Author Topic: Welding Information.  (Read 5057 times)

Offline capozzoli

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Welding Information.
« on: February 26, 2010, 08:12:18 PM »
Figured I would start a thread on welding, It does play a big part in advanced home brewing right?

Welding is cool, almost as cool as home brewing, and ts fun to share skill and knowledge with others that may find it valuable.

Helping bluesman build his brutus 10 is valuable experience for me cause I will be building my brew stand next. Not exactly sure what design I am gonna go with yet but I can tell you that the Brutus 10 is a real nice design. Most likely gonna go that way.

Haven't been brewing but for less than 3 years, been welding for 25.

Here is a brief tutorial on some welding processes that some may find helpful.



One of the most simplest and earliest types of welding is Gas Welding or Oxy-fuel welding as it is sometimes called.





You use a torch that burns a fuel, often acetylene. There is then the addition of oxygen which vigorously increase combustion. These gases are brought together in a tip which concentrates the flame to a point. Allowing you a great deal of control over concentrated heat. When joining two pieces of steel you have maintain a gap from and between the two pieces of metal being joined. Once you have created a molten pool over the joint. then you add filler metal by dipping a welding rod into the pool. By maintaining your travel speed over the joint evenly and dipping filler metal consistently you will form a "beed" as it is known. How consistent your travel speed, and dipping is will determine how nice your finished weld looks.

Oxy fuel cutting is kinda the same thing. Oxygen and fuel are mixed to a tip. Once there is a molten pool you hit an oxygen jet. This adds more O2 that really sets off combustion and blows the molten metal away. This is the sparks you see flying when someone cuts with a torch.  Again with travel speed one can make an amazingly clean cut cause the flame is so concentrated.



If I am not mistaken before gas welding there was only forge welding. This involved heating two pieces of metal up till they are in a plastic state and then hammering them together.

There are a few other common welding processes.

MIG welding, M.I.G. is an acronym standing for metal inert gas. It is an electrical arc process. The metal is the filler wire which feeds through a gun from a spool. The wire serves as the electrode that carries the current/ ark to the grounded work piece. The inert gas shields the molten weld pool from the regular atmosphere. The weld pool needs to be shielded because molten metal will become contaminated and turn porous and brittle among other things when exposed. There are many different types and mixes of shielding gases depending on the metals and alloys being welded. Most commonly used for steel welding used is a mix of 75% Argon with %25 C02.





MIG is the easiest type of welding to learn for the beginner. If you maintain a good gap with the tip and maintain a good gun angle between your joint and keep your travel speed consistent you will lay down a nice weld. With a little practice it is just like running a bead of caulk.

Stick welding or SMAW shielded metal arc welding





This is a form of arc welding where the electrode and the filler metal are one and the same. The electrode is shielded by a specially formulated flux that is coated onto the electrode. With this process you have to "strike" an arc much like you strike a match. Once you are able to maintain an ark gap you will start to form a molten puddle. The electrode becomes consumed as you move along and form your weld. It takes some practice cause you have to move closer as the rod becomes consumed.

My favorite welding process is TIG Welding, it stands for Tungsten Inert Gas.





With this electrical arc process the current is delivered to the work via a tungsten electrode. The tungsten is non consumable and does not melt in the process. Tungsten is used because it melts at a very high temperature (about 3400 degrees). Much higher than most base metals. For most metals a point is carefully sharpened onto the tungsten and it allows for a very concentrated arc. With this concentrated arc a skilled operator can make very small precision welds.

Just like with MIG welding there is the use of a shielding gas but for the filler meta,l this is added to the weld pool manually the same as with Oxy-Fuel welding. 

Also for most precision TIG welding projects you need a foot pedal. The current (heat) needed at the weld pool will fluctuate so the perator has to compensate with the control of the pedal.

TIG welding is a highly skilled process and takes a lot of practice to learn. Mostly because you have to use both of your hands and your foot. Also every type of metal behaves differently and requires different techniques.



Any other welders here?

