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Article

March 18, 2014
Using virtual reality welding to evaluate and train welders
Today’s metal fabricating companies face an unusual challenge: In the event that they receive a large number of employment applications for an open position, only a small number of applicants truly are qualified to do the required skilled... Read more...

Article

February 10, 2014
The emergence of Saudi America
Few inventions have changed the dynamics of world trade more than the internal combustion engine. The four-stroke engine was perfected around 1876 in Duetz, Germany, shortly after the first commercially viable oil well was drilled in 1859 in... Read more...

Article

December 5, 2013
Tackling thin aluminum with GTAW for the first time
Most welders are trained to master the gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) process by first joining carbon steel coupons together and then advancing to aluminum coupons later, usually about 0.125 inch thick. They soon learn that aluminum, with its... Read more...

Article

September 13, 2013
Un robot para soldadura—en continuo movimiento
La variabilidad de la demanda es un hecho inmutable de la fabricación metálica por contrato. La mezcla de clientes de un fabricante puede cambiar, y con ésta, la mezcla de productos. Debido a ello, el taller tiene que... Read more...

Article

May 3, 2013
Underwater aluminum GMAW
Aluminum vessels are steadily making their way into the U.S. Navy fleet. While on-the-water repairs to steel-hulled ships are nothing new, working with aluminum presents far greater challenges. While dry docking these ships would address these... Read more...

Article

April 24, 2013
Surviving the storm
Architectural Grille was a company on the move in the fall of 2012. The manufacturer of custom grilles and decorative metalwork had just installed a modern powder coating line a couple of years earlier, was on the verge of installing solar... Read more...

Article

March 7, 2013
A welding robot--on the move
Demand variability is an immutable fact of contract metal fabrication. A fabricator’s customer mix can change and, with it, the product mix. Because of this, the shop has to be ready for anything. To be competitive, many have rethought... Read more...

Article

January 18, 2013
Tube, pipe producer executes 3-phase improvement plan
Since it was founded as a pipe distributor in 1979, Trinity Products, O’Fallon, Mo., has been expanding its horizons. It added fabrication services in 1986 and began pipe production in 2007. Trinity’s product portfolio includes... Read more...

Article

December 3, 2012
Succeed at welding thick aluminum with the right material preparation, filler choice, and equipment
Aluminum is tough. It bullies its way into welded applications traditionally filled by steel. Its advantages of high strength-to-weight ratio, corrosion resistance, excellent mechanical properties at low temperatures, and recyclability put it... Read more...

Article

May 25, 2012
Aluminum MIG
What is it about aluminum? The mere mention of welding it causes even the most experienced and talented welders to shake their heads and mumble things like, “Aluminum is a whole other animal.” The push for lighter, thinner,... Read more...

Article

February 1, 2012
New year, new welding helmets
There’s no better way to usher in the new year than to evaluate your safety equipment to make sure everything is in topnotch working order. One of the most important pieces of equipment is the one that protects to your head, face, and... Read more...

Article

February 1, 2012
Fabricating tight ships on a tight deadline
When the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) approached Great Lakes Shipyard in Cleveland in June 2010, the government research agency had a tall order: To build two 70-foot aluminum vessels for delivery before September 2011. For the... Read more...

Article

September 9, 2011
Consumables make a difference in the welding of wind towers
When people say that interest in wind-generated power continues to grow, they aren’t just blowing hot air. The American Wind Energy Association claims that total U.S. utility-scale wind power capacity through the first quarter of 2011... Read more...

Article

May 11, 2011
Weldable and unweldable aluminum alloys
I want to weld on some 7075 aluminum, but I can't find a recommended filler metal for it. Can you tell me the correct filler metal to use? In a word, no. The reason you can't find a recommended filler metal for 7075 is that it is usually... Read more...

Article

March 14, 2011
Achieving T6 designation for 6061
Let's first describe what is happening when you heat treat 2XXX, 6XXX, or 7XXX alloys. All of these alloys are heat treated by precipitation hardening. This involves two steps—solution heat treating and aging. Solution heat treatment is done... Read more...

