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CANADA'S LEADING INFORMATION SOURCE FOR THE METALWORKING INDUSTRY

CANADA'S LEADING INFORMATION SOURCE FOR THE METALWORKING INDUSTRY

TECH TIPS: 5 Ways to improve when FCAW welding

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There are a few common mistakes welders make when using the FCAW process. The good news? There are ways to avoid them too. PHOTO courtesy ESAB University.

This TECH TIPs is provided by the experts at ESAB University 

Also known as flux-cored arc welding, FCAW offers a wide range of advantages when you’re welding. It offers high deposition rates and is the best process for dealing with moderate amounts of rust and mill scale to produce high quality welds. 

That said, there are a few common mistakes welders make when using this process. The good news? There are ways to avoid them too. Here’s a look at what to know and how to improve. 

Mistake #1: Incorrect drive rolls and drive roll tension.

How to improve: Use knurled rolls only and keep the pressure light, so you don’t get bird-nesting of the welding wire. Regularly inspect your welding gun and cables for blockages in the liner. 

Mistake #2: Pushing your weld in the direction of travel.

How to improve: As the saying goes, “If it produces slag, you drag.” For FCAW, use the pulling or dragging technique only to ensure good penetration and minimize potential for slag entrapment. 

Mistake #3: Using small wire diameter – such as 0.045″ to weld 1/4″ or larger weld beads in a single pass – can cause lack of penetration or slag entrapment at the root.

How to improve: If using small diameter wire, perform your weld in two or more passes or utilize larger wire diameter. Otherwise, you will end up with a defect due to slag inclusions or when the metal doesn’t completely fill the joint. 

Mistake #4: Improper shielding gas for your wire type.

How to improve: For self-shielded flux core wires, do not use external shielding gas. Make sure wire is classified for gas being used, such as mixed gas for argon/carbon dioxide gas and mix classified wires, or carbon dioxide for wires only classified with carbon dioxide. 

Mistake #5: Incorrect wire storage.

How to improve: Store your wire properly, in a protective plastic bag and preferably in a warm and dry location when not being used. Damage from moisture or other contaminants can cause poor weld quality and even void the warranty. 

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