Its also important to remember that welding can be very dangerous. Electric shock can kill. You have to protect your skin and eyes from the light cause it will burn you. Never look at the arc with out the proper shaded lenses and a face shield.
Well you know. Ask a pro before you go right into it.

It also helps to know a little bit about this stuff if you intend to hire a welder to work on your brew gear.

Lets talk welding.  8)

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Offline lonnie mac

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Re: Welding Information.
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2010, 09:06:11 PM »
A MOST EXCELLENT write-up my friend! Indeed, for some reason, welding and brewing have kinda taken off haven't they! :)

I know when I had started Brutus, I hadn't welded in SOOO many years and even then it was simply gas welding aircraft frames... To jump into MIG or TIG was a big step for me but what the hey, I had a 6' X 8' apartment patio so why not give it a fair go!

I find it amazing how far brewing has come in just a few short years... To think that I once hung my HLT from the eve of my old shack house...

Thanks for the write-up... You should submit something like this to Zym and BYO... I think the time is right for a good article like this.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2010, 09:08:13 PM by lonnie mac »

Offline bluesman

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Re: Welding Information.
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2010, 09:21:25 PM »
A MOST EXCELLENT write-up my friend! Indeed, for some reason, welding and brewing have kinda taken off haven't they! :)

I know when I had started Brutus, I hadn't welded in SOOO many years and even then it was simply gas welding aircraft frames... To jump into MIG or TIG was a big step for me but what the hey, I had a 6' X 8' apartment patio so why not give it a fair go!

I find it amazing how far brewing has come in just a few short years... To think that I once hung my HLT from the eve of my old shack house...

Thanks for the write-up... You should submit something like this to Zym and BYO... I think the time is right for a good article like this.

+1

Fantastic work Capp! You are a gentleman and a welder extraordinaire.

Great topic and excellent into to the world of welding!

Thanks again Lonnie for an awesome design. My hats off to you. I really appreciate it.

I am looking forward to an exiting thread right here on the AHA forum.

bluesman  8)
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Offline lonnie mac

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Re: Welding Information.
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2010, 09:34:39 PM »
Thanks my friend...

Incidentally, shortly after Brutus, I sold the Hobart 180 MIG that I used. It went very quickly on Craigslist! I had wished I had purchased a TIG as by far I think that is the best for this, or just about any purpose. They are not cheap, but man can you lay down a beautiful bead...

My next welder will be a TIG. Shortly after I sold the Hobart I wished I hadn't. Now I want to weld up a nice design I have for a carrier for Brutus that slips into my hitch on the back of my FJ! Dangit!

Offline dhacker

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Re: Welding Information.
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2010, 06:08:49 AM »
Good info.

My welding skill is limited to the use of J B

 :D
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Offline SwashBuckling Drunk

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Re: Welding Information.
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2010, 08:55:21 AM »
Hey Cap- do you have a good welding symbol reference? I always have to find them online when needed and it always takes a while to get to what I need.  Thanks

Offline bspisak

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Re: Welding Information.
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2010, 10:30:33 AM »

How about some specifics on welding stainless and recommendations on affordable 110V home units?  :-)

Offline Matt B

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Re: Welding Information.
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2010, 10:43:38 AM »
One of the reasons I bought a welder was because I wanted to do cool stuff for beer brewing, and do naughty things to my truck.

I bought a cheap crappy century (or something) 120v MIG to practice with. Did that for a few months, doing little projects here and there, welded on a few couplers onto some converted kegs. I then sold that off and upgraded to a 220v Lincoln MIG .. a dream compared to the other one. At which point I designed my beer sculpture, bought a bunch of stainless 1" square tubing and went to town. I think it came out awesome, if not perfect. I spent more time grinding down the welds than I did welding to get a nice look.

For you other would be welders, most home garage MIG welders don't take up a lot of room. And it's a great fun hobby if you can find things to do with it, even if it is creating lawn art out of chain link. Also and more importantly, it isn't hard. It's fairly easy to make sure some .065" steel is structurally sound to support your brewing set up. With that said, making it a very nice pretty weld, or welding thinner metal is an art form. Once you start welding, and you see other welds done by professionals, it gives you a whole new appreciation for just how hard that is. And it's a skill that I'll probably never achieve in my occasional use of my welder.

