Senior MTF Member
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Lowell area, MA
Re: Well it finally happened!!!
Curious, is it saying you can't weld something as thick as 16-gauge, or as thin as 16-gauge?
The rule of thumb I've read is 1 amp per 0.001" of steel thickness. So my 140A welder can handle 1/8" thick, or a little over. With flux-core, with proper preparation, and with multiple passes, you can go thicker, though it sounds like sometimes the companies get a bit optimistic with what they say can be done, at least on the 110V-powered units like mine.
A risk I've read is that MIG welds might *look* OK on the surface, but don't have good depth penetration, so they can be weak. Personally, I'm not buying anyone's homemade trailer off Craigslist. In rare cases where I've used mine on extra-thick materials, it was when I knew there was no risk if a weld were to fail.
I spent a while using mine yesterday, welding a patch over a big rusted-through area of my tractor's mower deck. The welds aren't pretty, but I think they'll hold.
In the process, I discovered that the battery in my black w/blue-flames Harbor Freight auto-darkening helmet had died, and it would take too-long to darken. Not good. The batteries are not replaceable, so I started looking online at helmets with replaceable batteries. Then I realized I needed to keep making progress on my little project, so I opened up my helmet's guts, ripped off the dead cell, and put in a CR2032. That was enough to get it going again, at least, and I kept welding. Either I'll do a better job setting up this helmet for replacement batteries, or maybe I'll order something better, but at least I got it working again for now.