases as heat increases in the puddle, but the bead becomes smoother. The crackling buzz will become even and smooth in sound, and will look like just a bright spot where the wire enters the puddle. This is your general setting, and will give the best all-around results - considering that's what you get and the rest is all skill in working the arc and bead. Yes, crappy equipment requires more skill to use than good stuff. Settings at the low-end of this range are cooler. At the high end it gets quite hot and penetration is greater, along with more deposit. BTW - be careful at the high-end of this range on sheet metal as you'll get some very low and pretty beads (just shy of burn-through), but if you flip it over, you'll see a mountain range of metal that beaded on the back side. :mad:

As you increase wire speed beyond this point, the crackling buzz will become unstable again, with the wire going in faster than it can handle. While it will be pumping max amps (within the LOW range), the excess of wire will cool the weld fast and you end up with welds no better, but huge and tall. In the extreme you will see the wire turn white hot before the puddle, and just fold onto itself like spaghetti. Obviously bad.

Play with the settings a while and see how it works. Then do it all again on the HIGH amp setting. Sometimes a fast blast at high amps will give better results. Hope that helps, and it all takes experimenting and getting a 'feel' for what it's doing.

TIG? TIG is awesome, but unless you can sink the heat, you're still stuck with lots of stitches as the heat into the panel is high - like oxy/acetylene with more concentrated pinpoint heat. No beads here either or you'll warp it up. Another great tool, but again requiring skill to get those results. Much easier for guys to learn that have used gas.

Having said all that... I suggest brazing if you're an "all metal" fanatic (simply awesome results with minimal finishing - but you must have good prep and good heat control), or panel bonding for fast, strong, and easy if you're willing to step into the technology of the current century. Panel bonding simply rocks.

David
I have used gas, and soldering (50/50) in high school. I would actually like to use solder but finding 50/50 bars would be difficult. eBay? Yea, 20 bucks for about 4 sticks. Finding a old hardware store that still has rosin core 50/50 would be difficult too.

brazing with gas might be another way. acetylene. Hmm, how much to rent a cart from rental country?. Hmm, maybe I should look into that?. Using solder, one has to prep the solder into like, peanut butter texture to work with it, and then there getting a body file. Today, even those are hard to find. So, it's still looking and experimenting.

Tell me, I suppose since the sheet metal is so thin, running a bead is out of the question. Right?. I'll have to get used to picking and pawing at laying down a weld, even if it's a cold weld. Am I correct?. If so, I should be practicing tapping?. Tap, tap, tap, on the metal?. God, what a way to weld. Imagine, Tapping a line 4 foot long?. Sheez!. Doing one 1/4, one line, from rear door to rear could take all day and into the next. With bending over and back ache...

You know, whats wrong with using rosin plumbing solder and a hand held propane torch?. Has anyone used that method before?. If so, how did it turn out?.

Thinking more on the plumbing solder, Sitting in the sun especially on a really hot heat wave day, the metal gets hot and may melt right?.

Some one suggested a krimper, that is making a crimp, with the ajoining metal fits in, and bondoing them together. That would be okay for the 1/4, but what about those little places, like 5 inches x 5 inches of rusted area?.

If it tack, tack, tack, pick, pick, then I'll need more experiance/ practice on doing that. I am so used to running beads....
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Well,well, well.... I think I found the Nitch... Today after work, I desided to practice. I practiced for a while, and came to the conclusion there has got to be a better way with this welder. I did get the weld alright, but....

So, being I have some electrical background of 30 years, I desided to try the welder on a 100 foot 18 guage extension cord... Yea, small, but the welder is being used intermintaly.

That worked!. I can run a small bead of about 1/2 inch before it burns through. I changed the wire to 0.35, and it worked better... Why?. because it wants to draw more, but can't because the input is chocked. The 35 wire melts right on and there is more time before it gets too hot... Now, On my test sheet metal (actually from a 86 Crown Vic). I cut the metal with a pair of sheet metal scissors about 4 inches into the metal. I Clamped the end, so it butted, and started a weld. I first tack, tack, then discovered I can run a small bead. I purposely, burned through to test. The rest, I beaded of about a 1/2 inch till the end.

Knowing this, I started to patch the shock tower covers. They are a bit thicker, and the welder works well on that too.

So, after doing the ST Covers, I think I will be ready to tackle the front wall. This is hidden, and this will be a real time repair. But, if i mess up, I can fix, and it will be hidden.

Hopefully, by the time I get to the fenders and 1/4's I will be a expert. After I finish the shock tower covers I'll post a picture in this thread if all wants to see....
 

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Here's another way of lowering the amps on the welder.... Kinda half ass, but might work... Use 2 100 foot extension cords (or more). That should lower the input amps down a little and may be enough to do decent welds without warping or burning through. LOL... I just might try that while I'm experimenting.
That may work, altho the thing doesnt pull a whole lot of amps to start with... ya might wanna keep a close check on the ends of the cords for overheating tho... I will say if ya try to jury rig your torch to whisper argon over your weld area MIGHT work but unsure it will. I do know if you use flux wire AND gas with a gas capable rig it lays really well... And yeah practice practice practice especially with this particular welder, cause its not the greatest welder around, and its duty cycle really sux...
 

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Discussion Starter #20
That may work, altho the thing doesnt pull a whole lot of amps to start with... ya might wanna keep a close check on the ends of the cords for overheating tho... I will say if ya try to jury rig your torch to whisper argon over your weld area MIGHT work but unsure it will. I do know if you use flux wire AND gas with a gas capable rig it lays really well... And yeah practice practice practice especially with this particular welder, cause its not the greatest welder around, and its duty cycle really sux...
Seems to work. Diden't try using a second 100 foot cord. The two ends just got warm. Not hot. So, were allright there... When I get ready to do some actual body metal I'm going to try a peice of aluminum behind the weld. Like an electrical/electronic heat sink... Gotta find me a old heat sinc from a RF amplifier or something. LOL...

I am learning, by the time I get to the body metal I should be allright. But when I do, it's do or re-do LOL...

62ShockTowerCover01.jpg

62ShockTowerCover02.jpg

62ShockTowerCover03.jpg

You will see what side was the last for the day. Only work on this for a few hours. Coulden't grind. Can't make too much noise today... But, weekend here I come!. LOL.
 
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