Thursday 28 March 2013

MIG Welder Repair

A "tale from the shed" rather than the "road" since I refuse to ride anymore until the cold weather stops.

A MIG welder is a useful tool for any biker. It can weld thin steel so works well on exhausts etc. I bought mine a few years ago but it isn't very good. Its a SIP HandyMIG. The main problem is the wire feed. The motor isn't very powerful and the drive often slips. This causes the feed to be uneven and the welds to be poor. An improvement I did, suggested on the internet, consists of a metal strip to hold the drive wheels in alignment. The plastic holder deforms and the drive is reduced. This helped some but the problem seems that the resistance in the plastic liner is too great. I measured this at 4 lb. So I replaced this with a steel liner.

MIG welder

 I'm using flux cored "gasless" wire. This is convenient and economical. The gas bottles the welder uses last only minutes.

 I've added a steel strap between the drive roller mounts to improve the feed

Measuring the force needed to feed the wire

 Plastic liner (top) & metal liner (plastic outer in place & removed)

The feed was smoother with the new liner and reasonable welds are possible.


  1. We've worn out a few small portable Hobart mini-mig units at work. Recently we picked up a Miller 'suitcase' mig unit. It's ok for small jobs, but has a very tiny bottle and spool of wire.
    At home I still have an old Lincoln AC arc welder and my oxy/acetylene rig. Would like to purchase a Tig welder before I retire. No worries about wire feed mechanisms.
    When the mini migs were running their best I was getting some pretty decent beads with them. We run a CO2/Argon mix that was pretty good.

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  4. What a great DIY. I'd probably bought a new equipment if I were the one experiencing this but you did repair your welder successfully. Hope it can weld more in the future. Keep it up!

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