Tag Line

"Built Dam Strong!"

12 October 2014

Oh, boy. I have a long way to go.

I'm so very out of practice. I'll be putting in a lot of arc time. It is just frustrating to have let things go for this long. It isn't so wonderful. Oh well, I will be re-learning everything. I have plenty to practice on.

A few more pics of some more steel welding this morning:

 Can somebody say undercut? Ew.

Practice practice practice. 

11 October 2014

Initial review of my new Everlast PowerTig 200DX, along with some crappy photos of crappy welds.

Yesterday I picked up most of the rest of my welding stuff from Dave's place in Brooklyn. With the back seats folded down, the Fit really does live up to its name!

Not stuffed to the gills, but the back end was sagging significantly:
Eventually I'm gonna have to get some stiffer springs. This is pretty typical of a stock Honda.

Today after a lazy morning with pancakes and bacon, I got to unloading what I needed to get welding. I even remember to bring my shield home, too!

I got the welder hooked up to power and argon and connected the foot pedal, ground and torch. These are all the items that came in the "deluxe package" (well, not the gas of course, but the regulator fits normal bottles, not that weird metric stuff that came on my previous welder).

So, setup is  pretty easy. I am a huge fan of direct turny-button things. I am NOT a fan of the modern digital controls that most brands are moving towards. I really detest having to go through menus just to make simple changes. That actually goes for more than just welding machines. Phones, cameras, electronics of all sorts just SUCK when it comes to this kinda thing. Burying things in menus just makes no sense. Anyway, I don't have to deal with that with the simple and newly designed layout on this welder. I like the layout. I like the clear cover. I WOULD like the finger notch for the clear cover to be larger, though. With thick gloves on, you cannot open the cover easily. If I have gloves on, I don't want to take them off just to tweak the amps or flip switches.

I ground some 1/8" 1.5% Lanthanated (black) tungsten, as that is what I had for testing. The torch itself is actually decent! The cable is decently flexible, but it is not flexible enough to wrap around your forearm or hand like most welders to to support the weight of the cable without having to grip the torch itself hard (and thus shaking all over the place). The DINSE connector is actually very good. The fitment into the socket is excellent. The machining of the threads for the collet body and cap are excellent. Everything fit well together. The body is grippy. It comes supplied with a switch. I actually like switches for tacking. Bop the switch, and you have a tack. (As long as your fitment is good, that is.) The switch action is positive. It is placed well. It even came with a zip on cloth cover! I actually like the cloth cover more than the leather cover I have for my normal torch. The only gripe I have about the torch setup is that no one should ever be supplied with a a torch that is less than 25ft. long. this one is about 12. It is useable, but, it's not long enough for "real" work.

The "deluxe" pedal isn't. It is much more compact. It has a decent length to the cable, with a connector on each end making extending the cable easier, if necessary, and it might be, as the length is, again, decent, but not as long as I would like. I may still be getting used to it, but there seems to be an annoying "hitch" on the very "low" end, just before the contact switch clicks. This is REALLY annoying when trying to taper off. I think I might try the clunky pedal with this machine to see what happens. (If the impedances don't match up, it might have low end control issues.) The clunky pedal, while huge and not particularly smooth, did not have any weirdness like this "deluxe" pedal.

The ground clamp is also decent. It has a wide clamping range and enough (but not so much it is hard to open) tension in the spring. The contact points a decently thick copper. The connector between the contacts is, oddly (at least in my experience) a solid sheet of copper instead of your more typical flat braided copper ground strap. The DINSE connector fits very well and locks in solidly. The cable crimps are well done. Again, the cable length is not as long as I would like, but with the ground, it is typical to have it be shorter than the torch whip, anyway.

I haven't used the electrode holder yet, but it is a proper clamp type instead of those disgustingly annoying twist type. (I HATE THOSE!!!) For a stick welding whip, the lead is so short it is laughable. I wouldn't even bother trying to use it without getting a longer cable. If I am stick welding something, it is likely going to be in a horrible spot that I wouldn't want to lug my TIG box to or expose it to all the sparks and spatter from stick welding. I really would prefer to see 25ft. leads for everything. I consider that the bare minimum useable length.

The regulator is actually rather good. The machining is just plain excellent. All the markings are neat and very readable. Everything fits perfectly. It adjusts very easily. It seems to be very consistent at holding the set flow rate. Overall, this is a hugely improved accessory.

