Here at Earlbeck we understand that when you invest in a welding machine, it's not just about the purchase; it's about the long-term value and the work you are able to produce with it. We've been in the welding business for over a century, and during that time, we've learned a thing or two about how to get the most out of your hard-earned money.
We’d love to share some valuable insights that can make real difference in your workflow. Today we are focusing on the Bobcat 225, a Miller brand engine-driven welding machine that we see regularly in our service shop due to it's popularity. You can use the Bobcat 225 for Stick, MIG, and non-critical TIG welding as well as to power tools as a generator. So let’s make sure you get the most out of those capabilities addressing costly and potentially dangerous mistakes!
Make the most of your machine by focusing on maintenance. It all starts with a small but incredibly important item that often gets overlooked: the manual that comes with your welding machine. You might be thinking, "What's the big deal about a manual?" Well, it's a big deal. Your welding machine's manual is a treasure trove of knowledge and guidance that can make a world of difference. It's your key to understanding your machine inside and out, even before you unpack it. Additionally, it plays a crucial role in setting up and maintaining your machine properly- so let's discuss routine maintenance!
Every 8 hours you should be checking your fuel level. Always leave filler neck empty to allow room for expansion. Check fuel level on a cold engine before use each day. Another important check is your oil level. Check oil with the unit on level surface and if the oil is not up to full mark on dipstick, add some more. Be sure to clean up any spilled oil or fuel before using your machine.
Every 20 hours you should check your spark arrestor screen. First stop your machine and let it cool. Then check and clean the screen. Replace spark arrestor if screen wires are broken or missing.
Every 25 hours be sure to clean your air cleaner wrapper. Never run your engine without air cleaner or with dirty element. Wash precleaner with soap and water solution. Allow precleaner to air dry completely. Then spread 1 tablespoon SAE 30 oil evenly into precleaner and squeeze out any excess oil. Simply replace the element if damaged, dirty, or oily.
Every 50 hours make sure you check on your weld terminals. Failure to properly connect weld cables may cause excessive heat and start a fire, or damage your machine. You can use any clean hand brush to remove debris.
Every 100 hours take a look at your battery terminals and clean them with a clean hand brush. If there is battery discharge, clean the battery, terminals, and posts with baking soda and water solution and then rinse with clear water. You'll also want to clean your cooling system with a clean brush to keep it running smoothly. Additionally you'll want to change your oil at 100 hours. First stop your engine and let it cool- then drain the oil, close the valve and valve cap, and fill the crankcase with new oil to full mark on dipstick. Wipe up any spilled fuel, start engine, and check for fuel leaks. And lastly you'll want to check if you need to replace your air cleaner wrapper.
Every 200 hours you'll want to check your machine's labels and replace any that have become unreadable from being on the job. Next you'll want to check the spark plug gap. Severely worn spark plugs will not ignite the air and fuel mixture. Engine will start hard and run very rough. If spark plugs are black, dry, or wet, there is a problem with fuel or air delivery. Remember, use only resistor spark plugs and wires. Next change your oil filter and replace your fuel filter. Install new filter with arrow pointing in the direction of fuel flow then start the engine and check for fuel leaks. Stop engine, tighten connections as necessary. Reset oil maintenance countdown by leaving the engine off and flipping Engine Control switch from Run/Idle to Run three times.
Every 500 hours you should check and replace your weld cables if necessary. Failure to properly connect weld cables may cause excessive heat and start a fire, or damage your machine. Never place anything between weld cable terminal and copper bar and make sure that the surfaces of the weld cable terminal and copper bar are clean.
You will also need your slip rings to be cleaned and your brushes replaced, however this is not a job for the operator. Bring your machine to a factory authorized service agent (like Earlbeck) for this task!
In the world of welding, knowledge is power- and we're here to empower you! Sometimes, the smallest things, like that manual tucked away with your machine, can have the most significant impact on your work. By following along with your machine’s maintenance schedule you can not only save time and money but also ensure your safety and the quality of your work.
