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  1. When we were in kindergarten, it was common to take a watch apart—and not get it back together. Some of us, not content with things that no longer worked, went on to fixing things instead of just taking them apart. Toying with mechanical things versus putting things back together properly is for most a clear fork in the road. In my early childhood, I was fascinated with all things that rolled: trucks, cars, bicycles, motorized cycles, locomotives, take your pick! By age eleven, with the go kart and mini-bike craze in full swing, a neighbor built his sons a gasoline powered, wooden cart with a Briggs & Stratton lawn mower engine that had a rope starter…I was hooked. On my birthday two years later, my folks found a used Bug Kart with a bent front axle and a Clinton 2.5 horsepower two-stroke engine. I witnessed my first oxygen-acetylene welding repair when a family friend, Paul Starjack, restored the front axle with a fresh piece of new chrome-moly tubing. The task could have been a candidate for TIG, but Paul's adept skill with a gas torch made quick work of the 4130 chromoly welding repair. 55 years ago, I had a Bug Kart similar to this one. Mine came with a bent front axle tube. Watching a skilled welder replace that tube with a fresh 4130 piece taught me the the merits of welding! The end result and a fresh coat of paint made my cart look and run great. By fourteen, other mentors crossed my mechanical path. Joe Bruns ran a traditional postwar garage at Gardnerville, across the street from the Hancock gas station where I held my first job. An $8 street legal Cushman/Allstate scooter occupied my time and money that summer, and when the magneto would not fire, Mr. Bruns taught me the intricacies of a condenser on his grease-covered work bench. The dimly lit, acrid oil wafting shop, full of old cars like a Graham-Paige, a Willys-Knight tow truck, a Hudson Terraplane and a Packard, captured my imagination. This beautifully restored 1955 Allstate (Cushman) Deluxe scooter is the 'as new' version of the $8 "beater" that I bought in the summer of 1963 at Gardnerville, Nevada. Mine came with a rod knock and white paint job that looked like it had been applied with a broom. Nevada's Scooter Law enabled riding at 35 mph maximum on highways with a "basic speed law". It was not uncommon for cars and trucks to legally pass scooters at 100 mph on Highway 395. (Photo courtesy of the owner's posting online...Thanks, it's gorgeous, and the mountain backdrop looks like Carson Valley!) I grew up around older Buicks and Packards in our family, which drew me to the C.O.D. Garage (Chevrolet/Buick/Jeep® dealership) at Minden, Nevada. The dirt field across the main drag was the dealership's parking lot for Depression Era, 'forties and 'fifties cars and trucks that made their last run into Carson Valley on a tow hook. Rolling into valley from California and nearby rural Nevada communities, these vehicles had died unceremoniously from overheating, cracked blocks, throwing connecting rods or frying transmission and axle gears. I worked at the community’s service stations under the tutelage of full-service mechanics, in those years men who performed breaker point tune-ups, chassis work, tire busting and detailed lubrication and fluid changes. An oscilloscope tune-up was the hallmark of the era, and working at Bud Berrum’s Minden Chevron Station schooled me at vehicle light service and lube room repairs. This would prove ground school for my early automotive trade employment as a light and medium duty truck fleet mechanic. From age 14 to 18, I had my share of four-wheeled “project” vehicles plus numerous trips to Werner's Machine Shop at Carson City. Bill Werner smiled each time I showed up with a Ford flathead V-8 block. Several of these blocks failed the test for machining and landed in the iron scrap pile. Most often, they had cracks from freezing or cylinder wall weaknesses that opened up during the boring process. Bill was relieved when I moved to mid-'fifties Chevy small-block OHV V-8s. There were many other “teachers”. My Douglas High School Ag and Welding instructor, Mr. Gray, taught me the foundation skills for welding that led to my lifetime interest in metallurgy and all forms of welding and brazing processes. The Odom brothers at the East Bay, George Zirkle at the Nevada City NAPA machine shop, veteran truck fleet mechanic colleagues and service pros, machinists and chassis/alignment experts each deserve their due. When I served an apprenticeship with Local 3 of the Operating Engineers Union, old hands taught me the new and old school repair, welding and operator’s skills around heavy equipment…To all of these folks and any not named here, I am grateful. The learning was typically hands on, often accompanied by patient discussion, and I looked over many shoulders before performing work myself. Years later, after 15 years of hands-on professional work as a journey level truck fleet mechanic, motorcycle tech and 4x4 restorer, I worked at Cunningham GMC/Pontiac in El Cajon, California, representing the service department at the General Motors Burbank Training Center and bringing that information home to be shared with the dealership's techs. Just prior to working for the Cunningham family and fresh out of the