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General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: phillamb168 on April 25, 2011, 07:30:03 PM

Title: Steel fabrication: Arc welding help
Post by: phillamb168 on April 25, 2011, 07:30:03 PM
So, Blichmann and Sabco make some pretty things, but they are way too expensive for my taste. So I've decided to fabricate my own brewstand. I have a little bit of TIG welding experience from shop class about a decade ago, but that's not enough and is a different technique from what I can gather. I tried doing a join this evening and it didn't hold up, but I know I can get better fairly quickly. So the question is, anybody have any tips for doing arc welding on steel? Note that this is NOT stainless steel, but regular 'ol steel, not sure of the composition.

thanks!
Title: Re: Steel fabrication: Arc welding help
Post by: speed on April 25, 2011, 11:00:41 PM
you say arc welding, is this d.c. with a stick? eitherway go slow and move the stick in a circular motion as you pull it down the seam.
Title: Re: Steel fabrication: Arc welding help
Post by: phillamb168 on April 26, 2011, 05:08:30 AM
you say arc welding, is this d.c. with a stick? eitherway go slow and move the stick in a circular motion as you pull it down the seam.

Yeah, I've got what's basically a huge inverter with an electrode/solder bit on one end and a ground on the other. I think I'm gonna buy a little piece of sheet metal to practice on before I get the tubing.
Title: Re: Steel fabrication: Arc welding help
Post by: euge on April 26, 2011, 05:27:26 AM
I remember reading you need to get the right rods for different types of steel.
Title: Re: Steel fabrication: Arc welding help
Post by: hopfenundmalz on April 26, 2011, 12:34:23 PM
I remember this thread.  Hope it helps.

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=1449.0
Title: Re: Steel fabrication: Arc welding help
Post by: oscarvan on April 26, 2011, 03:13:05 PM
There is a metric crap load of welding videos on youtube....

You can start here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqOdCpJOlcM&feature=fvwrel

And keep clicking the related links.
Title: Re: Steel fabrication: Arc welding help
Post by: phillamb168 on April 26, 2011, 04:53:46 PM
Yup -- all signs point towards me needing to practice making little circles.
Title: Re: Steel fabrication: Arc welding help
Post by: weazletoe on April 26, 2011, 05:34:08 PM
A couple things that helped me, instead of doing circles, you can do the letter "c". To get the right speed, listen to your arch. It should sound like, of all things, bacon frying. (bonus points for the Weaze for incorporating a bacon comment in the welding thread) Also, when you are starting your arch, don't hit the electrode on the metal, but swipe it, like you are striking a match.
Title: Re: Steel fabrication: Arc welding help
Post by: phillamb168 on April 26, 2011, 08:10:06 PM
A couple things that helped me, instead of doing circles, you can do the letter "c". To get the right speed, listen to your arch. It should sound like, of all things, bacon frying. (bonus points for the Weaze for incorporating a bacon comment in the welding thread) Also, when you are starting your arch, don't hit the electrode on the metal, but swipe it, like you are striking a match.

Yeah, I've heard a bunch of people say the match-striking thing is easiest. I went to the hardware store today and got a 10x20 piece of flat steel to practice doing my welds on. I also bought 4 2-meter pieces of 30mm steel tubing (square, I dunno why they call it a tube). Each one was nearly €30! BUT, GET THIS - I was the last customer and the checkout lady must have been somewhere else, because I told her I had four but she only scanned one. €100 savings FTW, that's gonna be spent on homebrew for sure.

This brings up one more question... Since I'm doing a brewstand (single tier, possible two-tier, not 100% decided yet) is 30mm/~1" going to be big enough? It sure seems strong, but we're looking at upwards of 100, 150 kilos maximum load and I don't want that much hot water, flame and steel to come crashing down on my flameout hop addition.
Title: Re: Steel fabrication: Arc welding help
Post by: weazletoe on April 26, 2011, 11:30:25 PM
I would say it will be pleny strong. What thickness is it?
Title: Re: Steel fabrication: Arc welding help
Post by: EHall on April 27, 2011, 04:50:18 AM
'instead of doing circles, you can do the letter "c". '

kinda like when you're pulling yer pud?!  ;D
Title: Re: Steel fabrication: Arc welding help
Post by: phillamb168 on April 27, 2011, 07:07:13 AM
I would say it will be pleny strong. What thickness is it?

