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Help my terrible welds

Like the photo and the title says, I need some help figuring this one out.


A little while back I finally bought a welder - the same Hobart Handler 140 that I had previously borrowed from a cousin. Since I had a welder, I figured a good starter project would be to make a welding cart. But even before doing that, I figured I’d better refresh myself on how to weld (properly, in theory).

For reasons I don’t understand, the welds are looking... terrible. There’s a white dust over everything, and it’s balling up and splattering - really badly. The first part of the weld seems to start really cold, and seems to sit on the surface. The wire seems to be vaporizing before it gets to the weld pool (not sure if it’s supposed to be doing that or not).

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I’ve checked the following:

- The test piece of metal I was practicing on was approximately 1/8th of an inch thick. According to the welder settings in the door, that should be on voltage setting 4, wire speed 40, so I’ve set it as such. (I’ve tried playing around a bit with it, but it’s hard to tell what it does, as the welds all seem pretty terrible).
- Wire size is 0.030". As near as I can figure, it’s solid core (it doesn’t specifically say it’s solid core, but I figure it would have said if it was flux core. I’ll snap a photo of it next time I’m in the garage). The spool of wire is fairly close to empty, so I plan on picking up a different spool. The wire on there looks clean and bright (doesn’t appear rusty or otherwise contaminated).- Polarity is set properly for solid wire.
- Gas is 75% argon, 25% CO2. Flow level is set to ~15 CFH. I can hear it hiss when I pull the trigger. The gas nozzle seems clear in the torch. The tip seems like it has some wear, so I’ll likely replace it soon.
- Wire tension seems okay. I’ve got the (hose?) in a long curve, and it seems to be feeding the wire properly.
- I’m trying to keep stickout to <1/2". Basically as close as it seems reasonable, while still being able to see the puddle.
- Torch angle is near 90%. I’ve tried angling a bit, but it doesn’t seem to make too much difference.
- Ground clamp connection seems clean.  The test piece that I was playing around with was fairly clean.  (I gave it a quick sanding with some 80 grit sandpaper).  There doesn’t appear to be any issues starting the arc.

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It seems to be making roughly the right sound - “like frying bacon”, but it’s splattering everywhere, and makes for a heck of a mess and a terrible weld.

Any guesses on what atrocity I’m committing here? Am I accidentally running flux core wire with gas, or something terrible like that? I do plan on picking up some replacement tips and some fresh wire, but as far as what I’ve done so far, it’d be nice to know what I’m doing wrong.

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