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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

Tungsten Tig Electrodes

Tuesday, 18th June 2019

The choice of type and diameter of Tungsten Tig Electrodes is important as it’s from the Tungsten Tig Electrode that the Arc is struck.

Also important is how the Tungsten Tig Electrode is sharpened when used for DC Tig Welding.

Types of Tungsten Tig Electrode

Tungsten Tig Electrodes are colour coded, making them easy to identify.

  • Gold = 1.5% Lanthanated Multi Type Tungsten Tig Electrode. Can be used pretty much any material in AC or DC output. These are the only Tungsten Tig Electrodes we stock as they are the most versatile.
  • Red = 2% Thoriated. Use for Tig Welding Mild Steel and Stainless Steel.
  • White = Zirconiated. Use for Tig Welding Aluminium.
  • Grey = Ceriated. Use on most metals AC or DC output (I prefer Gold type).
  • Green = Pure. Use for Aluminium & Magnesium
Tungsten Tig Electrodes

There are a few other types of Tungsten, but the above covers most.

Sharpening

Tungsten Tig Electrodes only need to be sharpened when used in DC output Tig Welding applications.

How the Tungsten Tig Electrode is sharpened is important.

There are different opinions on the exact shape of the point, but my preferred profile is to have a point that’s sharpened to a sharp point that looks a bit like a sharpened pencil.

A good guide is to make the length of the point 2½ times the diameter of the Tungsten. So a 1.6mm diameter Tungsten should have a point around 4.0mm long (1.6 x 2.5 = 4.0). A 2.4mm Tungsten should have a point around 6.0mm long (2.4 x 2.5 = 6.0).

It’s important that grinding lines run along the length of the Tungsten NEVER around the point as this can cause arc instability.

Tungsten Tig Electrode Sharpening

AC Welding and Tig Tungsten Electrodes

If you’re intending to Tig weld with an AC output, Aluminium for example, there’s no need to sharpen the Tungsten.

Having said that, it’s a good idea to put a small chamfer on the end of the Tungsten.

Once you start welding the end of the Tungsten will form into a dome.

IMPORTANT – If the dome on the end becomes a ball that is larger in diameter than the Tungsten itself, you need to use a larger Tungsten!

How much of a Tig Tungsten Electrode should stick out

There’s no straightforward answer to this one as it depends on a number of factors.

As a general rule, I would have around 5-6mm of the Tungsten sticking out of the Ceramic Gas Shroud.

The important thing is that gas shield integrity around the arc is maintained. So if, for example, you’re welding into a corner, or into a blind hole, good gas shield integrity is easy to maintain, so a greater Tungsten stick out is possible.

If you need to increase Tungsten stick out, to be able to see easily for example, but this increases the risk of poor gas shield integrity, it would be necessary to increase the gas flow to compensate.

Conclusion

The correct choice of Tungsten Tig Electrode is important and will affect the possible results of Tig Welding, as will the way a Tungsten is sharpened if being used for DC applications.

I hope you found this article useful.

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.

Regards

Graham

The Welders Warehouse

Click Gold Tungsten Tig Electrodes to view our range.

Moreinfo on Tig generally can also be found in our Knowledge Zone

Gas Vs Gasless Mig Welding Wire

Tuesday, 21st May 2019

Gas vs Gasless Mig Welding, which is best? is a conversation I have with customers on the phone on an almost daily basis.

Gasless Mig Wire

Firstly, let’s clarify that “Gasless” Mig is not actually gasless.  There’s no such thing as gasless mig welding.  The weld pool has to be protected from the oxygen in the air and this is done by displacing the air with gas!

So called “Gasless” Mig Wire is actually “Self Shielding”.

Self Shielding Mig Wire is a tube of metal with a flux core.  As the welding arc melts the wire it also burns the flux, this produces a gas shield around the welding process.  So NOT “Gasless”.

The term “Gasless” comes from the fact that Self Shielding Wires do not require a Cylinder of Gas.

Secondly, I’m going to put my cards on the table!  I’m not the Worlds biggest fan of Self Shielding Mig Wire!

OK so it has its uses, but it produces a fierce arc that’s not much use on steel thinner than around 1.2mm and as for car body welding, well if a mig welder supplier tells you their machine can weld car body thickness steel without gas GET THEM TO DEMO IT!!!

Self Shielding Mig Wires also produce a LOT of nasty smoke, so are best used in the open air.  And that really is the only place I would advocate using self shielding wire.  Even then, I would only use Self Shielding Wire when its too windy to use solid wire and gas!

A Little Bit of History

Self shielding mig wires were first developed in the USA for use on the vast prairie farms of the mid west.  A small hand held mig welder was developed that would operate off a deep cell, 24v Tractor battery.  This welder was part of a tool kit carried by the farmer and used to carry out on the spot repairs to gates etc out in the fields.

