Tips for vertical MIG welding. . ."stack of dimes" style.

Discussion in 'Shop - Fabrication' started by atomicjoe23, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. atomicjoe23

    atomicjoe23 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    Location:
    Silverdale, WA
    Anyone have any good tips on how to get good dime sized puddles formed without gravity pulling them down before they solidify?

    I welded up some new spring and shackle perches on our '49 Jeep Willy's frame yesterday and I knew from welding school that welding vertical was going to be different (we didn't do vertical MIG welding at schoo. . .MIG was the only process we didn't do vertical in, maybe for good reason, but we did vertical OFW, SMAW, and TIG).

    I figured out on the first vertical run that I would have to speed up quite a bit compared to my flat welds, but once I sped up I started to lose the definition of my puddles.

    I have seen vertical MIG welds on this forum that look exactly the same all the way around so I know that it can be done (unless all of these welds are done on a bench where the part can be moved around and then put on the frame) and probably is more about practice and experimenting until I get the feel down just right, but I thought some of you might have a tip or two to help me out.

    The welds are strong, have good penetration, functional, and they are neat, but they do not look the same as my other welds and I would like for all of my welds to look exactly the same.

    Thanks!
  2. BajaFand

    BajaFand Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    San Dimas, CA
    A vertical weld is much easier to make look good than a horizontal flat position weld. ALWAYS go downhill with gravity. For me, I don't have to do as much movement, just drop down a little and gravity brings the puddle of the previous dime to you, so you don't have to overlap very much. Once you get good at it you will wonder why you can't make your flat position welds look as nice, hehe. The good thing about welding vertical down is that it does penetrate better than horizontal flat.
  3. Wild bill

    Wild bill Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Location:
    ponca city, ok
    I agree on the down hill idea with MIG. I do the uphill with TIG so that the lower puddle causes a shelf for the new puddle to rest on.
  4. atomicjoe23

    atomicjoe23 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    Location:
    Silverdale, WA
    I always always taught vertical up. . .creating a shelf just like Wild Bill mentioned, that was for TIG, OFW, and SMAW.

    I'll have to give the downhill a try for the MIG process.
  5. BajaFand

    BajaFand Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Location:
    San Dimas, CA
    Yes, you can TIG weld vertical up, but I've still been told it's better to go with gravity whenever possible. With SMAW I know it depends on the rod you use on whether you weld uphill or down. But with MIG you always need to weld down.
  6. blueeyeddevil

    blueeyeddevil Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2007
    Location:
    SAN TAN VALLEY, AZ
    I was always taught vertical = UP. When you weld down you trap all of the contaminates in the weld, plus you can go a little too fast and not burn in like you should. Granted welding down always produces nice welds.
    Loosely speaking, If its too good to be true... If its too easy to stack'em...
    Chances are it would hold up to everything but, a UT or an inspector.
  7. matt_helton

    matt_helton Racer

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2003
    Location:
    Yorba Linda, CA
    yeah listen to fandy. top down is how i roll too. top to bottom is very easy to control. imo

    here is some of my top to bottom sicknes. ha

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    (+1) 1 person likes this.
  8. foley

    foley New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2007
    Location:
    Van Alstyne, TX
    By the book all vertical welds should be up... TIG, MIG, Stick, not sure about gas, but you get the point.

    To get better appearance welding up I find myself needing to do a better job notching the parts to there is more space for parent material to be replaced with weld material. I also find it works better to run a slower wire speed than I typically would when MIG welding flat.



    All that being said, if you've got enough machine to get adequate penetration welding vertical down, then it is MUCH MUCH easier to do. For most offroad vehicle fab we're talking about material thicknesses 1/4" or less and the opportunity to weld from both sides. This tends to override a lot of the "textbook" rules as we're not trying to cheat extra penetration out of a maxed out 250 or 300 amp machine.
  9. blueeyeddevil

    blueeyeddevil Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2007
    Location:
    SAN TAN VALLEY, AZ
    Nice work as always. I was just trying to technically answer the question. I weld down too, as long as I gen get to both sides of the joint. :D, and burn it in.
  10. atomicjoe23

    atomicjoe23 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    Location:
    Silverdale, WA
    All thank you very much for your input!

    Like I said I was always taught to weld vertical up, and even then I've seen welds fail bend testing if the amperage wasn't high enough for the root weld. . .

    . . .that being said I realize there is room for common sense here (and all of you guys experience as well!) and that the thinner materials we are welding on in addition to the ability to weld both sides (as foley mentioned) over-rides some classical teaching. . .

    . . .here's what sold me though, Matt_Helton posted that he welds top down so I will definitely give it a try.

