Flux core welding or the FCAW is one of the most practiced welding methods, especially for the beginners. It has been a viable welding method for a wide range of welding solutions, including heavy equipment fabrication, repair, structural erection, etc. One of the best things about this method is it doesn’t require an extra gas supply to protect the motel poodle like regular MIG welding. As it doesn’t have the weakness of regular MIG welding, it’s a go-to process for outdoor welding, especially where MIG is needed.
However, all these advantages don’t mean the method doesn’t have its limitations or challenges. Although it’s fairly easy to start with flux core welding for the beginner, there is a lot to know about it for a successful weld. Stick to the article to know the flux core welding tips and tricks that can help you scale up your flux cor welding skills.
Flux core welding tips and tricks
Using a flux core welder can be a piece of cack if you can understand how it works and the tips to follow. Here are the flux core welding tips and tricks that will help you understand the process better and get the job done with more perfection:
Safety comes first
No matter what you’re welding or how you’re doing it, taking the safety precautions comes first. You must put on a welding helmet with a full-face shield because flux core welder tends to have more spatter and UV light. Put on a full-sleave leather jacket, a pair of welding gloves, steel-toed rugged boots, and goggles if possible.
Metal and place preparation
Preparing the metal is important if you want a strong yet cleaner joint between the metal. First, clean the metal from dust, dirt, and grim if there are any, and grind it if there is paint on it. Once the metal is prepared, prepare the welding place, whether it’s a welding table or ground. Clear the ground, attach the ground clamp to the table (if it’s metal), and you’re good to go!
When it comes to preparing the equipment, there are a lot to consider depending on what type of metal you’re working on. The first thing you want to consider is the type of filler rod and the wire spool, including the tip. Check if the tip on the welding gun is intact and doesn’t have any tear or burn. If there are any, be sure to replace or clean the tip before moving on to the drive roll.
Proper wire feeding
For the wire feeding, you should consider the wire’s right diameter, depending on the thickness and type of the metal you’re working on. Thin mild steel might need 0.23″ of a wire where the 0.35″ might get you a burn-through on the same metal. For the drive roll, use a knurled drive feed instead of a plain one, or you won’t get a feed through the spool.
Not every metal requires the same type of current setting and the same amount of heat. You must use the right current setting in voltage and amperage to get the expected result you’re looking for. The same goes for the wire feeding speed; it entirely depends on the amperage you’re driving on. If the amperage is high, the wire feeding speed may also need a higher speed depending on different jobs; refer to the manufacturer’s recommendation.
Angle and drag
Different welding angles require different dragging direction and holding method with flux core welders. Most of the time, with a flux core welder, you drag the gun backward instead of pushing it forward. With a typical flat weld, you hold the gun at 90° to the workpiece and about 10° tilted to the back. For lap joints, it will be about 60° to 90° angled to the workpiece, and for vertical joints, it’s about 10° to 15° with about 10% lower power setting.
Cleaning the slag
After a weld is complete, you have to chip off the slag left behind because of the welding wire’s flux. Use a chipping hammer to do the job and use a wire brush to clean the bead properly before you go further. Apart from the slag, the flux core welding can be an easy and quick process for welding.
Benefits of flux core welding
Using the flux core welding method can be a good solution for quite a metal and application type. Here are the key benefits of using a flux core welder to start working with:
- Better mobility: With flux core welding, you have much better portability than other MIG welding solutions requiring gas shielding.
- Quicker operation: Flux core welding method has a quicker operation time because it produces a high level of heat and gives you a better penetration.
- Built-in shield: With flux core welding, you don’t use any external shielding gas to protect the molten poodle, which can be super handy.
- Cheaper welding: Although the flux core wires are a little pricier than the solid wire, it doesn’t need gas, which cuts the production cost.
- Outdoor welding: With gash-shielded MIG welding, you cannot use it outdoors, but with the flux core welding method, you can use it outside as it’s self-shielded.
Frequently asked questions
Here are the most frequently asked questions about flux core welding that you might find interesting:
Is flux core welding easy?
Can you weld stainless with a flux core?
What can I weld with a flux core welder?
Using a flux core welding machine can come with a lot of conveniences that you cannot expect from a regular gas-shielded MIG welder. With the flux core welder, you’re getting much better portability and usability with a wider range of metal to work with.
Now that you know the flux core welding tips and tricks, you can make the welder’s best use and get the best out of it. However, I must make a strong point about welding safety, especially with flux core welding. You must make sure you’re taking the right safety measurements before you start welding.