University of Oregon, I had my first taste of teaching at the San Diego Job Corps. That was my original stint of “giving back” through teaching, passing along those years of exposure to top professionals. My next step along the path was journalism, writing technical articles and columns for a broad range of enthusiast trade magazines and newspapers. Learning to Teach When I taught at the Job Corps in the early ‘eighties, the breaker point ignition era was barely ended. Electronic fuel injection was the lofty undertaking of German engineers at Bosch. That quickly changed, and by the mid-‘eighties, American vehicle manufacturers brought the internal combustion engine back from the edge of emissions extinction with the use of EFI and electronic spark management systems. All of us went back to the drawing board, up the learning curve, and became familiar with the new electronic technology. I held California smog equipment Installer and Inspection licenses during that period. Learning EFI/spark management required a foundation at automotive mechanics and the willingness to read. I was writing simultaneously to the tune of 880 published pages of magazine articles per year by 1989 (not to be confused with manuscript pages). 1990-1998 became a period of book projects alongside my continuing flow of magazine and newspaper assignments each month. Consulting to 4x4 truck, Jeep® and SUV manufacturers, plus new book editions, involved even more writing. After an intensive career at photojournalism, tech column writing, book authorship and building magazine 4x4 projects, I took a detour and returned to the classroom from 1999-2004, five teaching and administrator contract years. Working with the Rite of Passage program, first as an Automotive/Diesel Technologies instructor then as the Director of Vocational Training for four Rite of Passage campuses, we taught automotive, welding, construction trades and IT. Within the Rite of Passage training process, I was as much a student as teacher. Sure, I brought over three decades of profession level trade skills to the classroom, but my effectiveness at teaching was only as good as the delivery. What I quickly discovered in the era just before the onslaught of internet information, was that students without a clear direction and foundation in a subject were as apt to “take the watch apart” as to fix it. When left to their own devices, some students were perfectly happy dismantling mechanical things with no sense for how to put them back together—and not an inkling of academic ambition nor the curiosity to read a manual or textbook! Lectures or audio visual training tapes could easily put a non-invested student to sleep. These young adults provided the humbling lesson that without context and a drive to learn, human beings are capable of remaining kindergarten level performers forever. And that pre-internet learning environment was merely a portent of things to come, heralding Toffler's glorious, consumer driven Information Era. Along Came the Internet The fledgling internet and its information exchange showed promise. Maybe the Tofflers' predictions in their 2006 book Revolutionary Wealth were true. Alvin and Heidi Toffler predicted that the internet's wealth of “free” information would lead to a society of consumers who were less dependent upon paying for services and far more self-reliant. The emerging age would be a virtual barter system of freebie facts and answers meeting consumer needs, essentially a way to circumvent the increasingly pervasive co-dependency on corporations and professional service outlets. This idealized view of the internet, a virtual blueprint for opting out of consumer dependency, was the optimal solution to the rising costs of consumer services. In fact, outsourcing and subletting labor costs, using automotive “professional” services as just one example, have skyrocketed over the last dozen years. At North America, there is no more glaring example of consumer dependency than the automotive consumer market. Imagine paying $75,815 for a new, decked out Ram 4x4 with a Cummins 6.7L diesel. Now add to that the maintenance costs at the local dealership. CANBus troubleshooting and diagnostics equipment, exotic transmission filling and draining methods plus a host of other "specialty equipment" requirements compel many DIY consumers to reluctantly creep back into the dealerships' service lanes. Once the warranty period ends on the vehicle, consumers often try the nearly as expensive independent shops, aware that second tier aftermarket diagnostic equipment may not be up to date. A dealership's labor rate can be $110 per hour or higher. Independent shops are at least $75-$90 per hour. So given these conditions and the potential information available online, what if you could get diagnostic and troubleshooting information—or even actual how-to repair steps—for free online. Yes, how about gleaning information gratuitously placed before your eyes by simply participating at a free forum? Many believe this is possible, and to such an extent that they cannot envision paying for any kind of automotive information. Of course, we do want to avoid the high cost of labor and limited parts choices, i.e., the additional and arbitrary cost for dealership provided parts. Do we also expect to become independent mechanics