‘Make’ an automated welder?

  1. craigten Member

    Messages:
    126
    Shropshire
    Mild steel, 3 to 6mm. Only looking for T Fillets or butts really....but want to use it as a demo more than anything.
     
  2. hotponyshoes Member

    Messages:
    3,383
    Location:
    Somerset. Uk
    To demonstrate the principle on a straight run fillet all you would need is a rail, carriage and some sort of drive.
    Either a length of cheap linear rail from china or make your own up with a few bearings and some lengths of tube.
    Something like a adjustable dti base to hold/position the torch.
    Drive could be as simple as a length of rope in a loop going around a pulley at each end, small dc motor with a cheap speed control, put a wheel on the end of the motor and wrap the rope around it a few times.
    Micro switches at each end of the rail. Tap into the torch trigger wires. From the start position giving the carriage a small push by hand will be enough to ping that micro switch which would start both the drive motor and the welder at the same time. When it gets to the far end it would stop.

    You can show that to the management and tell them that if they give you the budget to buy some stepper motors, some belt drives, some rail and pay you for the hours to put it together then all the feed speeds, start welds etc can be programmed for each job.

    If you need to make custom tracks for welding around curves etc that might need a bit more thought though.

    A welding plant that can interface to cnc is not a cheap item (unless you find a used one) but aside from arc failure detection most functions could be computer interfaced without too much trouble.

    For anything other than welding straight runs maybe consider a robotic arm. I was offered a abb unit with a 1600mm reach for £3k a couple of months back.
    Mint condition with all the bits. You would still need to interface the mig somehow and it would take you a few hours to teach it.
    You would also need to jig the parts so they were inserted in the same place each time but depending on the tolerances required that might be simple enough.
    A robotic arm is probably a lot more versatile if you would be changing parts frequently although a rail system would probably give quicker cycle times.
     
    slim_boy_fat and craigten like this.
  3. craigten Member

    Messages:
    126
    Shropshire
    Thank you for this, this is tremendously helpful!!!
     
  4. hotponyshoes Member

    Messages:
    3,383
    Location:
    Somerset. Uk
    What sort of length run do you need?
    I have got some odd sections of rail about and I expect plenty of other people on here have got all sorts of bits they have got for projects they have never started as well!
     
  5. craigten Member

    Messages:
    126
    Shropshire
    Wow. This is brilliant, bloody hell.
    To be honest, I only need to show 200-250mm?
     
  6. hotponyshoes Member

    Messages:
    3,383
    Location:
    Somerset. Uk
    For that sort of length for a few demos you could probably get away with using a heavy duty drawer runner.
    Screw one side down to a bit of board and screw another bit of board on top that you mount the torch on.
    If you want it to look a bit fancier I have got some slides/rails that will be longer than that and cam dig one out later.

    If you use a draw runner from screwfix and a lego mind storms/technical motor for the drive parts you could get the demo unit together for 50quid and might get extra brownie points for budgeting!
     
    daleyd likes this.
  7. Robotstar5

    Robotstar5 Casanunda Staff Member

    Messages:
    18,266
    Location:
    Birmingham
    Basic arc failure detection can be done using a reed switch mounted perpendicular to the weld cable, the magnetic field genetated by the weld current is enough to close the reed switch.
     
    Jay1st, metalmelt, Seadog and 3 others like this.
  8. Jay1st

    Jay1st AdeptusMechanicus wanna be.

    Messages:
    306
    Location:
    South West FRANCE
    I would go with a simple 2 axis setup, X and Z
    What ever the lengh needed like 500mm for X and at least a 50mm length for Z

    And now why a Z axis ? As for a plasma CNC you can adjust your "torch" height with a simple switch used for the plate detection.

    Some simple full motorized ( nema 17 included ) 200mm axis with ball screws are availible on amazon for 70€
    Then add a simple controller with some microswitches for origin detection.

    I have fiddled with my cnc plasma running linux cnc, and it does work fairly well, instead of cutting you weld :)

    I would recommend a 7I96 ethernet controller, so you can use a simple laptop, with some cheapo stepper drivers.
    And if the project fails you can recycle the 7I96 for an other project.
     
  9. Moose McAlpine

    Moose McAlpine Member

    Messages:
    512
    Location:
    Watford Hertfordshire
    Yes! It was made using adapted robots from vehicle production. It's made from stainless and is in Amsterdam.

    7.-MX3D-Printed-Bridge-at-DDW-by-Adriaan-de-Groot.jpg 6.-MX3D-Printed-Bridge-at-DDW-by-Adriaan-de-Groot.jpg bridge-project.jpg
     
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