This is part of the PowerMIG 180 Dual Complete Tutorial. This section deals with setting the machine up for MIG (Metal Inert Gas) welding. The machine is also capable of flux-core welding, but that requires a different setup, detailed here.
PowerMIG 180 Dual MIG Welding Setup
MIG welding is not the same as flux-core welding even though both can be done with the PowerMIG 180. The setup is very different for these two types of welding. Not only because one requires the use of a shielding gas, but also because their polarity is reversed.
- Flux-core welding requires that the work clamp be connected to the Positive terminal.
- MIG welding requires that the work clamp be connected to the Negative terminal.
- In either case, the short internal cable attaches to the other post in the machine.
MIG Welding Setup
Ok, let’s get to it. We’ll break it down into a few steps. Altogether this should take you less than 30 minutes, and it’s not as hard as our detailed instructions might lead you to think. Follow the steps and if you run into questions drop them in the notes below or Tweet them @JohnPoz.
Attaching the Work Clamp (Often Called the Grounding Cable)
- The clamp should be connected to the black 6 awg cable.
- The cable should be fed from the inside of the work clamp to the outside terminal.
- The outer copper nut should be removed and the terminal should be attached with the flat side out (wire side closest to clamp).
- Use a wrench to tighten this nut as it will never need to be removed unless the clamp or cable needs to be replaced.
- Thread the other end of the cable through the small hole on the front of the welder.
- Attach it to the NEGATIVE post using the wing-nut on the post.
- Connect it to the terminal flat side in (touching the base of the post).
- The short cable already present inside the welder should be connected to the POSITIVE terminal. If you are setting the machine up for the first time you’ll need to swap it from the negative position (the default setting for the machine was for Flux-core welding).
Attaching the Gun and Cable
- Inside the welder, loosen the black + shaped handle to loosen the connector bushing.
- Firmly plug the connector end of the Gun cable into the socket on the welder. It should insert completely to the point where the hexagonal shaped base is flush within the socket.
- Plug the 4-Pin lead connector into the socket below the gun cable socket and screw the outer bezel tightly to the machine.
- As a point of interest, this connector is the trigger control for the machine, whereas the gun cable is a conduit for the welding wire to feed through.
Attaching the Power Cable
- Choose either the 110v or 220v power cable and insert into the power receptacle port on the back of the welder.
- The cable won’t plug in as far as you might expect, so turn the outer ring and it will screw into the port and finish with a snap as it locks into place.
Loading MIG Wire
- Unless you are loading an 8″ (typically 10 pound) spool of wire, remove the large size spool adapter from inside the machine by unscrewing the wing-nut.
- Install the .025″ MIG 4″ (2 pound net) wire spool by pushing it onto the weld spool bolt. It will pierce the paper on the spool. Make sure the wire is set to feed towards the gun from the top of the spool.
- NOTE: If the end of the wire is tucked through a hole on the inside of the spool, move it to a hole on the outside to facilitate feeding it through the cable in later steps.
- Install the white plastic spacer, followed by the wingnut. Tighten firmly, but not so tight that the spool won’t spin freely.
- Straighten the gun cable out completely.
- Inside the welder, there is a black cylindrical handle (called the Tension Adjuster) pointing up. Pull it towards the wire spool and it will slide to the right.
- With the Tension Adjuster released you can raise the Top Drive Roll and then unscrew the Outer Wire Guide.
- Remove and replace the gray metal wheel (called the Lower Drive Roll) with one that reads .025″.
- Also verify that the Inner Wire Guide is marked with .025″ – .035″. NOTE: the default from the factory is .30″-.045″ so you’ll need to change it to the smaller wire guide if this is your first setup.
- Using some wire cutters, snip off the end of the wire to ensure there is a clean straight end. WARNING: do not let the wire go or it will unwind rapidly and you’ll need to cut off and discard a lot of wire.
- Feed the wire in through the Wire Drive Inlet and guide it through the wire guide and into the gun cable. If you have difficulty getting it in, you may need to loosen the cable a bit and back it out to feed in the wire, then reinsert and tighten it.
- A small screwdriver or pocket knife can also help guide the wire into the opening on the Gun cable.
- Once inserted, manually feed a few inches of wire into the gun cable, then while ensuring the wire is lined up properly within the wire guide and over the Lower Drive Roll, flip down the Top Drive Roll Pressure Arm and lift the Tension Adjuster up to lock it in place.
- Replace the Outer Wire Guide.
- Remove the nozzle from the tip of the gun and unscrew and replace the copper electrode with one marked .025″.
- Power on the welder. Turn the wire speed knob to 10. Squeeze the trigger until the wire comes out of the Gun.
Attaching the Shielding Gas Cylinder
- Screw one end of the gas tube into the port on the back of the welder. Hand tighten and then give it an extra 1/8 – 1/4 turn with a wrench.
- Screw the other end of the gas tube into the regulator. It will only fit in one place. Hand tighten and then give it an extra 1/8 – 1/4 turn with a wrench.
- Screw the regulator into a bottle of 75%/25% welding gas mix. It will only fit one way. Hand tighten and then give it an extra 1/8 – 1/4 turn with a wrench.
That’s it! You’re ready to weld. So head back to the PowerMIG 180 Dual Complete Tutorial and move on to the next step.