Thursday, December 11, 2008

Welding Copper To Steel

Can You Weld Copper To Steel? Yes!

You may know this trick or technique already. But if you don't it will open up some possibilities for you.

A regular mig welder running steel wire can weld copper sheet to mild steel very well. Copper tends to pull a lot of heat away from the weld so depending on the mig welder you have you may be limited in the thickness of copper you can weld to the steel.

In essence this is sort of brazing the two metals together since the metal holding the two is a mixture of copper and steel mig wire. This is a strong joint if your weld is clean.

Try it on a piece of scrap copper and steel. I can see the wheels start to turn!

I use this technique when I make a copper rose. The rose petals are forged out of copper (see my rose making demonstration in my past news letters) then each layer is mig welded to a steel stem.

Yes you can weld copper to copper as well. It seems the joint is not quite as strong but will work.
This technique will allow you to create a copper accent and directly weld it on to your art work.

For thicker pieces of copper I have been successful by preheating the copper in the forge then welding the hot copper to the steel. A little tricky to hold onto but it works.

I also have had no problem with corrosion through electralisis at these joints. You can grind the weld smooth and have a solid easy to join the two metals together.

David Robertson
Artist Blacksmith

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Top of the Line Mig Welding Machine

Clarke 265 amp Mig Welder

I am all for saving money where I can but there is a time to spend on a heavy duty production welder.

This 265 amp welder is one of the best that I have seen. Welds 22 gage up to 7/16th in a single pass. It is a 230 volt machine from Eastwood. Mig produces clean welds on steel and aluminum. No chipping of slag as from arc welders.

If you are interested in a high quality welder check out the bottom link for more information.

265T Mig/Flux Turbo 265 Amps Welder

265T Mig/Flux Turbo 265 Amps Welder

The Clarke 265 Amp MIG Welder features 7 heat settings
and vaiable wire feed controls.
Suitable for welding light 22 gauge (.031") to 7/16",
30% duty cycle
Can be used with or without shielding gas.
(requires 19238 regulator for gas use not included)
Requires a 220 VAC 30 amp circuit.
Includes welder, hand held shield, 10'ground cable,
10'torch assembly, 6' power cord, 35-270 Amp output.
Made in Italy.
NOTE: Heavy Weight Shipping Charges Apply.
Please call Customer Service at 1-800-544-5118.

If you use a small mig welder now, there is a world of difference when you step up to a large welder. The Mig welder I use is also Italian made. It will weld 3/8 inch in a pass so it is a bit smaller than the Clarke above but it has transformed the ease of welding for me. One of my best investments in the shop.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Welding Safety Precautions

Welding Safety

Things to be aware of Before You Start Welding

Welding is one of the easiest ways to join two pieces of steel together but requires a number of safety precautions.

Welding involves heating the steel up to the point it liquefies in small parts. So obviously there are a number of fire hazards . You may use an oxy acetylene torch as a heat source or Electric heat source such as an arc welder. Each of these heat sources have their own precautions.

Gas welding now is almost obsolete with new MIG welders, but it is still a fundamental welding technique. The gas welding torch flame spot heats the metal and melts the two separate pieces and the filler rod at the same time.

The most obvious hazard is the flame of the torch burning you, or setting localized combustibles on fire. Always make sure any thing that can catch fire is well away from your work area. The gas torch if not used properly can cause the metal to pop causing spatter travel quite a distance. This popping hot material can catch things nearby on fire.

A gas torch puts out a fair amount of UV light and a lot of infrared light. This means that you need special welding filters to protect your eyes. For Gas welding you need a shade #5, but you don't need a full face shield.

You should also were leather gloves and possibly a leather jacket.

Electric welding puts out a tremendous amount of UV and a lot of infrared light. You must protect your eyes with a full face welding helmet with at least a shade #10. If you are working with a low amperage perhaps up to 140 amps a shade 10 will be adequate. If you are welding very heavy steel you may need a shade 12 or 14.

Auto darkening welding helmets are all the rage now. They let you look through the lens at a shade 3 then as soon as you strike the arc shift to shade 10 or higher. You don't even have to blink. The lens itself gives you 100% UV protection even when at a shade 3. I have used one for years and really love the convenience of it. Occasionally the sensors will be in the shadow of the arc and it won't go dark until it detects the light. This is annoying but the flash you get is not damaging.

Be sure to buy an auto darkening helmet that has a CSA or UWL certification. These have been tested and confirm to test standards.

Auto darkening welding helmets don't like to get dropped. If any welding helmet that you are going to use has a crack in the lens, get a new lens. The crack will allow the UV light to get to your eyes. You are not protected!

The Ultraviolet light causes skin burns and can increase the risk of skin cancer so protect yourself. Long leather gloves and long sleeved shirt or better a leather welders jacket will protect from both the Infrared and the Ultra violet.