    Thanks for chiming in Matt. . .your welds are the exact look that I am shooting for, I'm not there yet, but I'm getting there. . .all of your welds are so uniform, it's very impressive! How long have you been welding? I get frustrated sometimes because I will space a puddle too far out or too close, or I won't wait long enough in one place and I can see I didn't deposit quite enough filler, but I have to remember that I have only been MIG welding for about 8 months and I've been attempting the puddle style welding for less than half that time (not a MIG technique we were taught at welding school. . .more production/industrial geared curriculum). . .even though I know I haven't been welding that long it's very hard for me to not be super critical of my welds, see every flaw and get a little disappointed in them more often than not!

    Thanks again for all the suggestions and especially for more of the inspirational pic's!!!
  11. matt_helton

    matt_helton Racer

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2003
    Location:
    Yorba Linda, CA
    ive been welding off and on for about 15 years........built myself 2 trucks, did alot of fab for buddies over the years.......welded some stuff when i worked for OC offroad and Kreger fab.....but i never really started welding almost every day till i went to the blitz in feb 08. ive gotten a little better since then but im my own worst critic and am rarely completely satisfied with my welds. i always try my best but players F-up too you know. :)
  12. atomicjoe23

    atomicjoe23 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    Location:
    Silverdale, WA
    Thanks for letting me know. . .makes me feel a little better. I know exactly what you mean about being your own worst critic. . .I pick my stuff apart constantly, but all my buddies are always complimenting my welding, but they haven't been to welding school and they aren't on this forum. . .so they haven't seen the really good stuff and don't know the standard that I'm trying to shoot for.

    Keep posting up your work. . .the more I see it the more determined I am to match it!!!

    The other thing is I'm finally just starting to get used to my personal machine here at home (Millermatic 211 MVP, but I put in a 250V/50A to run it off of). . .it's amazing what a difference the power supply can make in how a machine runs. I tried running the exact same setting that I ran on the Millermatic 252's at school and it didn't translate over. . .I figured it was just the different capacities of the machines, but then I found out that all the machines at school are running off of 450V power supply. . .so even now that I have a dedicated 250V/50A power supply for the welder my settings still didnt' translate over. . .puzzled me until I talked to my old instructor about it and he clued me in on the 450V power supply the school was running.

    It's amazing to learn that every single little variable really comes into play!!! I've got a good baseline setting for here at the house, now I just need to fine tune it to completely get rid of the splatter. . .I think I'm gonna turn the voltage up a little to spread my puddle out a little more and I've already started running the gas at a higher setting since I'm welding outside or under a carport instead of inside a shop. . .man I can't wait until we get our garage/shop built next year!!!

    Thanks again Matt!
  13. vandyketom

    vandyketom New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2013
    Location:
    Murrieta, CA
    Hey guys,
    In Pipeline welding=SAW (stick) 6010, 8010, 9010 all position (fast freeze) electrodes etc. are all done downhill for the root and hot pass. 7018, 8018, 9018 (low hydrogen) fill and covers usually go uphill. So there is no hard fast rule on vertical up or down. Depends on the filler material and the process). You can tell what works when you are welding on it and by how it looks after word.
  14. Tom_Willis

    Tom_Willis Well-Known Member

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    Oct 2, 2001
    Location:
    18th Flr, Wilshire Blvd. L. A.
  15. Tom_Willis

    Tom_Willis Well-Known Member

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    Oct 2, 2001
    Location:
    18th Flr, Wilshire Blvd. L. A.
    Helton, you are a god with a welder.
  16. Ranger_Danger

    Ranger_Danger New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2014
    Location:
    Bakersfield
    Welding up hill with Mig will eat most peoples lunch unless you are a fairly talented welder. Shooting for the "Stack of dimes" doesn't contribute to the strength of the weld whatsoever. Same goes for the misconception of "Tig welding is stronger than Mig welding" BS BS.... BS.
  17. atomicjoe23

    atomicjoe23 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    Location:
    Silverdale, WA
    True, the stack of dimes doesn't make the weld stronger, but it doesn't make it weaker if done properly either, but it does look a hell of a lot better. . .so if I can learn to stack dimes vertically and still get a good weld then that's my goal.
  18. Ranger_Danger

    Ranger_Danger New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2014
    Location:
    Bakersfield
    you are correct it doesn't make it weaker either and yes it looks cool. When welding you should always try to make as many welds in the flat position as possible. Only go out of position if that's the only way. if you are using .035, drop to .030 that will help.
  19. atomicjoe23

    atomicjoe23 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    Location:
    Silverdale, WA
    Thanks. . .I thought about switching to .030" filler before, but just haven't tried it yet.

    I always weld flat wnen possible, but sometimes it's unavoidable and I want those welds to look just as good as all the other welds.
  20. Ranger_Danger

    Ranger_Danger New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2014
    Location:
    Bakersfield
    the less filler metal you have to try and carry up hill the faster it will solidify. A lot of structural welding using 7018 they use 3/32 electrodes. Some good welders can go 1/8 but nobody goes up hill with 5/32.

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