Article

January 10, 2011
A feminine approach to PPE
Choosing the road less traveled has always been more Jessi Combs’ style. Growing up in the Black Hills of South Dakota helped Combs appreciate speed, off-road vehicles, and the art of building a well-crafted automobile. Best known for... Read more...

Article

December 3, 2010
FCAW-S basics: Fast, no gas cylinders required
Self-shielded flux-cored arc welding (FCAW-S) wire is the industry’s multitasker. All at once it produces its own shielding to help protect the arc, handles contaminants on the steel, deposits weld metal that meets structural... Read more...

Article

November 22, 2010
Tackling aluminum GMAW
The reactive nature of aluminum to the welding arc, which is much more pronounced than that of other base materials, presents many challenges. Some common issues are excess heat input and burn-through, porosity, poor bead appearance, poor... Read more...

Article

June 1, 2010
Wire welding in the structural steel world
It wasn't so long ago that Shawn Moreland dismissed the notion of using flux-cored arc welding in place of shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) in his fabrication shop. While he never said it out loud, the guy likely could have been thinking that... Read more...

Article

March 1, 2010
Beyond low-carbon steel
The economy has pushed fabricators to adapt, market themselves to bring in new work, and even pursue untapped markets. This can bring different materials on the shop floor, and the learning curve can be steep for an entry-level welder. But one... Read more...

Article

November 3, 2009
No cracking under pressure for pipeline contractor
Not since the embargo of the 1970s has the U.S. been more preoccupied with the price of oil. Motorists still remember when gas prices climbed to the $4-per-gallon range about two years ago when the oil prices jumped over $100 per barrel, and... Read more...

Article

September 15, 2009
SMAW: A welder's guide
Shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) is the most common form of arc welding. However, creating a good weld is not always easy, especially for a beginner. Unlike gas metal arc welding (GMAW), in which you basically point and shoot, SMAW requires a... Read more...

Article

September 6, 2009
Robotic GTAW or GMAW: No longer a clear-cut choice
Robotic systems manufacturers and integrators have a confession when it comes to TIG, or gas tungsten arc welding: They've sometimes steered people away from it. "I've worked with arc welding robots since 1982, and for most of my career, if... Read more...

Article

September 1, 2009
SMAW: A welder's guide - Advice and troubleshooting tips for beginners
Shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) is the most common form of arc welding. However, creating a good weld is not always easy, especially for a beginner. Unlike gas metal arc welding (GMAW), in which you basically point and shoot, SMAW requires a... Read more...

Article

July 28, 2009
Trends in offshore energy
Although Hurricane Katrina lasted just seven days from start to finish, it was among the most destructive natural disasters in the history of the U.S. The flooding, damage to residential districts, displacement of residents, and loss of life... Read more...

Article

May 1, 2009
Automating to grow
G&W Products is in an unusual situation. It's growing. The Fairfield, Ohio, metal fabricator is on track to achieve year-over-year growth between 2008 and 2009—a rare feat these days. The shop's 120 employees work over three... Read more...

Article

April 1, 2009
Building the bridge to anywhere
To say that Stinger Welding Inc. is unique could be considered an understatement. After all, the AISC-certified fabricator of bridges and bridge components from Coolidge, Ariz., prides itself as a team whose very livelihood is to fabricate,... Read more...

Article

March 24, 2009
Age before welding in T6
In the last Aluminum Workshop, you talked about improving the welded strength of 6061 by welding in the T4 temper and aging after welding. But what happens if we weld in the T6 temper and age after welding? Does the weld get stronger, or does the... Read more...

Article

November 25, 2008
Truckin' along
Truck Bodies & Equipment International (TBEI), Eden Prairie, Minn., a fabricator of dump truck bodies, hoists, and truck and trailer equipment, has established itself as a dominant player in the marketplace with the acquisition of Heil Truck... Read more...

Article

September 16, 2008
Automating the Small
My son got a haircut recently. He's a kid, so the barber didn't have to cut too much hair, but being 5, my son required some time to get him seated and adjusted to a height suitable for the barber. My son shifted around quite a bit, so I... Read more...