without scaling any kind of learning curve or paying for schooling? As a point of interest, aside from earning a Pac-Ten university four-year degree with Dean's List honors and all the textbook costs that entailed, my library of classic and contemporary professional automotive factory and trade service manuals, plus a dozen welding instruction and metallurgy books, would today cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $7,500. I bought the Tofflers' book as an audio CD version and played it in my shop while performing professional restoration work on vintage transmissions, steering gears, engines, engine peripherals and axles. The book's theme was captivating, suggesting that we could be energy independent (off the grid) and consumer self-sufficient, sidestepping the endless grind of societal consumerism in America. Pondering just how well that would work with automotive service or IT needs, it took little thought after four decades in the automotive trade (when this book came out) to realize that bartering information, or even information in itself, is not enough to get the job done! So Where Do You Get Your “Free” Information? For automotive service work around sophisticated powertrains with 8-speed automatic transmissions or variable cylinder EFI/MPI systems, where do you barter for your free service information? Consider the bevy of diagnostic tools needed to service a vehicle and the $200-plus CD set that makes up the factory service manual for a particular model. Do you know a trained service professional who has spent $10,000 or more on equipment and data and wants to freely offer that investment to total strangers surfing the internet's Google Search engine? According to the Tofflers theory, the model would apply better to pouring a garden foot path and needing information on how to set forms. This kind of information can be found at the Lowe’s or Home Depot professional contractors desk. It’s not critical, "permitted" work and does not require meeting code. Seldom will anyone get hurt by a DIY foot path project or improperly laid sidewalk pavers. These two retailers will gladly offer free information since they will be providing the materials you need for this job. Now let’s fast forward to your automotive project. A motor vehicle is built to SAE, DOT, NHTSA and EPA standards. Whether an owner elects to honor the EPA requirements, the SAE, DOT and NHTSA standards for brakes, steering and safe suspension are something not to be ignored. There are sanctioning bodies like ASE and dealership tech training programs, apprenticeships, military training schools and college trade programs intended to support these professional standards for automotive service work. Why? Simple: Because your life and the lives of family members and others on the road depend upon vehicles that perform safely and reliably. This includes brakes, tires, chassis members, steering, suspension, the engine/powertrain, axles and electrical/electronic systems. So that begs the question: Where do you get your automotive service recommendations? Exactly who is at that forum with years of professional experience, mentoring, college level courses, military training schools, apprentice training or dealership training? If they have that level of schooling and experience, why are they at the forum giving away information for free? The Toffler paradigm may apply to shoveling and forming the ditch for a garden path footing or macramé, but do you really want to fix your brakes or troubleshoot that engine issue without a service manual, a basic knowledge of automotive mechanics or a “mentor” with some trade experience? I taught adult education level automotive and diesel mechanics plus welding for seven years. As of this month, I have a half-century of professional experience at mechanics, yet I still pull a professional trade manual or “FSM” off the shelf for any work I perform on my vehicles. —Moses Ludel
  2. I’m a newbie to this forum. I need advice on selecting a best career option for my brother. He has completed his schooling and he wishes to select welding career but our family has a little confusion regarding the selection. I’m not much aware about this field. Is it a good career option or should we choose a better one? Are there education loans available for the course? My son has surfed about the institutions providing the course and had selected one. This is their website (http://weldtechtraining.com/). He is saying that it’s a registered agency and has got many accreditations. Is there anyone who has studied there? Will they provide placement assistance? He claims that this is very good field. Is there anyone working in this field? What can be the working conditions like physical comfort travel etc? What are the opportunities for students who enter this career? Please help…..
  3. Hello, I'm a machinist. I have been working for 3 years now. Usually my job is assembling machine parts. I have no experience in welding. I wish to switch job as I find welding more rewarding and challenging. I found a welding school near my place, but I don't know what course to select. Should I go for a technician course where I will learn all the aspects of welding or should I go for specific courses like stick or tig welding. I'm good with designing. So, help me choose a program.
