sansthelight

Hobart Handler

In refurbishing, welding on March 7, 2015 at 6:41 pm

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A while back I was given an old Hobart Handler MIG welder.  According to the serial number it was manufactured in 1987.  Since then Hobart has been bought-out by Miller.  Consequently nobody makes parts for the old Hobart.  The welder was available to be given away because it wasn’t working.  The lead for the welding gun (containing the power wire, gas line, and liner with welding electrode) was snagged on something.  The outer cover was ripped badly and the liner got snagged.  There was no visible damage to the liner but you could no longer feed electrode wire through it.  I had hoped that I would be able to just buy a replacement liner.  I went to Barnes Welding Supply here in Salinas, CA.  They didn’t have anything but were willing to try and track something down.  They called Miller.  Miller told them to just give up and buy a new welder.  They called Hobart.  Hobart tried to sell them $250 of parts from 3 different manufacturers and still wasn’t willing to guarantee that it would work.  Bernard was listed on one of the parts pages on the Miller website as providing replacement guns for the Handler series so they were called next.  They didn’t have a gun or a liner that would work but thought they had an adapter that would let us connect a Tweco gun to the Handler.  That sounded promising so the guys at Barnes ordered that for me.  And then we waited.  It took a couple of weeks for the part to arrive but it finally did arrive yesterday.  I loaded up the welder in the back of the truck and ran over to Barnes.  The adapter wasn’t even close to what we needed.  For the next hour or so we messed around with a variety of products they had in stock and check more documentation online to see if we could get the welder working.  Finally we found a Miller liner that would fit in the gun with the stock connectors.  The one caveat to that is that we couldn’t hook up the gas with this setup.  Generally speaking MIG welders require a shielding gas.  Luckily this liner and gun were able to accommodate a flux core wire.  Flux core looks a like MIG wire except that it is hollow.  Inside the wire is a flux (hence the name).  The flux burns and creates fumes that provide a shielding gas for the weld bead while it solidifies.  Flux core isn’t as pretty as a normal MIG weld.  It requires more clean up as you have to remove the flux layer from the weld as well.  On the plus side it doesn’t require me to purchase a gas bottle and gas.  It is also welds much better outside (where there is wind and such).   The upshot is that after making the guys at Barnes work to find an adapter, waiting two weeks to find out the adapter wouldn’t work, and then spending another hour tearing the Hobart (and their shop) apart, I walked out of the store with a working welder.

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I spent some time in my shop this morning playing with it and trying to figure out the correct settings.  I put a few beads down adjusted some stuff and repeated.  I think I have it more or less dialed in.  Now I need to dial in my welding.  I’ve never used flux core before this morning.  I have used dual shielding wire.  Dual shielding uses a shielding gas such as CO2 just like MIG but it also contains a flux core.  Essentially it is the belt and suspenders approach to shielding gas.  🙂  It requires a different polarity than flux core and MIG and feels a bit different as well.  I don’t have much experience with it either but I think it helps as it is about as close to flux core as you can get without actually welding flux core.  The flux core has a lot more spatter than I would like.  This may be something that is related to my settings or technique though.  I will have to watch some videos and practice some more before I will now the whole story with that.  Here is a shot of my final bead (yes I know it runs over a previous one).

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It’s not perfect but I think it is acceptable.  My next project is to build a cart for the Hobart out of angle iron and some flat stock.  I plan on cutting out a section of my welding tables support and bottom shelf (and adding in some additional support to build some strength back in) so that I will be able to roll the new welding cart under the table when I am using it in the shop.  I did discovered that I need to add a fan to the shop to blow the fumes and smoke out.  It got a little smoky in there this morning and I didn’t do that much actual welding, although the paint on the back side of the metal I was using catching fire didn’t help in that regard.

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