‘Make’ an automated welder?

  1. craigten Member

    Messages:
    106
    Shropshire
    Hi all.
    Is it possible to convert a CNC machine or laser cutting machine to ‘hold’ a MIG torch to weld a horizontal / vertical Tee Fillet Or even vertical up or down?
     
  2. Robotstar5

    Robotstar5 Casanunda Staff Member

    Messages:
    18,173
    Location:
    Birmingham
    Shouldn't be a problem, it would be a 3 axis welding robot. You would need an adjustable torch holder to get the right angle.
     
    metalmelt, Maker and Parm like this.
  3. metalmelt Member

    Messages:
    381
    Location:
    UK
    Many specialist welding companies do them for clients, many mass production items with basic joints often use them for reliability and consistency and add magic eyes for stop and start of the welds.
     
    James1979, craigten and Robotstar5 like this.
  4. craigten Member

    Messages:
    106
    Shropshire
    Thank you for this. This is news to me....any ideas of the names of such companies?
     
  5. metalmelt Member

    Messages:
    381
    Location:
    UK
    Smaller companies come and go but the larger specialised welding companies also do them so search the big welding company names and most will have such a section on their websites.
     
  6. hotponyshoes Member

    Messages:
    2,934
    Location:
    Somerset. Uk
    Its certainly possible.
    If you want cnc then you would want some sort of protection for all the cnc parts against weld splatter so take that into account if you are looking to buy something and convert it.
    You may need to make the bed heavier so you could clamp parts down to prevent warping.
    Unless all the parts are on the same plane then you will need some sort of jig, either to accurately tack them manually first or locate them in for welding.
    You then need to have the capability in the machine to avoid hitting the item/jig when running.

    Basic weld/no weld control would be simple, just a relay across the torch switch wires. More advanced stuff, not so simple, main issue would be controlling the torch angle as the correct angle when going north/south would be completely wrong going south/north and when you tried going east/west the torch would be facing away from the weld.
    It might well be possible to make a gimbled torch holder, either electrical control (programmable) or sprung loaded it gets pulled to the correct orientation before the axis moves.

    Fault detection is another issue, if a bit of splatter hits the tip and slows the wire feed speed how do you detect that?
    How do you change power/wire feed rates?
    If you have 3phase you can probably find a welder with cnc interface at a decent price, might make things easier to communicate with.
    Another issue would be the wire feed. I don't think you would get away with running a long mig torch and feeding it through the gantrys like you would run the usual control cables. I think at the least you would need to have a wire feeder hanging above the machine or maybe a spool gun mounted on the gantry. Any extra weight or drag might meen you need a heavier/larger machine to base it on.

    Also, do you actually want cnc control? What sort of parts are you making? Cnc is good as once you have programmed a run it is quick to load different items and change runs for them.
    If you are only welding a few types of item it may be quicker/easier/better to make decitcated positioners for them but it depends on what you want to weld.

    If I was going to make one I think I would be looking at a robotic arm as a starting point unless the jobs would obviously be better done another way.
    .
     
    Nauticus likes this.
  7. Jay1st

    Jay1st AdeptusMechanicus wanna be.

    Messages:
    288
    Location:
    South West FRANCE
    I played around with my plasma cnc, replaced the torch with the mig's and it works superb when using a synergic mig
     
  8. craigten Member

    Messages:
    106
    Shropshire
    This was brilliant and a lot of food for thought. Thank you.
     
  9. craigten Member

    Messages:
    106
    Shropshire
    Wow!! Any chance of a video, please?
     
    Jay1st likes this.
  10. Jay1st

    Jay1st AdeptusMechanicus wanna be.

    Messages:
    288
    Location:
    South West FRANCE

    Nope never filmed it and now i'll have to do some mods to go back playing with it
     
  11. tom2207 Member

    Messages:
    2,034
    Location:
    uk northern ireland
    you could 3d print ,,, only in metal ,, now theres a thought.
     
  12. garethp Forum Supporter

    Messages:
    1,030
    sw scotland
    I came across a video on YouTube a while ago showing a 5 axis robot with a mig torch using bronze wire, it was 'making' a boat or ships propeller and I think it switched to a head with a flap disk to smooth and partially polish it. The company behind it were saying it was quicker and cheaper than casting one from scratch, cant remember if it could be used to build up worn ones.
     
    tom2207 likes this.
  13. hotponyshoes Member

    Messages:
    2,934
    Location:
    Somerset. Uk
    There is a 3d printed bridge somewhere. Basically done with a robot arm and a mig torch.
    Its 10m long or something so a proper construction not just a demo. It has been installed for foot traffic, Holland I think?
     
  14. Ali

    Ali Member

    Messages:
    856
    Location:
    Cheshire
    thisoldtony does a video on a setup like that...it didn’t work out great
     
    Jay1st likes this.
  15. Jay1st

    Jay1st AdeptusMechanicus wanna be.

    Messages:
    288
    Location:
    South West FRANCE

    That is why i had to try on the plasma !!
     
  16. TechnicAl

    TechnicAl Member

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    Rotherham
    metalmelt likes this.
  17. craigten Member

    Messages:
    106
    Shropshire
    Update on this to clarify - all I wanted it to do was basic T Fillets, Lap joints in PB position and possibly some in PF?
     
  18. Yes
     
  19. craigten Member

    Messages:
    106
    Shropshire
    Update here:
    I've been given the go-ahead by my boss to get this rolling....but where to start??
     
  20. hotponyshoes Member

    Messages:
    2,934
    Location:
    Somerset. Uk
    What exactly are you welding?
     
    Jbo2231 likes this.
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