  4. When I bought my new Lincoln 216 welder, I also bought an 11 pound roll of ER-70S-6 wire. I bought a metal gauge and estimated that the project at hand was about 1/4" metal thickness. The chart on the machine called for a "D" setting which is about 4 out of 6 possible settings. (Can't remember the wire feed speed off the top of my head. Seemed to work out okay.) Didn't get much splatter. If there are concerns over the integrity of a weld, how could one strengthen the weld? Would you choose to build up a higher crown with a hotter setting, broaden the base of the weld, etc.? David
  5. One of the popular HD videos at the magazine website and the magazine's YouTube offerings is a field repair welding job at Moab, Utah during the 2012 Jeep Safari. We were at the "Rose Garden" trail on a typically fun Warn Industries media run. I happened to be riding passenger side in a Jeep TJ Wrangler whose owner was the trail boss and a fellow Warn friend. My role was filming, and the lead vehicle was a good place to ride. About 2/3rds of the way up this rock ledged step trail, I was outside the vehicle filming when the steering tie-rod on the TJ Wrangler snapped. The next angle for the camcorder was to film several guys repairing the tie-rod. Front and center was Larry Nickell of Crawl Magazine fame. Other friends from Mopar contributed a pair of Dollar Store quality open end wrenches to the cause. Larry and the Crawl crew whipped the Ready Welder from their rig, removed the battery from the vehicle and went about welding the two open end wrenches to the tie-rod tube. The repair was essentially a "splint" rather than just butt welding the broken tube ends together. A butt surface weld without beveling would surely fail, a dangerous prospect for a steering linkage safety part like a tie-rod. Here is the video: Caution: Welding steering linkage is not advised under any condition other than to get a vehicle safely off the trail to a point where a proper parts replacement can be made. Welding can deform or remove hardening from parts, leaving softer, lower tensile metal in its wake. This repair shown was clearly an emergency. The vehicle was otherwise blocking the trail and would have needed a new tie-rod. Moab was a long, 20-mile trip away. The rough terrain hike to the main road was at least four miles in blustery weather. See how this trail fix saved that day. Did it hold? I rode back to town as a passenger after this 4x4 had negotiated the rest of the Rose Garden with the repaired tie-rod. It did work! At town, a replacement tie-rod was installed the next day. Share your trail welding experiences! I have another one from the Rubicon Trail and a Wheelers for the Wounded outing—our group's Ready Welder became the tool used to fixed a stranger's Jeep that had lost its steering—the mounting bracket had broken, shearing the steering gear from the frame... Moses
  6. If you need an overview of welding processes and tips on how to weld, there is already a good block of welding information and instructional material at the magazine website (www.4WDmechanix.com). I just dropped the word "welding" into the magazine's search box and the URLs below came up. Many weldors like the gas welding insights, gas welding is a great foundation for TIG and very useful for light gauge and smaller metal parts where a diffuse heat is advantageous. When time permits, I'd like to do an instructional/tutorial on each type of welding, and make the series available for Vimeo On Demand streaming library rentals. These links below are all free: HD Video: 2011 WFTW Trail Welding Repair In this segment, 4WD volunteer John Cox assists a fellow four-wheeler while on the 2011 WFTW Rubicon Super Event. Equipped with a Ready Welder, auto battery operated flux-core spool welder, John quickly performs a repair that will help the CJ Jeep get back to camp. www.4wdmechanix.com/HD-Video-2011-WFTW-Trail-Welding-Repair.html Gas Welding: Tip Sizes and Cutting Torch Settings These charts cover the gas settings and tip sizes for oxygen-acetylene welding, brazing, cutting and heating processes. Review these data recommendations before performing oxy-acetylene welding, cutting, brazing and heating chores. www.4wdmechanix.com/Gas-Welding-Tip-Sizes-and-Cutting-Torch-Settings.html How-to: Gas Welding Session Two Session Two of the gas welding series covers gas welding equipment set up and safety. Setting up the