Over the years I’ve seen many panel shops being forced to replace welders and not getting the full return on their investment due to a lack of maintenance and due care. Regular maintenance will not only ensure consistent quality welds but will also extend the life time of your welders saving you time and money.
Here are some quick, easy and free ways to maintain your MIG welder
- Always ensure you unplug a welder before carrying out any maintenance!
- Blow out the inside of the welder feeder section with compressed air at least once a week because when wire runs across the steel drive rolls, dirt and dust is introduced & can build up. Another way to combat this is to remove the rolls and clean them with a wire brush.
- Blow out the liner with compressed air from the contact tip end of the gun once a week. This will help to eliminate the grime which can build up as the wire runs through the drive rolls and into the gun liner.
- Cut liner to proper length to avoid problems with your wire feed – if it’s too short dirt and dust can build up between the liner and head
- Always protect the gun liner ensuring it doesn’t get flattened
- Ensure the gun contact tips, cone and diffuser and kept clean and in good condition as these components facilitate the electrical conductivity and gas dispersion for the MIG weld process to occur.
- Ensure the gun nozzle is kept clean using nozzle dip. The nozzle helps to shield the weld and can become filled with splatter. The dip helps to stop the splatter sticking. Exercise caution however and ensure you only dip the tip to avoid damaging the porous insulator in the nozzles interior.
- On a regular basis remove the cone and check if the diffuser is clogged and use a wire brush or rag to remove any spatter to ensure consistent dispersion of the shielding gas.
- Avoid touching the tip to the vehicle when repairing as unwanted electrical contact will damage the tips. Also ensure you use a tip with the correct hole size for the wire you are using.
- Replace tips as needed to ensure high quality consistent MIG welding
- Gas Storage - make sure it is always chained up, cool and dry and cannot fall over. To prevent the escape of gas when not in use, remove the regulator and use a protector cap. Coil the hose loosely and store off the ground to avoid kinks. Check regularly for holes or leaks.
- Prevent dust build up by using a cover over the welder.
The easiest way to know you have a likely maintenance issue with your MIG welder is in your welding quality, particularly visible holes in your weld. Porosity in the weld can indicate a procedural problem or a shielding gas problem – you may be out of gas, have a clogged nozzle or a hole in the shielding gas line.
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