Hacking a cheap MIG welder

I'm modifying an Awelco MIG ONE welder.

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Hacking the cheap welder Awelco MIG ONE into something better.

-Convert from AC to DC.
-Add the ability to use shielding gas.
-Add better current regulation.
-Extent the enclosure to fit the extra parts while keeping it portable and OK looking.

A few weeks ago I bought an Awelco MIG ONE welder on sale. It's a flux core gas less MIG welder with two current settings, 35A and 95A. I set out to learn MIG welding, which turned out to be harder than expected. Almost all my welds are ugly.. very ugly. But there has been some success, some of my ugly welds are strong and I have succesfully made ugly welds in thin sheet metal that would be impossible to weld with a stick welder.

From the start I was planning to eventually hack the welder to use gas. This video makes it look reasonably easy.

Preparing for the gas upgrade I had a look inside the welder to check if it was DC electrode negative (normally used without gas) or DC electrode positive (normally used with gas) and how I could change that if needed. It turned out it was AC. WTF? Never heard about an AC MIG welder before...

So I added 4 80A diodes to make a rectifier and a few (64) 2200uF 50V caps to reduce ripple.

  • I added shielding gas

    ZeptoBit04/22/2018 at 16:02 0 comments

    One of the main drawbacks of this welder was the inability to use shielding gas, which ment it could only be used with flux core wire. I have added support for shielding gas. Welding with gas is much nicer than flux core, because the weld puddle can be seen clearly and there is almost no smoke. It also makes it possible to weld aluminum, but I'v not tried that yet.

    Parts used:

    • Solenoid valve (a cheap normally closed pneumatic valve)
    • 6mm ID reinforced PVC hose: Connects the regulator on the gas bottle to the welder (in port on the solenoid).
    • 4mm OD nylon tube: Connects the welder (out port on the solenoid) to the mig gun.
    • Short piece of thin wall 4mm copper tubing bent at 90 degrees. (Used to connect the gas tube to the mig gun)
    • Electronics: Turns on power for the solenoid when the switch on the mig gun is pressed and keeps it on for an adjustable amount of time after the switch is released.
    • Various pipe fittings and such.

  • First test after converting to DC

    ZeptoBit05/20/2017 at 19:47 0 comments

    I tried the DC upgrade today. No explosion, no fires, nothing melted and no magic smoke released.

    Using DCEN (DC Electrode Negative) at the 95A setting I'm geting less spatter than before and it appares to work fine. My added parts did not even get warm.

    However at the 35A setting (still DCEN) I got a lot of spatter (more than with AC) and I had problems avoiding burning holes in 0.9mm steel. I also tried 35A with DCEP (DC Electrode positive) and it appared to work better with the thin steel, less burn troughs and less spatter.

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