Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

MIG welding safety

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • MIG welding safety

    Over the long weekend I purchased a MIG welder, for some future projects I plan on doing. I have never welded before, so before I flip the on switch, I wanted to thoroughly read up on safe practices.

    I have ready several of the safety pamphlets published by the big 3 manufactures, as well as the safety chapters of some books I checked out of the local university library.

    One area I have found lacking in every text was the section on not electrocuting yourself.

    For example one of the pamphlets, listed the following as general electrical safety guidelines.

    • Insulate welder from workpiece and ground using dry insulation. Rubber mat or dry wood.
    • Wear dry, hole-free gloves. (Change as necessary to keep dry.)
    • Do not touch electrically “hot” parts or electrode with bare skin or wet clothing.
    • If wet area and welder cannot be insulated from workpiece with dry insulation, use a semiautomatic, constant-voltage welder or stick welder with voltage reducing device.
    • Keep electrode holder and cable insulation in good condition. Do not use if insulation damaged or missing.

    One video I found on setting up a welder showed a guy welding a corner joint in a short sleeve shirt with no gloves. To top it of he was holding the vertical piece in place by pinching it between his fingers with the ground clamp about 3 inches from his hand. Ok I’m a newbie, but this seems more like a demonstration of what not to do.

    Can anyone recommend any good books on the subject of arc/MIG/TIG welding safety?
    -Dan S.
    dans-hobbies.com

  • #2
    The voltages associated with MIG and stick are fairly low. No need to worry about electrocution. Consider that the resistance of your skin is somewhere in the range of 1000 ohms vs the resistance of the work piece. As long as the ground clamp is near the weld area, the current is going to flow to the ground clamp, not through your body, since that is the path of least resistance. You will find that you often need to hold a delicate part without a glove while tacking - no need to worry you wont feel a thing.

    The only time i've ever been shocked by a MIG welder was when i let the ground clamp stray too far away, the insulator between the gas cup and electrode had gone bad and i was wearing no gloves. I had my fingers holding the gas cup and my pinky trailing along the work piece and then you feel a little shock when you pull the trigger before the arc is established with the work piece.

    Comment


    • #3
      I shouldn't tell you this but in the summer when I use my mickey wire machine, I almost always just have on a T shirt and often no gloves. However...with my heavy flux core job...I wear a shirt with sleeves and plain work gloves...I is too poor for that fancy weldin stuff . But when the welding goes overhead I throw on the good gloves and the leather half jacket.
      I get a kick out of some of the new guys who come out on jobs...they have the full leather jacket, new Carrhart bibs,...leather chaps...funny lookin leather bootie covers, the tinfoil glove protection unit...they have it all. The old guys wear company issue coveralls.
      After you've been at it awhile you learn to avoid most of the fire and brimstone.
      Actually it's mostly common sense like dealing with any other electrical equipment. Fire (even your coveralls catching on fire) is prolly the greatest danger. Always lookout for fire and if there's any doubt...sit for awhile and do your own firewatch. I do this sometimes if I've been throwing too much fire around my shop. Sit for a half hour to see if anything may start smoking.
      Russ
      I have tools I don't even know I own...

      Comment


      • #4
        Dan,
        There are virtually no books on welding safety, as the single topic.

        The main reason, is that the OCV (Open Circuit Voltage) on most welders is too low to cause a problem. (Unless you insert a grounded nail in one hand, and jamb an electrode in the other hand.)

        I have been welding since 1967, never been shocked by a MIG or stick. The exception is the high frequency start on a TIG machine, when you forget to attach the ground to the part, and have your elbow on the table that IS connected to the ground cable. Straighten you right up.

        I strongly suggest you sign up at the local community college for a welding class. Should be starting up after Ney Year. A MIG is very easy to use, IF it's setup correctly. Can be a PITA learning how to get that bacon to sizzle. But, once you get the hang of it, you should be comfortable changing all the settings, just to see what happens. (Knowing you can go back to the one that worked.)