If you ever find yourself facing challenges that are beyond your expertise, don't hesitate to reach out to our service center. We're here to provide the support you need to keep your welding projects running smoothly and safely. Your success is our success, and we're with you every step of the way.
AWS A3.0(2010) Standard for Welding Terms and Definitions defines a weld joint as “the junction of the workpieces that are to be joined or have been joined.” So basically a weld joint forms when 2+ materials come together with a welding process. This can be with or without the addition of filler material. There are several types of weld joint designs, and each is tailored to a specific application, so joint design determines which type of weld you should attempt.
Let’s delve into the five basic types of weld joints- read on for insights that will help you achieve a high quality weld!
A butt joint is a common type of welding joint formed when two workpieces are placed in the same plane and their sides are joined by welding. This type of joint is widely used in pipeline and structure manufacturing due to its ease of preparation and various variations. Some examples of butt weld joints include Single U, Double U grooves, Single V, Double V, Single bevel, Double bevel, and Square.
During the welding process, the area of metal that’s melted is called the faying surface, and it is shaped through edge preparation before welding to enhance strength and appearance. Proper edge preparation is crucial and depends on factors like groove shape, gap width, and layering. Thicker sections require grooves for full penetration welds, while thin sections can achieve this with a square butt joint. The choice between beveled and square edges depends on the application and material thickness. Beveled edges create stronger welds but require more material and time.
Common Defects: Porosity, burn-through, incomplete penetration, and cracking. These defects can be prevented by modification of the welding variables.
A corner joint is created by welding two workpieces at a 90° angle, forming an L shape. This type of joint is straightforward to assemble and typically requires minimal, if any, edge preparation. There are two main types of corner joints: open and closed. In a closed corner joint, one workpiece's edge aligns flush with another's, while in an open corner joint, the edges meet at the corner with a visible gap.
Corner joints are often used for square frame projects. The choice between open and closed corner joints depends on material thickness and the required strength for the application. When welding thinner materials with an open corner joint, consider increasing the travel speed to avoid burn-through. Open corner joints result in a V shape, which may need more welding material based on material thickness. For closed corner joints, grinding the weld face is necessary to achieve a smooth transition from the weld to the base material.
Common Defect: Post-welding distortion. To prevent distortion, consider using a fixture to hold the workpieces securely in place during welding.
A lap joint is created by overlapping two workpieces, and the weld forms at their meeting point. The extent of this overlap depends on the workpiece's thickness, with thicker materials requiring a greater overlap. Lap joints offer good mechanical properties, but it's crucial to ensure there are no gaps between the workpieces when welding. In some cases, you may need to choose between a butt joint and a lap joint. Lap joints provide more strength in high-stress areas, but they don't result in a flush contour, making them more visible than butt welds.
Common Defects: Distortion and burn-through. When working with thinner materials like sheet metal, adjusting the amperage and increasing the travel speed can help prevent these issues
A Tee joint is created when two workpieces intersect at a 90° angle. In this type of joint, one workpiece's edge is welded to the center of another workpiece's flat surface, forming a T shape. It's also possible to form a Tee joint by welding a pipe or tube to a base plate. This joint is known for its high mechanical strength, especially when welded from both sides, and it finds applications in various fabrication tasks, including tubing, structural steel, and equipment.
Welding Tee joints becomes relatively easy and require less joint preparation with the right parameters and techniques. It's essential to weld on the side of the joint that would experience stress, ensuring effective penetration. Failure could occur if the opposite side of the joint is subjected to load or impact. Welding on both sides will maximize strength. Tee joints can be conveniently welded in horizontal, flat, vertical, and overhead positions.
When working with a 90° Tee joint, a 45° work angle is recommended to achieve deep penetration on both workpieces. If welding dissimilar metal thicknesses, the focus should be on the thicker material to avoid defects.
Common Defects: Lamellar tearing, which results from restriction within the joint. To prevent joint deformities, you can place a stopper.
