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"Your pieces are very beautiful and full of life. I especially liked the yellow cheese sculpture."
--Elaine Goldman, Vice-President, Phoenix Art Museum Contemporary Forum

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How to Put a New Wire Spool on a MIG Welder

A couple of viewers have asked how you put the spool of wire on a MIG welder. Kevin is using his Everlast ProMTS 251si multiprocess (MIG, TIG, stick [arc]) welder to show the process. Every machine is a little different, but the basics are the same.

The spool of wire mounts on a shaft. This welder has a collar, a spring and a nut that holds everything together. The spool goes on, the collar goes on, the spring goes on, and then the nut, which you snug on lightly by hand.

When you get the new spool out of the box, it'll be wrapped in plastic to keep it clean. Remove the plastic, and you'll find the wire is stuck through a small hole in the spool and bent over to keep the wire captive.

WARNING! When you cut that crimp off, there's nothing to hold the wire, and it is under tension - it wants to be straight. If you aren't careful to hold onto the end of the welding wire, you'll have a rat's nest on your hands.

Next, feed the new wire into the inlet tube on the beginning of the drive roller assembly. Some assemblies will look different. This one has a single drive roller, but some have two drive rollers, two idler wheels and two tension knobs.

On the drive roller itself, you'll see two grooves for two different diameters of welding wire. There's a collar that has a key on it that matches up to the grooved drive roller. On the roller, you'll notice two designations, .08 and 1.0, one for each of the grooves. Those tell you which groove is for which size of wire. Unfortunately for people in the United States, those measurements are metric and we measure in inches.

To figure out which one you need for .030 or .035 wire, lay your wire in the groove and see which one sticks up more. You don't want it sticking up too much, but you also don't want it so deep in the groove that the drive wheel can't push the wire.

Replace your drive wheel and retaining nut, then feed your welding wire into the outlet side. Kevin likes to push the wire in far enough so that it's into the cable itself. Then he pushes down the idler wheel and locks it and the tension knob into place.

Next, remove the nozzle and the contact tip on the end of the gun.

Some machines have a button near the drive assembly that says "Fast speed" or "Fast jog" that runs the wire at full speed to run the wire through. This welder doesn't have that button, so Kevin just turns the wirefeed all the way up to 600 to speed the process.

Also remember to turn your welding gas off - there's no reason to be spraying gas everywhere.

Pull the trigger and you'll start to feel the wire come up the cable. Once it finally comes out of the gun, stop the feed. Put back on the the correct size contact tip for whatever welding wire you're running. Trim the wire length, then, after checking to make sure it's clean inside, replace your nozzle.

Now you're ready to go back to work!

Before you do, though, catch Kevin Caron realizing you have to set up the machine right ....

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