Welding Equipment & Welding Supplies since 1993
Call Us On
0845 899 4400
01908 699802
0845 899 4400 | 01908 699802
Tel 01908 699802
(9am-5pm Mon-Fri)
Milton Keynes, United Kingdom

About Graham

Tuesday, 8th April 2014

Graham

Hello, my name’s Graham, I’m one of your Technical Advisors and a founding partner of The Welders Warehouse

My job is to help you select the correct products for whatever it is you want to do and to help you get the best out of your purchase.  So please, get in touch, tell me what you’re working on and what you need and lets make your job more of a pleasure than a chore!

I started my working life back in 1977 as an Apprentice Sheet Metal Worker and welder in Chessington, Surrey before moving to Milton Keynes in the mid 80’s to buy a house I could afford with my lovely new Wife.

In the late 80’s I jumped from manufacturing engineering to a sales career, selling first Carbide Burrs, then specialised welding equipment and consumables, before helping found The Welders Warehouse in 1993.

In 1999 The Welders Warehouse entered the then exciting new World of Cyberspace with our first e-commerce website.

The rest, as they say, is history!

When I’m not working I enjoy Photography, Walking, Travel and a bit of Golf (which I’m not very good at 🙂

Best Regards

Graham

What does Duty Cycle mean in Welding

Thursday, 17th May 2018

This is a common question.  Essentially, Duty Cycle is a measure of how long a welder will operate for before it overheats and cuts out.

If you’re more of a Watcher than a Reader, you may prefer a Video Explanation

There are 3 key bits of data to Duty Cycle figures:

Amps, a Percentage Figure (%) and the Ambient Temperature the machine was tested in.

Unfortunately, whilst most manufacturers will state the first two figures, they often don’t state what the ambient temperature was when the test was carried out and this is actually a key piece of information! (more on this later).

An example of Duty Cycle data might be:

200amps @ 30% @ 40⁰C

This breaks down as follows:

200amps is what the machine was delivering during the test

30% is the percentage of the work period that the machine continuously delivered 200amps before overheating and cutting out. (in the UK a work period is defined as 10 minutes)

40⁰C (104⁰F) is the ambient temperature of the room when the test was carried out.  So the machines fan is cooling the machine with air that is at 40⁰C

What do these Duty Cycle numbers mean?

In our example, the machine delivered 200amps, for 3 minutes (30% of 10 minute work period), in a temperature of 40⁰C, before overheating and cutting out.

Clearly these figures are pretty specific and hardly anyone is ever going to match all the numbers.  For example, when is it ever 40⁰C here in the UK????  Clearly if the machine is being used in colder temps, the runtime (%) will increase.  Which is why it annoys me that a lot of manufacturers don’t state the ambient temperature the test was conducted in.

Here in Europe, 40⁰C (104⁰F) is the norm, BUT this is not mandatory and some manufacturers will carry out tests in 25⁰C (77⁰F) or even 20⁰C (68⁰F), which, in my view, is a bit naughty because a lower temp will make the % figure look a LOT better than a machine that’s tested in 40⁰C (104⁰F).  So beware!!!!!

Conclusion

The point of these numbers is to compare machines.  It’s a bit like comparing car fuel consumption, no one ever gets the Miles per Gallon the manufacturers claim the car will do, but you can use the numbers to compare makes/models.

I hope you found this blog article useful, if things work out well for you, please feel free to post some pictures of your achievements on our Facebook Page

Please let me know what you thought of this article by leaving a comment.  Don’t worry, your email address won’t be added to a database or shared and you won’t receive any unsolicited email.

Cheers

Graham

The Welders Warehouse

Oxy Acetylene Flame

Tuesday, 24th April 2018

An Oxy Acetylene Flame will fall loosely into one of three types:

Neutral, Oxidising and Carburising

Neutral Oxy Acetylene Flame

Neutral Oxy Acetylene Flame

A Neutral flame is achieved when there are equal amounts of Oxygen and Acetylene.

