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First time damascus WIP

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Ian Fifelski, May 24, 2018.

  1. Ian Fifelski

    Ian Fifelski

    506
    Oct 4, 2017
    I tried 3 more times at speed 6-5-4 on the welder with worse penetration than before. When I tried to slow down to let it pool and wiggled back and forth, it just piled up and became those big worms of weld.

    As you can see there is no penetration;
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  2. Maelstrom78

    Maelstrom78

    Sep 21, 2013
    I second that your voltage and wire feed speeds might be off. weldingtipsandtricks on youtube might have a video to help you with mig set up.
     
  3. weo

    weo KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Sep 21, 2014
    You might also consider taking it back to harbor freight and exchange it for a new one. In my experience, where they get their stuff has poor quality control. A while ago i picked up a second angle grinder so as not to have to continuously change wheels. It lasted halfway through grinding down the weld beads on the first billet, not even 1 minute of grinding. The replacement has now lasted since.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
  4. Ian Fifelski

    Ian Fifelski

    506
    Oct 4, 2017
    From all of your incredible tips and suggestions I finally got a respectable weld. They key is more 'wiggling' and the speed at three.

    It did finally break but that was after 7 or 8 heats with a striker. And it seems it broke in the middle, not at the billet nor at the rebar. (Probably from bouncing around, as my younger brother was holding it while I was striking.)

    Thank you all! I will follow up with pictures soon.
     
  5. golfer1

    golfer1

    366
    Nov 24, 2016
    Looking at your welds, It appears you do not have enough amperage in you machine to properly make that weld. You need 350 or more amps for something like that to be remotely successful. Do you have an arc welder or a buddy with a larger welder? Look up: MIG Flux-Cored Welding Calculator and welding tips and tricks might be helpful for you.
    best wishes.
     
  6. Ian Fifelski

    Ian Fifelski

    506
    Oct 4, 2017
    Hey folks,

    This is what I got done this morning.

    Gained 2 inches so far. Shooting for eight;
    [​IMG]


    Drawing out further, just under 8 inches;
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Cutting off the handle that I was finally able to weld on after so much struggle. It was a very dramatic moment... ;
    [​IMG]

    Cleaning up the end and making sure it is clear of welds and down to the high carbon steel;
    [​IMG]

    Cutting the billet in half;
    [​IMG]

    Ground flat and clean ready to be restacked;
    [​IMG]
     
    Natlek likes this.
  7. Ian Fifelski

    Ian Fifelski

    506
    Oct 4, 2017
    Restacked and in the forge;
    [​IMG]

    Fluxing;
    [​IMG]

    And the forge-weld;
    [​IMG]
     
  8. JTknives

    JTknives Blade Heat Treating www.jarodtodd.com Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jun 11, 2006
    To me that welder should be fine to do that job. Your welds like I said befor look like your wire is not a flux core. I don’t know if you said or not but did you make sure that wire you have is indeed a flux core wire? You can buy wire that does not have a flux core. That wire is for welders that have shielding gas.

    Are you joking at 350 amps lol. When I use the stick welder I’m sitting at around 125amps and it’s more then enough. My little 120v migalso works great for this.
     
  9. skillgannon

    skillgannon

    991
    Apr 27, 2009
    Ian you can text me at 360. 305.6225 if you want help with the welding thing. Self shielded flux core for small welders isn't the same as commercial size stuff. It tends to be brittle and unlike some of the hardware processes it may not be possible for a full strength weld.

    I just looked at your pics again and you are pretty limited about what you can do but we can problem solved a bit.
     
  10. Ian Fifelski

    Ian Fifelski

    506
    Oct 4, 2017
    Yes, I checked and it is hobart flux cored .030 wire to be exact. The welds are better but still breaking after a few heats...
     
  11. lanternnate

    lanternnate

    359
    Nov 5, 2016
    Looking good. You’re one step ahead of of me. I’ve done the cut, stack, and flux core weld. Waiting on the weekend to forge weld and draw again. You obviously started with more metal than I did. Next time I need to plan in for some more material loss through the process. One of my cleaner looking welds though :)

    [​IMG]

    @JTknives I think you’ve been at this long enough you may have forgotten how badly us new guys can do with perfectly functional equipment :p I’ve got a Fourney easyweld with flux core wire. The tool can do a plenty fine job when I do mine, but I’ve made A LOT of really bad welds with it. My common mistakes tend to be going too fast, being jerky, unintentionally lifting away from the workpiece, or most commonly all of the above. I’ve found doing little circles tends to actually work out for me, but I have to out loud chant to myself “little circle, little circle, little circle” thank goodness I’m in my backyard where nobody can see or hear me.
     
    Natlek and Ian Fifelski like this.
  12. skillgannon

    skillgannon

    991
    Apr 27, 2009
    You are probably getting micro fracture. You need at least 500 degrees preheat at least. The nice thing is that it will help you with your penitration as well. The arc will follow a the heat so if you prep one side and then try to weld to the large block the weld will a steer away from the block. When you are watching the puddle remember that the base material cools the puddle so moving the puddle will cool it and the larger the movement the more it cools. With low power welders your penitration is very shallow. It's not as deep as people think with large welders even. Imagine that you have about a 64th", that's plenty. When you are welding make sure your placement in the puddle needs to be on the leading edge so you penetrate the base material and are not just sitting on top of the melted filler metal . Remember it's the arc the will melt material not the melted filler. Welding is pretty darn easy but good info is hard to find.
     
    kuraki and Ian Fifelski like this.
  13. golfer1

    golfer1

    366
    Nov 24, 2016
    JT, you probably have a lot more experience than I on weld amperage, I just looked it up on the miller welding chart which indicated a min. 350 amps. Even though it may be done with less, it still does not look like enough amperage to me. Your mileage may vary.
     
