Welding is an activity that exposes one to a lot of risks. The job involves the use of equipment that may cause harm to the user if not handled well. There are numerous safety measures that one should take so that they avoid accidents that might take place as they do the job. Most of the security measures include putting on the right safety clothes in different parts of the body that might be exposed to risk. These are some of the best protective materials that one should use as they carry out welding.
The Welding Jackets
Welding requires heavy clothing that will prevent the hot sparks that come as a result of the welding from reaching the body. These welding jackets have been manufactured using leather, and they prevent the hot sparks from reaching the body. Though they are ideal for carrying out welding, they are not the best that can be used in places with a warm climate.
The welding Bibs
This is another set of equipment that anyone who carries out welding should ensure they have. The welding bibs are used to ensure that the neck region is also safe. They can also be used to protect the shoulders and the chest as you carry out welding. They are also used to prevent any restrictions on the arms while welding. They achieve this by ensuring that the welder remains cool during the whole process.
The legs also need to be protected when carrying out welding because the heat can also affect them. The welding boots are specially made to safeguard the legs from the heat and ensure that the welder is safe from any accidents that might affect the legs. The boots are also made from a very strong material that protects the welder from any falling objects that might cause injury to the legs. One should ensure that they buy the boots that are steel toed for maximum safety.
This is another type of gear that is made from leather and used to protect the body and the arms. The aprons ensure that the arms can move easily during welding and the body also remains protected from the heat. One can decide to use the welding jackets or the welding aprons. The aprons are mainly preferred when one is doing light jobs while the jackets will be very useful when one is doing the heavy jobs that involve welding.
The main purpose of the gauntlets is to ensure that the arms stay safe during welding. Once you have bought the aprons or the jacket, you will still need to buy the gauntlets that protect the arms. They can also be attached to the welding gloves so that the forearm gets the best protection.
These are common safety measures that should take before they commence the welding process. Anyone who uses this equipment will be sure to stay away from any harm that might take place during welding. Anyone who is in need of the equipment should visit experts for advice on the best brands in the market.
Hand-held plasma cutters are among the most appreciated tools for constructions workers, auto repair services, home improvers, and other people who work with various kinds of metals. This type of cutting beats shears and saws since it offers precision, power, and doesn’t require any preheating.
When you read about plasma cutters, it seems as if there isn’t anything hard about operating a manual unit. It appears straightforward. In fact, it looks so simple, that you are tempted to drag it out the box and start using it immediately. However, there are a few things you might want to consider before you get into the process, otherwise, you might end up with some unfortunate consequences.
Read the Manual
Are you rolling your eyes now? Not all plasma cutters are created equal and unless you have vast experience in using many different plasma cutters, you need to spend at least 5 minutes reading the operating instructions. You’ll definitely find something you didn’t know before. Reading the manual can make a difference between a precise cut and a ruined material.
While there are automatic plasma cutters, sometimes you might be faced with one that requires you to adjust the settings manually. The air pressure should be set at about 60 psi. The most important setting is the voltage. Many people believe that using any tool on its highest setting will offer the best results. Such is not the case with plasma cutters. When you use the highest setting, you’ll get erratic and not precise cuts which might be a disaster for thin metals.
You need to check out the metal before making the setting. For example, steel needs more voltage than aluminum. The thicker the metal – the higher the setting. If you are dealing with rust, then you need to pump up the voltage in order to get through the rusty surfaces. If you are not sure what setting to use, go to step one. Most plasma cutters have a voltage to thickness chart in the manual. If you are planning to cut through very thick metals, you’ll need high voltage, so make sure that your outlet provides 220 volts.
Check the air supply and adjust the air flow and air pressure. You can find the air requirements in the owner’s manual. Don’t try to make any “average” settings. Each plasma cutter needs to be adjusted individually.
Check the Equipment
Even if you just purchased the plasma cutter, take 5 seconds to check if all is in order. Worn or incorrectly attached parts won’t just ruin your material, they can pose a danger to your health. Check the tip and the nozzle, as well as the electrodes. Worn electrodes can result in the arc blowing out of the side of the tip.
