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Tool Talk Discussion Forum

Stick Welded some Cast Iron the RIGHT way...

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Lanse

03-18-2013 11:00:50




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Goodafternoon, everyone!!

So, here's my latest repair... Its a Cast Iron bench vise I'm fixing up for a buddy of mine...

When the thing showed up, the front jaw was cleanly broken from the slide, and I knew it had seen some better days...

So, a quick spark test determined it was probably gray cast iron, possibly white cast, but either way I knew it was, ideally, a job for Nickel Electrodes.

I'd used 7018 with success before, but since this wasn't my vise I didn't want to take a chance on it. I spent $30 on a pack of 10 Nickel-99 Electrodes from Tractor Supply, and after realizing they were only 12" long instead of the usual 14, I got to work.

I quickly discovered that the instructions were useless and it took almost twice the "recommended" amperage to put down a half decent weld, but got setup to run them at 95 amps on A/C...

After lighting up the rosebud and preheating the daylights out of the casting, I started welding, peening, welding some more and hopeing for the best...

I then buried the part in sand, and HOURS (literally) later it was cool enough to touch, and then I torture-tested the finished repair. I'm very happy with how this turned out, I got to run some nickel electrodes, and had another successful cast iron repair...

Quick question: Does anyone know how those cheaper "Normacast" electrodes compare to the nickel rods? I see they're quite a bit cheaper and I want to try them out, too. Just wondering if anyone has any experience with them...

Anyway, I just thought I'd stop in and share this video with y'all... It was really fun to make, and I hope you guys enjoy it :)

Have a great week, everyone!! Audio/Video clip:video1

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forty40

03-22-2013 16:39:44




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 Re: Stick Welded some Cast Iron the RIGHT way... in reply to Lanse, 03-18-2013 11:00:50  
SMAW, stick welding, is not the best method for cast iron welded repair. Stick welded repairs have some success in static situations, but in a dynamic or pressure containing application it could in fact can cause serious equipment or personnel injury.
Cast iron, nominally with 2% - 4% carbon, will produce a martensitic structure during the cooling portion of a SMAW repair – 100% of the time. Martensite is an extremely hard, brittle, microstructure immediately adjacent to the weld. This zone is particularly susceptible to cracking, no matter what the filler metal, preheat, or intermediate action such as peening, this hardened zone will never be annealed.
Welders have come up with practical means such as preheating, backstepping, peening, and slow cooling to minimize the martensitic hardened zone, but it will always be present and is extremely crack sensitive.
This doesn’t mean cast iron can’t be successfully welded where life and limb are not jeopardized, but in all cases where there is dynamic loading or safety of personnel is at stake, cast iron should never be welded.
Many years ago, we evaluated a number of “specialty” cast iron stick electrodes such as Eutectic, Cor-in-Nor and others. Basically, these electrodes are just an expensive version of commercially available austenitic welding rod such as E310-15, E309-16 or similar to Inconel with slightly altered Ni, Mo, and Mn and extra low carbon. A welder can usually do just as well with standard 309 stainless rod, AWS CI-55 (55% Ni), or the more expensive CI-99 (99% Ni).
Incidentally, peening does not relieve stresses. Peening, when it works, introduces compressive surface stresses to the weld. It is simply a means to counteract shrinkage tensile stresses introduced by weld solidification, a natural consequence of any welding process. Peening, when used, should always be performed with a blunted round nosed tool. Sharp edges introduce severe stress risers, which also are crack sensitive
Mechanical metal linking works in many situations for cast iron repair and there are companies specializing in this method. The average mechanic can also make mechanical repairs with kits available from outfits such as Goodson Supply.

If cast iron must be welded for things like cylinder head modification there are welders specializing in oxy/fuel gas welding with a high percentage of success. I have a welder that makes small groove welds, filling the water jacket opening next to the combustion chamber in Vortec heads, with no leaks or cracks. The only noticeable discontinuity is porosity near the ends, but the machined finish and hardness are not discernable. Drag racers routinely have ports brazed or welded to correct the profile and maximize port efficiency. The drawback…it ain’t cheap.
Infrared temperature monitoring instruments are not at all accurate for welding. Infrared devices depend on surface emissivity, continually changing during the welding cycle, which render the readings off-by-a-country-mile. The only accurate means for monitoring weld surface temperature are temperature indicating crayons (Tempil sticks) or contact pyrometers.