A Neutral Flame is so named because it has no chemical effect on the molten metal.

Key characteristics of a Neutral Flame are a defined Cone Flame at the base of a long feather flame.  If the correct size of nozzle is being used a Neutral flame should produce no more than a gentle hiss.

A Neutral Oxy Acetylene Flame is used for Welding, Brazing and Silver Soldering most metals and is therefore the most common type of flame to use.  A Neutral Flame is also used for Oxy Acetylene Cutting.

Oxidising Oxy Acetylene Flame

 Oxidising Oxy Acetylene Flame

An Oxidising Flame is where there is more Oxygen than Acetylene used.

Key characteristics of an Oxidising Flame are a small, sharp, more pointed looking Cone Flame at the base of a shorter feather flame.  An Oxidising Flame will have a distinct roar.

Use of a slightly Oxidising flame is more specialised, typical uses are for welding copper and zinc based metals or manganese steels.  In these cases an oxidising flame creates base metal oxide that protects the base metal.

Carburising Oxy Acetylene Flame

 Carburising Oxy Acetylene Flame

A Carburising Flame is where there is more Acetylene than Oxygen used.

Key characteristics of a Carburising Flame is a secondary feather flame, caused by the excess Acetylene burning further down the flame length. If the correct size of nozzle is being used a  Carburising flame should produce no more than a gentle hiss.

Use of a Carburising Flame is more specialised, typical uses are for welding lead, surface hardening processes or welding high carbon steels.

I hope you found this blog article useful, if things work out well for you, please feel free to post some pictures of your achievements on our Facebook Page

Please let me know what you thought of this article by leaving a comment.  Don’t worry, your email address won’t be added to a database or shared and you won’t receive any unsolicited email.

Cheers

Graham

The Welders Warehouse

Silver Solder & Braze

Wednesday, 18th April 2018

Silver Solder & Braze are both products used with either an Oxy Acetylene Torch or Oxy Propane Torch.

Silver Solder & Braze, what’s the difference?

For me, the key difference is how they work on the joint.

Silver Solder

Silver Solder is more fluid than Braze and works by being drawn into the joint by a capillary action.  So if, for example, you want to join two pieces of thin sheet metal together, you would need to overlap them.  The Silver Solder will be drawn through the joint, filling the minute crack between the two pieces of metal, bonding with the surfaces to join them.  If you tried to butt the two pieces of metal together, there simply wouldn’t be enough surface area touching to achieve a strong joint.

Silver Solder is used with a Flux, which chemically cleans the metal and keeps it clean during the Silver Soldering process.  Silver Solder is also know as Silver Brazing.

Braze

Braze on the other hand, does not get drawn into the joint, but is built up on the surface of the metal being joined, so it looks more like a weld.  Like Silver Solder, the Braze material bonds with the surface of the metal being joined.

Braze is used with a Flux, which chemically cleans the metal and keeps it clean during the Brazing process.  Brazing is also known as Bronze Welding.

What Silver Solder & Braze have in common is that neither involve melting the metal that’s being joined, that would be welding!

Silver Solder & Braze JointsIn the joint examples shown, I would use Silver Solder on the Edge & Lap Joint and Braze for the Butt, Corner & Tee Joint.

Types of Silver Solder & Braze

Whilst there are a number of Brazing Alloys on the market, for this article we’ll keep it simple and just cover the most common, C2.

C2 is a multi purpose, Silicon Bronze brazing rod that’s suited to most general purpose brazing on metals including Steel, Copper, Cast Iron and dissimilar metals.

C2 Braze is Brass Coloured and typically melts at around 875⁰C.

Most Silver Solders can be categorised by their Silver content.  The Silver content will determine the fluidity and melting temperature, the more Silver, the more fluid and the lower the melting temperature.

Most common are 33% Silver (around 720⁰C), 40% Silver (around 675⁰C) and 55% Silver (around 650⁰C).