Pay attention to the power cord. Check if the power supply is sufficient for the work you are about to do. Some units are created to work with any power supply. Others need specific voltage.
Check the ground connection. Grounding is imperative to plasma cutters just as it is to the welding equipment.
Put the Safety Gear On
When using a plasma cutter, the safety can’t be over stressed. The protective outfit is similar to that of a welder. You need welding leathers, gloves, and goggles. Number 5 shade is the minimum requirement for eye protection when using the plasma cutter. But to be comfortable you should think about # 9 to 11. You might also want to consider getting a face shield or an auto darkening welding helmet. A helmet offers maximum protection while allowing you to see more clearly.
Don’t forget that plasma cutting is a rather loud process. If you are planning on a long cutting job, the attack on your ears will be uncomfortable. Consider earmuffs or earplugs.
Make a Sample Cut
Turn the machine on and make a sample cut. You should have a spare piece of metal you can practice on. A sample cut allows you to check your settings without ruining the metal you are planning to work on. If you’ve never used a cutter before, you should prepare a large piece to practice on. Stopping and continuing a long cut is never easy. Practice, practice, practice.
Go on to do your job. When you finish, turn the machine off, disconnect the ground clamp, and turn off the air supply.
When learning how to use a plasma cutter, there are a few techniques you want to study.
Dragging is the most common way to use the plasma torch. However, you can’t allow the tip to touch the metal, it will simply fuse. Depending on the type of your plasma cutter, you either keep the unit ¼ inch above the metal when cutting, which means you’ll lose some speed and precision. Or you can use drag cups. Drag cups are usually sold separately. Make sure to buy a couple since they are easily ruined. If you are not using a drag cup, operate the cutter at about 45-degree angle. This way the excess material will get blown away instead of coming at you. Meanwhile, you’ll be able to see the arc better.
If you need to remove the old welds then you can use a gouging tip. The gouging tip creates a hole which is about 3 times wider than a regular tip makes. The plasma arc created by such tip removes more material. The arc generated by a gouging tip can be 1 – 1.5 inches long. Plasma cutter gouging produces less smoke and noise than the carbon arc gouging while offering more control over the arc. When you are gouging, you need to maintain a 40- to 45-degree angle to the base material. Deep gouging on one pass is not recommended. Make a few passes if required.
Piercing is rather simple. All you have to is place the cutter at about a 40-degree angle to the metal. Activate the trigger. As soon as the unit generates an arc, bring the tip to a 90-degree angle.
Plasma Cutting Tips
1) When learning how to use a plasma cutter, you might want to take advantage of a few tips to make the process faster, easier, and more enjoyable
2) Match the tip to the amperage settings. Lower-amp tip has a smaller opening and maintains a narrower stream at a lower setting. A 40-amp tip used with an 80-amp setting will result in the opening distortion and reduce the life expectancy of the equipment
3) The faster the travel speed, the cleaner the cut will be. When you are dealing with a thicker metal, use the full output and vary the travel speed. When you are working with a thinner metal, reduce the amperage and use a lower-amp tip to sustain a narrow cut
4) The arc should exit the metal at a 15- to 20-degree angle opposite to the travel direction. If the arc is going straight down, you are working too slowly. If it sprays back, you are working too fast
5) When you are marking the metal for cuts, use a black marker or a piece of white chalk. These colors make it easier to distinguish the markings when cutting
6) If you are a beginner, always use a drag cup for the dragging technique
By following the above advice, you can learn how to use a plasma cutter in a matter of minutes. Don’t forget to read the manual and remember that the safety comes first. Good luck!
How to use a Plasma Cutter Video
You’re now well on your way to becoming a Plasma Cutting Guru. Click here to pick out a suitable machine that will get the job done. In our review process, we tried to make a selection that takes every different budget into account.
Most of the time we don’t think about how the construction tools work. They do their job and it seems more than enough. However, knowing the operation principle of various equipment can help you learn how to get the job done quicker and pay more attention to the safety.
