What if an autodarkening helmet fails?

A usenet reader recently asked if he would be endangered if his autodarkening helmet failed. What would happen if the helmet didn't darken when the arc is started?

Well, first, it's not going to be the most comfortable thing to be exposed to live arc with the naked eye, but it is doubtful that happens.

The automatic shutter controls brightness, not the ultraviolet. Much of the UV screening for an autodarkening helmet is from the glass itself. When it darkens, that's to help a welder see better as much as it is to protect his eyes. Most helmets will fall dark when broken. The light filter offers some protection, as well. A quick glimpse of the arc is less trouble than a bare sight of the arc. Auto darkening filters are mechanically a bit stronger than the plain glass ones.

Ultimately, any autodarkening lens that meets the ANSI Z87.1-1989 standard--and most do--is the equivalent to a #14 filter for UV and Infrared even when it is off so you get dazzled but nothing more.


DELMIA Arc Welding enables the creation of robot arc welding process simulation

More good stuff on automated tig welding, this time from Dassault Systemes. This basically means that designers can use 3D to plan and create arc welding robot programs while keeping hardware in production and in general not wasting time.

From their website...

DELMIA Arc Welding eliminates on-line production arc welding robot programming. Arc Welding allows the creation of arc welding trajectories and tasks in an offline environment and perform arc welding process optimization. This allows the user to plan and create arc welding programs while keeping hardware in production and minimizes mistakes and rework in arc welding robot cell development.

Seamless integration with Delmia's robot task definition allows users to create arc welding process specific task generation for development of a complete robot arc welding simulation with synchronization of all resources. The highly productive and intuitive simulation environment provides the tools required to fulfill robot arc welding simulation needs.


Orbimatic rolls out lightweight fusion tubesheet welding head

I love the automated welding process stuff. Here's news from across the Atlantic.

Orbimatic Limited has released what the company describes as an innovation in the new P24 tubesheet welding head, an automatic TIG welding head designed for tube to tubesheet welding. It's used in high production environments where a fusion weld is suitable. Here's how it works: The weld head clamps directly to the tube to be welded via an expanding mandrel, which is operated by a simple mechanical clamping system. As the clamping mechanism clamps directly inside the tube being welded the head is automatically aligned concentrically.

The P24 is a fusion only Tube to Tube Sheet welding head which provides a cost effective solution for standard applications where a additional wire feed is not required. The P24 has a mechanical internal clamping system which locates the weld head on the tube to be welded which also provides concentric location. The welding cycle then runs from the press of a single button which is located conveniently on the weld head body. And as the weld head weighs only 1.4kg it is simple to use and move between welded joints.

The welding zone is fully enclosed during the welding cycle, which enables it to be used for highly reactive materials such as titanium. The base of the enclosure acts as a distance keep for the welding arc and eliminates the possibility of the tungsten coming to contact with the material being welded.

The P24 will accommodate tube diameters from 10mm to 26mm and has further flexibility, as it is possible to adjust the angle of the tungsten electrode. It can be used with any Orbimatic orbital welding power supply, which gives the world’s most advanced fusion tube to tube sheet welding system.

Check out the PDF brochure they have up on it here. See Orbimatic's UK homepage here.


Wisconsin machiner receives $40,000 state grant

Fitchburg, Wis. - Jenkins Research and Manufacturing Corp. will receive $40,000 in state Technology Zone tax credits to expand its business, creating two jobs and retaining 25 more, Gov. Jim Doyle announced Tuesday.

Jenkins Research and Manufacturing Corp specializes in custom machining, welding, and fabrication of parts for the medical devices industry. They're investing nearly $400,000 to purchase equipment and increase production demands.

If you operate a machining, welding, or fabrication, there are times it's a great deal to get state or local seed money this way. Lots of states provide business assistance in training, consultation, or quality management as well -- typically for free.


New precision welding facility being constructed in Fort Wayne, Indiana

Precision welding company Microtech Welding Corporation announced that it has broken ground on a new, 7,500 square-foot facility near Fort Wayne, Indiana, according to the Fort Wayne Journal Gazzette. The company performs precision microscopic and laser welding. In the Journal Gazette report, Robert Christman, Microtech’s president, described the new building as “an exciting next step in this company’s growth.” The welding company, which employs seven at its current location, serves customers that include the biomedical manufacturing industry.

No word on how many new jobs the expansion will result in. Precision welding is a skill some of you might be interested in looking into. If you're in the area, check it out. I can't find a URL for the company, but I would imagine that they would be easy enough to look up if you're in Indiana.