Article

July 29, 2008
Submerged arc welding : then and now
Submerged arc welding (SAW) is so named because the weld and arc zone are submerged beneath a blanket of flux. The flux material becomes conductive when it is molten, creating a path for the current to pass between the electrode and the... Read more...

Article

June 17, 2008
Auto weld that ends well
Three years ago Peter Dunlop, production supervisor for Tommy Gate Co./Woodbine Manufacturing at the time, and Andrew Fitzgibbon, a manufacturing engineer, asked themselves a question that many metal fabricating operations eventually get around... Read more...

Article

March 11, 2008
Preventing porosity in humid environments
I'm having problems with excessive porosity when TIG welding aluminum. My friend says it comes from water vapor in the air (it's very humid here) being broken down by the arc. Is this true? It sounds pretty far-fetched. I hope you didn't bet on... Read more...

Article

February 12, 2008
Nothing standard about this fab shop
After five years of working for a family-owned metal fabricating business in eastern Connecticut, Rob Marelli wanted to do things his way. He approached the president with an offer to buy the company from him, but he was soon gone with a... Read more...

Article

January 15, 2008
It's a wrap
It's no surprise that show organizers, attendees, and exhibitors alike are billing the 2007 FABTECH® International & AWS Welding Show as one of the best ever. If you were there, then you know why. If not, the numbers tell the story,... Read more...

Article

January 15, 2008
Welding helmets in view
Choosing the right welding helmet is not as easy as it once was. Technology advances have turned these once simple pieces of protective equipment into smart, lightweight safety devices that, in some cases, can adapt their settings automatically... Read more...

Article

January 15, 2008
Vertical SMAW: It's a stick up
Vertical and overhead stick welding have never been in such high demand. Heavy construction continues (see Figure 1 ) in the southeast U.S., while the utility industry is busy building new power plants, improving old ones, and repairing... Read more...

Article

November 6, 2007
Up to speed
NASCAR® roots run deep in the American Southeast. More than 50 years ago, atop sandlot racetracks with haystack walls, local thrill-seekers sought mere bragging rights behind the wheels of their modified family sedans. Today's racecars cost... Read more...

Article

September 11, 2007
Minimizing weld cleaning stripes
I'm fabricating toolboxes for pickup trucks using gas metal arc welding (GMAW) and polished aluminum tread plate. The cleaning stripes along each side of the weld are wide and detract from the appearance of the toolbox. Please don't tell me to... Read more...

Article

July 10, 2007
To weld or not to weld Alclad
I have some aluminum sheet that I would like to use to fabricate a project. The only marking on it is "Alclad." Other than that, I have no idea what alloy it is. Can you tell me what filler metal to use to weld it? Whether you realize it or not,... Read more...

Article

July 10, 2007
Extreme weld makeover
Sfi, a large steel and aluminum fabricator with headquarters in Memphis, Tenn., and a second plant in Conway, Ark., manufactures industrial equipment components and subassemblies, from locomotive oil pans to crane outriggers, for large companies... Read more...

Article

May 8, 2007
Aluminum Workshop
I have a fabrication project involving 5454 aluminum plate, and I was told to weld this alloy using 5183 filler wire. Is this correct? If you check any of the charts showing the recommended filler metals for the various aluminum alloys, you... Read more...

Article

February 13, 2007
Pressure to perform
Like many large fabricators today, Ward Tank and Heat Exchanger Corp., Charlotte, N.C., has struggled to attract qualified welding operators to fabricate large pressure vessels, one of the company's principal products. The vessels are used to... Read more...

Article

November 7, 2006
Drive fast, weld right
"Drive fast, turn left" may be a popular motto among race car drivers, but motorsports fabricators have their own: "Drive fast, weld right." A successful racing team is the sum of its parts, from the fabricators to the painters to the drivers.... Read more...

Article

November 7, 2006
New rule, new equipment
A magazine article made Greg Faulkner think about improving welding ventilation at his workplace last year. Faulkner, senior manufacturing engineer at Henny Penny Corp., an Eaton, Ohio-based food service manufacturer, knew that the high... Read more...

