We had a guest in our Weld.com lab, from Abicor Binzel, Zack Struss. Paul and Zack talk about some aluminum MIG gun welding and the difficulties a welder could face, specifically with a spool gun. The guys show the new Freedomdrive and how it has a design combining existing items and ideas with the comfortability of having a regular MIG gun at the front of your setup.
The rear cables come in 2 different lengths, 14’ and 24’ lengths. They come equipped with direct hookups for most of your wire feeders. It has all your internal lines and everything that you need to weld, and it’s all covered by a durable leather cover. The leather boot that covers all the cables is a nice feature, so when you do drag it across the floor or steel or anything it doesn't arc out, doesn't crimp the cable, or rip the insulation off the cable.
The next major component is the main drive module. Inside, it has a pull motor that'll help assist that wire being fed through the torch, which as most of you know with aluminum wires, softer wires, it can be an absolute pain to do over longer distances. This solves a lot of the bird nesting and everything that you have in aluminum MIG gun welding. Without this secondary drive, you're going to be constantly going back to your wire feeder fixing your bird nesting, all sorts of wire bunching and wasting a lot of time doing so.
The Freedomdrive has a green jog switch or wire inch button, and this is predominantly to help with the setup of the entire system to make sure that once engaged you can go ahead and feed wire through the entirety of the gun. Once you're done in your setup phase, where you've got it selected to your tension that you're trying to get, you can go ahead and close the slide cover. This keeps dirt and debris free from your drive rolls and helps make sure that there's no foreign matter that comes into your system. With the cover being transparent, if that were to ever happen, you can see directly where the issue is.
The Freedomdrive also has what they call, “a range switch selector” which consists of three stages. You have a low, medium, and high setting. By toggling this switch, you're able to get a certain range of wire feed speed from the actual welder itself. So, rather than moving back to the actual wire feeding machine you can go ahead and adjust that range just from this module. There are also islets, where in certain applications when you might be working on a platform or somewhere higher up, you need a little bit more reach. In these applications, having the motor on the ground is not beneficial to you, so they provided clips that can secure your equipment and be suspended in the air or towards any sort of fixture.
On the front torch section, it’s a 6’ lightweight torch, from the ABIMIG AT line. It has a swivel and ball joint that allows for a little bit more maneuverability and comes with an ergonomic style handle. The whole idea was to make a push pull torch with the comfortability of a regular MIG torch.
Another feature is the potentiometer knob, which works in conjunction with your range switch selector in the drive system. This is just to help “dial in” more effectively your wire feed speed without having to go back to the wire feeder again.
On the head of the torch, there is a lock nut that secures the torch neck in place and when loosened you can actually rotate it around a full 360 degrees. There is a locked keys system and the mating portion of this torch neck so that you can adjust it in any slot that you see fit for any application. There are also a variety of torch necks available depending on what you are looking for.
Overall, the flexibility that it has over the conventional big bulky spool gun and having everything at your fingertips to control your wire feed speed and your volts, it's very well thought out in our opinion.
You can read more about the Abicor Binzel Freedomdrive here: