Cutting attachment for a welder?

Discussion in '<a href=http://www.lawnsite.com/buttons/jump.php?i' started by Shady Brook, Dec 4, 2001.

  1. Shady Brook

    Shady Brook LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 1,517

    Rob or anyone else

    Has anyone heard of an attachment to a stick welder that allows it to cut steel? I was talking to a fella who says he used to work in a ship yard where they had certain welders devoted to steel cutting. He said thay had a special type of tip of some sort that ran in conjuntion with compressed air. I guess it blew out the ark and acted as a torch. Sounds kind of like a plasma cutter to me, but does anyone have any info on this, and if so, how would one set it up on a Lincoln, oh and are they expensive. Thanks

    Jay
     
  2. Robert Doubrava

    Robert Doubrava LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 342

    I have never heard of anything like that! I'm just familiar with regular weldin'. Sorry, dude, 75 oughtta know.
     
  3. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 611

    Talk to 75. I think it is called air gouging or something like that. The idea is similiar to that of a plasma cutter.
     
  4. 75

    75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 992

    CT18's right, and it's referred to by a number of different terms: I believe the "correct" terminology is air/carbon arc gouging, I've heard it referred to as "arc-air", "gouging" and "air-arc", I usually say "arc-air" myself.

    It consists of an electrode holder that has connections to the welding machine and air compressor. Requires the proper type of electrodes (brand we use at work is called "Copperclad") and works as you described: the arc melts the steel, and the compressed air blasts it away.

    Don't know what the cost of one of the units is (probably not t-o-o expensive) but to do it properly you need a welding machine with lots of power and a compressor that can put out lots of volume. "My" welding truck carries a Miller Big40 which can put out up to 400 amps peak, and we usually rent a compressor rated at around 175 CFM for any arc-air work.

    Typical applications are: removing tooth shanks from loader buckets (where there is a LOT of weld to cut through and a torch wouldn't be practical) cutting away welds securing two pieces together without destroying either piece and "veeing" out cracks for repair welding. I've never used one for just straight cutting - prefer the torch for that.

    Because of the need to have lots of amps and lots of air, I don't think it's really practical to do arc-air work at the home shop - I don't at mine.

    What I REALLY like about arc-air? Since it can throw a lot of sparks a long way, no one bothers you when you're doing it. If you see someone you don't like headed over, just point the sparks their way! :D
     
  5. Robert Doubrava

    Robert Doubrava LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 342

    Hey! That's a good idea, 75!! Just don't hit a gas can with them sparks!!!:D
     
  6. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 611

    You can pick up a good small plasma cutter for under $1000. Some have internal compressors and even are available in 120volt. I have a slightly bigger one. They have the advantage over heat of being instant on and off and not spreading as much heat especially through an open flame.
     
  7. Shady Brook

    Shady Brook LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 1,517

    Thanks Guys

    I knew I could count on you Rob. Well looks like the home shop idea is out, but it was worth a try. I should just get the torches and call it good.
    Thanks a bunch
    Jay
     
  8. 75

    75 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 992

    Plasma cutters are a great invention, aren't they? :cool: Unfortunately, right now the $$$ just aren't in the budget for me to get one - it's on the "wish list" though.

    In addition to the advantages CT18 listed, plasma cutters will also work on non-ferrous material (stuff that doesn't contain iron, such as aluminum, brass and stainless) while a torch won't, at least not for cutting.

    This is a trick that really doesn't apply to the home shop, since you're not likely to be that far away from your torch, but I've been in situations where I had to trim a little bit off a piece of material, up on the 2'nd floor framing, torch wrapped up 'cause the pieces were supposed to FIT etc etc.............. It is possible to use the welding whip, with the same rod you're using to weld, for a bit of rough cutting. Strike the arc, once it's going keep the arc fairly long and you'll (eventually) work your way through. Obviously, this works better on the thinner material. Not the way I'd recommend doing it, but I ain't pulling 100' of torch hose off the truck for one lousy cut either! :D
     
  9. Robert Doubrava

    Robert Doubrava LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 342

    100 feet of hose is pretty heavy!
     

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