Edge joints involve aligning the workpiece edges in a nearly parallel or parallel fashion to one another. These joints are typically applied in situations where the workpieces are not subject to stress. There are various types of edge joints, depending on how the edges are prepared for welding. Some of the applications for edge joints would be J-groove, U-groove, V-groove, Bevel-groove, Corner-groove, and Square-groove. These joints offer versatility in welding configurations to suit different requirements.
Common Defects: Poor penetration. To prevent this use a groove edge preparation to allow adequate penetration or improve the overall weld joint rigidity
So, now that you know your options, its important to remember that certain joint designs are stronger and can withstand higher levels of stress compared to others. It's crucial to distinguish between these designs and select the best one for your specific application needs. Familiarizing yourself with the characteristics of each weld joint type and their common defects can assist in guaranteeing a quality weld that you can be proud of!
Ready to dive deeper into the fundamentals of welding and embark on an exciting career path? Or just want want to learn the basics for a home project? Earlbeck Technical Center is your ideal choice, get the knowledge and skills you need with hands-on training from the best!
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The metal fabrication industry faces a multitude of challenges that seemingly increase in complexity with each passing day- reshoring efforts, supply chain obstacles, rising wages, an aging population of skilled workers, and a historically low unemployment rate among younger generations are creating a domino effect.
These challenges are no longer merely affecting lead times and margins, they now pose a risk to the fundamental ability of fabricators to maintain their business and their relationships with customers. Many organizations are hesitant to adopt even simple automation solutions, despite the proven benefits of widely-used ones. This resistance to change may be due to fear of the unknown. However, when handled correctly, change can be a catalyst for growth and learning. In fact, it is crucial for businesses to adapt in order to remain competitive and relevant. Failure to change can leave your business behind the times and with automation rapidly becoming necessary to keep up with customer demands, will your business embrace the change?
Automation might seem daunting, but fear not!
With the right focus and dedication you can build your own framework for metal fabrication automation.
1. Set Clear Company Expectations
As automation becomes more prevalent, it is important to consider the impact it will have on company culture. Its essential to set clear expectations. Determine what your business wants to achieve with automation, and what outcomes to expect. This is not a one-size-fits-all solution and the right approach will depend on the goals, structure, culture and values of each organization.
Automation is often misperceived as a potential threat to jobs. However, this is not the case. Workers who become proficient in robotics and automation can expand their skill set, improve career prospects, and become more valuable to the company. For example, a welding cobot operator can program the desired welding path using all of the experience they've gained over the years, which enables them to reduce fatigue from repetitive motion, create a consistent product with reliable quality, and get more done with less sweat.
Identifying and encouraging automation experts will help your company’s growth and communicating your plan clearly with what the intent will be for each stakeholder will help ensure a smooth roll out. Communicate thoroughly and often!
Automation should be included in your business plans, but it may not be a solution to every problem you face. It's highly efficient at resolving specific issues and can create unexpected possibilities for innovation. Not only does automation save money, but it also increases revenue. To achieve success, you'll need dedicated program champions on your teams who have the ability to set clear goals, communicate effectively, and conduct thorough progress reviews.
2. Choose the Right Process to Automate
Effective automation solves the right problems with ease. However, it is important to select the right processes to automate, in the correct order, and match them with the best automation technology for the job. Rank targeted processes based on risk and overall impact on the business to find where to start.
Strike a balance between cost and complexity- certain industrial robots are a great fit for massive productions of uniform parts, despite their high initial price point. For simple operations with minimal variation, lower-cost devices are more appropriate. However, when you're dealing with small to large quantities that have significant part variability, flexible systems like adaptive collaborative robots (cobots) offer a cost-effective and optimal solutions.
Previously, the decision to automate hinged on a basic ROI calculation – a straightforward analysis of production volume and cost savings. However, the current landscape is far more complicated. While ROI calculations are still useful, a bottleneck caused by idle machinery can have a greater impact on a company's profits. For instance, if a major product can’t be shipped due to the absence of inexpensive fabricated parts, then the actual payback is determined by the revenue loss resulting from the bottleneck. This financial repercussion can be many times larger than what a simple ROI calculation would suggest.