Self shielding mig wires found their way into the UK DIY welder market in the 80’s, before disposable gas cylinders became available.  At that time it was the only way retailers could sell Mig Welders to the DIYer.

Solid Wire + Gas

By far the most common and best way to use a Mig Welder is with solid wire and a cylinder of gas.  With this configuration, the Mig Welder pours gas over the weld pool as you weld, thus keeping Air/Oxygen from contaminating the weld.

Solid Wire + Gas is easier to use and produces better quality welds

I’ve written a separate Blog article called:

What Gas do I need for Mig Welding and Tig Welding which you may find useful

Bottom Line

In my opinion, if you have a Gas/No Gas Mig Welder you should always use it with Gas, unless you absolutely have to use self shielding wire.

I personally, would prefer to protect the work area from wind with screens etc than use self shielding wire, but as I said earlier, I’m not a fan ?

We offer a full range of Mig Welding Wires for most materials, including Solid and Self Shielding wires for steel.

Can any Mig be used for Gas AND Gasless Welding?

No, a Mig Welder will be designed to either use Wire with Gas, Self Shielding (gasless) Wire, or both (Gas/No Gas).

The difference lies in the Polarity of the Torch.

To use Self Shielding (Gasless) wire, the Torch needs to be NEGATIVE (-).

To use Solid Wire with Gas the Torch needs to be POSITIVE (+).

A machine that can operate with both Solid Wire + Gas AND Self Shielding (gases) wire will have a way of quickly and easily changing the Polarity.  These machines are normally marketed as “Gas/No Gas” Mig Welders.

Conclusion

Gas vs Gasless Mig Welding, which is best?  Well I think you know my answer to this, Gas, almost every time! 🙂

Need to Know More?

If you’re not sure what type of Mig Welder would best suit your needs, get in touch, you can write via our Contact Us page, or phone and ask for me! (numbers at the top of this page)

I hope you found this useful.

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.

Regards

Graham

The Welders Warehouse

10 Tips to Improve your Mig Welding

Wednesday, 24th April 2019

Mig Welding is not a difficult process to master, but unless you get the basics right, it can be torturously frustrating! These 10 Tips to improve your Mig Welding help.

  1. Ensure your Mig Welder is in good working order; by that I mean making sure the Torch and Work Return (Earth), lead connections are clean and good. Make sure the Torch end parts are in good condition. Also check the Work Return (Earth) clamp is in good clean condition.
  2. Check your Welding Wire is in good condition, if it’s rusty or dirty you should pull off the imperfect wire and discard it, because poor quality wire will lead to poor quality welds!
  3. Check your Welding Wire Spool turns easily on the Spool Holder. It should have a little friction so it doesn’t overrun when the motor stops pulling the wire, but it shouldn’t be stiff to turn. Some spool Holders are adjustable, some are not. All can get dirty and cause jamming, so make sure the Holder is clean so the Spool turns smoothly.
  4. Check you Wire Feed Rollers are clean and in good condition, because Rollers in poor condition will lead to erratic wire feeding and therefore poor quality welds. The Tension of the Rollers is VERY important. I’ve written a separate article on How to Adjust Mig Welder Wire Feed Roller Tension and produced a Video (bottom of linked page), do please check these out.
  5. Ensure you have the correct gas and gas flow rate. I’ve written blog articles on Mig Welding Gas and Gas Flow Rate for Mig
  6. Place your Work Return (Earth) Clamp onto one of the pieces of metal you will be welding. Ensure the Clamp faces are clean and the metal you’re clamping onto is clean, because this is an electrical connection that is part of the welding circuit, so a good, clean connection is important!
  7. Ensure the weld area of the parts to be welded are clean and free of surface contaminants, including rust, because if you weld over contaminants, they will end up in the weld!
  8. Angle your Torch at approximately 70⁰, pointing in the direction you are going to move. In other words, you need to Push the torch, NOT Drag it!
  9. Initially “Tack” the metal together with a short burst of welding, a tack every 50-75mm should be sufficient in most cases.
  10. When running the weld, move as smoothly as possible, I find either resting my torch arm on my other arm, or putting down a finger for steadying is a BIG help.

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

Air Fed Welding Masks

Friday, 1st March 2019

February 2019 saw a “Safety Alert” from the Health & Safety Executive.

The notice reports on new Scientific Evidence that links Welding Fume exposure to Lung Cancer.

Click the “H&S Safety Alert” Text Link below to view, or Downloaded via the “Download” Button:

Welding Fume Protection

There is no single solution to Welding Fume Protection as it depends heavily on the environment where welding is carried out.

I’ve lost count of number of times a customer has told me that they keep the door open, or they only weld outside as justification for not having proper welding fume protection.