2mm or 1/13th of an inch. Also, an important question. When I attach the ground clamp, is the steel 'live' or is that only when I touch the electrode to it?
Title: Re: Steel fabrication: Arc welding help
Post by: weazletoe on April 27, 2011, 05:35:44 PM
Only when you tuch the electrode. That is what completes the circut.   1/13...you had to throw a strange one at me....That sounds a little thin to me. I would feel better with 1/8, or even better yet, 3/16. Honestly, I feel like crap right now, stupid cold, and my brain can't even get around 1/13, but it just sounds thin.
Title: Re: Steel fabrication: Arc welding help
Post by: Slowbrew on April 27, 2011, 06:05:20 PM
1/13" would be a little more than 1/16" and a lot less than 1/8".  Seems awfully light to me but I haven't welded anything in almost 30 years.  Anything holding your brew kettle will need 4 legs under it and bracing, for sure.

Paul
Title: Re: Steel fabrication: Arc welding help
Post by: weazletoe on April 27, 2011, 06:31:07 PM
That's exactly what I was thinking. a good bit thinner than 1/8. Personally, I would be a little nervous about it. I would eiher use 2" of the same thickness, or go 1/8 of 1". If it were me, I would go for the 1/8, because thinner material is a lot harder to weld, especially if you are learning. It'll be full of holes.
Title: Re: Steel fabrication: Arc welding help
Post by: phillamb168 on April 27, 2011, 07:42:56 PM
Bah! And after I got three of them for free :-( But I guess I can return all four without the receipt for an exchange and it's about even. And you're sure 2mm is not gonna work? Not trying to second guess you, just don't want to have to go to the store again ;-)
Title: Re: Steel fabrication: Arc welding help
Post by: weazletoe on April 27, 2011, 08:50:44 PM
I'm not saying it won't work. I'm just saying I would not do it. Lets say you are doing a big batch, you have 25# of grain, and, I dunno....8 gallons of water. water is 8# per gallon, so you have 64# of water, and 25# of grain. That's 89#, plus your mash tun and who knows what else. You run your mash off, and sparge anothet 8 gallons, you just added 64 more lbs. It might work, but I sure would not feel comfortable with it. That thing might hold up, but there is also the chance it gets squirrely, and topples. That's just my opinion though.
Title: Re: Steel fabrication: Arc welding help
Post by: phillamb168 on April 28, 2011, 08:51:49 AM
No worries, it's the feedback I needed to hear. I'll head back for the exchange next week - in Belgium this weekend with theoman for Toer de Gueze.

IF I can't get 2", basically I should go for whatever has 1/8" thickness? Last question I promise.
Title: Re: Steel fabrication: Arc welding help
Post by: weazletoe on April 28, 2011, 12:22:19 PM
No less than 1/8. 3/16 would be awesome. And, ask all you want. No stupid, or to many questions here. You shold have been around for my first AG batch!  ;D
Title: Re: Steel fabrication: Arc welding help
Post by: oscarvan on April 28, 2011, 08:02:05 PM
My stuff is all 3/16" and I would not go smaller..... plus, you'll blow holes in it with the buzz box. Make sure your welding rods are DRY. I put mine in the oven at 100º for a half hour if there is any doubt. Also, when they stick, take the time to grind down the tip. Slag is your enemy.
Title: Re: Steel fabrication: Arc welding help
Post by: weazletoe on April 28, 2011, 08:14:13 PM
Slag is your enemy.

 Good call. A can of spatter spray can save you a lot of time with the grinding wheel later.