One effective approach to improving efficiency is to prioritize impactful processes according to your business needs. When determining which processes to prioritize, it is important to keep in mind that every factory has different variables to consider. Among the most commonly assessed factors are the cost as a percentage of revenue, impact on customer lead times, difficulty of acquiring skilled operators for the machinery, workflow bottlenecks, unacceptable quality levels, safety issues, workstation idle time, complexity of integration, and overall process pain points.
If a work element is widely disliked by many involved, it is likely a good candidate for improvement. If you chart these variables in a simple graphic that measures overall business impact and implementation difficulty, decision-making can be easily streamlined.
This helps narrow the selection to a small, more manageable, number of potential targets. Decision-making is both an art and a science, so it's not always beneficial to overthink. Choose the process that seems to offer the best balance between implementation complexity and business benefit at this stage, and begin with that.
It's important to honestly evaluate your company's existing engineering/automation capabilities. If you have some internal resources and want to self-integrate, pay special attention to the integration difficulty. Remember not to take on too much work at once, but keep in mind the level of automation you are willing to start with. This might mean starting with something as simple as a single-axis pick-and-place device that moves workpieces from point A to point B. Or, it could mean highly customized industrial robots that are appropriate for high-volume output of stable workpieces. Somewhere in the middle, you'll find devices such as cobots that are both flexible and relatively simple to adapt and program. No matter what kind of automation you're dealing with, safety must always be a top priority. Automated systems should be deployed securely, and safety costs and employee training should be included in the budgeting stage of project planning. Keep in mind that the complexity of the process, as well as the time and capital required, and the volume of the chosen parts being built, will all factor into the final decision.
3. Re-Work the Process for Automation
When it comes to automation, simply replicating manual operations is not common. Instead, you must re-engineer processes to fit within the context of overall manufacturing flow. A good first step is to generate a simple map of manual processes. This first map just needs to accurately describe the elements in the process. After you’ve completed that, analyze which factors may affect it.
Consider the following:
Are the inputs stable in design and repeatable in form?
Is the existing process stable?
Is the existing equipment capable?
Are present quality levels acceptable?
Is the ongoing human interaction with the process predictable?
Does the existing process present any safety or health risks?
After addressing these fundamental issues and establishing a strong foundation, you’ll want to come up with a clear and concise list of critical goals and deliverables. Aim to set up a review process to make sure the initial goals are still relevant. Remember, automation doesn't replace existing tasks but requires a complete rethinking of the manufacturing process. You won’t help yourself, your employees, or your company if you invest in automating a process that already produced poor results. Embrace the opportunity to identify and resolve underlying problems that may have gone unnoticed.
Another critical factor is often the most difficult to address: an honest and realistic evaluation of available internal resources and skills. Foremost is the designation and empowerment of one or more automation champions. They don’t necessarily need to be highly experienced and skilled in automation, but they should thoroughly understand your existing processes and your automation project goals. In addition, they must be allowed to focus on the project rather than be forced to treat it as a once-a-week diversion.
These core team members can relinquish some project control to others, but it's essential to maintain a balance between that control, their technical expertise, and the integrator’s scope of experience. It's important to consider the potential for a shorter ROI as well. Before partnering with an integrator, review their relationship with existing customers and examples of their previous outcomes. Even when working with other integrators, project implementation, feedback, and schedule focus require clear communication channels with any integration team. A designated individual is needed to make this process run smoothly.
So you have your deliverables outlined, you’ve set your staff up for success with tools and time, and you’ve clearly defined your integrator's roles. What next? Time to review the project deliverables with fresh eyes and focus!You need clearly defined and documented plans for the process and your team and a periodic review set up that will keep everything in check. Be sure in your final check that the deliverables align with these expectations, and that they are realistic and achievable within the planned time frame (and crucially budget). It’s important to stay within these parameters to avoid failure due to unrealistic expectations. Step one won’t solve all the company’s problems in one fell swoop.