More welding safety options...

Really, it can be inexpensive to make your welding operation safer, whether or not you're a home hobbyist, running a fabrication shop, doing outdoor pipe welding, or in an auto body shop. Some of them are the simple things -- common sense stuff you'll find in the welding safety area. Others are things you can easily buy, wear, or install around your welding area.

Screens can filter harmful light and eliminate the risks of flying sparks. I like Goff's curtain wall screens, myself.

In September 2001, ­ The American Welding Society published safety standards including Lens Shade Selector, Specification for Use and Performance of Transparent Welding Curtains and Screens, and Ventilation Guide for Weld Fume. That is available for a nominal fee from the AWS website, so you might want to check it out before you purchase.

These ANSI-approved documents are for welding professionals to let us know about risks and hazards (and safety measures) for the welding workplace. Its lens shade chart uses electrode sizes, arc currents and more to prescribe comfort lens shades for welding and cutting processes. The specification for welding curtains and screens suggests safety equipment for outside viewing of the welding floor. The weld fume guide recommends ventilation systems to control welding fumes and cut energy costs in different weld shops.


Leather Welding Clothing & Safety

The two types of materials most commonly used in welder protective apparel are chrome tanned leather and specially treated flame-resistant cotton. Today, let's focus on leather protective apparel for welders. Leather overgarments and gloves are best at resisting heat and sparks. Chrome-tanned leather works better than leather tanned by other methods.

Note: Photo from www.northerntool.com.

Leather is durable and will last several years if dry cleaned regularly after the garment becomes noticeably stiffened from accumulated dirt and grime. It's also heavy and hot, making working in it more difficult -- if safer -- than cotton clothing, even treated cotton.

Chrome-tanned leather, invented in 1858, is tanned using chromium sulfate and other salts of chromium. It is more supple and stretchier than vegetable-tanned leather, and does not discolor or lose shape as drastically in water as vegetable-tanned. Protective clothing should not be considered as a replacement for engineering control methods Since the clothing is the last line of defense for skin protection, care must be taken to ensure it provides the protection expected.

What can you wear in terms of protective leather welding clothing?

Gloves: Chrome tanned gloves tend to be supple and soft, allowing easy finger movement while resisting heat, sparks, slags, and cuts. Get a good pair. The last thing to skimp on is gloves. Your hands have to be able to move well, but also have to be protected. Gloves should be flexible as well as protecting you from heat.

Jackets & coveralls: leather welding jackets are heavy things, but if something goes wrong, you'll be happy you wore it. For heavy-duty protection there isn't much that's better for your torso and stomach. Look for larger, Kevlar stitches, heavy rivets, and plenty of versatile pockets. Should have closable snaps at sleeves, collars. The downside? A typical leather jacket weighs 6 pounds, which feels a hell of a lot heavier when you're welding.

Aprons: Can supplement your other clothing.

Spats: protect your boot tops by protecting them from sparks and slag.

Bib screens are great because they attach to the back of hard hats to shield your hair. Since sparks can fly up to thirty feet, you need to be aware that welding going on behind you can be as dangerous to you as welding you're doing on your own. Hoods cover your entire head.


Mazak to demonstrate live laser cutting at Fabtech 2005

Hey there,

If you're going to the Fabtech 2005 show in November, here's something you might want to check out: Mazak Optronics is rolling out its Mazak FG Cad/Cam software in live presentations . They're calling it a real time software theater. FG CAD/CAM is used for multi-axis fabrication on Mazak's FabriGear and Space Gear lasers. If you're really into high end fabrication, you can control the cuts and save the ones you use most often, or even create NC programs on a computer and increase laser efficiency. The software can perform cutting simulations on the PC, so pre-cut interference checks can be run without tying the laser up.

Really cool: you'll be able program a pipe part then see it cut right there on a 3D rotary laser. The company will be at Booth #11024. Check Mazak's website for details.

Fabtech International & AWS Welding Show combined into the largest event in the world for metal forming, fabricating, tube, pipe, and welding equipment and technology. You have to catch it at McCormick Place South in Chicago, November 13-16, 2005.


New P450 Automatic Welding Machine Promises Increased Productivity

CRC-Evans Automatic Welding is making noise on the rollout its new P450 Automatic Welding Machine.

