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 Any welders here?

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windypops
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 10:06 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I work in mainly wood. Repairing, turning, polishing, paint finishes, you name it. I want to start offering some metal repairs too. I can lead/tin solder for small repairs but would like to be able to carry out larger restorations on metal. I'm not talking major fabrications, just repairs to decorative and architectural wrought iron or pressed metal items. Basically, be able to reattach any bits that have broken off.

I'm thinking of Oxyacetylene Welding as a good all round method of doing this, but don't know where to begin. Can anyone tell me if I need to go on some kind of course or evening class to do this? Or would low temprature Silver/Nickel, Bronze be just as good? What setup would I need?

Done a bit of googling, but thought someone here is bound to know the answer and save me a lot of time. Thanks in advance for any help Wink

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thud419
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 10:22 am Reply with quoteBack to top

The low temperature bronze (ie brazing) is a stronger joint than solder, but does not compare to welding. It is almost as easy as soldering; you just need a higher temperature, which you can get with a blowtorch. However welding is a whole new ball game. If you consider that the temperatures you need are those at which the components you are connecting melt, you can see that it is a more highly skilled job.

I've almost zero experience of it however, so I'll let someone else suggest what sort of kit you need. I know my experience with a cheap arc welder was exasperating. With the dark mask filter I couldn't see what I was doing until I struck the arc, and then I'd be in the wrong place with the welding rod stuck to the metal.

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windypops
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 10:32 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Thanks Thud, I have a small arc welder, and more importantly a friend who is a mechanic. I will get him to give me a crash course on that. Need to get the electrics in my workshop beefed up a little before I can fire it up though.

What got me thinking about this is, I have a space heater for the winter and it uses one of those propane tanks. I think it's only a matter of getting the correct torch which will produce a hot enough flame for bronze brazing?

All I have at the moment is a soldering iron for repairing brass locks and hinges. And a hand help mixed gas torch like a plumber would use for soldering copper pipes together.

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Harry Bawls
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 10:34 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Oxyacetylene welding is kind of like an art form. Just about the only way you become good at it is to practice. Once you get good at it, you can make some beautiful welds. If the metals you are thinking of repairing contain carbon steel, MIG (wire) welding is the way to go. Arc welding is a bit more difficult than MIG, but again, with practice it is not very difficult.

If you are doing other metals, like cast iron, brazing (Oxyacetylene) will get the job done. From what you describe, I think this would be the way to go.

Edit: I don't think the propane set-up will give you the type of temp you need for brazing.
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thud419
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 11:42 am Reply with quoteBack to top

If you can get up to bright orange hot with the torch you've got, then the propane torch would probably work. They'd be much the same except for maybe a higher gas flow. I'd guess that it would be OK for very small items, but anything with any degree of conduction outside the hot zone would make it difficult.

Edit: Thinking back 30 years, I'm almost certain that what we used for brazing at school was methane and compressed air. I'm 99.9% certain that it was not oxyacetylene. OTOH, we never brazed any extended objects with it - only up to about 1 lb total mass.

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windypops
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 12:38 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Thanks for all the advice.

Look what I just bought: Portable mini welding kit Gets up to 3000deg. Cool I have to wait until next week before it arrives.
The bloke on the phone said it's as easy to use as a hand held torch and will braze any metal to metal combo using the correct rods.

Expect a piece of 'modern' metal art sometime soon! Very Happy

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Klaasvaak
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 1:02 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Do not touch the iron bars after welding, I did that once to feel if it was attached to correctly. I still feel my finger melting/burning when i think about it.

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SevenStars
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 1:20 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I bought one of those really cheap arc welders (about 50) & it works very well on the strips of 'wrought iron' that you can buy, (it's really mild steel they sell these days).

The best tip I can give is to get one of those auto darkening welding helmets so that you can see what you are doing, I think mine cost about 90.

I don't like welding that much because you have to make sure no one is around (including pets ect) due to sparks & light.

Brazing can be done with a high capacity propane lamp & large cylinder but takes longer to prepare the metal (cleaning).

NEVER let any lead (solder ect) contaminate brazing or it will snap like a carrot.

Regards SevenStars
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luckey
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 2:07 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Sounds like you're all set, but MAPP gas canisters fit on to standard propane heads and produce a flame that is about as hot as acetylene without the mixing.

If you can get your hands on a used MIG welder, they are awesome, like drawing a line.

Don't forget welding goggles. My welding mentor's father damaged his eyesight by trying to close his eyes just in time.

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windypops
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 2:58 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

@ Luckey, I investigated MAPP canisters. They can get up to a fairly high temperature. But this one I purchased can heat up a lager area and comes with various size nozzles for different tasks, which will be a real boon.

I've been told about something called a Mini MIG welder. They do sound like a lot of fun and easy to use. They kick off around the 250.00 mark, so I'll see how I get on with this little toy first.

I have all the right protection gear too. Don't fancy getting covered in molten metal or doing a "Klaasvaak" just yet. Wink

Next week is all about welding and melting metal stuff for me. Very Happy

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mark2
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 7:17 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

As SevenStars says if you're going the mig/arc welding route an automatic darkening face mask is essential.

I mainly weld rustbuckets, using a mig, it's quicker than oxy acetelyne, thus less time for heat to conduct through the surrounding area and cause distortion.

Good lighting will be essential but not from behind you, some will always seep in around the edges of the mask and reflect off the inner surface of the lens.

Arc welding and gas welding you need to be aware of the fumes produced, use a particle mask at least. Avoid welding anything with a zinc coating, it's not healthy.

2 tips, clean (work) and bright (work area), nice and tight (fitting) will give best results.
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Connie L. Gus
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 7:44 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

It appears that you are in the UK. I am not sure about there but here in the US, there are adult schools that can get you up and running. We have community colleges that teach welding for art. Sounds like that's the stuff you want/need. Most here are very inexpensive. Before you go and get a kit you might want to check it out.

I've switched to MAPP gas for silver soldering and copper plumbing. Got one of these auto igniter torches. Kicks butt for speed.

For what you want to do low temp brazing is all you need. Act/Ox is just fine. Again in our neck of the woods, the bottles are leased and all you need to buy are the gauges, regulators, hoses, torch, tips, protective gear and filler rods. Depending on how much you are going to use it, the cheaper path may cost you more in supplies.

Cheap buzz box arc welders are a pain in the rear.

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windypops
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 7:55 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

^ All good advice. Cool
It's clear that no one type of welder can do all jobs, so if I want to be able to restore
every possible job that's likely to come my way I'll have to invest the right tools for the job.
I have a face mask with a little manually operated darkened glass flap. An automatic one
may be my next purchase before I attempt any arc welding.

I already know I want a MIG. Wink

A couple of my trade customers are donating some hopeless cases for me to practice on.
If I make a right pigs ear out of it, nothing lost.

I'm quite looking forward to starting and wondering why it took me this long to teach myself how to do it.?! Confused Very Happy

*EDIT* @Connie, yep, classes seem a good investment too.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2007 9:26 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Oxy-acetylene is good. Practice, practice practice using offcuts from a machine/fabrication shop and once you get the hang of it, it's great. Welding, brazing, soldering, cutting if you don't mind using lots of oxygen.

If you can get a short course at night school or something, that'll help you get up to speed with the basics quickly.

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