Article

October 3, 2006
Which filler wire is best for welding 6061-T6 aluminum, 5356 or 4043?
Both are acceptable for welding 6061-T6, but each has advantages and disadvantages depending on the application. An aluminum alloy containing 5 percent magnesium, 5356 generally is stronger and more ductile than 4043. But 4043, which contains 5... Read more...

Article

September 12, 2006
Little Giant takes flight
Brian Nielson, an automated fusion technician with Wing Enterprises, operates one of the company's robotic welding workcells. Nielson said that moving to robotic welding has helped the company's productivity increase by 25 percent to 30... Read more...

Article

May 9, 2006
Hitting pay dirt -- in pipe
72-in.-dia., 1-in.-wall pipe is being welded using preheating coils on each side of the weld. A torch bracket reaches over the coils. Oil refineries aren't the only ones hitting pay dirt in Canada. Northern Alberta is the land of... Read more...

Article

March 7, 2006
Staying grounded
Grounding means much more than punishing your teenager by restricting his privileges. In welding, grounding is critical to arc welding safety. Various codes and standards document grounding electrical circuits as a safety practice. A... Read more...

Article

February 7, 2006
Making your way as a job shop today
Karl Fischer says that staying flexible, within the skills you have to offer, has helped him keep his business successful over the years. Here, he stands next to a 304 stainless steel beer carbonation carboy that required internal pipe... Read more...

Article

January 10, 2006
Wading through the world of welding
Many high-tech gadgets that once were handy extras are becoming indispensable in the workplace. A personal digital assistant (PDA) device makes programming a welding power supply faster and easier than manual programming. Photo provided by... Read more...

Article

January 10, 2006
Positioning your welds
Robotic welding can improve your productivity, but its efficiency depends greatly on fixturing design and functionality. When applied properly, robotic welding can be economical; on the flip side, it can be inefficient and... Read more...

Article

October 11, 2005
Welding aluminum piping
Aluminum piping is test-welded in a laboratory. A large number of fabricators manufacture carbon and stainless steel piping systems, and in general, the welding procedures and techniques for manufacturing them are well-known. But few... Read more...

Article

July 12, 2005
The most important welding lesson
Whether you're a professional welder with extensive training, a self-taught welding hobbyist, or a welder in-between, you must learn and heed all welding safety precautions. If you don't, you're setting yourself up for a world of hurt, or... Read more...

Article

April 11, 2005
MIG welding tips and resources
Photo courtesy of AlcoTec Wire Corp. Motorcycle- and hot rod-building shows on TV have put welding in a very positive light lately. In fact, Jesse James, the star of Discovery Channel's "Monster Garage," was named the American Welding... Read more...

Article

October 12, 2004
Site-based telemetry systems streamline gas supply
Photo courtesy of TRUMPF Inc. Metal fabricators continue to find new applications for carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) lasers. New uses combined with increased just-in-time processing, and lights-out operation place greater demands on laser,... Read more...

Article

July 13, 2004
Laser-gas delivery systems for all applications, including 24/7 operation
Photo courtesy of Weldstar, Aurora, Ill. Centralized System Advantages A centralized system allows all of the cylinders to be stored in one location. Having all cylinders in one place streamlines inventory control and simplifies and... Read more...

Article

April 6, 2004
Personality + Protection
For welders, it's more important than ever to do more—perform more processes, know more about metals, be familiar with more welding situations—with safety equipment that can meet the requirements of every situation. At the... Read more...

Article

February 26, 2004
Efficient shielding gas supply methods
In any welding process, the gas supply system must address basic equipment requirements for the gases at the point of supply and at the point of use. The type of shielding gas required determines the point-of-supply equipment needed, the mode in... Read more...

Article

November 6, 2003
Choosing the right oxyfuel gas and supply system
Photo courtesy of Weldstar Inc. Cutting In oxyfuel cutting, an oxygen jet, not the preheat flame, performs the cutting. The oxygen jet oxidizes the material and expels the heated material from the kerf. The purpose of the preheat... Read more...

Article

September 25, 2003
Choosing a GMAW machine for occasional aluminum welding
I want to buy a small gas metal arc welding (GMAW) machine, preferably one that runs from 120-V input power. Most of my welding will be steel, but I would like to weld aluminum occasionally. Can these machines really weld aluminum? I've heard a... Read more...

