Close-up Look at the M200
Ready to weld!
The patented four-roller wire feed mechanism. The knob on the right is the tension adjuster.
The feed mechanism is quick and easy to open and it doesn't alter your tension adjustment.
The M200 can easily handle a huge roll of MIG wire. This roll should last for a year or two.
The included pressure regulator set.
Among the welders in this power range, the Air Liquide M200 had the highest quality MIG gun: the AL Series 250 A. It utilizes Euro quick connects so changing guns is a snap. Because the connector is an industry standard, you are not limited to using proprietary welding guns.
A notable feature of the 250 A welding gun is the fact that the neck between the handle and nozzle is a separate piece. That one design feature produces many benefits:
- The neck can be swivelled 360 degrees for those odd angle welding jobs.
- Replacement necks are available in a variety of angles to suit any task.
- The liner portion of the neck can be replaced independently of the rest of the hose liner. Since the neck is where most of the liner wear and tear occurs, the hose liner will be have to replaced much less frequently than a convention gun/hose combination.
By the way, if you already own a welder made by "the other guys," you can still enjoy the benefits Air Liquide's premium welding guns. They offer connector kits to hook up to Miller, Lincoln, and Hobart/Tweco connectors.
The control panel is very straight forward.
- Welding Mode Selector:
- The first setting is the most commonly used. On the first press of the gun trigger, the gas, weld current and wire are available for welding. When the trigger is released, gas power and wire are stopped.
- The second setting is the "constant weld" mode. On the first press of the trigger, the gas begins to flow. When the trigger is released, weld current and wire feed is initiated. On the second press of the trigger, the weld current and wire stops. When the trigger is released, the gas stops flowing. Essentially, this lets you put the gun into constant weld mode by letting you press and release the trigger to start the weld, which will continue until you press and release the trigger again. It also gives you better gas shielding by allowing you to run the gas longer than the welding duration.
- The last setting is for the spot timer mode. On the first press of the gun trigger, the gas, weld current and wire are available for welding. When the spot timer expires, the gas, current and wire feed are shut off. The duration of the timer is set via the Spot Timer.
- Spot Timer: Provides precise control of weld size by setting an automatic limit to the duration of the weld. It can be set from 0.3 to 10 seconds.
- Wire Run-in Control: Controls the time span over which the wire feed speed will go from zero (at the start of the weld) to the feed speed setting defined by the Wire Speed control. This can be set from 0.1 to 2.0 seconds. The goal of this control is to reduce spatter during arc initiation.
- Burn Back Control: Provides precise control over how much wire is left protruding from the gun at the end of welding. Too much and the wire will stick to the weld. Too little and the wire will burn back into the gun.
- Thermostatic Protection Indicator: Indicates when the welder automatically shuts itself down to to over heating or over loading.
- Wire Speed: Adjust the wire feed speed.
- Jog Control: This safety feature feeds the wire without energizing the gun or releasing gas.
- Purge Control: Eliminates weld porosity during arc initiation by purging the hose of impure gas without energizing the gun or feeding the wire.
- 8-tap Voltage Control: Provides easy and precise setting of the voltage.
Blueshield SG300 Spool Gun
As I mentioned before, one of the great advantages of having a welder is that you can build virtually any kind of accessory you can think of for your vehicle. The downside to that is that you end up with several hundred pounds of additional steel weighing down your vehicle. Steel is great for items such as bumpers and armour. But for those items that require less strength, such as an interior cargo rack or external racks that are mounted on the rear bumper/tire carrier, aluminum would work just as well AND it would weigh much less.
And that's why I bought the Blueshield SG300 spool gun. Pretty good rationalization, eh?
So why is a spool gun needed for aluminum welding? Aluminum welding wire isn't as strong as steel so pushing it along the length of a GMAW welding cable often results in the wire jamming in the welding cable or bunching up between the cable entrance and feed mechanism. There are two solutions to this problem:
The first solution is only a part-time solution since in many cases, it doesn't work or the job at hand precludes the ability to keep the welding cable straight. The spool gun is the feasible and reliable solution.
- Arrange your welding cable so it is as straight as possible.
- Use a spool gun which uses small spools of aluminum wire and feeds it through a straight tube that is only about 8 inches long (as opposed to the typical 12-foot flexible GMAW welding cable).
The Blueshield SG300 is built to complement the M200 and M250 MIG welders. It is a well balanced gun that provides smooth and consistent feeding of aluminum wire while the 20-foot weld cable provide easy access into those hard-to-reach places. The SG300 is capable of a 300A 60% duty cycle so it can easily handle the output of the M200. It can feed steel and aluminum wire up to 0.045 inches in diameter.
Connecting the SG300 spool gun to the welder is simple. First, connect the welding cable to the Euro quick connect.
Next, connect the remote control cord.
That's all there is to it! Now you're ready to use the spool gun.
We're planning on writing an article detailing the ins and outs of aluminum welding so stay tuned for more information on this exciting tool.
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