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The Sound of a Good MIG Weld

The Voice: Hey, Kevin. What are you about to do?

Kevin Caron: One of my YouTube subscribers e-mailed me the following question about welding: "How do you set the wire right; and what about sound? People who weld tell you to listen to how it sounds."

That's a good question and a good topic. I'd like to talk about that a bit.

Let's start by firing up the MIG welder. I'll leave the voltage alone and we'll experiment with the wire feed setting so that it's too slow; just about right; and too fast.

If you've got a set of headphones, put them on. If not, then crank it up, run the cat out of the room, and listen to the difference in sound. See if your ear can pick it up the same way mine does.

The MIG welder is fired up and ready.

There are several different things that I want you to look at when I'm welding: I want you to be paying attention to the sound; looking at the puddle, and also looking at the wire.

One of the things you'll want to keep in mind is to watch your welding. Keep in mind that when you've got the puddle going and the wire is feeding out, you want the wire to be feeding right into the puddle. You don't want it stuck in the puddle, but you don't want it way up in the air either. It's got to be right there at the top of the puddle; maybe just a little bit in. It all depends on what you're working on.

We'll try to get a good close-up so you can see that as I adjust the wire feed, you'll note that sometimes the wire's way up in the air, or sometimes the wire's way down in the puddle, which will affect both the sound and the quality of the weld.

So, put your helmet on and we'll have a look.

Right now I've got the wire feed set way low. It's down to 120 and the voltage is set at 18. Watch what kind of reaction I get down where I'm welding.

Did you see that? The wire was actually getting cut off as I was welding. It would get a little close, start to melt, then it would burn and snap back out of the way, and you'd hear all that popping and cracking.

So, let me turn the wire feed up a little bit, and we'll see what we get. We went from 120 up to 185. (welding)

Now, did you hear that difference in the sound? The wire fed a lot better. It was a lot more stable. But we're not there yet. Let's turn it up some more. We're now at 225. (welding)

Now you're starting to hear a sizzle. Can you hear that difference in it? Rewind the video a little bit and listen to the second one and the third one again. This third one's got that little sizzle going, kind of like some bacon.

Let's turn it up some more. Here's 260. (welding)

Almost like paper tearing, or like cutting with a pair of scissors. Let's turn it up a little more. Here's 300. (welding)

Did you hear that? It still had that sound; that sizzle in there. But you see the wire feed got all weird. The puddle started building up.

So you can hear the difference, and you can see the difference as we went from way too low to a little too high. The wire was either getting cut off and was dropping in globs because it was too slow, or we got up to the other end and the puddle was just building so fast that the wire couldn't melt quickly enough. It wasn't feeding right.

I hope that makes sense. It sounds good to me. You want it in the middle. You don't want the popping and the snapping. You want that sizzle, like paper tearing or bacon sizzling. That's what you're looking for.

See you next time.

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