Dealing with Welding Fumes

In simple terms, you have to prevent Welders (and anybody else in the workshop), from breathing in Welding Fumes.

There are two basic ways of doing this: remove the fume at source to prevent it from reaching the welders Breathing Zone. Or protect the Welders Breathing Zone with a Respirator.

Removing the fume at source means using Fume Extraction Equipment. Protecting the Welders Breathing Zone means using an Air Fed Welding Mask.

Fume Extraction

Fume Extractors come in a number of guises. The three most common are:

  • Units with arms that are placed close to the welding
  • Benches that suck fumes down into the bench.
  • Special Mig Torches that have built in extraction.
Welding Fume Extraction

Fume Extractors use air suction to draw the fume away before it can rise into the Welders Breathing Zone.

Fume Extraction systems typically have a filter that filters out the harmful Particulate Fume and returns the cleaned air to the workshop. Some systems extract to the outside environment, but exhaust points are strictly controlled. After all, no one wants workshops protecting their welders by extracting the fume, only to pump it out onto the street where the public are walking by!!

The advantages of Fume Extraction at source include:

  • Removal of Fume from the workshop, so other staff are also protected
  • Low Maintenance – Filters need only occasional replacement

The alternative to Fume Extraction at source is to protect the welders Breathing Zone from the rising fume. An Air Fed Welding Mask, or PAPR system (Powered Air Purifying Respirator) is an excellent way to do this.

Air Fed Welding Mask

Air Fed Welding Mask

An Air Fed Welding Mask is battery Powered and worn on a belt around the welders waist. Air is sucked into the back of the Respirator Unit, through a Filter, then passed up to the Welding Helmet via a hose. This Air is then poured down across the Welders face. By creating this curtain of filtered air, which is further helped by a Face Seal, Fumes rising up from the weld do not enter the Welders Breathing Zone, inside the Welding Helmet.

Air Fed Welding Helmet

Air Fed Welding Helmet advantages include:

  • Unit goes wherever the welder goes – He/She is wearing it!!
  • In hot conditions, the air flow across the welders face has a cooling effect.
  • An Air Fed Welding Mask is significantly cheaper than a Fume Extraction System.

Conclusion

The latest Health & Safety Executive “Safety Alert” is clear, action MUST be taken to protect Welders Lungs as well as anyone else who might be exposed to the welding fumes. Failure to do so is going to end up with much bigger problems, probably legal ones!

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

No Rent Gas Cylinders

Wednesday, 27th February 2019

No Rent Gas Cylinders have become very popular in recent Years. For those who cannot justify the cost of Renting a cylinder, but find disposable cylinders expensive, no rent gas cylinders are perfect.

Rented Gas Cylinders

Renting the Gas Cylinder has always been the traditional way of accessing Industrial type Refillable cylinders.

Gas fills are carried out by swapping the empty cylinder for a full one.

You carry on renting the cylinder until you no longer require the Cylinder.

The advantage of Cylinder Renting is larger users of gas needing multiple cylinders, can get big discounts. Therefore, the overall cost of cylinder rental and gas fills for high volume users is competitive.

The downside is that if you only need one or two cylinders and you only need them to be filled occasionally, the costs are high. If you don’t use the cylinder at all for a Month or Two, it’s sitting there costing you money!!

Disposable Gas Cylinders

Disposable Gas Cylinders have always been the product of choice for DIY welders as the cost of renting an Industrial type Refillable Cylinder is simply too high.

The advantage of Disposable Gas Cylinders is you only pay for the gas you use as the cylinder is owned by you. Also, Disposable Gas Cylinders are small, light and easy to move around. In fact they will fit straight onto the back of a lot of DIY Mig Welding Machines.

The downside is that they can work out quite expensive if you more than the occasional bit of welding.

No Rent Gas Cylinders

No Rent Gas Cylinders combine the best of both Disposable and Industrial Rented Gas Cylinders.

Essentially, you pay a deposit on the Cylinder (typically around £60, depending on the cylinder size), then you pay for the gas fill (typically around £40, depending on the gas).

In my opinion, a 9 litre cylinder is a great choice for DIY welders. 9 litre cylinders contain around 1230 litres of gas (around 11 times a 110bar disposable). Size wise, they are similar to a SCUBA divers cylinder, so easy to store and move around.

A 20 litre cylinder is also readily available. These typically have around 4000 litres of gas, so are more economical, but are bigger and heavier, so perhaps less convenient.

The BIG advantage of No Rent Gas Cylinders for the DIY and low volume Welder is no ongoing rent on the cylinder. So if you don’t use gas for a Month or two, the cylinder is not costing you any money. Also the gas works out MUCH cheaper than Disposable Gas Cylinders.