        Dave

        Comment


        • #5
          There's a number of videos on YouTube.com/ that demo tig welding. Some are teasers to get you to buy them, others are projects, etc.

          http://youtube.com/results?search_qu...&search=Search

          There's so many websites with hints, tips, and training that I didn't even bother to bookmark them - just google tig mig welding howto and they'll turn up.

          Comment


          • #6
            I think most of that stuff is CYA,I've been burning rod for years and never got bit more than just a tingle from a welder.Now a plasma arc that can have up to 380vdc OC,is another story,I did get bit once,but even that wasn't bad.

            Of course you want a really good filter lense,the ones that come with the machines aren't that good from what I have seen.And it is a good idea to cover up if you intend to do a lot of welding to protect from flashburns(bad suntan).
            I just need one more tool,just one!

            Comment


            • #7
              No need to insulate. The machines output is isolated internally from the machines case and mains. Gloves without holes simply because you dont want a spark to find a hole. And it WILL find the one hole there is!

              You can touch anything you want on the machine. I do all day. Now if you were running AC outside in the rain I would be starting to worry.

              Dont know what wire came with it but if it came with innershield flux core wire you need to take the spool outside and chuck it as far as you can. Innershield under about .045 and maybe even 1/16" is totally garbage. The only time to use that stuff is outside when you cant set up a wind block to keep the gas on the weld.

              Comment


              • #8
                Dont know what wire came with it but if it came with innershield flux core wire you need to take the spool outside and chuck it as far as you can. Innershield under about .045 and maybe even 1/16" is totally garbage. The only time to use that stuff is outside when you cant set up a wind block to keep the gas on the weld.
                Perhaps you need more practice?

                Flux core .030 with my Miller on heavy material.



                Thinwall tubing, same machine and wire.

                Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by torker
                  Fire (even your coveralls catching on fire) is prolly the greatest danger. Always lookout for fire and if there's any doubt...sit for awhile and do your own firewatch. I do this sometimes if I've been throwing too much fire around my shop. Sit for a half hour to see if anything may start smoking.
                  Russ
                  This is my single biggest worry. It's the principle reason I split my woodworking from my metal working shop. It's also the big reason I have nothing on the floor but machine legs so I can keep it clean and reduce the chance for a fire to get started. No cardboard boxes under benches and it only takes a moment to sweep up. There is no place for fire to get started in my shop. As a former TV news photographer I know that this crap happens to people just exactly like you and I.

                  Originally posted by mechanicalmagic
                  A MIG is very easy to use, IF it's setup correctly. Can be a PITA learning how to get that bacon to sizzle. But, once you get the hang of it, you should be comfortable changing all the settings, just to see what happens. (Knowing you can go back to the one that worked.)

                  Dave
                  I've had to take notes on my settings at home as I'm self-taught (no former training) When I hit on a combo that works I write it down on my own chart so I don't have to reinvent the wheel every time.

                  Originally posted by macona
                  Dont know what wire came with it but if it came with innershield flux core wire you need to take the spool outside and chuck it as far as you can. Innershield under about .045 and maybe even 1/16" is totally garbage. The only time to use that stuff is outside when you cant set up a wind block to keep the gas on the weld.
                  Someone here told me once I tried gas I'd never go back and they were right. My welds look better with gas when indoors.
                  Last edited by Your Old Dog; 11-27-2007, 06:37 AM.
                  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                  Thank you to our families of soldiers, many of whom have given so much more then the rest of us for the Freedom we enjoy.

