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avoiding electrocution with a stick welder advice needed

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  • avoiding electrocution with a stick welder advice needed

    I'd like to make some clamps for my screwless vise and I need to use the stick welder I got about 10yrs ago and only used once. Never had any instruction except the 5 min the farmer I bought it from took to tell me about welding.

    The time I used it the pieces were laying on top of each other so I didn't have to touch anything and I kept as far away as possible from everything. It worked and the pieces held but I was so uncomfortable using the welder I just found some other way since.

    I need to weld 2 pieces of cold rolled steel 1/4" x 1 1/2" into a 90 degree angle. I plan to make them long and cut to size.
    and don't have any kind of jig to hold the pieces together. I'd prefer not to have to hold anything with my hand even though I have seen welders do that on youtube.

    Could I push one piece against the other with a brick and tack it? Then would it hold enough to let me finish? Any suggestions on where to place the ground clamp?

    The welder is a Craftsman dual range 230 amp welder
    The rods that came with the welder are 6011, 6013, 7018 and 8018
    I have read 6011 is an easy rod to use would one of the other be better?

    Sorry for all the newb welding questions but I'd rather look dumb here than make a shocking discovery that could be my last.

    Thanks, Jim Doherty

  • #2
    Sure, a brick will hold things fine. Put the ground clamp anywhere it will hold on long enough to get things tacked. Wear dry gloves and you can touch anything anywhere and not be worried about being shocked, you are more likely to be burned than shocked.

    Stick welders typically run around 24 volts, so as I say if you are wearing gloves getting shocked is not an issue unless things are wet. If you have a piece of plate, or metal topped table put the items to be welded on this, and put the ground clamp on the plate. Use the brick to hold the one piece against the other and in position. Tack away and good luck.

    rollin'

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    • #3
      Your not going to get shocked while welding unless you grab the electrode and the work piece with the ground clamped to it. If you hold the handle that holds the welding rod you are safe. It's not a good idea to stand in a puddle of water to weld either. The only time I have been shocked is when I have accidentally touched the electrode and the ground at the same time.

      By the way, the open voltage can be as high as 70 volts on some welders.

      Now, when you weld the two pieces together at an angle they will warp and not be at 90 deg and they will vary along the length of them. Contrary to what some believe, metal does warp when you weld it.

      Even if you have a jig to hold the two pieces at 90 deg the welding action will draw the metal and when you remove the jig the metal will go where it wants.

      If you want some angle iron just buy some angle iron.
      It's only ink and paper

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      • #4
        hah.... Since I am taking a class now, I can actually comment intelligently about stick welding......

        Anyhow, I've held one piece with pliers if someone else had the last clamp, no problem. If you are nervous, strike on the other piece and the arc will draw the voltage down to where no problems can occur. As soon as you have any bead on the joint, even a small tack, the parts are shorted together.

        it will for-sure warp, the hot weld metal contracts after it solidifies, and will pull the angle out of 90 deg.
        2730

        Keep eye on ball.
        Hashim Khan

        Everything not impossible is compulsory

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by rollin45
          Stick welders typically run around 24 volts, so as I say if you are wearing gloves getting shocked is not an issue unless things are wet.
          I will point out that "wet" can also apply to hot dry sunny conditions as well. Perspiration from your hands can work it's way to the outside of a "dry" pair of gloves and give you a wake-up call as well.

          Things don't have to be "soaking" wet to get you into trouble. Been there, done that.
          Last edited by Highpower; 03-05-2011, 11:18 AM.

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          • #6
            You might also want to consider getting some fresher electrodes than those that came with the welder 10 years ago.
            Lynn (Huntsville, AL)

            Comment


            • #7
              The comments about the warping are exactly right, sometimes you can keep the pieces "square enough", by tacking the ends first and then alternating welding "outside and then inside of the angle" Let this cool a bit and check for square, then add weld as needed to pull the thing in the direction you wish it to go. It will tend to pull in such a way that the angle will be less than 90, so you want to keep most of your heat on the "other side" . It takes a bit of time and watching of how it is pulling, but if you are careful you can keep it fairly square. Whether you can keep it square enough for your use, depends of course on the final use.

              rollin'

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              • #8
                A good example of this is shown here starting at around the 3:00 mark.

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                • #9
                  The 6011 or 13 will work for your job, and they age better than poorly stored (damp) 7018.

