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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Default Flux Core Vs DC Arc

    Hi Guys,

    I own a Transarc AC stick welder which is great for the heavy stuff but has shown some limitations with sheet metal. I need to weld (short lengths) sheet steel between 1.2 - 2mm. I am short of funds and can not justify renting gas bottles for a mig. My question is what would be better a chinese gasless mig or a small DC stick welder. I have only ever welded with AC stick.

    thanks
    Keith

  2. #2
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    Default

    Flux core does a pretty decent job on thin section. There's a bit of splatter to clean up, but the welds are good. That said, while you can do good welds with flux core, it may be hard to do so with a cheap MIG.

    If your funds extend far enough, one option would be to get an inverter combo machine - that'd give you the option of both MIG and DC stick.

  3. #3
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RustyArc View Post
    Flux core does a pretty decent job on thin section. There's a bit of splatter to clean up, but the welds are good. That said, while you can do good welds with flux core, it may be hard to do so with a cheap MIG.

    If your funds extend far enough, one option would be to get an inverter combo machine - that'd give you the option of both MIG and DC stick.
    +1, think I would be doing that too

  4. #4
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RustyArc View Post
    Flux core does a pretty decent job on thin section. There's a bit of splatter to clean up, but the welds are good. That said, while you can do good welds with flux core, it may be hard to do so with a cheap MIG.

    If your funds extend far enough, one option would be to get an inverter combo machine - that'd give you the option of both MIG and DC stick.
    Flux core core doing a decent job on sheet 1.2mm to 2mm. A Google search does not support this statement for the majority of entries made .

    The thing to realise is that the FC wire sizing's are not truly equivalent in what is available in solid wire to weld light sheet metal. Size has direct bearing on the amps /volts needed to run that particular wire. I can't recall Flux core diameter going under 1mm. Smaller diameters,I think would be chewed up by the wire drive wheels.

    Beginners may think that flux core is the equivalent of solid wire but its not. Flux Core is designed to run in globular mode and better, meaning its pretty hot. I would be using a copper backing bar behind your sheet it,cos its likely you will blow holes in in your sheet. By comparison solid wire on sheet sizes runs in short arc or dip transfer mode allowing it to be deposited much cooler.It is is why you can fill gaps with it.

    A third factor is the quality of the welding machine .A bigger machine with many voltage steps or variable will give heaps better result than a POS unit from Ebay.

    Of course they will be those who enjoy a certain measure of success,but its only fair when they reply with a report of some success to an inquiry such as this one, that they include all the parameters of sheet thickness,wire type and diameter ,machine brand & model ,amps/wire speed and voltage or voltage steps. Then, our enquirer can better evaluate those parameters against his own.

    I hope this clarifies the flux core debate to a better degree.

    Cheers
    Grahame

  5. #5
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    Default

    I just haven't had a lot of success with flux core MIG wire period but there are members on here who are very happy with it so there must be ways of working with it I am yet to discover. I just gave up on it a few years back and been on gas since, but i would rather use stick than flux core MIG and either way for thin sheet as Graham said it would be wise to back it with something to control the heat.
    That's why I was agreeing with a combo MIG /DC Stick machine just in case the flux core side of things doesn't go so well and the DC stick may be a good backup if you are not in a position to use the gas.

  6. #6
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    Default

    When I got my MIG machine (UniMIG/Jasic 175 combo inverter, so not exactly top-shelf), flux core was what I was using, it was 0.8mm, and I did a bunch of structural work on 1.6mm Duragal section that also included welding to thicker sections (6mm) that has held solid to this day as supports for netting in an orchard, subjected to some pretty severe wind loads.

    My 2 fuel storage tanks that look to be 1mm gal sheet, were welded with flux core by a commercial suppler of fuel tanks.

    After going through a few rolls of flux core, I changed to solid wire and CO2 as it presented a reasonably economical alternative, but I still maintain that flux core on a decent machine, set up correctly and with good technique, delivers good welds on thin sections with less effort & skill compared to stick.

  7. #7
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    Aug 2009
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    Quindanning, WA
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    Default

    Ive done heaps of welding with 0.8 flux core on a minimig 120 welding all sorts of thicknesses and found it perfectly adequate. The fumes arent real nice and the slag, powdery residue and spatter makes the welds look pretty ugly unless you take the time to clean them up (which i never do) but other than that no real dramas. Welding with gas is certainly nicer but i still use flux core mig instead of stick when i need to use a portable welder.

