How to Set Up a MIG Welder? – [Simple Steps]
If you’ve just invested in a MIG welder, you would want to know how it’s set up, right?
If that is the case, you’re in the right place.
In the article below, we shall provide you some practical tips on the right way to set up a MIG welder.
Table of Contents
What You Need to Know When Setting a MIG Welder
Before you set your MIG welder, understand that there’re varying types of MIG welders.
For instance, some welders use DC and others AC and other both.
Similarly, some welders use shielding gas to propel the electrodes (flux-core) while others don't
In a nutshell, there’s no right way to describe how to assemble a MIG welder.
Compounding the above statement is the fact that the MIG set up may also vary considerably depending on the type and thickness of metal you plan to weld.
The structural pattern of one metal differs to that of others, making it even more challenging to point out an exact or right procedure of setting a MIG welder.
Nonetheless, we shall provide you with general tips on how to set up a MIG welder. Our tips should act as a guide to point to you the right way setting up a MIG welder.
Hopefully, once you’re through, the whole subject should be comprehensible and easy to execute.
Installing the Wires
The first step to setting your MIG welder is installing the wire.
To install the wire, you need to take off the retaining ring and spring, and then insert the wire spool.
While at it, ensure the hole on the spool is aligned to the little pin on the hub.
Additionally, ensure the spool feeds the wire from below.
Pushing the Wire through the Guide
Once you’ve attached the spool, take the wire from the spool and feed it through the first guide.
The first guide is positioned across the driver roll and through the linear guide.
While at it, ensure there’s a match of the wire and the drive roll size. For instance, if you’re using a .40 wire, the wire will take .40 or .45.
Once you drive the wire through the second guide (it feeds the hose liner and welding gun), close and tighten the spring tensioner.
When tensioning, don’t tighten too much and don’t keep it loose either. You should aim at pushing the wire through after tightening and assess how it feels. If it’s either too loose or too tight, it’s going to jam.
Assembling the Torch
When setting up a MIG welder, don’t try to weld with a bare torch. Doing so will only but destroy the machine.
Instead, you would want to install a contact tip over the torch. Installing the contact chip is simple as you’ll simply need to slide over the exposed wire.
Once the contact chip is in place, screw it tightly. Then, put the gas cup and screw it on to the front of the torch.
You would want to ensure the contact chip is recessed inside the gas cup as opposed to it jabbing out.
Plugging in the Machine
Plugging a MIG welder without adequate preparation poses a serious risk of electrocution.
To avoid that, ensure the machine is switched off.
The breaker should similarly be switched off.
When plugging the machine to an outlet, ensure the breaker is switched off. Only switch the switch breaker on when the welder is plugged into an outlet.
Setting the Gas Flow
To avoid accidental welding before setting the gas flow, place the ground clamp on the ground.
From here, you can then turn on the wire feed. Ideally, you should do it down to avoid wasting the wire while setting the gas flow.
To set the gas flow, start by turning the regulator off.
When opening the bottle always keep safe. For instance, your hand should be at the side of the valve as opposed to the top.
Secondly, ensure that the bottle is within the safe range of pressures. Ideally, the safe ranges of pressure are anywhere from 245psi and 2200psi.
The ideal gas flow for MIG welding should be 15cfc.
Verifying the Wire and Set Voltage
Verification of the wire and the set voltage is a stage that you should never ignore.
Ensure that you’re using the right wire. Each metal has the designated wire type. If you're welding steel, for instance, you should use ER70S-R.
Beyond the wire, you should also consider the thickness of the material listed in the machine. Using this listing, you can then adjust the parameters such as wire feed speed and voltage to meet your welding needs.
If you need to weld a metal that is thicker or exceed the machine recommendations, you can set both the voltage and wire speed to the maximum.
The final step of setting up a MIG welder is positioning the ground clap. Ideally, you should set it 6" and 2' from the spot you'll be welding.