Welding tips and ideas

This page contains a few tips and ideas that didn't fit anywhere else on the website.

The earth clamp one made a big difference to my welding. Most most hobby welders will be fitted with a nasty crocodile clip with poor contact area and poor contact force. And they get worse as they get older.

Others will just be random tips written when I think of them.

Earth Clamps

A poor contact between the earth clamp and your vehicle can make it very difficult to weld consistently.

My old clamp was well past it's best (it didn't want to clamp any more), so I purchased a nice new one from Axminster. It's wonderful - the clamping force is much higher than the old clamp and it's corrosion resistant. Best of all it looks really cool.

The only downside is there is no thermal insulation on the handles. It's an old trick - the experienced welder asks the apprentice to remove the earth clamp after really heavy welding. Trust me - the clamp can get very hot.

I'm thinking I'll buy four more and make up a really nice set of jump leads.

welding earth clamps

Welding an edge

I had to weld an edge today, and it had to be neat so I practiced on some scrap metal to develop a technique.

The problem with welding edges is that there is nowhere for the excess heat to go, so it's easy to melt the edge away making the end result very blobby. I found that turning the wire speed down very low was the answer.

Problem is the wire vaporised as it left the torch. My technique was to hold the torch very close to the steel, so close that the outer shield touched the metal. This resulted in a neat weld, but overheated the welding tip so I could only do short sections at a time.

Welding an edge

Welding thick metal to thin metal

It's tricky welding a 1mm thick sheet of steel onto 4mm plate. The problem is that you'll need to use a high amp setting to get the weld to penetrate into the 4mm sheet, but this setting would vaporize the 1mm sheet.

My approach is to use the high amp setting. Strike an arc against the thicker sheet and get a weld pool going, then dip across into the thinner sheet and immediately back to the thicker sheet. The center of the weld will be on the thick sheet side of the join with the thin sheet just at the edge of the weld. Good contact between the sheets makes the job much easier.

thick metal and thin metal
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