Also available are Silver bearing Copper Phosphorus Alloys (CoPhos).  These are available with either 2% or 5% Silver and are used primarily for joining Copper to Copper, where, if the metal is clean, no Flux need be used.

Silver Solder can be used to join most common metals, including Mild Steel, Stainless Steel, Copper, Brass, Cast Iron and Dissimilar Metals.

Fluxed or Bare Wire?

Silver Solder & Braze is usually available in 2 or 3 forms:

  1. Bare Wire – (Silver Solder & Braze). This is my preferred type.  With this wire you use a powder flux.  This can be coated onto the wire as necessary by gently warming the end of the wire in your flame, then dipping in the powder.  This can be repeated as necessary.
  2. Flux Coated – (Silver Solder & Braze). This may seem like a good idea, but there are, for me, three flaws.  Flux coated wires are more expensive than bare wire.  If you need additional flux, you’ll still need a pot of powder. If the wires are bent, the flux tends to fall off!
  3. Flux Impregnated – (Braze Only). Here the flux is in little nicks on the wire.  This works very well and the wires can be bent.  The downside is that flux impregnated wires are the most expensive.

I hope you found this blog article useful, if things work out well for you, please feel free to post some pictures of your achievements on our Facebook Page

Please let me know what you thought of this article by leaving a comment.  Don’t worry, your email address won’t be added to a database or shared and you won’t receive any unsolicited email.

Cheers

Graham

The Welders Warehouse

Propane

Friday, 6th April 2018

Is Propane any good?

YES! It’s a great gas!

  • It’s versatile
  • Can be used with or without Oxygen (with correct Torch)
  • It’s cheap, compared to Acetylene
  • It’s readily available
  • It’s available without Cylinder Rental

The only real downside to Propane is that you can’t weld with it.

Pretty much everything else can be done.

With the right Torch, Oxy/Propane is great for Heating, Brazing, Silver Soldering etc.

How Propane Works in practice

Propane Gas Cylinder

Propane is a liquified gas and is stored in a cylinder with a void above the liquid.

The Liquid turns into a vapour, which fills the void until a certain pressure is reached, this pressure will depend on ambient temperature.  The colder the cylinder/liquid is, the lower the vapour pressure will be.

It is the vapour that is drawn off and travels through the Regulator, Flash Arrestor, Hose and Torch, until it meets air.  When the vapour meets air it turns into a gas, which then burns.

As vapour is drawn from the cylinder, more liquid turns into vapour, until the cylinder is empty.

Propane Problems

Propane Regulator

I’ve only ever really spoken to customers about 2 possible problems with Propane.

  1. In cold conditions, for example, the cylinder is stored in an unheated area during Winter.  The temperature of the liquid can drop so low that the Torch/Flame draws vapour off faster than the liquid in the cylinder can become more vapour.  This means the flame starts to get smaller and ultimately, goes out, giving the impression that either the cylinder has run out, or the Regulator is faulty, when in fact, neither is the case.  The only real solution to this problem is to ensure the cylinder is at room temperature when in use.
  2. If used with an Oxy/Acetylene Torch, Oxy/Propane tends to spit and fart quite a bit and the flame can easily blow out, especially when lighting.  A Torch designed for Oxy/Propane will perform FAR better and be much easier to use. Apologies for the shameless plug of our Multi-Jet LD and Multi-Jet HD Oxy/Propane Guns, but they are very, very good! Please watch the video demonstration via the “Video” tab on the pages (same video on both pages).

 

Multi-Jet Propane Nozzle

I hope you found this blog article useful, if things work out well for you, please feel free to post some pictures of your achievements on our Facebook Page

Please let me know what you thought of this article by leaving a comment.  Don’t worry, your email address won’t be added to a database or shared and you won’t receive any unsolicited email.

Cheers

Graham

The Welders Warehouse

Welding Cast Iron

Friday, 16th March 2018

Welding Cast Iron has quite a few potential pitfalls, but if done correctly, it’s not difficult.