According to the company, The P450 gives higher productivity on projects previously limited to standard welding machines. Such projects include those less than 50 km, with the necessity of supporting both GMAW and Pulsed-GMAW, and diameters less than 16 inches, CRA, and other exotic materials, and with the flexibility of handling both 2G and 5G welding.

Higher levels of productivity can be had because CRC-Evans designed the P450 with tandem welding capabilities – an innovation in which two welding wires are fed through a single head to increase deposition rates and welding speeds.

For details, see the CRC-Evans Automatic Welding Site.


Diamond Ground Products offers free guidebook, "How to correctly grind, cut & prepare tungsten welding electrodes"

When welding companies release a nice guide or other item, I'm all over it. If you see one, contact us and we'll throw it online. Kudos to Diamond Ground for doing this.

Diamond Ground Products, Inc. has a nice freebie on its site you might want to get a look at: a Guide to selecting and prepping one of the most frequently overlooked pieces of the welding process: The Electrode.

You can spend big bucks on the right welding equipment, torches, power units and other stuf, but if you don't select and prepare your electrodes correctly, this less expensive process component can sabotage your welding results -- you'll have quality and consistency issues. According to Diamond Ground, this guide will help eliminate this variable as a concern in your welding and make it an asset.

The guidebook helps you select the most appropriate tungsten material and emphasizes the importance of a correctly prepared, ground and cut tungsten electrode. Other stuff includes safety issues surrounding the use of Thoriated Tungsten, and alternatives to this common yet radioactive tungsten material.

See Diamond Ground's Downloads Area for more information, or open the PDF file directly by clicking here: Tungsten Electrodes for Arc Welding.


How to deal with sticky weld slag on 7018 or 7014...

I'm going to start highlighting discussions from Google's welding discussion group once in a while. If you're a welder and you aren't involved in it, I'd suggest at least reading it. There is tons to learn. I lurk, myself. This topic was a good discussion: "Really, really sticky slag on 7018 or 7014?"

This question was posed: "Is it generally true that when slag adheres MUCH more tightly than usual on 7018 or even 7014 that your amps are too high?" Answers included:

  • "It means your amps are too low."
  • "... it can happen with either to low or to much current. What makes slag stick is to have crevices. If you run to much current there will be undercut for slag to enter. If you run too little then there will be a crevice each side of the weld--and a place for slag to stick. A smooth flowing weld on each side without under cut helps prevent the slag. The main instance that I have trouble getting rid of 7018 slag is when welding in a deep groove that doesn't have enough slope on each side. This traps the slag making it nearly impossible to get out without anair chisel. "
  • "A highly crowned bead in a groove creates problems. The solution in that case is to make flat beads. Be motivated on this because you can't chip and scrape alongside your bead enough to prevent problems with the next weld."
  • "I've had more problems with slag sticking with low amps than high amps."
  • "As soon as I slowed down and let the puddle fill, the slag sticking problem vanished."
Consensus seems to be that low amperage and undercut are the problems with nasty, sticky slag. Will follow this one as it progresses.


Hold your hand over your heart and remember 2001. It's still a fresh wound for many of us. I can't think of the firemen who entered the North tower, their chaplain giving them last rites even as they did, without shedding a tear. There was one more they might save, so they went. Same with the passengers of flight 193 who decided it would be better to die fighting the bastards (and saving a bunch of lives on the ground) than it would be to die in their seats. Heroes, all of them.

The lives lost are still with us. Here's to all of you. You deserved better.


Killer welding helmets

Sometimes, you gotta marvel at the creativity guys put into their helmets. I've seen crudely hand-painted hoods, helmets with stickers, and a ton of other innovative stuff. I've also seen stick in the mud employers who don't allow any customization.

I've seen a billion variations of flames, skulls, flags, sports teams, fake scars & bandages, even people and cartoon characters. One of the cooler ones I've seen of late is a combination American flag/flames helmet at www.helmetguy.com. He also does hats, construction helmets, and other stuff you might like.


Custom Roadster Debut Kicks Off Miller's Dream Weldshop Sweepstakes - Make Sure you get entered...

Custom Roadster Debut Kicks Off Miller's Dream Weldshop Sweepstakes. I'm taking this from PRNewswire via Yahoo, so go there for details.

The press release reads: "As much art as machine, Miller Electric Mfg. Co.'s custom high-powered '29 Roadster, which premiered last month at the 36th Annual Street Rod Nationals, was the subject of this week's TLC's RIDES program. The Miller Roadster's debut coincides with the announcement of Miller's Dream Weldshop sweepstakes, a celebration of the do- it-yourself welder."