If all you want to do is smaller, pretty welds, then I would suggest going TIG. A bit more pricey for the welder, but oh so gorgeous welds. The main reason I went with a MIG is that I wanted to do thicker gauge metal as well, and in places where I couldn't reasonably get a TIG into, nor did I want to be welding all day as MIG is much faster and TIG more tedious. But keep in mind, TIG is a big jump into the 'art form' skills of welding, you'll get it down without contaminating your rod with some practice, but it is more difficult to just jump into than a 'point and shoot' MIG. But had I gone TIG, my sculpture would be far more gorgeous as well as my other brewing equipment. I'm still considering getting one to compliment my MIG, as I do find myself wanting to do some finer welding.

One thing to note about gas shielding: If you have a MIG, you don't have to have gas. A lot of wire can be flux-core wire, so when welded, it produces that protective layer similar to stick welding, and you just whack it off, and you don't have to worry about having a canister and having that canister filled. However, you can't do this with stainless steel, and if you go TIG, you will have to have shielding gas.


Stainless

Another thing I would bring up is mild steel vs stainless steel. Each requires different consumables, both wire/rod as well as gas, and they do behave slightly differently when it comes to welding (I've been told stainless is harder to weld, but I haven't really found that to be so). You don't want to weld on a stainless steel coupler to a stainless steel keg with mild steel wire. Some of you who weld are probably saying 'well no duh' but when I started on this, I really didn't understand what I was doing, so this may be useful for someone, and I did do exactly what I described. I have to keep it dry lest it start rusting..

Stainless is definitely shiny and pretty and isn't nearly as susceptible to the elements, all of which are reasons I went stainless, and my sculpture is outside, and exposed to the elements. However, if your set up is going to be reasonably protected or you're going to put on a nice coat of weather protective paint, there's absolutely no reason to go stainless unless you want to, mild steel is perfectly acceptable. And cheaper.

Stainless is also more finicky when it comes to heat, you get what's called a Heat Affected Zone, and in this area the steel can absorb oxygen and rob you of your magical stainless steel qualities, and eventually rust. This is done by the previously described shielding gas, but you have the *back side* of your weld to worry about too. This may or may not be an issue depending on what you're welding, a sculpture? Probably not. Conical fermenter? Most definitely. You will want to back-gas with co2 to make sure there's no oxygen uptake.

If you do find that your stainless has this dark-ish color after welding, or soldering a SS tube into a clover fitting like I did that seems to rust, one thing you can do to at least partially fix this is re-passivate the stainless steel. Basically a solution of some sort of acidic solution (phosphoric acid and others) will eat away at that oxide layer as well as the iron to expose the beautiful chromium ions and you've got good stainless again. While I tried to find an acid solution that would do this, and failed, I tried another suggestion of Bar Keeper's Friend (my home depot actually carries this, as well as my safeway, go figure) works just as well as far as I can tell. Probably a bit more scrubbing is involved, but it has worked wonders on my stuff.

Size of metal: I use .065" wall 1" square tubing. This thing will probably support 5 times as much weight as I put on it. Some people go with the 2" square (I think the true brutus 10 does) but no offense to Lonnie, thought was a bit overkill, though mine isn't quite the same set up, so there may very well be a good reason for it. I've seen sculptures that were just made out of angle iron and were plenty sturdy enough (and far more accessible than square tubing depending on your availability of raw metal materials), just make sure your geometry makes sense and weld on some braces and supports if necessary.

One last bit: cost. I bought my stainless for my sculpture for about $400. The welder I think was around $800. And I ended up with a sculpture that was *exactly* what I wanted, height, width, depth, support for the pumps, and I get to say: 'Yes. I made that. You may begin your worship of me now.' $1200 total for a sculpture, even if this is the *only* thing you buy your welder for, even a more expensive TIG welder, then sell it on craigslist for $600, is still *way* cheaper than buying a prebuilt one from [pick your company], that's maybe not quite exactly what you wanted dimension or layout wise (but I guess you have to keep in mind that some of those do come with pumps, stainless steel fittings, etc etc which do add up, but not to the tune of ~$1500 for the $3k model.) All you need is a bit of room to work in, a 120v MIG welder, some time (well spent if you ask me) and you've saved yourself a ton of money.


