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Welding, A Novice's Primer
Let me start off with the same disclaimer you see on most stuff that could get you hurt. Take my advice at your own risk, I am not a certified welding instructor, hell I'm not even a certified welder, just a hobbyist. I've used an arc welder like twice so all of my advice concerns the use of a gas welder. Basically use the same way, but it has different safety precautions. Because this is stuff I've picked up on my own or been taught by relatives, some of my terminology might be a little off. If you're a professional, please fill me in on anything I'm doing wrong or anything you think folks should know.
First off, there are 4 different ways to weld stuff together. I'll start with the most uncommon, and the ones I know least about first.
Pattern Welding, this is the lowest tech and probably the most difficult. Take two pieces of metal and place them together, often with a softer metal between where you want the weld to form, take a big ol' hammer and smack the crap out of it repeatedly in a carefully controlled manner. At some point, the energy of impact turns to heat, prolonged controlled smacking and heat will cause a bond to form, folding in patterns and rewelding. This is how the Indians(think dot not feather) used to forge some very high quality steel weapons back in the day. It took a whole lot of skill and technique that I have no idea how to practically replicate, although I'm guessing with enough research someone could come up with it. Anybody feeling froggy go ahead, I'd like to see it on the wiki sometime, I'm just too lazy to do it myself.
Explosive Welding, this is the most difficult to use with any kind of precision, and I doubt any kind of DIY application is possible, unless you've got some kind of professional training I guess. The metal is exposed to a controlled explosion, the shockwave bends the metal into place, (remember this is a controlled explosion so it bends in the right places). The heat generated by the torsion of the metal helps weld it into place. I've read about this, saw a little of it on TV, but other than that know nothing about it.
Arc welding takes a generator and passes current through the metal you want to weld, flux is placed on the joint, to complete the circuit with the welder. The current is high enough to melt the flux, and it forms a weld.
Gas welding gives you a controlled flame, flux is placed on the joint, the flame melts the flux, when it solidifies, it forms a weld.
Now the how to portion of the page. Have you ever used a soldering iron? Its only different in scale, you can pick up the stuff to solder for under 10 bucks at a hobby store, so I consider it good training before you try to weld anything.
Step 1. Clean off the surface you want to weld. You can''t weld anything to rust or paint. On a lot of applications, you can take a file and score the surface of the joint you want to weld. This increases more surface area and a stronger bond.
Step 2. Don your protective gear. Welder's goggles if you don't want the full face mask at the very minimum. The light is bright enough to hurt, and the sparks hot enough to permanently blind you, eye protection is a must. Long sleeve shirt is a very good idea as well. You can buy welding gloves that have an asbestos(although they probably use some other material nowdays) sleeve that covers your arm, but I use leather work gloves and a long sleeve shirt. It all depends on how much of this you're actually planning to do.
Step 3. Take your safety precautions. If you look around any industrial business, you'll occasionally see these little yellow or red signs that say HOT WORK. Basically welding can start fires, sometimes they don't flame up until whatever is smoldering has time to catch a few hours later. SO have a bucket of water, sand, or a commercial fire extinguisher handy nearby in case a spark catches something. Also, use common sense, if you're welding around flammables, i.e. a gas tank, don't. Sometimes there is little or no choice, so remember that a full tank is less likely to explode, and prepare for a fiery death if you screw up.
Step 4. Get out your flux. Wait, what's flux? This is for beginners. The straight wire looking stuff you see the welder holding in his (usually) left hand, that's flux. Its the equivalent of solder in my previous analogy. It comes in different grades and gauges for different jobs. For the most part, it will say on the packaging what it is intended for. If you bought it in the big roll(cheapest way) cut off a few manageable lengths.
Step 5 Light your torch. Some will have a nifty push button electric igniter like a gas grill but for the most part you use a manual striker. The striker has a long handle for a reason, using a cigarette or zippo, while it looks cool, is a bad idea. Now you've got flame, adjust your mix by spinning the nobs on your regulator until it looks right. What should it look like? Play around with it until you get a steady, concentrated flame. Remember a bigger flame is not necessarily a hotter flame. Some people talk about the color, but through the goggles I use, I find it hard to tell, I go by size and seem to do alright.
Step 6 Now you've got the pieces you want welded clamped together with a magnet, duct tape, something out of the way of the joint. Holding the flux in your off hand by a pair of tongs(I've seen folks skip the tongs with a gas rig and just use their gloves, but I'm skeered to try it) hold the torch in the right. Run the torch over the area you're gonna weld so it won't expand while you're running the bead and shift stuff. If you're welding two pieces of tempered metal, ask someone else how, cause tempering is complicated and I suck at it. Now stick the end of the flux at the top of the joint and apply flame. Move the flux down in time with the flame leaving a trail of molten metal behind. Repeat as needed until you've got a nice thick join.
Here is where artistry comes into it. You want to lay down a thick enough bead that you get a nice strong weld. At the same time, flux is expensive and its not practical to have a wall just built out of flux with a couple of i-beams thrown in. You use as little as possible while at the same time not leaving any gaps so it has a smooth single piece appearance. If you weld like me, this seems nearly impossible, but I've been assured it comes with practice. It will be hot for a while, but when it cools, take an angle grinder, or a file for those tight corners, and smooth out the joint you've formed. I think this is mostly for aesthetic reasons, but I've been told that it serves some structural purpose as well, but the person wasn't sure what.