                  It is true, there is nothing free about freedom, don't be so quick to give it away.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    You always need to cover your skin when welding. The rays coming off the acre are way more intense than UV rays from the sun and will cause skin cancer. You don’t need to ware leathers, but the fabric needs to be heavy enough to block the rays.



                    http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?t=21893

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      After welding with Acetylene & stick for a long time I finally switched to MIG about a year ago. From a safety standpoint, here are some thoughts based on my experiences:
                      - weld only in a non combustible area and be sure to have a fire extinguisher handy, located near the shop door - never used mine... but it's an insurance policy.
                      - buy some relatively cheap weld blankets (ebay) to cover equipment or stuff that you don't want to get burned - really handy
                      - in a warm environment when you want to shed clothes - don't - you'll get a serious burn. I purchased a pair of welding sleeves this summer and they work great, I mostly use them on my left arm since it takes most of the flash directly. For a while I used a pair of cut off sweat shirt sleeves, but they got too hot. You can certainly use any cut off shirt sleeve, but the elastic bands on the welding sleeves hold better and I think they are a bit more fire resistant.
                      - get some heavy gloves and don't be afraid to hold the work with them, and you can often hold the work really close to the arc for a brief tack-up. I frequently use only one glove on the left hand to hold the work or steady my left hand - for tack-ups or small jobs. You can even get by with relatively thin leather work gloves for brief periods, depending on how hot things get.
                      - Be careful to handle the bottled gas and regulators properly, read the precautions that come with the machine.
                      - if you don't already have one, you MUST buy an electronic hood - the only way to go. Don't skimp, get a name brand that is adjustable so you can set the shield to fit your eyes and type of work (I bought a Jackson NexGen). If you have trouble seeing the puddle, then get a magnifying lens to insert behind the shield, it really helps with the bifocals.
                      - practice welding by building shop equipment - welding table, gas racks, etc. A solid welding table (see the Miller website for designs) is a must. I built one using 1/2" plate and put in on locking wheels so I could roll it around the shop.
                      - keep all small critters, including kids, out of the shop when welding - no exceptions - the flash, hot beads, and critters do not mix well.

                      Overall MIG welding is easy and safe - sometimes deceptively. The only "issues" I've had is getting a bit too casual by wearing open toe flip/flops (I learned how to do the MIG dance) and got a really nifty sun burn on my left arm - and I knew better (i.e. the reason I bought the sleeves).

                      Hope this helps.
                      Bob J

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Fasttrack
                        The voltages associated with MIG and stick are fairly low. No need to worry about electrocution.
                        You can actually hold a MIG or TIG electrode against your skin, and it just stings a little I sometimes use the foot-pedal for post-flow to cool-down the TIG cup so I can pull the electrode, and once in awhile I'll forget to let off the pedal before I start to unscrew the electrode holder

                        Like others have said, I only wear a heavy shirt when I'm stick welding, MIG and especially TIG don't splatter, especially if you're not using flux-core wire.

                        For TIG, it really helps to have thin TIG gloves, or leather trucker's gloves, to handle the torch and the filler rod. If I'm running long TIG beads, I find that my right hand and forearm start getting hot, so sometimes I'll wear a Kevlar heat sleeve on my right forearm tucked into my TIG glove, just for comfort.

                        The MIG/TIG sunburn issues may sound hokie, but they're real -- I had a hole in my long-sleeve shirt last weekend, and I got a nice TIG suntan in the shape of the hole on my left arm.

                        Auto-darkening helmets are nice for tack-welding, especially on MIG, but I've used a fixed shade helmet on TIG and didn't really feel like I was missing my auto-darkening helmet.

                        Oh, and wear boots. Getting a hot-foot from weld splatter falling on your sneakers isn't fun
                        "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          And make sure your pant cuffs are OVER your boots! Guess how I found out mine wasnt this weekend!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I generally weld wearing a realatively inexpensive heavy cotton denim shirt. The kind you see anywhere they sell work cloths. Just make sure whatever you wear is fire resistant, I prefer pure cotton unless I'm welding over-head, then I prefer a full set of leathers. Since I don't own a full set of leathers, I have been known to hide under a welding blanket, particularly if on my back under a vehicle...
                            Russ
                            Master Floor Sweeper

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Evan
                              Perhaps you need more practice?

                              Flux core .030 with my Miller on heavy material.

                              Evan - are you using spatter spray or other method to minimize spatter? My system sputters incredibly with flux core.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X