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welding splatter: why and how not?

Discussion in 'Tools and Fabrication' started by e9999, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

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    so I only played a couple of hours with a MIG and I'm only starting to get welds that don't entirely look like a mutant cross-breed between a roadkill hairy centipede and an alien life form. Plenty of splatter around too. Admittedly, I was just playing with old rusty metal and don't know what I'm doing. But I just saw a series of pics from somebody else with plenty of similar splatter. I mean little spherical beads of molten metal that must be ejected and fall pretty far away from the weld, and end up like little beads all over the place. I guess those could be ground down easily enough, but probably better to not have them in the first place. So that got me to be curious about it.

    What's causing these? and how to avoid them?
  2. splitshot

    splitshot SILVER Star

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    You can purchase "anti splatter" to spray on, or use the wife's anti stick cooking spray before you weld (warning: you'll be craving tacos).
  3. Mace

    Mace rock scientist.. Staff Member s-Moderator

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    Mig or flux core.

    Mig should not splatter much at all..
  4. nat

    nat

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    x2

    If you are using a mig process, what kind of gas are you using? It also could help to clean and grind the rust away. Clean metal makes for less impurities.

    Flux core splatters a lot.
  5. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

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    mine was flux core

    is it a matter of current?
  6. KLF

    KLF Frame waxer SILVER Star

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    No, it's a matter of not having the shielding gas there. Plus, MIG doesn't like rusty metal, the cleaner the better.
  7. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

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    with clean metal but still flux core, should one expect splatter?
  8. Dynosoar

    Dynosoar Slightly Disturbed SILVER Star

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    Flux core = splatter Just the way it is. I like to use straight co2 or Ar/CO2 mix not much spatter if the material is clean.


    Dynosoar:zilla:
  9. Mace

    Mace rock scientist.. Staff Member s-Moderator

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    little tid bit here.
    Mig = Metal Inert Gas (one form of GMAW, there is also Metal Active Gas)
    FCAW = Flux Core Arc Welding

    You are using the FCAW process ;)


    Splatter is part of the game. Get some Anti splatter in a spray can. It helps, a lot..
  10. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

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    OK, then I used a FCAW process on a MIG machine... :) Yup, better to be specific!

    So, these beautiful clean welds I see sometime are done with a gas shield (or have ground the inevitable junk off the surrounding area) then?
  11. Mace

    Mace rock scientist.. Staff Member s-Moderator

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    Yes, as a general rule, the beautiful welds were done with a shielding gas.

    Keep in mind that you can make unbelievable welds with a SMAW (stick)
    (not my welds)
    [​IMG]

  12. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

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    that thing is unbelievable, should be in MOMA!
  13. Dynosoar

    Dynosoar Slightly Disturbed SILVER Star

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    TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) has the best looking results IMO. That SMAW weld that Mace posted is indeed a work of a truly gifted welder.


    Dynosoar:zilla:
  14. Awl_TEQ

    Awl_TEQ SILVER Star

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    Spatter is supposed to happen. If you don't hear that bacon sizzle you're not getting good penetration or a strong weld. You can set up a MIG to weld nearly silently w/o any spatter - but the resulting weld is not strong relative to a "proper" weld.

    Buy a $5 can of anti-spatter spray at the hardware store (Home Depot has it) and spray the immediate area around your weld. The molten balls of metal won't stick. Just don't knock it off the bench and break off the nozzle like I did the other day - damn thing won't spray any more :bang:. Hey...pick up a can for me too!
  15. spressomon

    spressomon glutton

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    I get spatter balls on my work even with mixed gas, clean material, etc. I use the anti-splatter spray and it does help but still get them. Every once in a great while when all the stars are aligned just right and the moon is in the correct phase I'll get good welds without any splatter balls of slag. I have even played with the gas pressure but it doesn't make much difference between 25-35psi unless I'm outside where I have to bump it to about 40psi to compensate for slight breeze.

    But I'm not a pro welder either ;). I think for the rest of us non-pro hobbyist welders using a nice flapper style 120 sanding disk on a small angle grinder takes care of those pesky little critters :),
  16. nat

    nat

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    Yep.......grind the area and clean it up. Really doesn't take that long.

    :cheers:
  17. fj40charles

    fj40charles GOLD Star

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    What brand/model mig welder did you buy?

    Spatter can be created/controlled by the following:

    1. Type of welding process. Are you in short arc or globular transfer? If you want little to no spatter, try spray transfer. TIG is much cleaner process, but more expensive and harder to learn.

    2. Type of welding wire and shielding gas used. Flux core will have more spatter than a solid mig wire. Different brand/make/model of welding wire will affect the quality of the weld. Some welders are more forgiving of the brand/make/model of wire being used. Don't go out there and buy the cheapest mig wire thinking it is going to weld as well as Hobart HB-28 or Lincoln L-56. The wire that works well for one welder may not work best for your welder.
    For smaller sized welder (200 amps or less), I'd use .030 diameter as a general all purpose wire.

    3. The welder being used. Cheap welders can produce erratic arc leading to more spatter than a well designed welder. You want smooth consistent DC voltage. Believe or not, welder are not the same.
    Cheap chinese made mig will not work as well as a Miller or Hobart.

    4. Amount of wire stickout. Keep the stickout short and consistent.

    5. Wire thickness. Are you trying to weld a 1/2" steel with .023 wire? You'll reach globular transfer much faster than using .045 wire since it has less currant carrying capacity.

    6. Type of shielding gas being used. CO2 will have more spatter than C25. Some people prefer C10 as a general purpose wire in their 250+ amp class machine.

    7. Is the metal clean? Welding on galvanized metal with solid wire will give you lots of spatter. Not safe to do and better off with flux core wire.

    8. Weldor skill. This is probably the most important.

    9. Do you have the welder dialed in correctly? Did you try different voltage/wire speed settings to see what works for you or do you use the door chart only? Varying the wire feed speed can/does affect the weld quality. More wire speed = more amperage. You really need to spend some "quality" time with the welder to see what works for you.

    10. Consistent wire feed. Does your welder feed the wire consistently? The easiest way to create crappy welds is to have inconsistent wire feed.



    I'm sure there are additional reasons/parameters that I can't remember right now.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2009
  18. spressomon

    spressomon glutton

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    All good information: Thank you!
  19. e9999

    e9999 You want to do what...? Moderator

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    thanks, these are issues way above my head for the time being, though. I was just sat down at a welder by an experienced guy who told me what to dial and I went ahead. Equipment was surely good stuff. More refinements in technique will come later. So I take it there is no clear cut answer as to what causes spatter? Some of the later posts up there seemed to suggest that it was unavoidable though. What would be the main thing to avoid if one does not want spatter in your opinion? What is this "short arc / glob transfer" thing?
  20. Mace

    Mace rock scientist.. Staff Member s-Moderator

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