cylinders, regulators, hoses and gas welding torch gets the process started. www.4wdmechanix.com/How-to-Gas-Welding-Session-Two.html How-to: Gas Welding Session Four 'How-to: Gas Welding Session Four' discusses turning on gas safely and setting pressures for gas welding. Learn to safely open the cylinder valves, set correct pressures and turn the system off. www.4wdmechanix.com/How-to-Gas-Welding-Session-Four.html Gas Welding Metal Restoration Video Moses Ludel shares oxygen-acetylene gas welding techniques used in Jeep restoration work. See this slideshow presentation from the 2011 Midwest Willys Reunion. www.4wdmechanix.com/Gas-Welding-Metal-Restoration-Video.html How-to: Gas Welding Practice Exercises For each welding process, there are practice exercises that help improve your skills. In this section of the 'How-to: Welding Class', you will find practice steps for the gas welding material covered. www.4wdmechanix.com/How-to-Gas-Welding-Practice-Exercises.html How-to: Gas Welding Session Five 'How-to: Gas Welding Session Five' discusses setting pressures, lighting the torch safely and beginning to gas welding. See how-to tack weld with oxygen-acetylene process. www.4wdmechanix.com/How-to-Gas-Welding-Session-Five.html How-to: Gas Welding Session Six 'How-to: Gas Welding Session Six' discusses welding beads and filling metal with the gas welding process. In these two HD videos, see the how-to methods for controlling a liquid puddle and using the right filler metal material to run a bead. www.4wdmechanix.com/How-to-Gas-Welding-Session-Six.html Video: TIG Repair of Large Iron Castings At the 2011 Midwest Willys Reunion, Moses Ludel presented details on TIG welding iron castings. In this video you will discover how GTAW-TIG process restored a large iron axle casting. www.4wdmechanix.com/Video-TIG-Repair-of-Large-Iron-Castings.html How-to: Gas Welding Session One Gas welding is the foundation for all other welding methods. In this opening session, Moses Ludel discusses the equipment needs for oxygen-acetylene welding, brazing and cutting. www.4wdmechanix.com/How-to-Gas-Welding-Session-One.html How-to: Gas Welding Session Three 'How-to: Gas Welding Session Three' discusses the choice of gas welding tips, gas pressures and gauge metal thickness. Learn to save gas and select the right gas pressure and tip size for specific mild steel plate thicknesses. www.4wdmechanix.com/How-to-Gas-Welding-Session-Three.html How-to: Completing the Gas Welding Exercise This HD video session completes the gas welded cube project. The demonstration shows the versatility of oxy-acetylene gas welding and its similarity to other welding processes. www.4wdmechanix.com/How-to-Completing-the-Gas-Welding-Exercise.html How-to: Gas Welding Vertical & Overhead Beads This session includes HD video examples of running a gas welding bead. The demonstration of oxy-acetylene welding processes includes beads formed with and without filler material. www.4wdmechanix.com/How-to-Gas-Welding-Vertical-&-Overhead-Beads.html Gear and Transmission Case Restoration Sometimes a gear or transmission case is damaged and obsolete. In this slideshow, Moses Ludel demonstrates how to TIG repair a gear and broken transmission case. www.4wdmechanix.com/Gear-and-Transmission-Case-Restoration.html How-to: Gas Welding Bead Formation This session includes HD video examples of running a gas welding bead. The demonstration of oxy-acetylene welding processes includes beads formed with and without filler material. www.4wdmechanix.com/How-to-Gas-Welding-Bead-Formation.html How-to: Oxygen-Acetylene Gas Cutting Gas cutting is a traditional process for cutting carbon metals. Today, oxygen-acetylene cutting and plasma cutting are both popular. In this HD video segment, see how a gas cutting torch can quickly cut metal in a real world project. www.4wdmechanix.com/How-to-Oxygen-Acetylene-Gas-Cutting.html How-to: Gas Weld Integrity Test This HD video session demonstrates the strength and integrity of the final welding project. The coupon cube gets tested on a 20-ton press to see how the welds react. www.4wdmechanix.com/How-to-Gas-Weld-Integrity-Test.html HTP Circle Cutting Attachment for Plasma Cutters HTP America offers affordable solutions for welding and plasma cutting. Cutting circles is always a challenge, and HTP America has simplified the process with a new, affordable accessory! www.4wdmechanix.com/HTP-Circle-Cutting-Attachment-for-Plasma-Cutters.html MIG Welding Project: Installing the Pivot King When our rugged, six-year-old tire carrier sagged, the Pivot King square tube pivot axle became the solution. Pivot King provides the optimal foundation for building a carrier from scratch, restoring an older carrier or upgrading your rectangular tubing spare carrier. This makes a practical MIG welding project, too! www.4wdmechanix.com/MIG-Welding-Project-Installing-the-Pivot-King.html Video Review: Cold Fire Extinguishers Four-wheeling, welding and shop environments require safety tools. High on the list is fire suppression equipment. Cold Fire is a new method of fire suppression. 