There are two basic types of welders, and they are a stick welder and a wire feed welder. When you are learning how to use a wire feed welder for the first time, it is important that you start off with a machine that is easy to manage and control, and that will essentially make learning easier.
If you haven’t already, I highly recommend you getting yourself a reference guide. Even as a seasoned welder you’ll still reference the guide. So best to find one you like as you are getting started as you’ll use it for a lifetime. Really any of these ones will work great. It just all comes down to preference. This is the one I use Audel Welding Pocket Reference
For more getting started books, you can find our post on our favorite welding books.
The wire feed welder is much easier to work with the first time around, compare to the stick welders. These welders and the methods in which they are used have some similarities, although these are also some significant differences, some of which will be discussed in this article.
In this post we are assuming you already have a wire feed welder. If you need a wire feed welder that is more suited for a beginner we highly recommend the Flux 125 Welder
When using a wire feed welder, it is important to ascertain how much wire will be kept sticking out at the end of the copper welding tip on the welding gun. The recommended amount is approximately three quarters on an inch long. This is to make sure that it the wire feed welder is being used effectively.
In comparison to stick welders, wire feed welders are much easier to use. However, with a stick welder, it is simpler to see where the welding is being done. Incorrect use of a wire welder may lead to the weld going off the joint. Therefore, skill needs to be developed for wire welding.
To avoid this problem, one must start by turning on the wire feed welder and allowing it to stay on running for a minute before you being to weld. Then start the weld and keep an eye out for blue discolorations. These are a good sign as they offer an indication that you have good penetration on both the right and left sides of the weld, rather than a situation where there is no real bonding.
Also, when using a wire feed welder, you need to set the right wire speed. This will help you to avert your future problems that may be a result of a bad set up. Finding the right wire speed is not an exact science. It requires some trial and error to get it right. The best way to do so is by making adjustments while welding a scrap piece of steel as a tester.
Before you being with any type of welding, you need to ensure that you have the right safety equipment. This is especially important if you are working with gas which may be the case when you use a wire feed welder. This equipment includes safety glasses,welding gloves, a leather apron, a welding bandana, a welding jacket, cuffless denim pants and leather shoes.
You should also try to avoid any contamination of the final weld, which might also affect the efficiency of the wine feed welder. Therefore, the surface of the base metals should be cleaned very thoroughly.
Before starting your welder, make sure to check on the cables to ensure that all the connections are tightly done, and also to evaluate for any other damage. Then you need to select the electrode polarity by checking on those connections.
This is typically the step I like to check the welding chart for confirmation on dimensions, weld types, etc. Here is the one I use. You can get this Welding Chart on Amazon and will save you hours of time when learning to Weld. (we still use this same chart with years of welding)
The wire that you feed into the machine is also important, so you should make sure that you are using the correct drive rolls. The performance of a wire feeder can be affected by the amount of tension of the wire, so you should check on this to make sure that it is not too much or too little on the wire spool hub or the drive rolls.
Before you go fiddling with your machine, you should take the time to read through the manual and understand the best ways to make adjustments. Based on the thickness of the wire, adjust the voltage and amperage that you will use with your wire feed welder. You should be able to do this easily by referring to some reference charts.
When welding with a wire feed welder, you should use a drag technique. With this, the tip of the welding gun is pointed back towards the weld pool, and then it is dragged away from the completed weld.
Using a wire feed welder is excellent for a beginner because the technique can be picked up more easily.