Why is Welding Cast Iron problematic

The key reason why welding cast iron can be problematic is the high carbon content.  During the welding process, this carbon migrates into the weld metal and/or the heat affected zone adjacent to the weld metal, causing elevated hardness/brittleness.  This is how Cast Iron gets its reputation for post weld cracking.

Process for Welding Cast Iron

Gas Welding heats the Cast Iron slower than Arc based processes and the flame is lower temperature than an arc.  This means Carbon migration is not normally a problem.  Use of a proprietary Cast iron Gas Welding rod is important.  The only real downsides to Gas Welding Cast Iron is the amount of heat needed if components are large.  Gas Welding is also a slow process.

Arc/Stick Welding is, arguably, the best all-round process for Welding Cast Iron, provided the correct welding rods are used.  Cast iron Welding Rods have a special Graphite rich flux, this graphite chemically ties up the Carbon in the Cast Iron, limiting migration into the weld metal and heat affected zone.  There are two common types of Cast iron Welding Rod, Ferro-Nickel and Pure Nickel.  Ferro-Nickel are typically 53% Steel and 47% Nickel.  Ferro-Nickel Rods are cheaper than pure Nickel and are ideal for welding Cast Iron to Steel.  Pure Nickel will produce a softer, more malleable weld deposit.  I would advocate using Ferro-Nickel, unless the job specifically requires Pure Nickel.

Mig Welding is, in my opinion, not a great way to weld Cast Iron.  Whilst there are specialist Flux Cored Wires available, unless you have a repeating application that you can create a procedure for, I would not advocate Mig Welding Cast iron.

Tig Welding is not considered a suitable process for Welding Cast Iron.  An open arc process such as Tig offers no opportunity to mitigate Carbon migration.

Welding Techniques

Gas Welding – There are no specific techniques that need to be deployed.

Arc/Stick Welding – All of the following are important:

  1. Prep the job with a ‘U’ shaped groove, avoid sharp corners as this can lead to heat build up which will exacerbate carbon migration.
    Cast iron Weld Preparation
  2. Use the correct type of welding rod.
  3. Ensure the component is AT LEAST at room temperature, adding a small amount of pre-heat will help, but you only need the component to be warm to the touch.
  4. Limit the amount of welding done in one run.  As a rule of thumb, do not put down a continuous run that has a length greater than 10x the diameter of the welding rod being used.  Having said that, it’s ok to put down multiple runs in different parts of the component (see graphic in next item).  Eg, if repairing a 300mm crack with a 3.2mm rod, you can weld a run of 32mm, then do another 32mm run in another part of the crack.  Avoid letting the weld area get too hot, this is the purpose of short runs.
  5. If you’re repairing  crack, run a bead across each end of the crack to avoid the crack spreading further.
    Cast Iron Crack Repair Procedure
  6. Keep the welding rod vertical, not at an angle, like you would for most stick welding.
  7. Don’t expect to weld cast iron quickly, the key is to take you time and do it properly.

I hope you found this blog article about Welding Cast Iron useful, if things work out well for you, please feel free to post some pictures of your achievements on our Facebook Page

Please let me know what you thought of this article by leaving a comment.  Don’t worry, your email address won’t be added to a database or shared and you won’t receive any unsolicited email.

Cheers

Graham

The Welders Warehouse

 

Fuzz Townshend – Car SOS

Saturday, 10th March 2018

I first met Fuzz Townshend when he was a journalist at Practical Classics magazine and got involved in several projects with him including a Mig Welding project that saw Fuzz choosing one of our Mig Welders.

Fuzz Townshend - Car SOS

Since then, a few years have passed and now Fuzz co-presents Car SOS on Channel 4, where our Mig Welder is often seen, albeit in the background, well the show is about cars 😀

A couple of weeks ago Fuzz got back on touch as he was seeking a Tig Welder for use in the next series of Car SOS.  After a chat on the phone we decided the best machine for the job was the Cross-Arc 200 AC/DC

So Yesterday, my lovely Wife and I drove up to the Car SOS workshop in Oldbury, West Midlands, to deliver the machine and run through the basics of getting up and running with this excellent Tig Welder.

