The Importance of MIG Welder Maintenance
Proper maintenance of welding equipment is essential to its efficiency and lifespan. Maintenance, done on a regular basis, can extend the service life of your equipment and reduce the cost of rework or replacement of equipment and consumables. Below are some recommended maintenance tips common to most brands of MIG welding machines. It is essential to ensure that you understand and comply with the manufacturer’s safety precautions at all times, as this is the first step towards proper maintenance.
1. Equipment Cleaning
The equipment should be cleaned on a regular maintenance schedule for best results. Ensure that you remove all dust and dirt by first unplugging the power supply and removing covers, then use an air hose (with dry air) to remove any dirt or debris from the power supply and wire feeder. Dust and dirt may cause the machine to malfunction due to overheating and may also lead to welding issues if it builds up in the wire feeder. Dirt and debris can also cause wear of equipment parts, which may lead to a need for repair or replacement. The drive rolls on the welding machine should be cleaned properly to avoid faulty wire delivery. Take them off periodically and clean them with a wire brush to remove any contaminants. Also check the drive roll pressure at this time. When the drive roll pressure is too high, it can cause the wire to bird-nest and introduce a cast into the wire.
2. Gun Cleaning
The MIG nozzle should be cleaned regularly to remove any spatter and buildup. Make sure that the nozzle is clean to avoid inhibiting the gas flow, which could cause porosity in the weld, this is an important part of basic maintenance. The tip is the most replaced part of the machine because it receives more heat and wear from MIG wire passing through it. Tip wear is most often the cause of bad welds. Inspect the tips for clogging and wear and replace as necessary. Blow out the MIG gun liner weekly using shop air by removing the gun from the feeder and blowing it out from both ends. Don’t forget to check the gas diffuser to make sure the gas holes are not clogged with debris. The handle and trigger on the MIG gun should be inspected regularly. A damaged handle may cause electrical shock if there is any exposed interior cable. A defective trigger can cause several welding problems and should be replaced when necessary. Inspect the gooseneck and replace it if it is loose and can’t be tightened since this will cause welding issues due to lack of conductivity.
3. Cables and Connections
Loose connections can lead to resistance which causes a heat buildup in the cables and MIG gun. Inspect the cables for damage. Damaged cables can cause welding problems which may also affect the quality of your work. Finally, check your ground. A bad ground can be the cause of an erratic welding process, requiring constant adjustments by the welding operator. Bad grounding will cause bad welds and is an easy problem to correct.
Doing these things on a regular schedule will help to alleviate problems before they can start and will make your work more efficient, enjoyable and profitable.