by Chris Gandee
One of the key training points of the VRTEX® 360 is the ability for it to be set up like an actual welding machine. This teaches the student how to properly achieve this far too often overlooked and very important step in the welding process. The American Welding Society has created a standard to help the welder accomplish this task. In my experiences, this is taught in theory in the classroom and not reinforced in some welding labs. Proper equipment set-up is an essential skill for a welder to have when walking on a job site. Training on the VRTEX® 360 reinforces teaching and using a Welding Procedure Specification or WPS. All 72 welds that are simulated on the VRTEX®360 have a written WPS which is provided in a book with your machine. The setup of the machine depends on the ability of the user to read and understand a WPS.
Here are the step-by-step instructions how this is done:
- Log in from the sign in screen using the joystick and red select button. Pressing the green “Continue” button will take you to the “Joint Selection Screen.”
- The joint to be welded is located in two areas on the WPS. Select the weld you desire to practice and find the related WPS in the WPS book provided with the VRTEX® 360.
- On the right side of the WPS under the “Position” area you will see a few options. One is for a “Groove” weld, one for a “Fillet” weld and another for a “Flat Surface. The position and joint type will be located in this area, for example… on the 2F position, the line after “Fillet” will have the designation 2F on it. The 2 indicates the horizontal position and the F indicates a Fillet weld. You can also locate this information on the bottom left of the WPS in the “Joint Details” block of the “Welding Procedure.” Selecting this joint on the VRTEX® is relatively simple. It is accomplished by using the joystick to highlight the desired joint and the red select button to select it, (circled in light blue).
- Selecting the desired joint takes you to the next part of the setup process; choosing a material thickness. On the right side of the joint rotating window of the VRTEX® monitor you will see a window appear with different material thicknesses. Use the joystick and red select button to choose the desired material thickness. This information can be found on the WPS under the “Base Material” area. Some additional information is located in this area that pertains to the base material being welded such as the Material Specifications and Type of Grade, (circled in pink).
- Selecting the material thickness will take you to the next screen which is the “Process Selection” screen. On this screen you will notice there are three different processes the VRTEX® 360 simulates. Gas Metal Arc Welding or GMAW, Flux Core Arc Welding or FCAW and Shielded Metal Arc Welding or SMAW. Using the Process Selector switch located on the lower left side of the VRTEX® control panel. Select the desired process stated on the WPS by turning the switch until the tip of the switch points at the needed process. This information is found at the top of the WPS on the left side beside “Welding Process,” (circled in green)
- Selecting the process will take you to the “Welding Table Setup” screen. It is very important that you set the VRTEX® 360 stand up exactly like you tell the computer using the number strip and pegs located on the stand pole. For further instructions on this step see the “Operators Manual.” Once you have the table set up properly press the green “continue” button. This will take you to a prompt screen stating “Move the weld stand arm and table to the correct numbered position. Press the Green Button when done.” This is a prompt to make sure the stand and machine are set the same way. Press the green “Continue” button to move tot the “Environment Selection” screen.
- Completing the “Setup Screen” will allow you to advance to the “Environment” selection screen. There are currently four environments to choose from. Use the joystick and red select button to toggle through and select the desired surrounding. This is just the background; there are no diverse effects by choosing one specific environment.
- After selecting the environment, the next screen is the “Gas selection and flow rate” setup screen. On this screen you will notice there are three different gas mixture selections possible. The three selections are 90% Argon/ 10% CO2, 75% Argon/ 25% CO2 and 100% CO2. Use the “Shielding” portion of the WPS to find both the necessary gas mixture, (circled in gray) and the required flow rate, (circled in yellow). Use the joystick to highlight and red select button to choose the gas mixture. Use the joystick to move the gas flow rate up or down to the required setting. Once you have selected the proper gas mixture and flow rate press the green continue button to move to the “Settings Screen.”
- The settings screen is a prompt reminding you to use the knobs located under the digital readouts located on the top left side of the control panel. The information for these settings can be found on the WPS in the “Welding Procedure” portion located at the bottom of the WPS, (circled in orange). Once you set your proper settings you are almost ready to weld.
- The last step needed is to make sure the polarity is set to the recommended setting. This can be accomplished by moving the “Polarity Selector” switch to the correct polarity. The “Polarity” switch is located next to the “Process” selection switch at the bottom center of the control panel. The polarity information can be found on the WPS in the “Electrical Characteristics” portion located in the middle of the page on the left side, (circled in red). This is the final step needed and is NOT prompted by a screen so keep this step in mind before pressing the green “Continue” button.
Note: All of these settings must be set correctly in order for the VRTEX® 360 to allow you to begin welding. If one of the parameters are incorrect you will see an “Incorrect Settings!” warning appear to the left side of the prompt label on the screen.