The NEMA 6-50 to standard 110V outlet adapter is a bit clunky, but, well, it kinda has to be. That being said, it is very well made with molded rubber ends and it fits securely together.

So, for the accessories that come with the deluxe package, they are all a DEFINITE step up from the base stuff. It is useable, even if the leads are short. I am impressed with the overall quality, fit and finish of them and feel that they represent a good value, but not a great value. I have my reservations about the foot pedal. This is the only disappointing part of the bunch. I will work with it more and see if I can get used to it, but I already have a US made pedal in my sights, though it will have to wait a bit as they are $160. If I am remembering correctly, the whole "deluxe package" is about that price if you are paying retain. Since I bought this welder while there was a special going on, I was upgraded to the "deluxe package" for free.

On to the welding! As a reminder, I am currently using this on a 20A 110V circuit. That is the primary reason I bought this box. I can just plug it in and go nearly anywhere! The box WORKS. VERY VERY well. The adjustments are easy and correct, meaning turning knobs does things in the expected manner, in the amount of the turning. Low amp start, even with the silly large 1/8" tungsten is good, and I expect it to be much better with a more reasonable tungsten size for the lower amperage. On of the best features of the newer models is that it has a "real" fitting for the gas hose instead of a barb fitting. This does a few things. First, it reduces stickout in the rear. I transport welding crap often, and having a fairly flush fitting in the rear instead of the barbed fitting that sticks out a good bit is actually a relief. This also makes for a simpler setup. You only need one tool (an adjustable crescent wrench) to set it up instead of a screwdriver and an adjustable wrench (or multiple wrenches for the regulator and gas hose fittings). Simpler is better!

I am simply way out of practice. Geez. It SUCKED welding today. The box itself functioned flawlessly. I was just plain awful for most of it. Here are some pics of the crap I was putting out:

 Note: The scrap isn't the cleanest . . . and I accidently welded the steel to the stainless bench topper . . . That's going to be annoying to get apart. ARG!

I noticed that when welding aluminum the fan pitch changes, especially when I am cranking on it to get a puddle started on cold aluminum. I suspect that it won't do that on 220V. HOWEVER, it did not effect the welding at all. That was rock steady!

Steel multipass:
 Ugly because I didn't clean it up much and I also have to relearn WTF I am doing. Geez. It's gonna take a lot of practice, but I am going to put the time in!

After finding a thicker piece of aluminum, I started to get some decent welds without burning through. I started running multipass welds to just work on my angles and timing and motion:

 I actually started to get some decent beads in.

As you can see in this last picture, I am having issues with cratering. I am attributing that to the hitch in the pedal. I have not had that issue before when I could taper off normally. I'd expect it on the thin piece, but not so much on the ends of a very large multipass weld. I am going to have to figure that one out. Maybe it really is just me!

Overall, the PowerTig 200DX is EXCELLENT. The Deluxe package is a decent value as you can actually use everything right out of the box to hook it up and get to making welds. That's a pretty important step up in quality and usability, especially if you are just starting out with a TIG welder. I'll report  in on the pedal, if it "breaks in" or if I just want to chuck it in the bin.

So, there you have it. So far one 110V, I can do 90% of the work I would ever do with a TIG welder. That's very impressive. Everything works and works well. A few minor gripes is all I can muster. The handle on top of the box feels a bit loose. The handle on my PowerTIG 250EX was not. The accessories had a fairly horrific oily rubbery smell at first. It subsided overa  few days, but holy crap! I wish the Chinese manufacturers would realize we don't want to smell how terrible things are right away. Other than that, it is excellent!

I'll have to modify the tool cart in order to fit it on the bottom shelf, as the handle makes it too tall to fit in the self space, but I was anticipating that and already have a plan. In the mean time, I am going to gather up all my TIG tools and put them in the cart which will be AWESOME to have all of them in one place. I'l be ordering steel soon for the cart and new work benches! YES! Lots to look forward to. Lots of welding to do. I'm on it!

09 October 2014

What did the Beave find in the basement?

This sounds like a really bad reality TV show, and, well, it kinda is. So, what is all this nonsense about? Long time readers will recall this post from way too long ago:

Link to previous post

Pretty much the basement has sat in that state since last year. It is well past time to do something about that, and so I am actually doing something about that.