Plasma cutters might seem like something from a sci-fi movie where futuristic tools are doing something close to magic. However, this equipment is actually rather old…some might even say, middle aged.
What is Plasma?
In order to get a better understand of how a plasma cutter works; let’s take a look at what plasma is.
There are four states of matte: solid, liquid, gas, and plasma. Plasma is the closest to gas than all other states. How do you change one state of the matter into the next? You heat it up. By heating up the solid matter, you turn it into liquid. Heating the liquid will turn it into gas. Heating up the gas will eventually turn it into plasma.
Plasma is a complicated state of matter. Heating forces the electrons to separate from the nucleus. Once they are released from the atom, electrons start moving very quickly. Since they are negatively charged, the electrons leave positively charged ions behind them. The collision of the fast electrons and ions leads to the release of great amounts of energy. This energy is what allows the plasma to cut through the metal.
Interesting note #1: Plasma is the most common state of matter in our universe. Interesting note #2: The biggest piece of plasma we know is the sun.
How Does a Plasma Cutter Work?
Now that you know what plasma is, it’s easy to understand how plasma cutters work.
The goal of the plasma cutter is to turn gas into plasma in order to use it for cutting.
Plasma cutters send pressurized gas (it can be nitrogen, argon, oxygen, etc.) through a small channel. In the middle of the channel, there is a negatively charged electrode. Once the plasma cutter is plugged in, it sends the power to the electrode. Then the plasma cutter touches the metal and this connection results in a circuit. A spark is generated. Meanwhile, the gas passes through the channel and meets the spark, which heats it up until the gas turns into plasma. Voila!
Two Types Of Plasma Cutters
In the modern world, there are two types of plasma cutters. The choice of a plasma cutter depends on the volume of work that needs to be performed and the skills of an operator.
Manual Plasma Cutters
Manual plasma cutters are the most popular cutters for individual use. Hand-held plasma torches are portable, maneuverable and versatile. These cutters use shop air as a gas and can work with several incoming voltages. They are good for using on thin metal, so they are popular at metal service centers and can be used for construction work, vehicle repair, and artwork. Their main use is trimming the excess material from various metal parts.
When choosing a manual plasma cutter, you have to consider the thickness of the material you are planning to cut and the cutting speed you can handle. Fast cutting speed = low precision. Manual devices often can be configured to suit the operator’s skill level. However, most plasma cutters have a high learning curve. The risk of an electric shock when using a manual cutter is rather high. That’s why safety precautions are vital.
Automatic (CNC) Plasma Cutters
CNC (computer numerically controlled) plasma cutters are easier to use since the computer controls the way a head moves. This allows the cutter to make precise cuts and eliminates the human error during the cutting process. An automatic cutter increases the output and decreases the time required to get the job done. Automatic cutters are large machines that require a substantial amount of space. They are usually used in large service shops or factories.
While there is no need to teach operators to wield the cutter, you need to teach them how to work with the software. Most of the time, the learning curve of a CNC plasma cutter is much smaller than of a manual cutter. Automatic cutters are more expensive and require an extra power supply, which is not always available. Meanwhile, they offer you a chance to improve the cutting quality and quantity as well as the complexity of the work.
While there isn’t anything complicated about a plasma cutter, it’s still one of the most interesting tools developed in the 20th century. By taking what they nature gave us, we managed to create a powerful machine that didn’t just simplify the U.S. aircraft manufacturing business, it perfected the approach to construction all over the world.
The first plasma cutters appeared in the middle of the 20th century during World War II, when the U.S. engineers needed a more sophisticated way to join aircraft spare parts. They used inert gasses fed through an electric arc to completely replace the standard welding process.
After WWII was over scientists continued to research the innovative welding way and found out that they could improve the process. They restricted the inert gas flow opening to the nozzle, which altered the electric gas arc particles. This substantially boosted the speed and the temperature of the gas. It turned out that the plasma technology didn’t just help join the metal together, it could cut it up with ease.