4. Keep Up The Good Work
Keep up with documentation on the process’s performance and overall impact.A great indicator of success, beyond enhanced revenues and ROI, is employee knowledge growth. Learn from the outcomes of this first process and apply it in the future! Take note of potential candidates for future automation, how to pick the right equipment and individuals to get the job done, and how to predict timelines and financial benefits.
5. Record Data= Gain Insights
It's critical to document both hits and misses throughout the process. These insights are incredibly valuable, as they lay the groundwork for future automation projects. Furthermore, you can replicate successful automation strategies for other processes in your business. When documenting your progress, be truthful and clear, but don't forget to celebrate your successes! Use this information to make informed decisions when selecting your next project. Armed with this knowledge, you can take future productive steps in your automation journey.
While technology can solve many problems, it's not a cure-all solution. As some early adopters have cautioned, it takes a thoughtful and methodical approach to automation to achieve success. A clear plan, the right team, thorough prep, and well-defined expectations are critical to any initiative's success.
Automation presents an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of your operations, foster innovation, and establish valuable processes and institutional knowledge. Identify and nurture capable team members and you’ll see a marked increase in your profits. Above all, managed automation can improve customer relationships ensure your company’s relevance in the ever-changing business landscape of today!
Reach out to Earlbeck today to get help forming your automation plan! Whether you’re starting from scratch or just trying to expand on what’s working for you already, we’ve got suggestions for you!
Earlbeck might be in the business of selling and repairing welding machines, but when you buy a machine from us, we want it to last and help you produce work that you can be proud of. Here are a few things we’ve learned in our century plus of business for getting the most out of your hard earned money with no loss of equipment or valuable time!
First and foremost, warranty policies are important. Welding machines can cost you- they are a large investment for your business. Customers should always consider warranty coverage and service availability, prior to making their purchase.
It’s important to understand the benefits and limitations associated with each brand's warranty. For instance, Miller's "True Blue Warranty" will tell you how long of a warranty they offer for parts AND labor on both machines and accessories. However, they make it clear that their warranty does not include consumables or equipment that have been modified by any party other than Miller. Defects caused by accident or improper use and any repairs made by an unauthorized repair outfit are also out of warranty conditions. Additionally, they won’t cover improperly installed/operated/misused equipment which has not had necessary maintenance. Not all warranties are the same so be sure to review the policy for the specific machine you’re looking at and stay within the manufacturer's recommendation in order to keep your warranty valid.
While you can buy a welding machine online, something to consider is what happens when you need the machine serviced? You will have to ship the machine a great distance, likely at your own expense, to have an authorized repair center technician review your issue and create a case for the manufacturer. Manufacturers honor their warranty nation-wide but not every repair center advocates for every machine in the same way. When you buy a welding machine from Earlbeck, what you’re also purchasing is an advocate for yourself. We have spent years developing partnerships with manufacturers that mirror the relationships that we have with our customers- they know who we are and know that we recommend the right equipment to our customers. When a customer buys a welding machine from us, they benefit from our direct relationships with manufacturers.
Another valuable piece of advice is to be sure that you register your equipment with the manufacturer whenever that is available! You can benefit from potential rebates, but even when there are none available, it saves valuable time when our service team is advocating on your behalf.
The manual that comes with your machine isn’t just included for extra packing, it’s incredibly important. Manuals will teach you the ins and outs of your machine before you even unpack. It will also, crucially, walk you through properly setting up and maintaining your machine. Need common troubleshooting solutions for your specific machine? That manual is where to look! Many machines are sent in for repair due to set-up issues which can easily be avoided through familiarizing yourself with the manufacturer's recommendations.
These mistakes can be costly but more importantly they can be dangerous. A common issue is input power mismatch. If your machine is set for a certain input power, it needs to be plugged into something with that same input power- too low and it simply won’t work, but too high it can cause a loud pop, smoke, and possibly fire- indicating the kind of damage that warranty does not cover: faulty set-up.
