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Welding Titanium and Stainless Steel
Article © MAIL User: mithrilweaver

This article will outline how to weld titanium and stainless steel with a spot welder and inert gas shielding. Here is a list of the equipment I used:

1. A spot welding rig with foot pedal from "The Ring Lord" (designed by Erik Matwe). Price - $550
2. Argon gas cylinder 125 C.F. with argon. Price - $250
3. Argon gas regulator. Price - $100
4. Gas foot pedal. Price - $100
5. Brass "y" connector and argon hoses. Price - $40
6. Variac from "Circuit Specialists." Price - $110
7. Face shield. Price - $20
8. 2 Cloth wrapped Knipex pliers. Price - $30
8. Fan. Price - $20

Total Price for setup - $1220

Pics and descriptions below:

The welding rig designed by Eric Matwe:


The 100% argon gas cylingder. Argon is used in gas welding to protect the molten metal, during a weld, from reacting with oxygen in the air. If inert gas is not used, the welds can still be good, but they tend to be messy and jagged. I purchased a 125 C.F. (cubic feet) tank. Such a large tank is not needed, but will last a long time. Argon is an inert gas that is heavier than air. Is not dangerous, but ventilation is required. If a person inhales straight argon, the argon will displace the air in the lungs and suffocate the person. If a person inhales too much argon, it may be necessary to hang upside down to remove the argon from the lungs. Argon naturally dissipates into the air over time and will not normally hang around in clouds on the floor. It is an odorless clear gas. Argon is found naturally in the air in small quantities and does not pose any dangers to the environment.


The argon gas regulator. This device allows a small amount of argon to leave the cylinder and go through the hoses. The regulator displays the pressure in the cylinder and the amount of gas flowing through the regulator. The right gauge shows psi (pounds/square inch). I discovered though testing, that the flow to the weld works best somewhere around 6 lpm (liters/min). This is displayed in the pic on the left gauge looking at the red numbers). The turn key allows the flow to be more or less.


The foot pedals. The foot pedal on the left controls the argon flow. The foot pedal on the right controls when the weld occurs. A hose runs from the regulator to the gas foot pedal. When the gas foot pedal is pressed, 6 lpm is allowed to flow through a hose that leaves the gas foot pedal. Gas should be allowed to flood the weld site for a second before the weld occurs.


The Argon gas y connector. This splits the argon in two directions so that one hose can deliver argon from above and one hose can deliver argon from below. This is necessary because if argon only flows in one direction the weld will react with oxygen on the opposite side - the result is a half beautiful weld and a half messy weld on the ring. The y connector has turn knobs that let a certain amount of argon through. The hose on the bottom tends to need more flow than the hose on top due to gravity pulling the argon down as it comes out of the hose in small quantities.


The variac. This allows a certain voltage to flow to the spot welder. Most electricity that comes out of the socket is between 90 and 110 volts. If you are doing welds with varying voltage throughout the day, you will end up with some good welds and some bad. The variac allows welds to be consistent every time.


The face sheild. Safety is very important. There are many things that can go wrong with a weld, it is very important that your body and face are protected. Heavy clothing is all that is needed for the body. A face shield allows you to see what you are doing and be protected at the same time.


The cloth wrapped pliers. These allow you to weld in comfort and safety. Holding the pliers to the welder all day can kill the hands. Also, electricity and high heat are very close to your hands. The cloth insures that electricity or heat doesn't jump through the pliers to your hands. Gloves should also be used when welding. I chose not to wear gloves, but it is my risk to take.


Ventilation. A fan is useful for moving air around, so argon doesn't pool or collect. Keeping good ventilation is a must.


The results. This is a titanium ring that was welded with my new inert gas welding setup. I'm very happy with the results.


Discoloring. Because of the high heat involved in welding, there will likely be discoloration on your rings where the weld takes place. this is something that tumbles away or cleans up without much problem. The big advantage to inert gas welding is that the welds are smooth - discoloration happens with or without inert gas shielding.


Issues. There are a lot of variables in welding. It can be daunting to figure out why a weld is not working. Sometimes the duration of the weld is too long and the weld falls out. This is what a ring looks like when the duration of the weld is too long.


Other issues include: inefficient argon coverage, not enough or too little pressure against the electrodes, not enough or too little voltage coming from the variac. Closure of the rings is important too. It is best to use saw cut rings when welding. Unlike when we are weaving, we do not want to have the butted ends pushing together when we bring the ring to the electrodes. There should be a small space the size of the blade kerf when we bring the ring to the electrodes. Then, by pushing the ring against the electrodes, the gap is closed and the weld can be executed. When the butted ends are pushed to hard against each other, the weld is messy and overflows.

I hope this information helps. Please feel free to contact me with any questions. Here are two links to videos that show the welding process:

-The Mithril Weaver
aka: Josh
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