Pledge: Welding Equipment

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Quite a few people think it would be handy to join more heavy weight bits of metal than you can manage with a soldering iron or brazing torch.


Red welder

There are three electric welding sets in the space. There is a basic red arc welder (on loan from spooq), a larger blue MIG (I think) welder and a plasma cutter which has stick and AC TIG welding modes.

The important part is safety, please do not use the equipment unless you are capable of using it safely and wear suitable protective clothing. Steel toecapped boots are highly recommended.

The suitability of the current arrangements to avoid exposing others to very bright light need to be considered.

At present to carry out welding, as well as using a welding screen, a suitable area should be cleared of anything that might get damaged or catch fire, about 8 feet in all directions from the welding position should do.

MIG welding is not the best method for joining thin material to thick material (brazing or oxy-acetylene welding is better) but you can do it by first building up the thickness of the thin material using stitch welding to avoid "blowing through", then do another run of weld to actually join the two pieces together.

Some acceptable welds have been made joining some thick chain to the end of a steel scaffolding pole. Note : practice on thick stuff. Practice even just running a bead along a surface without attempting to make a join. Thin stuff is hardest.

This welding equipment pledge hit it's target in mid 2011, money was paid, but nobody got around to buying anything. A few people loaned equipment which was used instead. Mailing list discussion last stopped at a suggestion to talk to t0m.

There are a few hackspace people with welding experience and a few people who would like basic welding training. In June 2012 there was a discussion on the mailing list and mention of someone being willing to do some teaching.

More scrap steel to weld would help. It would be handy to have enough PPE for a second person; mask, overalls, apron, and a second set of ear defenders to wear while using the angle grinder.

Welding practice

Could we find some fire resistant fabric material that could be hung from hooks on the ceiling/some sort of ceiling curtain rail to use as a welding screen?

It would be good to have some semi organized general metalworking training including welding. This could be an hour or two with someone competent covering basics like cutting metal (marking out, what sort of saw to use), joining metal together (drilling&bolting, tapping threads in screw holes, welding).

To use the MIG welder we need to determine how to provide a supply of shielding gas (see options below).

The items

 * A small MIG welder
 * Personal Protective equipment (At least 1 mask, apron, gloves)
 * Additional stocks of wire & gas for welding with.

The PPE is likely to set us back as much as a small welder initially, but it's entirely reuseable if/when we get a larger welder, and entirely essential. (Setting yourself on fire is not amusing - I speak from experience here)

I think we also need a ceiling-mounted welding curtain to protect other peoples' eyes - these seem to be about £50-60. We'd probably want to curtain off the far corner in the dirty shop. Russ 10:29, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

  • Not sure what welder was targeted but these are 250-300 for anything above the really minimal. It's hardly ever worth buying at the bottom of the range .. though an offer at Lidl, Aldi, Costco etc. might be worth looking out for if this welder is only a stepping stone to an industrial one.

Things we have already

  • some 1.6mm and 2.5mm welding rods and a bit of mild steel that can be used for practice with the red welder.
  • regulator for disposable gas bottles for use with blue welder
  • spare tips etc.
  • gauntlets
  • angle grinder
  • simple (non-automatic) face shield
  • a couple of bottles of gas (in the drawers under the mill) (for use with blue welder) -been used up I think?

Things we are planning to buy

Note : there is a suggestion to hang welding curtains from the ceiling. While this would be convenient in many ways, it would be awkward if a large item were welded. Also, the ceiling is incredibly tough drilling.

  • Automatic head shield, variable - £50 x 2
    • An automatic welding helmet was purchased from an auction. It got kicked around, didn't seem to work for a while and was last seen in a dustbin with the LCD smashed, it's gone.
      • My helmet will change to darkened if I look full at a nearby striplight. Try this if you want to gain confidence that you're not going to be blinded. It may be necessary to adjust the sensitivity / delay controls.
  • Welding Leather Apron - £9 x 2 - There is a leather apron and gloves already, which spooq bought for metal-casting, so we can use those.
  • consider buying another pair of ear defenders and another pair of overalls
  • Total Target - £223

Extra things we may need / consumables

  • metal to weld. Please keep a lookout for some random bits of mild steel for people to practice with. Preferably not zinc plated due to toxic fumes when welded.
  • More grinding disc's for the angle grinder
  • Could we find some fire resistant fabric material to make a welding screen that hangs from the ceiling?
  • gas price comparison
    • small disposable - approximately 5 mins use for ~ £15
    • welduk refillable - approximately 3.5 hours use for ~ £40 + ~ £40 carriage + initial purchase of cylinder ~ £90
    • albee / air liquide - approximately 3.5 hours use for ~ £40 + initial purchase of cylinder ~ £100 if you can find a local supplier
    • Another similar alternative
    • rental from the bastards at BOC. Approx £70 per year bottle rental and £30 per Y-size (5000l, ~7 hours) refill
    • pub gas - needs a friendly landlord to divert a bottle of CO2. Cost unknown. Do NOT use Nitrogen/C02 mix. Note that C02 will give a dirtier weld than Argon/C02 mix but should be a lot cheaper for practice purposes
  • static masks for onlookers / trainees
  • bucket of sand - there is a "members" box full of clean silica sand around - check under the table near the 3-in-1 and do not use the red sand!
  • clamps etc. [1] [2] I have some of those clamps which I will drop into the space once I find them. I also have magnetic angle blocks, again they will need finding! --Nigle 21:13, 10 August 2010 (UTC)
  • Bits that wear out are the tips (make sure they're the right ones for the model of welder and the wire size being used) be careful not to cross thread them when fitting a new one, and the teflon wire liner (although that SHOULD last a good number of years!)


Running total: £540.01

Approximate target: £450

Paid: £470

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