In Europe, “ordinary” DIYers and small trades think nothing of reaching for a welder when they need one. But in the UK we shy away from welding. But GYS are about to change that.
Working with wood is my key skill, but I have done some fairly regular “maintenance and repair” welding. My visit to GYS UK in Rugby was a chance to experience the best of modern electronically controlled welding to see if I could improve my welding skills. My tutor in this experiment was the charming and knowledgeable Amaury from France who informed me that he could make a difference to my welding skills in about twenty or thirty minutes. It is a tribute to his patience and skill that I managed a run of competent looking welds in about twenty minutes and I came away more confident knowing what I could do in future to make stronger and neater welds.
I started with the GYSmi 80P – the cheapest and smallest of the GYS MMA Inverter range of welders. I think this was just to prove that being the smallest in the range doesn’t mean that it is inferior. Amaury showed me how to set the dial on the 80P to suit the size of the electrode – there is only one control so this is simplicity itself. Making the necessary connections and setting up the cables is easy too – they are all provided in the box. The only extras needed are electrodes and PPE before I was ready to go. Amaury suggested that I test the welder’s ability to avoid the electrode “sticking” at the start of the weld and after a few attempts I was able to start smoothly because instead of having to pull the electrode sharply away when it stuck, the welder’s electronics simply cut the power and made the “stick” easy to release.
Amaury’s demo weld showed a curved herring bone pattern that I did my best to emulate, and after ten minutes, when I had got used to the fairly rapid feed rate needed on the electrode, I managed a slightly wobbly weld that met his approval. Apparently all I need to work on is my coordination between the hand and electrode to ensure that the weld remains even and strong.
The second welder I tried was the GYS SMARTMIG 162 aimed at the professional or semi-professional user. I have never done MIG welding before but I had seen it on the telly and it looks like fun – a good reason, in my view, to give it a go.
Again, Amaury explained the very simple set up of the machine using the SMART control panel to set wire speed and power, all I had to do was select what I knew about what I wanted to weld, the wire diameter and thickness of the metal. This set up gives workable parameters, but experienced welders will know when to adjust the dial a fraction here and there because local conditions like ambient temperature can make a difference.
Amaury also explained to me that the hand position in MIG welding was different to MMA because the feed is forward and the left hand needs to support the torch to get a smooth movement and therefore a smooth, neat weld. I must admit that it took at least six attempts before I got a weld that I actually liked and that matched the demo weld somewhat, but I think that MIG welding could be for me – it feels smoother and slightly easier for me to do. According to Amaury, from now on, it is just practice that will develop my welding skills. I am willing to believe him, but the point is that in a short time I learned a lot more about MIG welding than I thought I could.
For more information on GYS Welding, please visit www.gys.fr