Fuzz and the guys intend to use the machine for some of the finer car welding work where the greater control and quality of Tig Welding can be exploited.  Fuzz commented that “as some of the vehicles in the forthcoming shows have Aluminium bodies, the AC function of the Cros-Arc 200 AC/DC Tig Welder will come in very useful”.

Graham & Fuzz with the Cros-Arc Tig Welder

For those who have not seen the show, the show synopsis is as follows:

“Overhaulin’ ” fans can relate to the premise of “Car SOS.” Both document the done-in-secret car restorations for needy or down-on-their-luck owners, with the main difference being the former show is based in the U.S. and the latter in the U.K. “Car SOS” is driven by hosts Tim Shaw and Fuzz Townshend, whose combined talents — Shaw is parts manager, and Townshend is master mechanic — rescue much-loved classics from rusty retirements. With some grease, graft, expertise and care, the SOS team creates jaw-dropping motor makeovers.

I appreciate this article is a little self indulgent, but I hope you still found it interesting.

Please let me know what you thought of this article by leaving a comment.  Don’t worry, your email address won’t be added to a database or shared and you won’t receive any unsolicited email.

Cheers

Graham

The Welders Warehouse

Setting up Oxy Acetylene Kit

Friday, 2nd March 2018

Setting up Oxy Acetylene Kit is not rocket science, but it is important to do it correctly.

Setting up Oxy Acetylene Kit – the basics

  1. Oxy Acetylene fittings consist of a concave Female sealing face on one component and a Male ball shaped sealing face on the other.  A Nut clamps these faces together to form a gas tight seal. Oxy Acetylene Fittings
  2. Threads are not designed to be gas tight as gas will not come into contact with the threads.
  3. NEVER use PTFE tape or any other form of thread sealing product when setting up gas equipment.
  4. DO NOT over tighten joints, they only need to be nipped up, take special care if you’re using a large adjustable spanner as it’s easy to over tighten nuts if you’re using a spanner that was designed for use on the Forth Bridge assembly 🙂
  5. Combustible Gas fittings (Propane, Acetylene etc) will be LEFT HAND THREADS, this will be indicated by little nicks in the corners off the nuts.

Oxy Acetylene Hose Fitting

Setting up Oxy Acetylene Kit

Setting Up Oxy Acetylene Kit

  1. Visually check the inside of the thread and seat of the Gas Cylinder outlet, you’re looking for dust, debris or scratches on female sealing face.
  2. Fit the Gas Regulator to the Gas Cylinder
  3. Fit the Flash Arrestor to the Regulator – Note, in North America, Flash Arrestors are fitted to the Torch, but here in Europe we fit them to the Regulator.
  4. Fit The Hose to the Flash Arrestor.  Note, it may be that both ends of your hose are the same size nut, allowing the hose to be fitted the wrong way round.  The Torch end has a Check Valve (one way valve), if the hose is fitted the wrong way around, you will not get any gas out!  Look at both ends of the hose, if the nuts are the same size, look behind the nut, if there is 5-10mm of brass bar between the back of the nut and the start of the hose, that will be the Check Valve and thus the Torch end of the hose.
  5. Fit your Gas Gun to the end of the Hose.

Lighting after setting up Oxy Acetylene Kit

  1. Check the valves on the Torch are closed.
  2. Check the Control Knobs on the Regulators are unscrewed to the point where it is loose and floppy.
  3. SLOWLY open the Gas Cylinder Valves.
  4. Open the Oxygen Valve on the Torch ½ a turn (no gas will come out yet).
  5. Screw the Oxygen Regulator Control Knob in until you feel it start to go stiff, continue turning while watching the Delivery Pressure Gauge on the Regulator, continue turning the Regulator Control Knob until the desired pressure is reached.
  6. Turn OFF the Torch Valve.
  7. Repeat steps 4-6 with the fuel gas.
  8. Check all joints for leaks with a proprietary leak detector product.
  9. Imagining the control knob is the face of a clock, open the fuel gas Torch Valve around 5 minutes.
  10. Light the gas with a Spark Lighter (Cigarette lighters should be avoided as they can be dangerous)
  11. Slowly open the Oxygen Torch Valve until the desired flame is achieved.