Another common mistake is consumable mismatch. It’s important to make sure you are using the correct consumables with your machine. A simple example, a welder or generator with AC welding capability and AC generator capability will not work with a DC+ electrode. Many costly repairs can be avoided if you take the time to set-up your machine following the manufacturer instructions. Plenty of issues can be solved on your own by simply reviewing the troubleshooting guides that are available. This simple thing can save you hours of downtime and lost productivity! Manuals are always provided upon purchase but if you misplace yours they are typically easy to find on manufacturer websites. (Lincoln Electric, Miller, Fronius)
Nameplate stickers or tags on your equipment are there to help you identify your machine to the manufacturer or distributor so that we can help you get the right information, as quickly as possible. They are very valuable when our service team is advocating on your behalf, leaving them on will help you in the end.
You've done everything right but your machine still doesn't work, now what?
If you're having issue that you just can't solve, reach out to our competent repair team. They'll get you up and running in no time! Just fill out the form to be contacted.
If you are interested in a career in welding, you may be curious to know, how much money can a welder make? One of the greatest career advantages is that welding does not require a college degree. This enables welding students to complete their training much quicker than a traditional higher education, as well as cut down on tuition costs. You can be ready to enter the job market and earn money much quicker than your counter-parts that pursue a 4 year college degree.
In an article published by the Wall Street Journal, The $140,000-A-Year Welding Job, James Hagerty wrote "The risks of a mismatch between costly university degrees and job opportunities have become clearer in recent years". Anthony Carnevale, director of the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University, said "Nearly a third of people aged 22 through 26 with a Bachelor of Arts degree either don’t have a job or are working at one that doesn’t require a university degree. The numbers are similar for young people with vocational degrees, but those lower-cost degrees don’t typically lead to heavy debts." Most employers are looking to hire a certified welder which can be obtained after under a year of schooling.
This number can vary greatly depending on the industry and location. Many skilled trade programs have been eliminated in schools which has made it increasingly difficult for employers to find welders, which has driven pay scale upwards. According to the 2011 Skills Gap Survey by the Manufacturing Institute, about 600,000 manufacturing jobs are unfilled nationally because employers can't find qualified workers.
More than 50% of all man-made products require welding. Many different industries employ welders so there are a huge variety of jobs available. Skilled welders will have a unique opportunity to have a career that can be shaped around their interests because of the high demand for skilled workers.
Welding is used in:
aircraft and aerospace applications
The welding industry will face a shortage of about 360,000 welders by 2027, according to the American Welding Society. There will be 90,000 average welding jobs to be filled annually between 2023-2027 due to industry growth and anticipated attrition due to retirement. The coming wave of retirements will leave the US with a great deficit in skilled welders in the work force. . Manufacturing has grown faster than the rest of the U.S. economy since the recession. In a recent article from Bloomberg business, Gardner Carrick, was quoted saying, "For 20 years we stopped feeding young people into the trades, and now we’re scrambling to catch up". Because of this great welder shortage, welding will certainly a viable career choice for years to come with many job opportunities for those entering the field. Source: https://weldingworkforcedata.com/
The field of welding offers a diverse range of jobs that combine trade skills with technology.
Welding is both an art and a science, from basic fabrication to advanced robotics. It's a great option for those who enjoy working with their hands and value a sense of community. The skills you'll acquire as a welder are also portable and can lead to rewarding careers in various industries.
Ranging from Shipfitter, Welding Research Scientist, or Pipeliner to Technical Sales, Welder Fabricator, Boilermaker, or Welding Engineer. Or perhaps you’d rather be a Welding Supervisor, Ironworker, or Welding Technician? Still not doing it for you? How about being an Underwater Welder, Pipefitter, Welding Inspector, Robotic Welding Technician, or Welding Educator?
There are so many different paths to success as a welder- let Earlbeck help you learn the skills to land your perfect career! Fill out the form below to learn more about our welding classes!
What are the three main arc welding processes and how do they differ?
Stick is the casual term for SMAW (shielded metal arc welding) Stick welding is a process that melts and joins metals together by heating them with an arc between a covered metal electrode and the work piece. Shielding gas is obtained from the electrode outer coating, often called flux. Filler metal is usually obtained from the electrode core.