There are not really any significant downsides to No Rent Gas Cylinders. You will need an Industrial type Gas Regulator, which is an additional cost if you don’t have one.

Industrial Gas Regulator

Also, the upfront cost of No Rent Gas Cylinders is higher than disposables, because of the deposit. But the ongoing savings are so great that it’s hard not being able to justify these upfront costs.

A Word of Warning

There are several companies offering No Rent Gas Cylinders, these include:

Adams Gas, Gas UK, SGS Gases and Hobbyweld.

READ THE TERMS & CONDITIONS!!!!!

At time of writing, only Adams Gas appear to offer a FULL Return of Deposit when you’ve finished with the cylinder and take it back. The other companies appear to keep some, or all of your deposit if you don’t buy a refill within a defined period of time. So once again.

READ THE TERMS & CONDITIONS!!!!!

Conclusion

Gas Cylinder Renting/No Rent/Disposable is a bit of a personal thing because which method is best for you will depend on how often you use Gas, how much gas you use and how portable you need a gas cylinder to be.

The most important thing is to do your research and read T&C’s

The Welders Warehouse offers disposable gas cylinders but we do not offer No Rent Gas Cylinders as we cannot ship them by courier.

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

Model O Torch

Tuesday, 23rd October 2018

Model O – a little bit of History

We’ve been selling the original Model O Torch for some Years now.  It’s always been a popular torch, especially among Roofers, who use it for Lead Welding and LOVE the feel of the torch and the precise flame adjustment that can be achieved.

Now, after over 30 Years of the above model O, we’ve updated the design to incorporate some tweaks that customers have expressed a desire for.

Model O – the Next Generation

Model O Torch

The first thing to say is we haven’t changed very much!  After all, if a Torch is as popular as the Model O it would be stupid to re-invent the proverbial wheel 🙂

So what have we changed?

We’ve now made the Oxygen Inlet from a single forged piece of Brass, rather than two pieces brazed together.  This increases the strength and durability of the whole Torch, plus improves Oxygen Gas Flow.

We’ve tweaked the geometry of the valves to provide even better and more precise flame adjustment.

We’ve increased the angle of the Neck Bend as LOADS of customers, old and new, told us the angle on the old torch wasn’t tight enough.

Model O Nozzles

The Model O Nozzles are VERY small.  They’re numbered 1-5 with 5 being the biggest.  Having said “Biggest” it’s worth noting that the number 5 is only slightly bigger than a conventional torch No1.  So the term “Biggest” is somewhat subjective!

The most popular nozzle is the No3, which Roofers use for Code 4 Lead Welding.  Although all the nozzles sizes  are popular.

No1 nozzle produces such a tiny flame I’m pretty sure you could weld a KitKat wrapper with it 🙂

Using the Model O

The single biggest problem that customers report with using their Model O Lead Welding Torch is difficulties with flame adjustment.  This usually means the flame blows out too easily when lighting, or the flame pattern changing on its own.

In 95% of cases, this is caused by too much gas pressure being set on the Regulator.  When customers report problems and we ask what pressure they have set, we invariably get figures around 1.0 to 1.5 bar.  The correct pressure is between 0.15 and 0.2 bar!!!!  This is barely off the Zero Pin of a Regulator!

Gas Regulator Selection

The problem of setting too higher Gas Pressure derives from one of two things

The operator thinks that 1.0 – 1.5 bar is the correct pressure IT IS NOT!

The operator has a 0-10bar Oxygen Regulator.  Trying to set a STABLE pressure of between 0.15 and 0.2bar on a Regulator with up to 10bar of pressure is virtually impossible!!!

Here at The Welders Warehouse, we offer a 0-4bar Oxygen Regulator for lower pressure applications, which is actually MOST applications!  A 0-4bar Oxygen Regulator is far better for setting and maintaining the stable low pressure needed for using a Model O Lead Welding Torch.  A 0-4bar Oxygen Regulator is suitable for most Welding and Light Cutting Torches.  A higher output Oxygen Regulator would only be necessary for Cutting Nozzles above 5/64″.

Lighting a Model ‘O’ Torch

There is no real difference between lighting  Model ‘O’ Torch to lighting any other kind of Oxy Acetylene Torch.  It’s just more important to make sure the gas pressure on the Regulators is set correctly and only turning the Torch Valves by very small amounts at a time.  The key thing to remember is that with such small nozzles, small changes can make a big difference, so changes have to be made gradually.

Conclusion

The Model O Torch is still the first choice for Lead Welders and the new Torch fine tunes all the things Lead Welders loved about the original.  As long as the Oxy Acetylene Kit is set up correctly, the new Model O will provide Years of trouble free Lead Welding.

To visit our Model O page, where you will find prices and can order, Click Here.

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

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