You’re now ready to get stuck into the job!  Always remember to use eye protection, even if you choose not to wear darkened goggles, you should at least wear clear goggles, as there is always a risk of sparks.

I hope you found this blog article about setting up Oxy Acetylene Kit useful, if things work out well for you, please feel free to post some pictures of your achievements on our Facebook Page

Please let me know what you thought of this article by leaving a comment.  Don’t worry, your email address won’t be added to a database or shared and you won’t receive any unsolicited email.

Cheers

Graham

The Welders Warehouse

Welding Stainless Steel

Friday, 23rd February 2018

Welding Stainless Steel is no big deal.  As long as you use a suitable welding rod or wire for the type of Stainless Steel you intend welding, all should be pretty straight forward.

Welding Stainless Steel is not vastly different to welding Mild Steel, which is why I say it’s no big deal, however, there are a couple of things worth noting.

  • Stainless Steel doesn’t conduct heat as quickly as Mild Steel, so you normally need a little less power.
  • Stainless Steel is more prone to distortion.

Types of Stainless Steel

I could write a book on all the different types of Stainless Steel, but for the purposes of this article I’ll stick with just the main two Austinetic Stainless Steels that most of us are likely to encounter.

  • 304/304L – This is the most common “general purpose” Stainless Steel and is welded with one of the 308 spec Welding Rods or Wires.
  • 316/316L – This grade is most commonly found in food related applications, industrial kitchen equipment for example and is welded with one of the 316 spec Welding Rods or Wires.

Types of Welding Rod or Wire

Stainless Steel Welding Wire & Rods

The general rule with Welding Stainless Steel is to weld it with either the same grade of Welding Rod, Tig Wire or Mig Wire, or a higher grade.  So you could weld 304 Stainless Steel with a 308 or 316 Rod/Wire, but you shouldn’t weld 316 with a 308 Rod/Wire.

308 and 316 grades of Welding Rod/Wire are often modified from the basic alloy.  These modifications are indicated in the basic spec number, for example, the most common is 308L & 316L, the “L” denotes Low Carbon.  A lot of Mig and Tig Wire may be 308LSi & 316LSi, this denotes Low Carbon and added Silicon.  Adding Silicon will make the molten weld metal slightly more fluid and so flow better.

Processes for Welding Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel can be welded with a Tig Welder, Mig Welder, or Stick Welder so lets look at the pros & cons of each.

  • Tig Welding – This is the slowest process for welding Stainless steel, however, in the right hands, it will produce the nicest looking welds and because of its superior control, distortion can be better mitigated.  Stainless Steel is Tig Welded with a Direct Current (DC) output.
    Pro = Control/Quality
    Con = Slow
  • Mig Welding – This is the fastest and, arguably, the easiest process for welding Stainless Steel and is ideal for production environments.  Welds are unlikely to be works of art, but if that’s not important, Mig is a good option for most operators.
    Pro = Fast and no harder than Mig Welding Mild Steel, no machine modification is needed, just a reel of Stainless Steel Wire and Argon/Co2 Gas.
    Con = Not good for decorative welds.  Limited control of distortion.
  • Stick Welding – welding Stainless Steel with a stick welder is as straightforward as Mild Steel; if anything, slightly easier, as the rods tend to run with a nice soft, smooth arc.  Only thing to watch out for is the slag!  This tends to fly off on its own and has a nasty habit of getting in your eyes.  This is VERY painful (I speak from bitter experience 🙂 keep an auto helmet down, or wear safety glasses until ALL slag is removed.
    Pro = No harder than stick welding Mild Steel
    Con = Not as good as Tig for decorative welds and potentially dangerous slag removal.