MIG is the casual term for GMAW (gas metal arc welding), sometimes referred to as solid wire welding. MIG welding is also an arc welding process that joins metals by heating them with an arc. This arc is between a continuously fed filler metal electrode and the workpiece. Shielding is provided by externally supplied gas or gas mixtures.
TIG is the causal term for GTAW (gas tungsten arc welding) TIG welding is a welding process that joins metals by heating them with a tungsten electrode, which does not become part of the completed weld. Argon inert gas or inert gas mixtures are used for shielding, and filler metal is sometimes used.
What is a shielding gas and what are the common types used? Shielding gas is a protective gas used to prevent contamination from the air from affecting the weld pool. The welding process you're using and the base material you are welding will dictate what shielding gas you need for the job. For instance, 100% argon is a common shielding gas for TIG welding, while 75% argon/ 25% carbon dioxide mixture is common for MIG welding mild steel. What is filler metal? Filler metal is the the metal or alloy added in making a welded joint. Basically, what fills the weld joint or the gap between the parts. These filler metals come in a variety of types and sizes. For MIG you'll find spools of solid wire, a continuous length of wire that is wound onto a spool. While electrodes, metal rods with a flux coating, are used in stick welding to protect the weld from contamination. And solid metal filler rods are used in TIG welding.
What is amperage? Amperage is the measurement of the flow of electrons moving in a circuit and is sometimes referred to as current. The number of amps produced by the power source determines the amount of heat available to melt the filler metal and the workpiece. So the more amps your machine is able to provide, the more heat you're able to use. If thicker material is being welded, you will need more amps. The different types of current used in welding is also important. Alternating current (AC) reverses its direction at regular intervals and is commonly used for aluminum welding. While direct current (DC) flows in just one direction and does not reverse flow. It generally provides a smoother welding output, with less spatter and a more stable arc making it the preferred form of welding for most applications. What is voltage in welding? Voltage measures the pressure of the electrons flowing through the electrical current. So it doesn't flow, but it causes amperage to flow. Your voltage controls your arc length and as your voltage increases, the weld bead will flatten out. Regardless of the amperage output, a constant voltage (CV) welding power source has output that provides relatively stable and consistent voltage. However, a constant current (CC) welding power source has limited maximum short-circuit current. Welding power sources are CV, CC or both. Processes that require a stable current to maintain a consistent arc length to prevent the electrode from sticking, like Stick or Tig, use CC. While MIG and flux-cored welding require a stable voltage to maintain a consistent wire feed speed to prevent the welding arc from becoming unstable so they use use CV.
What is slag? The term slag is used to describe the hardened layer left on the top of a weld made using MIG, flux-cored or stick welding. This layer protects the weld from oxidation and atmospheric contamination. It also helps keep the molten weld pool in the joint as it cools, something that is especially important for out-of-position welding. Slag can be removed after welding or in between passes by chipping or grinding. What is porosity? Porosity is a defect in a finished weld that is caused by gas entrapment while the weld is solidifiying. This issue is most commonly seen in MIG welding. What is spatter? Spatter is the droplets of molten material blown away from your welding arc. These particles are not part of the completed weld, but they may stick to the metal workpiece. This requires chipping or grinding off after welding.
TIG welding’s biggest perk is that you can use it to weld both ferrous and non-ferrous metals. It offers the highest quality welds with excellent bead appearance! It is also more versatile, letting you weld both thick and thin material while fully controlling the arc.
However, it is the lowest deposition process and needs more set-up time compared to some other processes. And compared to other wire-fed processes, it calls for more welder skill.
Below you can find some do’s and don’ts for getting better-quality TIG welds!
DO Wear PROPER PPE
Even though you won’t end up with lots of sparks with TIG, proper protective gear is still important! This means leather gloves and a helmet. As well as a long flame-resistant shirt, and a respirator if you’re working in an enclosed area.
DO Set Up Properly
Make sure to switch your polarity for aluminum welding to AC or DCEN. And for steel and other metals, switch to DCEN. Prepare the tip properly for the polarity and base material you are welding. Choose the proper tungsten. Make sure you grind parallel with the length of the electrode, when grinding your tungsten, to promote better arc stability.
