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Well after about a week layoff due to"injury"(see my blog about it). I started welding again last night and I realized one thing...I SUCK !
I couldn't get any consistant pace or bead (too hot or too cold) and when I tried to make pencil holders, holes everywhere...very frustrating.

My question is this, how do I know how big the bead has to be? I remember being told, but my tiny brain doesn't retain everything.
Thanks
 

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The first rule of welding is "watch the puddle." The second rule of welding is "watch the puddle." Somewhere around the 5th rule it changes to "watch were you're going." Most folks concentrate on the 5th rule when they start out and make a mess out of the first four "watch the puddle" rules.

Another common problem I see is that folks use too dark of a lens for the amperages they're welding with. No darker than a 10 for me and I usually use a 9.
 

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toddre said:
My question is this, how do I know how big the bead has to be? I remember being told, but my tiny brain doesn't retain everything.
Thanks
A rule of thumb I was taught is the bead should be as wide as the material is thick. Hard to accomplish with .5mm tube.:madman:

Not so sure this applies to aluminum though...
 

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Solamar said:
A rule of thumb I was taught is the bead should be as wide as the material is thick. Hard to accomplish with .5mm tube.:madman:

Not so sure this applies to aluminum though...
That's not quite right or you'd have a lot of .030" wide beads on your bike. The rule of thumb is that the throat of the bead, the dimension from root to face, should be at least as thick as the parent metal and the convexity not exceed 10% of that dimension. That rule of thumb only works if the filler metal has greater strength than the material being welded. The width of the bead depends on the root thickness, hence the convexity comment.
 

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I would practice on something thicker. Find some nice 1/4" cold roll and make some tools. I made a rack and some sliders for my truck. I also made a tube bender out of 3" square tubing. You know, stuff that you can't ruin.
I'm lucky enough to have a job that allowed me to practice for months sticking pieces of 1/4" together. It took me quite awhile to get "good" at it and I'm still learning new things about precise puddle control and how to prevent undercut.
Anyway, my point is that it easy to get discouraged practicing on thin wall.
Oh, yeah. What welder do you have. Trying to learn on a little scratch start unit is tough.
 
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