Have you ever had your face and neck sunburned or deeply tanned while wearing your welding helmet? It sounds counter-intuitive. The helmet is supposed to protect you. Why isn’t it?
My wife noticed that I was looking deeply tanned after several days of welding. I also had what looked like sunburn on the sides of my neck. In addition, I had a white band at my hair-line which could only have come from the welding helmet since that is where the front part of the head-gear sits on my head. My nose is especially sensitive to sunburn and had been tingling.
Mig welding bronze sculptures is quick and easy, once you learn how. I recently shipped two bronze sculptures (see images on the right) to China, for installation in the new Sheraton South City Hotel in Shenyang (Opening August 18, 2013). Shipping was via a broker in Illinois, Concordia International, though Fed Ex International would also have handled the shipment. It’s easier to use a broker because they keep the paperwork straight. Fed Ex International quoted me prices of about $300 per 80 lb crate, air shipment!
Mig Welding Aluminum Problem – Black Powder Residue
I had a struggle recently trying to solve a mig welding aluminum problem. I do a lot of aluminum mig welding, primarily with 4043 wire and always wonder, what is that black powdery residue on the edges of the weld? Was it soot? If so, where would the carbon be coming from? Was the argon sucking in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (venturi principle) and contaminating the weld?
Custom sculpture is a large part of my metal sculpture business. Custom sculpture can be tricky. You have to watch your dimensions carefully, especially if you are trying to fit into a niche or an exact space on a shelf.
This bronze mobius custom sculpture project was for a designer home in Orlando, FL and shipped in November. I was able to innovate some procedures that worked out well. And the customer was very happy.
We (my intrepid assistant and I) fabricated a very large metal sculpture from aluminum and shipped it in October 2012 to the new Bethesda Hospital in Boynton Beach, Florida. I photographed each of the steps in the metal sculpture fabrication process and share 24 of the photos, with commentary, with you in this article.
Which Stainless Steel to Choose?
- I prefer 304, a low-carbon, austentic stainless steel for stainless steel sculptures. 304 is the primary stainless steel used for sculptures, architecture, manufacturing, etc. 304’s composition provides a better structural advantage and durability over 316, in most cases, as well as being less expensive.
- I am usually planning to weld the stainless steel and choose 304L, the low carbon version of 304. 304 and 304L are both 18-8, i. e. 18% chromium and 8% nickel. 304L has a lower carbon content (.03% maximum) than 304 which minimizes carbide precipitation occuring when welding. Consequently, 304L can be used ‘as welded’ in severe corrosion environments and eliminates the need for annealing the metal
- I usually choose the 2B finish. The 2B finish is a mill finish, which is smooth and not the brushed finish commonly seen on kitchen appliances. I do a lot of shaping, hammering and welding of the metal, which mean I have to repair the surface and create my own finish.
- 316 looks exactly like 304 but has 2-3% molybdenum added for even greater resistance to oxidation and corrosion. 316 is the preferred metal for food preparation, breweries, pharmaceuticals, laboratory use, etc. and any containers or objects that require resistance to extreme environmental conditions such as salt water, halides and acids.
- Occasionally I will use the 201 alloy of stainless steel for non-fountain, indoor sculptures. 201 is 4.5% nickel, 7% manganese and 16.3% chromium – it looks the same as 304 but is less expensive. It has a lower level of chromium and nickel than 304 but more manganese. It’s about 30 percent stronger than 304 but has less corrosion resistant and is more difficult to form and weld than 304.
I bought a Precision Tig 225 from Lincoln Electric in May 2010. It’s worked quite well and replaced my old Square Wave 275 which they said would cost $1000 to repair with only a 1-year guarantee. So it seemed to make sense to spend $2000 and get a 3-year guarantee. Right?