I hope you found this useful, if things work out well for you, please feel free to post some pictures of your achievements on our Facebook Page

Please let me know what you thought of this article by leaving a comment.  Don’t worry, your email address won’t be added to a database or shared and you won’t receive any unsolicited email.

Cheers

Graham

The Welders Warehouse

Welding Aluminium with Mig

Tuesday, 20th February 2018

Firstly, Mig Welding Aluminium with a general purpose Mig Welder is not ideal, a DIY type machine is even less suitable.

The best type of machine to weld Aluminium with is an AC/DC Tig Welder

Having said that, with the right set up, most Mig Welders can be used for welding aluminium (more or less), provided they’re set up correctly.

The challenges of Mig Welding Aluminium

Mig Welding steel is not difficult, this is because when it comes to setting the machine up:

> Roller Tension

> Torch Liner Quality

> Power Setting

> Wire Feed Speed

there is a reasonable margin of error.

For example, if your wire feed speed is a little High, or Low, you’ll get away with it.  If you’re trying to weld Aluminium you WON’T get away with it.  Wire feed speed that’s too low will cause the wire to burn back on to the Tip, too high and it will hit the job, potentially causing a “Birds Nest” of wire inside the machine!  All very frustrating.

For Mig Welding Aluminium, you will need:

> Pure Argon Gas, NOT Co2 or an Argon/Co2 mix

> Plastic or Teflon Liner in your Torch (more on this later)

> An oversize Tip for the end of the Torch (more on this later)

> A Reel of Aluminium Wire suitable for the grade of Aluminium you intend welding

> LOTS of patience getting the Power and Wire Feed Speed right

Mig Torch Liner for Mig Welding Aluminium

A Regular steel liner (looks like bicycle brake cable), will scrape the surface of the Aluminium Welding Wire, causing the wire to bind/jam in the liner.  A Plastic or Teflon Liner MUST be used to avoid this.  If your Mig Torch already has a plastic liner, but you’ve been using it to weld steel, I would recommend fitting a new liner for Mig Welding Aluminium.

Oversized Mig Tip

Because Aluminium has binding properties, it may jam in a regular tip, especially when the tip gets hot.  Some types of tip can be purchased in an “Aluminium” version, these are slightly oversized to compensate.  If your machine’s tip type is not available in an Aluminium version, I would suggest using 1.0mm tip for 0.8mm wire.

Aluminium Mig Welding Wire

Several grades of Aluminium Mig Welding Wire are available and the grade selected needs to be compatible with the Aluminium to be welded.

If your welding a straightforward commercial grade of Aluminium, my suggestion would be to use a 5356 grade Aluminium Mig Wire  You can use a 4043 grade, but this is a softer wire and therefore more prone to feed problems.

Setting up for Mig Welding Aluminium

OK, you’ve got Argon Gas, you’ve fitted a Plastic/Teflon Liner and oversized tip and you’ve fitted your spool of 5356 Welding Wire.

Next you’ll need to place close attention to the tension on your feed rollers.  Ideally, you’ll be using ‘U’ shaped rollers, but if all that’s available for your machine is ‘V’ shape, these will have to suffice.  Set the Roller Tension AS LOW AS POSSIBLE.  Do this by starting at a point where the rollers slip and don’t feed the wire.  Then slowly increase until the wire does feed OK.  More info on Roller tension can be found in our Knowledge Zone

Power Setting

This will be determined by the job.  If you’re an experienced welder of steel, start by setting the Power about 50% higher than you would for the same thickness of steel.

Wire Feed Speed

This will be determined by the job.  If you’re an experienced welder of steel, start by setting the Wire Feed Speed about 100% higher than you would for the same thickness of steel.

Ambient temperature

If you’re doing a job in cold weather, try warming the job up a little.  What you’re looking for is the job to not be cold to the touch, so if it is, put a fan heater on it for a few minutes.  A job that’s warm to the touch will weld easier.  This shouldn’t be necessary in Summer.

