Experienced welders already know how to weld sheet metal with a wire feeder. However, for newbies or those with little or no experience in welding, welding metal sheets together becomes quite a chore. This article will review all you need to know about “how to weld sheet metal with a wire feed welder”.
Welding Sheet Metal
Welding has come a very long way. Over the last 100 years, fabricators have come up with different welding tools, techniques, and materials. In addition, not every welding method is suitable for every metal sheet; some are just better than others.
Also, sheets have different textures; some are softer, so they require different welders. The good news is that different options depend on your working metal.
So when it comes to welding metal sheets, the kind of welder you use will depend on the size of the metal and the thickness. Welding requires high heat, so the density of the metal is important. On the other hand, if you use a welder that releases intense heat on a thin sheet, it will burn through it. So, the size and thickness of the metal should be the major determinant.
There are different welding machines, but wire feed welders are some of the most popular of the lot. But what are wire feed welders?
What is a Wire Feed Welder?
A Wire Feed welder is a machine used for MIG (Metal Inert Gas) welding. Wire-feed welders are usually used for mild welding but not in isolation. This machine works with a wire electrode that melts under intense heat when exposed to high heat. This machine melts the base metals for MIG welding to join two different metals together.
Best for Non-Ferrous Metals
Wire-feed welders are ideal for non-ferrous metals, usually softer than other ferrous metals. However, to use this machine, you need to be very knowledgeable regarding the settings. This is because some settings are not ideal for certain types of metals. So the type of metal, metal thickness, and the size of the project are some of the things you need to consider when adjusting the setting.
Some of the materials you need to do a wire feed welding include
- Wire feed unit
- Wire electrode
- Welding gun
- Power Supply
- Shielding gas
How Does a Wire Feed Welding Work?
Before proceeding, make sure the tools and materials listed above are in place. You also need an uninterrupted power supply to complete the job. Once all these are in place, you can now proceed.
Here is how to weld sheet metal with a wire feed welder.
Choose a Diameter
To commence the weld, first, decide on a suitable electrode diameter. The quality of the weld is hugely dependent on the wire you use. You can choose different sizes like 0.9mm, 0.7mm, or 4mm. Let the sheet and your desired outcome influence your choice.
Choose the Wire Material
Another thing you must decide on is the best wire material for your weld. Ensure the wire you pick has deoxidizing layers, essential for protecting the base material. A quality wire material will give you a quality finish.
Step 1: Set up the welder and ensure it is set to an ideal voltage.
Step 2: Hold the gun at the right angle and distance from the metal sheet and let the contact tip of the gun not come too close to the sheet. Maintaining the right distance is essential; otherwise, the heat will cause improper melting and spatter buildup. The right angle and distance also provide the shielding gas enough space to flow out.
Step 3: Start working the metal inch by inch, and as you do so, make sure you clean the nozzle tip from time to time to prevent potential damage. Don’t place the gun on the same spot so the metal will not burn through. One method we recommend is called the weave welding method for extra-thin metal sheets. The weave welding method is ideal if you don’t want the sheet to crater or undercut.
Step 4: Regulate the temperature as you work on the sheet. Using the same temperature setting may not give you the desired results you seek. This is why you must master your machine’s settings before you start using it.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Wire Feed Welder?
There are so many benefits of using a wire feed welder. Here are some of them.
Easy to use: It is easy to use and also very inexpensive. If you choose to use a single welder feeder, you will also spend less compared to a dual wire feeder. So even if you are not an experienced welder, you will have little or no problems using it.
Lighter: Wire-feed welders are generally lightweight, so you can handle them for extended periods without suffering from arm strain. This is a major benefit if you need to lift the wire feeder often as you work or don’t have enough space for easier gun manipulation.
Control loses: You do not require too many wires, especially if you use a single wire feeder. Moreover, the change over time required is less, so completing projects can be done faster.
Horizontal and vertical welding: Horizontal and vertical welding is made possible with a wire feed welder.
Video: Welding Sheet Metal – SheetMetalProblems
This article has addressed how to weld sheet metal with a wire feed welder. The process is easy. All you need is a stable hand and the right material in place, depending on the task at hand.
You can weld light metalwork with a wire feed welder; however, note that it may not be ideal for heavy-duty materials.