  14. skillgannon

    skillgannon

    991
    Apr 27, 2009
    That welder will not produce 300 amps. Using a wire feeder you are using a CV power source and it is true that turning up the wire will turn up the amperage on the machine but without a separate voltage control there is no way to change the ratio of wire to power. The only thing you can do to control amperage is by stick out length. On a Consistent voltage machine burnoff is controlled by varying the amps while volts stay steady. It is opposite of stick or tig welding. So the shortest stick out will be the hottest weld. Those charts and apps don't really apply to self FCAW-S self shielded flux core. Most of the FCAW-S that used in structural welding has to be used in electrode negative and that really changes everything since you more or less have to have a threshold of power to make it work and wire size and power doesn't scale the same way small might units might. When dealing with wirefed processes power levels are a big deal. A welder using the same wire and gas mix and same base materials would have to have different certifications just for the different power levels. The company would have to have even more written procedures as well as possible destructive test records and contracts may limit them to use one power level that would be considered a different process. The humble little mig welder is probably the most complicated welding process in some ways. After nearly 20 years as a welder, instructor and inspector I'm beginning to learn that I have a lot to learn.

    The big problem with low power welders is that they are not hot enough to heat the surrounding material at all. That means that that material is a huge heat sink that quenches the weld extremely fast. It's the same reason it's not recommended to quench your blades in ice water or dry ice and alcohol. It's the reason a arc strike is a weld defect that has to be repaired. A arc strike can increase the chances of cracking X100 and even after they have been ground smooth there is still a 10X chance of cracking. Even with a large machine you should still have a pre heat over 500 degrees.

    Good luck
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2018
  15. Ian Fifelski

    Ian Fifelski

    506
    Oct 4, 2017
    I have been welding when the billet is still hot (but not red hot) from the heat that it broke off.

    To help with the long stickout problem, I ground the end of the nozzle down because the contact tip was about 1/8 from the end of the nozzle. It has helped... but not enough for the welds to stay on throughout the process.
     
  16. coldsteelburns

    coldsteelburns

    Aug 2, 2010
    Ian, I have the same 90 amp HF welder, except mine is the older blue model, and my welds looked just as bad as the ones you do lol. (Just look at my old forge welding vids on my Youtube channel for proof!) ;)

    It's been a while since I've had to use it, but one thing (along with preheating) I do to keep a handle on the billet is to leave one of the layers in the original stack longer than the rest, usually a layer of the thicker 1084 near the middle of the billet. I grind a chamfer on the end of the handle as well as the end of the single 1084 layer that is sticking of of the back of the billet. Then do your preheating on the end of the 1084 before welding them together. I choose the 1084 as it's thicker and doesn't have any nickel, which is just one more chance to possibly complicate things, at least for me.

    When you cut to re-stack the billet, keep that bit of extra material extending our from the end so you can get a fresh weld on the handle for you next forge weld and drawing out, then repeat till desired layer count is achieved.

    I'm by no means an expert welder (or even a decent one), but I noticed that with these cheaply made lower amp welders from HF I need to use everything I can to my advantage for a successful weld when welding handle to a billet that;s gonna take a lot of heating and beating. I've never been able to get a handle to stay/weld on the flat end of a thick billet (like yours), so just keep a layer or two extended from the back so that welder is able to easily penetrate its thickness and remain attached till I'm finished drawing it out.

    One more thing that may also help (I could be wrong though) is to give the welded section a stress relieving cycle by heating is with a touch to a dull red and letting it air cool before you begin hammering on the billet.

    Anyway, I hope you're able to get it to work for ya :thumbsup:


    ~Paul
    My Youtube Channel
    ... (It's been a few years since my last upload)
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2018
  17. kuraki

    kuraki Fimbulvetr Knifeworks

    Jun 17, 2016
    FWIW no one is using 350 amps to weld anything at home. We run a lot of Miller Invision 352 MPas at work. Doing full pen welds on 1-2" steel, they almost never see 350 amps. 400 ipm of .045 wire and 29 volts is only ~315 amps. There are not many options for single phase welders that do 300+ amps and they're in the $6,000 range.

    90 (in MIG) is too low for the majority of what most of us want to do, but we'd all be pretty happy with a 200 or 250 amp welder.
     
    DevinT and KnuckleDownKnives like this.
  18. KnuckleDownKnives

    KnuckleDownKnives Time to make the doughnuts..

    Feb 12, 2015
    Yep, I've got a 140 and will do everything I've needed to do, but def wish I had a 250 Miller.

    The only time I've needed a power source more than 250 personally was when I was doing high deposition rate thermal arc spray with a gun that used 2 rolls of 3/16" wire at a rate of 190lbs zinc hr with 600 amps 26-29V at 100% duty cycle. We used custom built miller big blue's with turbo diesels to run these. We were laying down some serious metal with them. I seriously doubt you'd ever need more than 250 if that much. A 180 would be probably be sufficient, you just don't have the duty cycle at higher rates.
     
  19. kuraki

    kuraki Fimbulvetr Knifeworks

    Jun 17, 2016
    Yeah, at that point it's all about deposition rates, and not penetration.
     
  20. skillgannon

    skillgannon

    991
    Apr 27, 2009
    Your biggest problem is with that self shielded wire. To my knowledge it is meant for light duty hobby use and will not produce a full strength weld. If you could find a old welder that will let you do stick welding. Also if you do get a CC power source (stick or tig) you can get a kit to allow you to tig welding. Both ways would be better. I tried stick welding without a preheat and had some problems with the weld breaking especially when I used 6010. Whenever you just go and weld on top of a old broken weld you can't really expect to get great results. I guess the one thing you can try is to increase surface area of the "weld".

    If you find something that ends up working let us know what it was.
     

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