Further research was done with the type of gas, gas flow rate, size of nozzle, voltage current and etc. Many tests were run to improve the plasma torch or plasma cutter of the 20th century. However, there were downsides of plasma cutting, such as loud noise, toxic gas, certain levels of UV radiation, and short nozzle life.
In the 1970’s European scientists came up with an underwater plasma cutting. This eliminated many side effects, such as toxic smoke, UV radiation, and noise, but significantly affected the precision since the operators couldn’t precisely see and control what they were doing.
In the 1980’s low amp plasma cutter appeared on the market. This breakthrough technology used pure oxygen as a plasma gas. After an underwater muffler and various oxygen injection technologies were developed, the popularity of underwater plasma cutting went through the roof.
In the 1990’s, plasma cutters faced a worthy competitor. When a laser appeared on the market, it immediately became extremely popular due to the precision it offered. Plasma cutter manufacturers quickly came up with a few innovations in order not to lose their position on the market.
Over the past 20 years many new technologies have been developed to maintain the popularity of a plasma cutte. Since these cutters are not as expensive as the lasers, they are still widely used. Computer-controlled cutters and portable devices became a choice of many companies and homeowners.
Generally, welding helmets are made to protect the eyes and face from the ultraviolet rays, infra-red rays emitted by the welding arc and other particles flying off during welding. However, some hoods offer higher protection than others. When it is time to buy a welding helmet, choose a strongly made product that will not only offer you the required protection but will last longer and offer you maximum comfort. To enable you choose wisely, here are some factors that you should put into consideration.
Buy a helmet that meets the standards of ANSI Z87.1 – 2003
Welding helmet constructed in compliance with these standards is able to offer maximum protection to the eyes against the UV and infrared rays emitted by the welding arc regardless of the shade setting. High velocity impact from flying objects have no effect on such welding helmets.
Know the type of helmet you are buying
There are two types of lenses used in creating welding helmets today. They are the auto-darkening lens and standard glass lens also known as the passive lens. Before you order, it is necessary to know more about these lenses in order to know which one will serve you better. The standard or passive lens is more affordable but offers basic protection to the eyes. It comes with a UV- and IR-coated dark-tinted glass which provides a fixed shade. It has some imperfections that make usage difficult. For example, flipping up and down the lens can result in neck discomfort. Positioning the electrode while the helmet is put in place can be difficult resulting in low quality weld.
Auto darkening lens on the other hand does not have a fixed shade and thus, it makes up the imperfections of the passive welding lens. It normally has three or four shade when it is in inactive state. The welder can easily see through this level of shade. But it comes with a sensor which senses the arc immediately the welding is started. The lens darkens to shade 8 to 13 as soon as the arc is sensed. Given that the lens darkens by itself, there is no raising and lowering of the helmet, no more head snaps to bring down the helmet and other imperfections of the passive welding helmet.
Auto darkening helmet is available in two of types:
Fixed or variable shade which combines the power of the standard fixed lens and auto darkening lenses by darkening to a fixed 10 shade. This type of auto-darkening helmet is an option for you if you use the same welding process on similar materials with the same thickness.
Variable auto-darkening helmet lens is not limited to darkening to 10 shade when the arc is detected. It all depends on the shade you set. This type of helmet is an option for people that weld with different techniques such as TIG, MIG and Stick which require them to vary the arc’s brightness as well as the welding amperage.
Lens reaction time
Another point that you should consider when you are shopping for a welding helmet is the lens reaction time which refers to how long it takes the lens to darken when the arc is detected. This helps to reduce eyes fatigue and the effect of UV rays and infrared rays on your eyes. It is advisable that you go for a lens with high reaction time. The rating for basic lenses is 1/3,600 second but professional or industrial grade helmet has a lens reaction time of 1/20,000.
Make sure that the viewing size of the welding helmet you choose suits the type of welding you do. The typical viewing size for a light duty application is about 6 sq. while for industrial use is about 9 sq.