At this point, you now have a general idea of how welding works. You do not know how to weld, but hopefully you know enough to determine if its a skill that it would behoove you to look into. And I guess that in a post Z-Day desperate situation, you know enough to scrounge together some stuff and "practice makes good enough" yourself some anti-zombie defenses. Anybody that knows more than me about welding, which ought to make a long list, please chime in with any particulars or corrections.
Brought to you by S1Creamer
Also, MIG and TIG, and stick welding are really useful if your skilled.
BIG WARNING HERE,MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE GROUND CLAMP SECURED WELL!!! THESE RUN AT WELL OVER 100 AMPS, AND .005 IS ENOUGH TO KILL SOMEONE!!!! PLEASE BE CAREFUL, IF IT DOESNT SEEM RIGHT, IT PROBABLY ISNT!!! ALSO!!! PPE IS MANDATORY!!! ANYTHING ELECTRIC WILL LEAVE ARC BURN!! IT IS LIKE A SUNBURN BUT MUCH MORE PAINFUL, ALSO GOGGLES ARE A MUST!!! PEOPLE BECOME BLIND BY STARING AT AN ARC, A TIG WELDER IS 100 TIMES BRIGHTER THAN THE SUN!!!
Mig is a type of welding that has a current flowing through copper coated wire. the flux in this case is usually a 70%30% ArC2. or in layman's terms, carbon dioxide and argon, when you weld, depending on the type of wire used, and the thickness of metal, you have to set it for different voltage. in my shop, we have a millermatic 212, with i think 5 settings, 1, being for very light, probably 20 gauge, and 5, being for in upwards of 3/8 inch steel. when welding with these welders, eye protection is a must, do not, and ill say this again, stare at an arc with out a shade level of 10 or above, and for TIG, 12 or above. if you do, for about a minute, you'll have some very painful symptoms, called welders flash. it feels like, from experience, someone grinding your eyes with sandpaper, a reasonably unknown cure, is potatoes, i have no idea why, but they work. when welding, you want to have the tip of the gun just above the metal, at a 45 degree, in the direction of the weld you want to preform. at this point, lower your mask, and put on your gloves, because these things can give u artificial sunburn, also very painful, and depress the trigger. it will make a buzzing sound, and through your mask, you will see a blue light, and wire, now, moving slowly in the direction you want to weld, keeping the trigger depressed, guiding the tip on the path you need to weld. it takes practice, and should look like a bunch of small fish scales, and on 1/4" plate, the bead should be about 1/4" wide. also, on a lighter note, the gas should be set to 30 psi, other wise, the arc will burn a hole in the metal
Tig runs in the same fashion as a high tech gas welder. you have a foot pedal that starts the arc, and a couple sticks of usually stainless steel rod. don't get the gun covered in crap, it wont function. hold the gun the same way you hold the mig gun, and depress the foot pedal, again, with goggles and gloves in position, begin feeding the rod in small circles where the arc is touching, and you will begin to form a bead. I don't know much about tig, i know it is easily the most difficult of the 3 electrically operated welders. Stick welding is reasonably easy. its set up so that there is a clamp to put the welding stick in, and a ground clamp. put the stick of your choice in the clamp, there are many, my rule of thumb, anything starting with a 6, like 6013, set the dial to about 100, stuff like 7014, more like 125, but that's just me. take the clamp and move to your work area, put on your mask, and gloves, and leathers if applicable, a heavy sweat shirt will work, and touch the end of the stick to the plate your working on. it will automatically begin to arc. start moving the stick slowly in the direction you want, and rotate in fine circles. this is a unique weld, you need a hammer, or a chisel with a handle. once your done welding, you take the hammer/whatever is on hand and that's hard, and hit your weld. if you've welded correctly, the slag(term for impurities that arise out of the flux on the stick) with start chipping off, be careful!!! I've lost hair, and its pretty painful to get on your skin, because of heat.
ONE LAST WARNING!!! THESE WELDERS OPERATE AT HUGE TEMPERATURES!!! LIKE WELL ABOVE 3000 DEGREES!!! AND, DO NOT DUNK IN WATER WHEN FINISHED!! LET AIR COOL, BECAUSE IF DIPPED IN WATER, THE WELDS WILL CRYSTALLIZE, AND WEAKEN TO THE POINT OF FAILURE UNDER LIGHT LOADS!!!
brought to you by themiddleofnowhere
Latest page update: made by PedroAsani
, Jan 31 2011, 6:11 PM EST
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|Started By||Thread Subject||Replies||Last Post|
|brandon_a_boyer||Can we get rid of this page?||6||Mar 10 2011, 2:11 AM EST by brandon_a_boyer|
Thread started: Mar 9 2011, 1:25 AM EST Watch
I have some free time over break to continue working on my welding guide, I noticed during cleanup that this guide got bundled with the information that I was typing, there's quite a bit of mis-information here, would it be ok just to delete this portion of it? I only ask because I didn't write it.
|FortViking||Explosive Welding||11||Sep 8 2010, 6:12 PM EDT by FrankLeeDeRainged|
Thread started: Sep 8 2010, 2:13 PM EDT Watch
Im an explosive welder for a company here in canada, the only reason you would do it is to bond dissimilar metals such as stainless steel to copper or aluminum to copper, to increase electrical conductivity through the aluminum or stainless steel, its mainly for the mining industry in electroplate refining. im one of the few people trained in the world do do such a thing..
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