4WD Mechanix Magazine reviews the new products and technology from Cold Fire. www.4wdmechanix.com/Video-Review-Cold-Fire-Extinguishers.html HD Videos: 2011 Wheelers for the Wounded Rubicon Super Event The 2011 Wheelers for the Wounded Rubicon Super Event was an exceptional outing. Three years into the program, the volunteers and vets had a great time on the trail and at camp. In this HD video series, Moses Ludel covers the event weekend. www.4wdmechanix.com/HD-Videos-2011-Wheelers-for-the-Wounded-Rubicon-Super-Event.html HTP America's MicroCut 600 plasma cutter is a workhorse. At 40 amps of power, you can cut up to ½” steel. Small size and just 22 pounds means you can take this powerhouse anywhere. With inverter technology, the MicroCut 600 only needs 30 amps of 220 volt power! www.4wdmechanix.com/HTP-America's-MicroCut-600-Plasma-Cutter.html Welding Safety and Protective Wear Welding is a vital part of 4WD and light truck repairs, upgrades and how-to projects. This HD video session discusses welding safety and protective gear. Make your welding a safe shop practice. Use the right protective gear to prevent burns, cuts and eye injuries. www.4wdmechanix.com/Welding-Safety-and-Protective-Wear.html If you put "HTP" into the search box at www.4WDmechanix.com, you'll discover some quality combination TIG/Stick welders and how they set up. They do make good machines... Let me know your interest level and thoughts around learning to weld by way of an HD video welding tutorial/instructional program. Would the "tuition" or cost of streaming video rentals be acceptable, assuming the cost reflects a quality training program and return on your investment? If these videos could be streamed and viewed on a big screen television would that be useful? What about an internet interactive classroom offering live student feedback and real time discussion? Welding is a hand-to-eye coordination industrial art. Many learn better from the visual and even auditory training level than by reading a textbook, although the science of metallurgy is very important and often covered in text. Each medium has its place. Moses
  7. When i bought my 1994 Dakota, i noticed that the fan shroud was missing. They had rigged an overflow bottle on the core support. When i tried to put a new fan shroud on it hit the fan, so after some searching, i found that the frame was bent right behind where the core support mounts to the frame, which in turn pushed the radiator and core support back a bit. The reason i didn't notice it at first was because they had also made sure to realign the headlights, as well as replace the grill, so all i noticed was that the bumper was bent in. The bend is in front of where the front suspension mounts to, and after talking to a frame shop and alignment shops, the bend won't affect normal driving, and according to them, it isn't critical that it even be repaired. But i don't like having the overflow bottle mounted with bungee cords and zip ties, plus i have plans to eventually install a tube style bumper with a hidden winch, and with the frame bent like it is, the bumper won't attach properly. The frame shop wants what i consider an extremely large amount of money just to pull the frame back, so, after talking to a couple people, their suggestion is to heat up the frame where the bend is, and straighten it back out. My concern is, would heating up that area of the frame stress the metal to where it would weaken it? Also, is it possible the frame would just bend again over time? I don't want to straighten out the frame, only to put undue stress on the new bumper from the frame trying to bend again. I have attached a pic of where the frame is bent. The black piece in the pic is the bottom of the core support where it meets the frame.