Awesome article capozzoli! I really wish this would've been around when I first started tinkering with this. I think this will help immensely for those people who are curious about it and want to give it a try.

And if I'm wrong on any of these points, please correct me. I am, again, a complete amateur and still learning.

Offline capozzoli

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Re: Welding Information.
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2010, 07:51:02 PM »
Wow Matt for a beginner sounds like you did your studying.

I wouldn't debate anything in your expansion except for the part about MIG being better for heavier gauge. Tig welding will always provide a stronger more sound weld than mig, also if you have your tig torch set up like a stumpy it will fit in much smaller spaces then the mig gun. Tig machines are more dough for sure. I bought one of my TIG welders about 12 years ago and I think it was about $8,000.  :o I think the same machine today is a little less.

Good point about the flux core too, another point there is that flux core welding is much more structural and sound then gas shielded. Just get a lot more spatter and the weld isn't as pretty with flux core. 

Interesting subject about the back purge set up. Maybe we will be able to get some pics of this when we do bluesmans keggles. Yeah that back pull of regular atmosphere sucks, for regular joints if you use the right size cup and you keep your arc real tight you will get a nice weld without the inverse side crystallizing. Have to have your heat set right too s not to get any melt through. Its a good idea to set up a few test pieces of the material you are going to use. run some practice welds and get everything working right. Then cut them apart check the penetration and look at the back of the joints.   

Those acids you are talking about work but are very, very nasty. One is hydrofluoric acid. Real bad stuff. Not only is it horribly harmful to humans it is extremely toxic for the environment. Dont ever use that stuff. Another one is Mineral acid. Works real well, nasty but not nearly as bad as hydrofluoric acid.  I left a jar of mineral acid with the lid loose once. The next day I came in and every steel tool and piece of machine near by was coated in rust. Took a while to clean that up.

The best thing to use for cleaning ss welds is one of these. http://www.screenpro.net/weld.htm

This machine works great for pre welding joint preparation as well. Works wonders for removing oxide in aluminum joints.

One great thing about welding with TIG. Run your bead, hit it with a SS wire brush and it is shiny beautiful.

Lets see some pics of your truck stuff dude.

Swashbuckler, Man,  I hate welding symbols. I had to know all that crap when I worked for the Navy. Got spot tested all of the time. Dont use them much any more, If I remember there are some differences and inconsistencies depending on what codes you are using. There are AWS, ASME, etc.

The AWS handbook (all five volumes) is a valuable comprehensive reference for all of the technical jargon.That's what I use when I need it.  And if you try to test me on some welding symbols Im not gonna reply until I bust out volume 2.  ;)
http://www.aws.org/w/a/handbook/index.html

bspisk, im not to sure about home welders for SS. But I think Mat is right. There are lots of little mig welders out there.

There is also a realatively ne technology know as inverters. They are pretty amazing. Miller has a great inverter power supply. I haveone. It runs on 110 or 220, I can weld anything with it and it is the size of a toaster oven. They make them with Stick, and they make them with TIG.

 

If they dont have a pulsed mig inverter yet they will soon.








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Offline weazletoe

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Re: Welding Information.
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2010, 08:02:37 PM »
Very nice Capp! Thank you!     A couple things I would like to add......if you ever weld galvanized, have plenty of ventilation, and or a respirator. Do not weld near flammables. such as the plastic gas can in my shed. OOPS!! Do not weld in shorts, especially boxers with he twins air drying. OUCH!! And wear long sleeves. ou'll get a burn as bad as any sunburn you've ever had.

   Yes, I am a self taught welder, and I use the term "welder" loosely. I've learned many valuable lessons the hard way.  :-[
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Offline lonnie mac

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Re: Welding Information.
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2010, 09:23:11 PM »
One great thing about welding with TIG MIG... Run your bead, hit it with a SS wire brush grinder and it is shiny beautiful you can't see how bad your welding is!!! :)

I fixed the above statement!