Exposure to the ultraviolet rays and the Infrared rays cause a severe sun burn of the skin. This is easy to get on patches of skin that peak out from protection. V-neck shirts, short sleeves can be the worst culprits.

Electric welding often creates a lot of spatter. This can be a fire hazard but more often it is an annoyance. The spatter (small molten blobs of metal) will find their way into your socks and boots and down your shirt, in your hair, etc. Very exciting and some what unpleasant. Long sleeves and pants, give you the most protection.

Ventilation is very important with welding. As the metal liquefies under the extreme temperatures some of it turns to gas. This is easily inhaled when you are working right over top of what you are welding.

The best solution is to have a welding table with forced exhaust of the fumes to the outside. Fresh air should come in from your back so you are always getting a fresh supply. If you try to weld any metal that is galvanized or zinc plated, these metals turn to gas at much lower temperatures than plain steel. Welding with these heavy metal coated steel need positive ventilation.

You may also release nasty toxins into the air by welding previously painted steel. The paint burns at very low temperatures and can release fumes.

You can also purchase inexpensive filter masks for welding fumes. These should be used with ventilation. Plain dust masks do not filter welding fumes. Buy the ones that are rated for welding fumes!

Welding is the fastest way to join metals securely. With a little practice and a few welding safety precautions it can be very enjoyable skill to master.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Company Supplying Welding Tools on the Net

Finding Welding Suppliers On the Web.

I do a lot of touring around on the net to source welding supplies I use in blacksmithing business. Since I do a lot of welding it is one of my prioritys to find.

Often finding a consistent source can be more important than price. Several times I have found a consumable item and then not being able to get it after I have purchased it a few times. Then I have to source another welding supplier. A bit annoying.

So I have found a company that has been around on the net for quite some time The Eastwood Company . They have a great assortment of welders of all sizes and price ranges. They also have great deals on auto darkening welding helmets. (If you have never tried an auto darkening welding hemet it is the greatest thing. See my other posts on welding helmets.) This company has been on the net since 1999 so you know they have a track record be hind them.

This company caters mostly to the motorcycle and car restoration crowd. A lot of the tools are designed for sheet metal work. There certainly is much that I can us in my artistic blacksmithing or in general welding.

Take a look at their catalogue especially if you do any sheet metal repairs or general welding.

Just Click on The Eastwood Company

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Welding Magnetic Jig

Handy 75 lb Magnetic Jig

This is one of the handiest tools I have found to help with welding. I have several in my shop.

It is a very strong magnet inside two pieces of steel that have 90 degree and 45 degree angles cut into them.

When I am welding something this becomes my third hand to hold things in position while I tack weld them.

If you are new to welding be aware that metal will shrink towards the weld when it is cold. So If I clamp two bars at 90 degrees with this magnet and do a complete weld on one side of the joint. When it cools it will be out of alignment as it will move.

You can compensate by movinging it out of alignment the other way first. There is a trick to this as you have to know just how much to over compensate so that it pulls into align ment.

You can also just use the magnetic jig to hold it in place and tack weld it and adjust cold and tack weld on the other side of the joint. If you balance the weld (even amount on inside and outside of joint) the steel won't move too far.

I use the magnetic jigs when I have multiple pieces that need to be held for a tack and I can't do it with one hand. They are also particularily handy when I am welding a frame such as window grill.

Again it is slick little jig for magneticaly holding your work in position while you tack weld it.
For more information about these magnetic jigs for welding just click on the image or the link.
75 LB Welding Magnet Square

75 LB Welding Magnet Square

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

If you have been around welding for a bit you will have heard of the new auto darkening welding helmets. They allow you to see the work clearly before you strike your arc, then in an instant it goes dark so you can see the weld.

You are 100% protected from the UV at all times!

I bought mine years ago. I found that my productivity triple just by switching helmets. I have been so pleased now after years of use. If you do a lot of welding or even some you will find this tool of great help to you.

Prices have come down a great deal now as well. Also remember they don't like to be dropped.

Solar Auto Darkening Welding Helmet for Tig Or Mig

Solar Auto Darkening Welding Helmet
for Tig Or Mig

High Quality Brand New auto darkening welding helmet for
mig, tig, or stick welding.SOLAR POWERED!! Works for tig
welding too. Don't settle for a low quality cheap auto darkening
helmet as it is not worth the injury to your eyes or to have
the battery acid leak on your face.


THIS IS A HIGH-QUALITY HELMET at a great price!!
Product details:View window area is 3 5/8" x 1 5/8"
Size of filter module is 4 3/8" x 3 5/8"UV/IR
Protection: Up to shade no. DIN 15 at all times
Light shade: DIN3 (4)
Dark Shade is 9-13 variable
Switching time: From light to dark 1/10000 of a second,
from dark to light delay time is adjustable 0.6 second
Adjustable headbandANSI and CE approved
Solar poweredManufacturer's details may vary,
shade adjustment knob is on the inside of the helmet

$89.99 USD

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