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Welding projects

Many things need to be considered when planning a welding project. For this article we have elected to build a test tank out of 3/8″ mild steel plate that measures 4′ wide x 5′ long x 2′ deep. We are in a remote location so we have a portable DC, gas driven welding machine, an Oxy/Acet burning outfit, and our portable Rod Oven that ensures the integrity of the welding electrodes. Our two-man crew is ready to go. They’ll be using E6010 rods for tack-up and E7018 Low Hydrogen rods for “stick” welding the joints.

For cutting and fitting the plates we have our portable Oxy/Acet burning and gas welding outfit that consists of oxygen and acetylene tanks, cutting and welding torches, attached valves, regulators, gauges, and hoses. This equipment is secured in the back of our pick-up truck with a chain binder.

For unloading our plates we’ll be using our portable one ton engine hoist that’s mounted in the bed of the truck. We’ve lifted the bottom plate off the truck and placed it on wooden 8 x 8’s, stacked two high and we’ve used a level to get it even.

In our mobile toolbox we have all our equipment and it includes: welding helmets, gloves, sleeves, aprons, full leather jackets, safety and eye goggles, grinders, and all the necessary wrenches, gadgets and tools. Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten the cum-along’s, chain falls, and 1/4″ chokers. We have a good supply of 3/8″ scrap for practice passes to set the machine and to make lifting lugs and dogs for fitting up.

To prevent personal injury we’ve brought along and will use all the safety equipment and protective wear needed. We’ve removed all flammable material from the work area and on our person.

One of the most critical considerations in any welding project is caring for the electrodes. Low Hydrogen welding electrodes must be kept dry. Moisture destroys the desirable characteristics of the coating. It causes excessive spattering, porosity, weakness, and the formation of cracks in the welded pass. We will be making visual inspections on the welds so proper welding procedures must be taken. Our Low Hy electrode container was opened so we re-dried the rods before leaving the shop, and placed them in the portable holder. (Always treat Low Hy electrodes if they’ve been exposed to air for more than a few hours.) INSERT A LINK TO THE ROD OVEN PAGE

We’ve put our side plates in place and have tacked everything up all the way around. Once we are done welding the joints with E7018, the maintenance crew will move the test tank into position and block it up to proper height. They will also attach fixtures as needed, and will prime and paint the tank.

In wrapping-up our project, we take pains to clean the welding equipment and tools as we load them back on the truck. We’ve also taken pains to make sure the welding rods are returned to the portable Rod Oven to be kept for the next project or used in the shop. Welding projects, either small or large, require proper planning. Procedures need to be followed to the letter to bring our project in, on time and on budget.