I started off by simply shifting all the crap on top of the old, but loose, boards from the former benchtop to various other horizontal surfaces:
 Then I started ripping more out:
 I'm surprised to find that the bench was built using previously burned wood:
Why someone in the past did that, I have no idea, other than the wood was either dirt cheap or salvaged for free fitty!

So what WAS found in the basement? I'll show you!

Do you need to do some laundry? Well, I have this fine washboard for you!

 It even saves soap! It says so right on the front!

The other side has a different pattern:
 I don't know the particulars of the functional differences in the sides. I've never used a washboard and have only seen used to make music.

Here's a fine US made Craftsman axe head:

I'm not sure why, but I do love older toolboxes:

 Here's another really good quality US made Craftsman tool:

I really love the handle on this saw:
 It has been well used, as it is dull as dog plop, but it sure feels good and is well made. Look at the big brass rivets:

Even the front of the blade is detailed!

I really like the flourishes on this handle!

This is one hefty Rigid pipe wrench:
 I know the trend is lighter, larger wrenches (aluminum bodies with steel teeth), but I LOVE the feel of a solid forged steel tool in my hands. Here are a few more smaller pipe wrenches, all US made:
I think the three on the right are much older. New wrenches don't seem to have the spring mechanisms for the tilt-to-lock action. I like the older style, even if the newer ones work fine.

And that's what the Beave found in the basement today! 

The one video I captured at Lime Rock.

I managed to capture part of the GT-class race held during the afternoon. I'm not usually a fan of V8 engines, but most of these cars sounded very good! I especially liked the V8 swapped turbo XR4Ti! I'm not sure how good the sound will come through, but you could hear the turbo spool and when coupled with the very boomy bass imparted to the exhaust, it was really easy to pick out from the rest of the cars in the race.

The sound is surprisingly decent! 

06 October 2014

New TIG box arrived! Everlast 200DX/DV

I arrived home to find the box sitting on the stoop! I was actually so excited to get home to see it I forgot my welding gear at work . . . I do have a cheap helmet at home, but . . . I'd rather not use that with an inverter TIG as it doesn't seem to detect the arc well at lower amperages, where I would be welding with the machine hooked up to 110V input.

Anyway, on to the unboxing pics!

 The box arrived intact! The packing is good, too.

First shocker, the the cover of the "deluxe" footpedal had popped off in transit. That wasn't super cool, but, it popped back on easily. And look, ma! No Lurch pedal:

 It is pretty sleek compared tot he "budget" model. It is NOT smooth actuating, though. I'll give a review of this when I can actually get into using the sucker.

All the connections are really decent quality:
 Good shock:
 The "deluxe" torch even comes with a zippered cloth cover! THAT is good stuff. The torch itself seems to be made pretty well and the switch is decent, too. I actually like the thumb switch for tacking things together.

The VERY important 220-110 adapter:
 Even the ground clamp is pretty decent:
 Heck, I think the regulator looks halfway decent. We will see!

After pulling the welder out and checking for damage, I came across this red stuff:
 It seems suspiciously like RTV. *shrugs*

Here's the box itself:
 I LIKE the flat black handle over the shiny one on my previous 250EX. The box is noticeably lighter.

I like the new front panel and cover layout:
 All the knobs and switches are smooth and clickey.

The back of the box is pretty plain, just the necessities:

Another change that I REALLY like is that they now use a real fitting for the gas inlet, not a hokey barb fitting that sticks out way too far:

I at least got to power it up!

Here it is sitting at the low DC output:
 Low AC output:

It automatically senses the input voltage and on 110V, limits the upper end:

And that is about it so far. I'm sure you will be seeing more of this during the coming week and weekend. =) 

Pit pics from Lime Rock

Some pics from the pits at Lime Rock two weekends ago. (Yes, I'm slow.)
Veery fast EP BMW:

Ed and Steph's ITA CRX:

 In the staging area for the qualifying heat:
 This car looked good, even with some rough spots:

 I have never heard of this car:

 I liked it, though.

Here's something you don't see every day:

Especially not with a Cobra 460 engine with a turbo strapped to it:

 I like the design of this gurney flap:

 The dude that owned this 02 was totally cool:
 The aftermath of being made a bumper car:

 This is the worst part:
The rear subframe is tweaked, but fixable.