  8. #8
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    May 2012
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    Default

    thanks guys for your time replying - really appreciated. The more I think about it and the more information I get MIG seems the best way to - might have redo my sums

    cheers
    Keith

  9. #9
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by RustyArc View Post
    When I got my MIG machine (UniMIG/Jasic 175 combo inverter, so not exactly top-shelf), flux core was what I was using, it was 0.8mm, and I did a bunch of structural work on 1.6mm Duragal section that also included welding to thicker sections (6mm) that has held solid to this day as supports for netting in an orchard, subjected to some pretty severe wind loads.

    My 2 fuel storage tanks that look to be 1mm gal sheet, were welded with flux core by a commercial suppler of fuel tanks.

    After going through a few rolls of flux core, I changed to solid wire and CO2 as it presented a reasonably economical alternative, but I still maintain that flux core on a decent machine, set up correctly and with good technique, delivers good welds on thin sections with less effort & skill compared to stick.
    I didn't know that .8mm flux core was even viable, pretty sure I only used 1.2mm FC.
    Anyway it is a definitely very good way of welding, particularly dirtier and coated metal will probably weld better with FC, out of position and outside in the wind etc. My grief with it was more just the dirtier looking weld, more cleaning up and the extra fumes. The weld quality seemed just as good if not better at times.
    Already been poisoned by gal fumes at least once in my life so I always grind it all off anyway but I guess an advantage of Flux Core Wire is that you can have a fan blowing it away if indoors.

  10. #10
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    Default

    I think much of the rejection of flux core perhaps derives from where people are coming to it from. If you're used to gas MIG, then of course, you're going to lament the amount of fumes, poorer arc pool visibility and slag with flux core, however, coming from stick, the fumes and slag are something you already deal with, and it's probably the increased spatter that's the main difference.

  11. #11
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    Default

    An experienced welder using a decent machine will probably get close to what the want .
    The point I was trying to make is that new comers to welding are liable to be influenced by our comments .
    If we only give them part of the story they may go off and buy something that won't give the result they desire.The whole point of the fluxcore thing is that it is primarily based upon dollars.It follows that a new comer will opt for a cheaper welding machine.

    New to welding,new lower end machine ,difficulty in set up and tune of same,usually with a lower end wire are all part of the recipe for big frustration.

    I failed to mention that the quality of the wire plays a part in this story too.
    Cheers
    Grahame

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grahame Collins View Post
    An experienced welder using a decent machine will probably get close to what the want .
    The point I was trying to make is that new comers to welding are liable to be influenced by our comments .
    If we only give them part of the story they may go off and buy something that won't give the result they desire.The whole point of the fluxcore thing is that it is primarily based upon dollars.It follows that a new comer will opt for a cheaper welding machine.

    New to welding,new lower end machine ,difficulty in set up and tune of same,usually with a lower end wire are all part of the recipe for big frustration.

    I failed to mention that the quality of the wire plays a part in this story too.
    Cheers
    Grahame
    Having had a life long love, hate relationship with welding, I can admit to being a bit reluctant to go anywhere near a cheap welding machine and or consumables although for home use hard to justify the $$$$ of decent gear so it's most often a compromise, but I don't want to be having tantrums throwing helmets and such. I would just rather not do it at all than struggle with it.
    There are probably lots of good old quality built MIGs lying around out there to be picked up at a reasonable price and I would recommend that they would be the first choice for a newcomer to at least get a feel for what a good machine can do if it must be MIG.

    I have decent enough gear now and it is still hard enough but I generally enjoy welding these days mainly because the gear is good, I can only imagine it may be quite frustrating trying to get good results with entry level MIG machine and using it with cheap gasless wire to boot. Although these little light new tech machines have their own appeal no doubt and there would be some fair ones amongst them.

  13. #13
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    Default

    After reading your replies I decided against a cheap ebay MIG and have just bought an inverter welder - BOC Smootharc 130 and only $230. I have played with it for only an hour or so and it seems to be ok for what I want. Got a feeling my Transarc buzz box will not get too much use now.

    thanks guys
    Keith

  14. #14
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    Default

    Lol, my transarc sits literally in the corner but I will keep it, we have done lots of work together and seen a few welding tantrums for sure.
    Your Smootharc should be nicer to use being a slightly more modern tech jobbie.

  15. #15
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    Default tried 1.6 mm rods?

    If you can turn the amps right down on your arc welder and get hold of some 1.6 mm rods it is suprising what you can weld with some practice . Like a car muffler and they are really thin . 1.2 definitly doable with just doing very short runs [basically just spots ] with a stick welder bit under 40 amps and 1.6mm rods.

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