Number of sensors
The number of sensors a welding helmet has determines a certain extent the level of coverage it offers. If you are a do-it-yourself welder, a welding helmet with two sensors should be ok while a type with four sensors is suitable for industrial welding.
Adjustable sensitivity control
Normally auto darkening welding helmets of intermediate and professional grades have a feature that allows user to set the sensitivity of the lens. Buy a type that comes with this feature, especially if you are going to weld at a very low amperage, especially TIG when the brightness of the arc is lower when compared with other types of welding.
Adjustable delay control
With this feature, you’ll be able to set how long the lens remains darkened after the welding arc has been extinguished. If you are welding at a high amperage, you’ll require a longer delay time, as the molten metal may radiate dangerous rays until it cools.
Buy a welding helmet that is light on your head to reduce neck fatigue and enhance comfort.
There are some welding helmets that come with replaceable battery and solar support, and some that come with non-replaceable battery and a solar assist. The disadvantage of the last one is when the battery runs out during work, you have to stop work and recharge it under the sun. But this is not the case with the first one. You can replace the battery with another one when it runs out. Two types of batteries are AAA battery which has a lower run time and replacement cost and lithium battery which has a longer run time and high replacement cost.
So, looking for a welding helmet, take above points into consideration to make an informed decision.
In Italy, there is a proverb that goes, “A chi vuole, non mancano modi”. The translated version is one most of us know well, “Where there is a will, there is a way”.
Signore Bruno Ferrin, owner of Osteria ai Pioppi, had an idea for a restaurant, but his drive turned the location into so much more. Almost half a century later, a passion for welding converted an initial shack and a couple picnic tables into a tavern with indoor and outdoor seating, a beautiful restaurant, and an amusement park all around the premises and handcrafted by the owner himself.
The story begins in the late 1960s when Bruno Ferrin was in his early 30s. With his wife by his side, Ferrin built a shack in the Lombardy region of northern Italy. A few tables and seats were placed around the “premises” and Ferrin hung sausages from the trees. He also purchased two bottles of wine (one white and the other red). And thus, the restaurant was born.
A few people stumbled across his shack-style restaurant in the woods, and soon a few visitors became a few more, and the numbers continued to multiply. Wanting to hang more sausages, Ferrin visited the local welder to request the creation of 4 hooks. The welder, however, dismissed the job as too trivial for his time and pointed Ferrin in the direction of the welding machine with his blessing. Hours later, Ferrin went home with his hooks, a sore and red body, burning eyes and a growing passion. Slowly, he started welding more often.
The Amusement Park
The first creation that would ultimately contribute to the amusement park was a slide. Inspired by the nature all around him (the trees, leaves and birds) Ferrin soon began building some unique and eclectic rides. Now, 16 rides exist including antiaircraft (a canon purchased by Ferrin), a 3-lane water slide, the Vitruvian man (inspired by the famous Leonardo da Vinci drawing), cages (an attraction of cages that relies on body weight to function), and the pendulum (which is among the newest attractions, built in 2010).
While some of the rides are more recent (and others are purchased), most of the attractions are as old as the restaurant. To ensure customer safety, the attractions have all been certified by licensed engineers and undergo routine checks.
How did a shack snowball into a venue?
Due to the popularity of the location, Ferrin expanded his restaurant in 2004 to distinguish the Tavern (which boasts a lighter, budget-friendly menu) from the Restaurant (which has fixed menu selections).
Osteria ai Pioppi is now a family-run establishment. Ferrin’s daughters each play an essential role in the venue’s management and running of the kitchen and the hall.
Welding was the glue that made a vision come together.
Welding is a great skill to master with many positive rewards. In addition to the fact that no college degree is necessary to weld, the ways to use knowledge of welding are numerous. It can lead to a plethora of job opportunities including underwater construction, engineering, and building inspections, just to name a few.
For Ferrin, it was a spark that grew into a passion and helped him exceed his hopes of a restaurant where people can come together to relax, eat, and enjoy each other’s company.
Welding is the process by which heat is applied to soften two or more materials such as metals and thermoplastics; and pressure is applied to join them together. Over the years, different types of welding process have been developed. Here are the various welding processes used today.