Getting Started – Patience Patience Patience

Make sure metal you intend welding is clean, running a sanding disc over the area to be welded can also help if the aluminium is old as this will reduce the effects of surface oxide.

Getting the balance of Power and Wire Feed Speed when trying to Mig Weld Aluminium is a frustrating exercise of trial and error.

Start by angling the torch at 45⁰ as this will minimise the risk of birds nesting wire inside the machine if the wire feed speed is too high.

Once you’ve got the Power and Wire Feed Speed set correctly the process is not dissimilar to welding steel.  Hold the torch at around 70⁰, and move slowly along.

I hope you found this useful, if things work out well for you, please feel free to post some pictures of your achievements on our Facebook Page

Please let me know what you thought of this article by leaving a comment.  Don’t worry, your email address won’t be added to a database or shared and you won’t receive any unsolicited email.

Cheers

Graham

The Welders Warehouse

Are Automatic Welding Helmets Safe?

Tuesday, 20th February 2018

Are Automatic Welding helmets Safe?  Your Eyes are, arguably, your most vulnerable and most important sense, so it’s important to look after them.

What’s the Hazard?

Arc Welding processes (Tig Welding, Mig Welding, Stick Welding, Plasma Cutting etc) emit a range of light wave lengths that are hazardous to eyes, including Ultra Violet (UV), which is the most dangerous to eyes.

“Arc Eye” is a common and painful hazard for Welders.  Arc Eye is essentially the UV Burning of the back of the eye.  This is exactly the same as Sunburn to the skin.  A mild Arc Eye feels like sand in the eyes, severe Arc Eye is extremely painful and can lead to temporary, or even permanent blindness.  Arc Eye also increases the risk of cancer in the eye.

Solutions

Traditional passive welding masks used a piece of shaded glass to reduce UV exposure.  The darkness of this glass is typically 9EV to 13EV (13 being the darker).  Maskss fitted with this glass are great for protecting the eyes from UV, but they’re so dark that the operator can see nothing until an arc is struck.

Passive Welding Helmet

In the early 1990’s automatic welding masks came on to the market.  These helmets are a bit like super fast, super dark, React to Light Sun Glasses.

When you’re not welding, the filter is a light green, allowing good vision for job set up and torch positioning.  As soon as an arc is struck, the filter darkens to a welding shade.  The welding shade can normally be adjusted, lighter, or darker.

When welding is finished, the helmet goes back to the Light Mode.  This all happens VERY quickly!  For example, our Speedshield V goes Dark in less than 1/10,000 of a second and comes back to Light Mode in between 0.2 and 1.0 second (user adjustable).

Speedshield Automatic Welding Helmet

A question we get asked regularly is:

“Are Automatic Welding Helmets Safe, what happens if the mask does NOT darken when I strike an arc?”.

Well that’s where it gets a bit clever.  All The Welders Warehouse Auto Welding Masks have a special coating that filters out UV to the equivalent of at least shade 15 glass.  This coating is permanent, meaning you get shade 15+ protection from UV, even when the mask is in the Light Mode.

Auto Welding Mask

All this means that, provided you have the helmet down, there is ZERO risk of Arc Eye.  The lightening and darkening of the Lens also means you don’t have to lift the helmet between welds or tacks to see where the next weld/tack needs to go, very convenient and great for productivity!

Are Automatic Welding Helmets Safe?

If you buy from a reputable supplier YES very safe!

Automatic Welding Masks are also easy to use, hugely convenient and productive.

You can see our full range of super safe, fully CE approved Auto Welding Masks on our website.

I hope you found this useful, please feel free to post some pictures of your achievements on our Facebook Page

Please let me know what you thought of this article by leaving a comment.  Don’t worry, your email address won’t be added to a database or shared and you won’t receive any unsolicited email.

Cheers

Graham

The Welders Warehouse