The sweepstakes winner receives a welding and cutting package that includes the same models of Miller equipment used to create the hot rod, plus two hours of individual instruction from a Miller expert, a heavy duty welding table, auto darkening helmet and numerous other prizes. The Dream Weldshop package is valued at more than $12,000.

The Dream Weldshop sweepstakes runs from September 1 to November 30. Entry and contest information can be found on Miller's Website at http://www.MillerWelds.com .


Welders still in demand...

Monotech/PSP Industries is expanding its operations in this Northeast Mississippi county. The expansion is expected to create 100 new jobs according to a Mississipi Business Journal report. General manager Greg Venatta said that the jobs would service a TVA account.

Most of the new positions are welders and fitters. Monotech/PSP said it is committed to hiring Gulf Coast evacuees, and those with welding or fitting experience are welcome to apply.

Monotech/PSP currently employs 200 workers in approximately 400,000 square feet of industrial buildings near Yellow Creek Port north of Iuka.

This is a good thing for some people who can definitely use a break. I don't have a web link to the company's site, but if you're in the area, and you're interested, youcan apply for employment with the company at its location on Mississippi Highway 25 North at County Road 342 or at the local employment office.


So, you want to be an underwater welder?

I'm always amazed by people who can do the job. Diving is hard enough. Welding (skilled welding, that is), is hard enough. Combine them, and you have a mixture not quite like chocolate and peanut butter.

Yet, the need is undeniable and the pay is reportedly sensational. Given all the work to Gulf coast infrastructure that will have to be done over the next few years, I'll bet that employment opportunities are plentiful. So how do you get started? There are good schools and commercial diving institutions, which you can get a list of at Trade-schools.net. Another good source can be
the list of U.S. commercial diving schools accredited by the Association of Commercial Diving Educators can be obtained by contacting the Association of Diving Contractor, 2611 FM 1960 W., Suite F204, Houston, TX 77068; (713) 893-8388; FAX (713) 893-5118.

The American Welding Society has a good article here, which I'll summarize for you:

"By description, an experienced welder-diver must possess: commercial diving skills (i.e., be familiar with the use of specialized commercial diving equipment, have an understanding of diving physiology, diving safety, rigging, the underwater environment, communication, etc.); weld setup and preparation skills (i.e., the ability to perform tasks typically assigned to a fitter or rigger, such as materials alignment and materials preparation including beveling, stripping of concrete, fitting a steel patch or repair plate, etc.,); and the ability to certify to a required underwater weld procedure."

There aren't any age requirements for commercial diver welders, but it's a tough physical job. You'll want to check yourself out physically to even train it.

They go on to say, "Before performing on-the-job underwater welding, most diving contractors will require that you achieve sufficient skill in wet and/or dry underwater welding to pass qualification tests and be certified in accordance with the requirements of ANSI/AWS D3.6, Specification for Underwater Welding."


More welding companies rush to build generators

Taking this directly off PRWire, but if it helps anyone, I hope they'll forgive me...

Miller Electric Mfg. Co. today announced that it is shipping additional emergency power generators to theGulf Coast region. This action is in response to the increased demand. They will be available at local welding supply stores, a source many consumers overlookwhen shopping for generators. To find a store with welding generators, call 800-426-4553 or visit http://MillerWelds.com.

Like common stand-alone generators, welding generators are powered bysmall gasoline engines and have regular 115V and 230V electrical outlets. Usedby contractors, farmers/ranchers, maintenance personnel, homeowners andmetalworking artists for welding, they also provide 4,500 to 10,000 watts ofpower for running tools, lights and appliances. Prices are comparable to, orless than, regular generators of similar quality and power.


Manufacturers cranking out generators

In Minnesota, Coleman Powermate is cranking out generators as quickly as it can in the wake of the Gulf Coast devastation. One of the things most desperately needed there is the kind of generators that welding processes use. Coleman is going to longer shifts and adding workers to help bring temporary power to victims and rescue workers.

If you're in Springfield, MN or the surrounding area, and you're looking for work, you could do worse than to help them out. They're adding welders assemblers, metal fabricators and others to meet the demand. They are running 22 hours a day to attempt to double generator production. Every truckload is heading South to help, according to the company.

They build 5,000 and 6,000-watt generators -- enough to run household appliances, emergency lights, and other needs. Their generators page can be found at http://www.colemanpowermate.com/powerstation/