Arc welding is a process in which electric current is passed between an electrode and the item being welded in order to form the welding arc. The process brings about the melting of the materials being welded making it possible for them to join together when they cool down. The arc welding which was invented in 1802 is the most common type of welding process today owing to its affordability and the fact that it embraces other popular welding types such as stick, MIG and TIG welding processes.
Arc welding is of two types, namely, consumable and non-consumable arc welding.
Forms of consumable arc welding
Stick welding is a manual welding technique in which a consumable electrode coated in flux is utilized in laying the weld is today considered an outdated process. Though stick welding is highly affordable but it does not produce solid weld. The weld produced through stick welding is not only porous but susceptible to element of weather. These imperfections make a stick weld to be less durable.
MIG which is an acronym for metal inert gas is a type of welding process in which two metal materials are joined together by the use of a wire connected to an electric current. An inert gas is used to shield the wire through which the welding stick passes through. MIG welding is very easy to use and requires lower degree of precision from the operator. But weld resulting from MIG which is mainly utilized in automotive, plumbing, robotics, construction and maritime industry is porous and dross.
Flux-cored arc welding makes use of a special tubular wire filled with flux is utilized. Unlike MIG welding techniques, it is the type of filler that is used here which will determine whether the shielding gas will be used or not. Flux-cored arc welding abbreviated as FCAW is also easy to learn, versatile and affordable. But it does not produce a visually appealing weld like other types of welding techniques.
Submerged arc welding
Submerged arc welding normally shortened as SAW is a welding type done underneath a blanket of granular fusible flux comprising lime, calcium fluoride, silica, manganese oxide and other compounds. The flux is able to act as a channel through which electric current is passed between the electrode and the welding material. In this method, the welder is not exposed to UV and infrared radiation. It does not require much preparation. It is quick and does not give much emission and fumes.
Non-consumable arc welding
TIG is acronym for Tungsten Inert Gas provides pure and high quality weld using a non-consumable tungsten electrode and inert gas. In this type of arc welding, the welding arc for melting a metal wire is created by the passage of electric current via a tungen electrode.
Electroslag welding is a type of non-consumable arc welding utilized in joining large, thick and nonferrous materials which are normally vertically positioned. Here an electric arc struck by wire and flux are fed into the welding puddle until the slag gets to the electrode to end the arc. It is widely used in the maritime and aerospace industries but it requires high level of expertise.
Atomic Hydrogen Welding shortened as AHW is a type of welding in which two metal tungsten electrodes are placed in an atmosphere of hydrogen and this results in the breaking up and recombining of hydrogen molecules in an explosion of heat that can rise above 3000 degree Celcius in temperature.
Carbon Arc Welding (CAW) which is hardly utilized today is the first arc welding process to be invented. It uses non-consumable carbon electrode to heat metals up to 3000 degree Celsius in order to melt them.
Electrogas welding is non-consumable arc welding that resembles electroslag welding except that the arc is struck continuously and is never extinguished throughout the process. It is mainly utilized in the construction of storage tank and ships.
Gas welding is a type of welding technique that is also referred to as oxyfuel or oxyacetylene welding. In this welding process, the temperature of the flame of the welding torch is increased to up to 3500 degrees Celsius by combining fuel gases and pure oxygen.
Resistance welding is a welding technique in which force is applied to the adjacent surfaces before electric current is passed close and upon the surfaces to generate high heat. Resistance welding has different variations.
Energy Beam Welding (EBW) is done in a complete vacuum a beam of high-velocity electrons are fired at the welding materials.
Other types of arc welding are:
Gas tungsten arc welding
Shielded-metal arc welding
Solid-state welding does not make use of any filler material rather high temperatures that are below the melting point of the materials to be welded are used for the welding. Solid-state welding is available in a number of types which include ultrasonic welding, friction welding, cold welding, explosion welding, magnetic pulse welding, high frequency welding, diffusion bonding, exothermic welding, roll welding, induction welding and hot pressure welding.