Saturday, December 5, 2015

Gloopy blobs

Today being Saturday I rushed off into Red Bank to get some welding gauntlets and a welding helmet. Lowe's (hiss, spit) wanted $80 for welding helmets. Walmart wanted $30. No prizes for guessing who got my money!

Arriving home, I set up with the welder, put in a 6013 welding rod, attached the power cable to my newly installed power socket, attached the earth clamp to a piece of steel conduit and tried welding. There was a loud pop and a spark and that was that. Nothing I could do would make it work. I changed rods. There was a pop and that was that.

Feeling disheartened and wondering whether I would have to return to Harbor Freight with the words "it doesn't work", I slipped a 6011 welding rod in and tried again. This time it worked. I managed to tack the two pieces of conduit together although I did burn a hole in the conduit in the process.

Next I started welding the battery cage. My welding improved slowly though there's quite a way left to go! My welds all stood up to bashing with a hammer so I'm assuming that they're vaguely OK as welds. Of course I still have to weld the other side of the steel too.

Some of my first welds were quite gloopy blobs. Some were better though.

Perhaps my biggest problems were the rod sticking to the steel and my helmet visor dropping down when I was trying to do things that didn't need eye protection. The visor was pretty dark so the only place I could actually see the work was in bright sunlight. I also found the burning zinc fumes rather hard on my lungs but at least zinc is non toxic. I did look for a respirator but Walmarts shelves were empty. Although I did my best, covering up against sparks and UV from the welder, I did briefly see the arc a few times before dropping the visor but not long enough to cause damage.

Trying to free a stuck rod often led to charred tracks on surfaces I didn't want to weld. I'm thinking I should perhaps have the rod at a much more severe angle.

Thinking about the 6013 rods and a couple of the 6011 rods that also didn't work, I tapped the very ends with a hammer. The coating flaked off and voila, they worked well.

Meanwhile, I had a letter from the no hopers at Dish Network sent me a letter. Apparently they seem to think I can put a satellite dish on my bus. Then there's all the power that a dish and a TV would guzzle!

Now who in their right mind would want TV in a motorhome? Most with motorhomes are using them to get away from it all, not to remain hooked up and servile!

Now one of the interesting things is that I read a lot online about people failing to get an arc with this welder. I've also read stories of people failing to get rods to work. Clearly I've experienced all these but I persevered and achieved success. It goes back to what I've been saying for a while - too many people give up at the first sign of a problem and don't persevere at anything.

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