Do Push The Torch
To achieve a good bead you should push the torch, forming the bead puddle on the material. While keeping the tungsten out of the puddle, dip your filler rod into the molten puddle as you weld.
Don’t Let Your Arc Get Too Long
If you let your arc length get too long, and the filler melts before it gets into the puddle, you will potentially lack of fusion at the root of the weld.
Don’t Dip Your Tungsten
Hold your tungsten 1/8th to 1/16th of an inch away from the weld puddle, ensuring a stable arc. This prevents contamination in your weld bead.
Don’t Feed Your Filler Rod Too Far
Feeding the filler rod from too far away from the weld joint may cause the filler to contaminate the tungsten and the arc will become less focused and unstable.
A welding machine can only operate continuously for a certain amount of time. It is important to monitor the temperature of the machine during use to ensure it does not overheat. For safety reasons, it is very important to be aware of the duty cycle of your machine to avoid exceeding it. Exceeding the duty cycle can cause the machine to catch fire, if the thermal overload protection fails to work. You can often find out what the duty cycle is by looking on your machine for a sticker or checking the owner's manual of the equipment.
Duty cycle is measured using a 10-minute cycle and expressed as a percentage of that 10-minute block with the remaining minutes used for cooldown. So say the duty cycle for your welding machine is 60%, this means that the machine can operate for 6 continuous minutes before it needs 4 minutes to cool down and restart.
Other things to note:
Duty cycle and welding output have an inverse relationship- this means that as welding output decreases, duty cycle increases.
The duty cycle of your machine is based on a specific ambient temperature. The average ambient temperature that industrial equipment manufacturers use is 104 F. If the ambient temperature is cooler, duty cycle increases.
If your machine is a multi-process, multi-voltage welding system, duty cycle and welding output will vary by process and input power.
Why does Duty Cycle Matter?
Even though welding machines have thermal overload protection, if it does not kick in your machine can catch fire. When you know the duty cycle of your machine, then you’ll know when to stop working and let your machine cool down.
Aside from staying safe, duty cycle can also impact quality. If you are always hitting or exceeding the limit of your machine's duty cycle, you can end up with poor-quality welds. You may be welding a part, when your machine suddenly shuts off midway! Keeping the duty cycle fresh on your mind while working can prevent this.
Stainless steel is a great material due to its resistance to corrosion and its durability. While welding stainless steel can be challenging, it is possible to learn with the right knowledge and practice. Let's explore the facts about welding stainless steel!
Stainless steels are iron base alloys which contain at least 10.5% chromium. Chromium oxide forms on the surface of a stainless steel. This thin but dense film makes stainless steels resistant to corrosion and prevents further oxidation.
Types Of Stainless Steels
Austenitic Stainless Steels This includes the 200 and 300 series of which type 304 is the most common. The primary alloying additions are chromium and nickel.
Ferritic stainless steels These are non-hardenable Fe-Cr alloys. Types 405, 409, 430, 422 and 446 are representative of this group.
Martensitic stainless steels These are similar in composition to the ferritic group but contain higher carbon and lower chromium which permits hardening by heat treatment. Types 403, 410, 416 and 420 are representative of this group.
Duplex stainless steels These are supplied with a microstructure of approximately equal amounts of ferrite and austenite. They contain roughly 24% chromium and 5% nickel. Their numbering system is not included in the 200, 300 or 400 groups. Precipitation hardening stainless steels Which contain alloying additions such as aluminum which allow them to be hardened by a solution and aging heat treatment. They are further classified into sub groups as martensitic, semiaustenitic and austenitic precipitation hardening stainless steels. They are identified as the 600-series of stainless steels (e.g., 630, 631, 660).
Most stainless steels are considered to have good weldability!
They may be welded by several welding processes such as arc welding, resistance welding, electron and laser beam welding, friction welding and brazing. Remember: it’s important to keep joint surfaces and any filler metal clean!