  8. I posted a topic at the welding and metal fabrication forum on one way to restore a bore in a stamped steel piece: "Weld Mold 26-C 'How-to' Oxy-Acetylene Repair: Restoring a Stretched Bore in Stamped Steel". In that 'how-to', I mention heat treated metals and also refer forum members to one of the magazine's slideshow video presentations. The slideshow discusses a major concern when welding, brazing or silver brazing (hard silver soldering) near heat treated parts. Many automotive parts, especially wear points like gear teeth, shafts, splines, thrust washers and running surfaces, have been heat treated to the depth and hardness required. When we weld near any heat treated alloy metals or forged parts, there is always concern about damaging the heat treatment. Even the use of specialized, hard alloy filler materials (some as high as 140K or more tensile in the weld) will not prevent problems at the nearby heat treated areas. If you raise metal temperature high enough during the welding process, any through- or case-hardening will be lost. This means that the metal will soften and be rendered either unsafe or no longer capable of handling its intended function, especially wear points like splines, gear teeth, shafts or thrusts. It is absolutely certain that adjacent to a metal fusion weld, any heat treatment or case hardening will be lost. If parts like a gear or shaft are heat treated or "case hardened" and need welding, you must first "normalize" the metal. This is similar to annealing, but is intended to simply reduce the hardness in the case area, typically the surface 0.030"-0.040" zone if we're talking about common automotive transmission gears and shafts. A ring-and-pinion gear set, due to the size of the gear, is often much deeper case hardening, and some components, especially hardware and fasteners, even get "through-hardened" as opposed to case hardened. Once normalized, a gear or shaft can be welded with an appropriate filler that matches the base metal material. If the match is correct, the part can be machined before re-heat treatment, then heat treated to the component's original Rockwell hardness (prior to normalizing) and case hardening depth if dealing with a case hardened piece. For selecting niche filler materials on alloys and exotic metals, I turn to Weld Mold Company. One way to know the original hardness is a Rockwell C test before normalizing. Determine the depth of case hardening and adjust the final heat treatment accordingly. In the magazine slideshow video, I show and talk about an 8620 cluster gear repair process. There is much more to say about metal prepping, niche welding filler materials and heat treatment...Looking forward to a dialogue in this subject area, we're just beginning! If you have questions, please share. Moses
  9. Metallurgy and heat treating are a vital part of metal fusing. It is not simply a good bead or welding technique that assures a safe, quality weld. Filler material must match the base metal. Heat treatment is often involved after the machining and finish of alloy metals. Chemistry is a critical part of metal selection and the choice of welding filler materials used with specific alloys. Metallurgy and heat treatment are not abstract processes for manufacturing only. I have repaired obsolete gears with chipped teeth, where the 8620 base metal has been case hardened to 0.035" or so depth at 56 or higher Rockwell C hardness. To repair such a gear requires "normalizing" first to nullify the heat treatment. I have the heat treating shop "normalize" the piece, then the weld repair is made with a specific filler that will fuse with 8620 completely and also heat treat with the same characteristics as 8620 going through heat treatment. After welding, still in a normalized state, the gear is machinable without destroying the tooling. Once machined correctly, the gear can be returned to the heat treater for re-heat treatment. This will be a carburizing process in this case, again with case depth to 0.030" to 0.040" depth, preferably 0.035", with a finished Rockwell C hardness around 60. Does this sound intriguing? It's simply a part of the process when you repair a heat treated, damaged part. TIG, MIG, stick and oxy-acetylene filler materials from a source like Weld Mold Company assure the chemistry that will not only fuse and match the base metal, but also allow the finished product to be heat treated successfully, with uniform results. For insights and sharing of metallurgy strategies and filler rod choices, join this forum and other welders striving for professional results!—Moses Ludel
  10. Welding can be a gratifying vocation or a hobby. Some weld for a living, day in and day out, and I taught adult education level students to value this trade for automotive body, chassis, structural, casting, maintenance and repair work careers. In this forum, the community of professionals and hobbyists can come together and discuss the various aspects of welding and brazing: stick (SMAW), oxy-acetylene (gas), MIG (wire feed or GMAW, solid wire and fluxcore), TIG (tungsten electrode or GTAW) and silver brazing (hard, higher temperature soldering with oxy-acetylene). Fusing metal properly is highly gratifying, the matching of a metal's base and filler materials, heating to the correct molten point, and building a strong, penetrating, properly shaped weld. In this forum, expect skilled welders to share insights with newcomers about welding processes, brazing rods and techniques plus other aspects of safe welding and welding equipment. 4WD Mechanix Magazine covers welding and metallurgy in articles and HD video how-to. I look forward to checking in at this forum!—Moses Ludel This is an oxy-acetylene exercise, welding a cube together with a variety of welding positions. Oxy-acetylene is the foundation for all other welding processes and very similar to TIG in principle. Each of these photos are from my welding tutorial classes and the welding related how-to available in my articles and HD videos at 4WD Mechanix Magazine and HD Video Network.
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