Article

August 28, 2003
Efficient use of compressed gases can increase productivity
Photo courtesy of Harris Calorific Inc. GMAW and GTAW continued to grow in popularity with the introduction of lighter materials, such as aluminum and magnesium, in the late 1940s. Both of these processes use compressed... Read more...

Article

August 28, 2003
Inverter versus transformer power supplies for aluminum GTAW
I'm looking for a new GTAW power supply for AC aluminum welding. I had intended to buy a conventional transformer unit, but several people have told me to buy an inverter-based power supply. Which one is better for my application?... Read more...

Article

August 28, 2003
Washington women weld at the 'Y'
It's a drizzly, blustery Pacific Northwest morning in November with the gray light of dawn coming up behind the Cascade Mountain Range. Crew Leader Cheryl Boxx, clad in Carhartts®, squares her hard hat in place and begins checking... Read more...

Article

July 24, 2003
Which wire do you require?
Many fabricators overlook the efficiencies they can gain by changing a wire or process. In fact, when you ask fabricators why they're using a particular electrode, some respond with "That's the way it's always been done here," even though... Read more...

Article

July 24, 2003
Welding aluminum with inverter-based power supplies
Direct Current All welding power supplies transform relatively high-voltage, low-current incoming power to lower-voltage, high-current welding output using a transformer. In the past the transformer operated directly from 50- or... Read more...

Article

June 12, 2003
Al GMAW: CC or CV?
I've read that constant-current (CC) power supplies are preferred for gas metal arc welding (GMAW) aluminum, but when I visit companies that sell welding equipment, they tell me I want a constant-voltage (CV) power supply. What's the real story?... Read more...

Article

April 10, 2003
How to recognize, minimize weld smut
When I weld any aluminum alloy, I see a covering, light gray to black in color, over the weld. I see it when I gas tungsten arc weld (GTAW), but it's worse when I gas metal arc weld (GMAW). What is it? Does it affect the mechanical properties of... Read more...

Article

February 27, 2003
Choosing tungsten electrode type, size for aluminum GTAW
I've heard different opinions about which size and type of tungsten electrode I should use to gas tungsten arc weld (GTAW) aluminum. Could you clear up this subject for me? As you know, we use direct current electrode negative (DCEN), or... Read more...

Article

January 16, 2003
KNOWLEDGE: The key to welding productivity?
In the year 2000 manufacturing, construction, and mining industries had $34.1 billion worth of welding-related expenses. At the same time more than a half million people in the U.S. had welding-related jobs -- and that's not counting... Read more...

Article

September 26, 2002
Set loose the juice
Whether it means they're easier to use, more portable, or make welds more predictably, power sources are being updated, and electronics are playing a significant role in their modernization. "The current economy is forcing companies to... Read more...

Article

September 26, 2002
Preparing, testing bend samples
Almost all welding codes require bend tests for welding procedures and welder qualifications. These tests can cause more problems in aluminum than in steel. In bend testing, a 1 1/2-inch-wide sample is cut so the weld is running across the... Read more...

Article

July 25, 2002
Embracing change
It's been ages since horse-drawn carriages routinely transported passengers. In today's world, bypasses and interstates weave paths across the country, and many of the classic cars we see on the road are being carted from one classic-car show to... Read more...

Article

March 14, 2002
Beating the welder shortage, recession blues
Skilled welders are hard to find. The economy is in recession. Production is down. And in the midst of these concerns, fabricators are concerned with welder safety. These issues are not new to welders and fabricating shops, but some say... Read more...

Article

August 16, 2001
GMAW vs. FCAW for beginners: Choose the best process for your small operation
When you prepare to buy your first wire-feed welding machine, you don't want to waste your money on a toy that goes out with the trash in a few weeks. You probably want to use 115-V input for portability, but might want to step up to a... Read more...

Article

April 24, 2001
Preparing for aluminum GTAW
Even if you are experienced in welding steels, aluminum welding can present quite a challenge. Aluminum's oxide coating, higher thermal conductivity, and lower melting point easily can lead to welding problems unless you know how to prepare for... Read more...