                  I've been shocked numerous times doing portable work in muddy conditions with poorly maintained leads. It gets your attention, but in my opinion not particularly painful, and I really doubt it will kill you absent a pacemaker or heart condition.

                  Scares me silly, but divers arc weld under water.....you'll be fine in a dry shop.

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                  • #10
                    While I've never been shocked by any of my welders, it's true that the open circuit voltage can be well over 45 volts, which is about the point where we can start to feel a shock . I also wonder, however, if transformer welders can generate an electric field breakdown high voltage when the arc is stopped , as occurs in ignition coils ?

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                    • #11
                      Those who dismiss the likelihood of the dangers of fatal electrocution in wet conditions may like to read this report. It also carries some safety tips should the OP find himself in similar conditions in the future.

                      http://www.osh.dol.govt.nz/order/cat...ectrocuted.pdf

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Think of it this way. If there was much of a hazard OSHA would have us all go over and turn the machine off every time we needed to put a new rod in.

                        I work in a steel fab shop and have run miles of both mig and stick beads. the only time I've gotten shocked, I was welding joist while straddling the top of a concrete wall that had a bulb tee embeded in it. Just before I got through it started to lightly rain. As the bulb tee got wet and my jeans and gloves got wet things got interesting. As long as I was welding everything was just fine. But when I had to put a new rod in the stinger I became the ground path from the rod through my glove/butt/bulb tee. That rod got put in the stinger real quick. The problem was I was so close to the end of the job and the end of the day that I just couldn't stop. Stopping would have meant coming back the next day just to finsh up maybe fifteen or twenty minutes of welding.

                        Don't worry about holding one part while tacking it to another. It's a daily occurance. Most of the time I don't even have a glove on my left hand. If we took the time to fixture everything we tacked up we would never get anything finished.

                        Scotty

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by PeteF
                          Those who dismiss the likelihood of the dangers of fatal electrocution in wet conditions may like to read this report. It also carries some safety tips should the OP find himself in similar conditions in the future.
                          Not to be "dismissed"......... but if you ground the part you are holding to the base material and thus to the ground lead, by pressing it down, etc, the chances of a shock are minimal.

                          Rubber soled shoes, gloves, insulated stinger.... strike on other part and bring arc to the part you have in pliers.... using insulated pliers is good too, but they tend not to hold up well around hot metal.

                          I don't know about anyone else, but judging by how hot, singed, and pelted by hot chipped slag my gloves get in class, while welding or chipping, anyone who welds without gloves on is a blame fool, or likes pain.

                          I get enough burns on top of my bald head..... don't like the way the helmet fits (or does not) with a hat on, and teh ^%$#@! helmet acts like a funnel to collect chipped slag and dump it on me. I have just enough hair on the "dome" to hold them so they don't slide off.

                          Can't imagine welding w/o gloves
                          Last edited by J Tiers; 03-06-2011, 12:07 AM.
                          2730

                          Keep eye on ball.
                          Hashim Khan

                          Everything not impossible is compulsory

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Well Pete, that was a good example of how to get electrocuted as fast as possible. Welding outside in the rain or laying on a wet surface and welding is just asking for it.

                            When welding inside of a shop with a dry floor and good equipment your unlikely to get a shock but things can happen. Mostly you'll get shocked by touching the electrode while leaning against the work. When I am replacing a welding rod I stay away from what I was welding on. You can also get shocked laying on a dry metal trailer bed inside a dry shop when you try to replace a welding rod.

                            You just don't do things like that but then without knowing what can hurt you it's easy to get in trouble.

                            I suggest you take a welding course or read some books on welding. It's best to be safe than sorry.
                            It's only ink and paper

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Indeed, however there were some quite dismissive comments on the thread, as if you'd have a greater chance of winning lotto than getting electrocuted while welding. That report was just one that came to mind, but i know for a fact there have been MANY other similar fatal incidents.

                              For every person who posts, there are countless more who lurk and just read, some many years after the thread has come to a close. I simply wanted to point out that it IS indeed possible to be fatally electrocuted by a welder if the conditions are right.

                              Think of it this way. If there was much of a hazard OSHA would have us all go over and turn the machine off every time we needed to put a new rod in.
                              Did you read the report I posted? That's EXACTLY what the NZ OSHA DO recommend!

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