Man, one day I will have a TIG. I will be a welding machine! Thanks for the info my friend! I love welding, and MIG is so easy peasy... The rare occasion that I was able to weld using a state of the art TIG machine was at work... I have a weld or two floating on the ISS above us... Hope they hold!!!

I wish I would not have sold my Hobart 180 MIG, but it does kinda force the issue for me. Now I need a good welding rig again, and I will settle for nothing less than TIG next time...

Offline dhacker

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Re: Welding Information.
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2010, 06:48:07 AM »
I have a question . . Like I said above JB Weld is about all the welding I've done. :-[  Except for about 25 years ago, I bought the cheapest arc that Sears had. I abandoned it out of frustration because of a pitifully low duty cycle. The modern welders referenced here I assume are much better in that regard. Is this true, or even an issue that you have to pay attention to when considering a purchase? I'm kinda interested in trying again for numerous reasons and wondered about shopping for a portable unit.

Any recommendations for a first (actually second, but let's use the word REAL this time) unit . . without breaking the bank?
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Offline capozzoli

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Re: Welding Information.
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2010, 07:50:55 AM »
Oh yeah the duty cycles are much better now. All are at least 60% and that is if the machine is set with the amperage dial on full. The average welder would never max out the duty cycle.

The little Lincoln 110 are mig/flux core welders are great. Not sue how they would do on stainless but they work great on steel. Dont just run out and get one. There are a couple of models and one (I think it is $400 0r $500) is best. I used to use it all of the time for install work till I got my inverter. Ill see if I can find what model that Lincoln welder is. Some Home depots have them.

Lonnie, when shopping for a TIG welder. Try to get one that has high frequency AC. I know this is more expensive but very helpful especially with SS. Even if you are welding DC with one of these machines it starts on ACand the arc jumps. You never have to touch your tungsten to the metal.  The problem is when you "scratch" start tungsten on SS both the electrode and the metal being welded will become contaminated.

High frequency AC will also allow you to weld aluminum. There are machines that have what is called "lift start technology" This is pretty cool and is a little better at preventing contamination then the scratch start. How this works is you touch the tungstun but the current wont start till you lift the electrode from the work piece. Its pretty cool.

Beer, its whats for dinner.

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Offline capozzoli

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Re: Welding Information.
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2010, 02:02:21 PM »
Any of you mig guys try the "drip transfer" technique with stainless?

I think it is perhaps to hard to describe through writing. But, you have to be running strait argon gas. You turn the amperage up and the wire speed down. When you weld you wont have that frying sound. Run some test welds to adjust the amperage and wire speed till ya get it running. The idea is as the slower wire feeds it balls up and drips off. Keep your gap tight and move each time it drips. It gives a real nice weld and works great on thin wall stuff.

Pulsed mig welders work great for this cause you can get it to ball and drip consistently a lot easier.

Another thing along the lines of contamination. And a lot of people dont know about this. You should never use steel tools on SS that is to be welded. In fact the area should be free of all steel, the work piece should be on cardboard or something and grounded to itself.

This is because even the tiniest iron inclusion will contaminate the weld and it will loos its stainless properties. The weld will tend to rust. Even for grinding and cutting you should use wheels and blades that are made for stainless.

Some times like in sanitary welding the joint to be welded has to be passivated to remove iron oxides and/or foreign material from the weld zone. There is also an invisible tenacious oxide layer on stainless that should be removed before welding too.
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Offline beerocd

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Re: Welding Information.
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2010, 06:56:48 PM »
Couldn't take it anymore, bought a welder. Busted a tiller part today - as good an excuse as any I guess.

Maxus 140, came with gauges, helmet, gloves, hammer/brush, wire and extra tips. For 399.  And if the warranty is any good at all it is 5years. So, outside of used it's about as cheap as it gets. Yes it's made in China. But it's my first one so I don't know any better anyway.  :)

Tell me about anti spatter spray - sounds like cool stuff.
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