This note is not written to castigate or minimize the success of stick welded cast iron repairs. However, as a welding engineer for the past 40 years, I wouldn’t want anyone to have false expectations or have someone’s personal safety endangered with unrealistic expectations for SMAW repairs on cast iron.

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bobpa

03-19-2013 18:29:29




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 Re: Stick Welded some Cast Iron the RIGHT way... in reply to Lanse, 03-18-2013 11:00:50  
Nice video Lanse. Was just wondering if your Kobalt airhammer would be better if you ground a blunt tip on the end for peening?



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sflem849

03-19-2013 06:20:43




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 Re: Stick Welded some Cast Iron the RIGHT way... in reply to Lanse, 03-18-2013 11:00:50  
Wouldn't the "right way" be with an oven rather than a rosebud so you had an even, accurate preheating?



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George Marsh

03-19-2013 12:31:37




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 Re: Stick Welded some Cast Iron the RIGHT way... in reply to sflem849, 03-19-2013 06:20:43  
I question how the vise was made and yes where, china. The cast iron part of my vise didn't break, it was the round metal, about 2 inches in diameter and about 1/4 inch thick. The round metal was brittle and broke, not the cast. There was no signs of where the round part was welded to the cast. So going out on a limb, is it possible the two parts were heat fitted? The cast heated and the round part cooled. So did the heat from the cast make the round part brittle? Or did they use the wrong metal to make the round part?

In my case, I cranked the amps up and on the first pass blew back the cast and welded the broken round part to the press fitted round part.

So, I'm guessing there is a flaw in the manufacturing process and not so much what rod and heat process you should use to fix it. Nothing is going to fix the brittle round part of the vise, except replacing it with a new vise.

George

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george md

03-18-2013 21:00:06




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 Re: Stick Welded some Cast Iron the RIGHT way... in reply to Lanse, 03-18-2013 11:00:50  
Lanse,

Before you get too proud of yourself calling arc weld the right way , you need to read the four pages in the link below. It is a cram course in cast iron welding , that would normally take you a number of years to learn by doing.

george



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Stick welding

03-18-2013 21:18:05




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 Re: Stick Welded some Cast Iron the RIGHT way... in reply to george md, 03-18-2013 21:00:06  
That is a biased article despite what it says. O/A welding, brazing or spray welding may be the best methods of repair but there have been thousands of successful cast iron repairs using arc welding. There are also numerous suppliers of rods especially for cast iron repair. I don't think Lanse said it was the right way or the wrong way but his repair held and it's hard to argue with that.



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welding man

03-19-2013 09:49:42




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 Re: Stick Welded some Cast Iron the RIGHT way... in reply to Stick welding, 03-18-2013 21:18:05  
I have probably repaired as much cast in the last 35 years as anyone on this forum. I have arc welded it-brazed it- OA welded it and metal stitched it and every process will work. Some are better than others on a given application. My problem with cast is, any way you repair it is expensive. Some of the electrode is well over 50.00 a pound not counting gasses for preheat and post heat and labor. It is pretty hard to repair a $29.95 Chinese vice for someone and charge him $150.00 to repair it.

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Stick welding

03-19-2013 11:18:18




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 Re: Stick Welded some Cast Iron the RIGHT way... in reply to welding man, 03-19-2013 09:49:42  
I agree with that. Nickel rod is through the roof expensive! I was just pointing out that it can be successfully repaired using arc welding. Some people claim MIG with standard S-6 wire will work on some cast ron repairs.



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Puddles

03-19-2013 12:45:57




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 Re: Stick Welded some Cast Iron the RIGHT way... in reply to Stick welding, 03-19-2013 11:18:18  
A guy on Welding Web posted this a few years ago.

I do a lot of cast iron repairs with 100% success so far. Last year, after several months of research, I found information on a couple websites & mostly in an old Lincoln Welding book. The process is called "Cold Welding Cast Iron With MIG". I practiced several weeks on broken cast iron parts & broken/cracked manifolds my bro' gave me to get my technique down pat. It has worked with superb results.

I use MIG, 309/309L .030 wire, 98/2(AR/CO2) @15cfh & generally in the 80A range. You can use any gas with a mix of no more than 5% CO2 (ex:95/5). The 309 wire has a carbon content of .01 & works best. The idea is to keep the temperature cool by running short beads <1" & allowing the joint to cool before continuing. After running the short bead, you can take your glove off & lay your hand on the metal & will feel only warm to the touch. Since your pieces are not large, I would suggest shorter 1/2" beads & allow each weld to cool back to room temp before continuing.

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welding man

03-19-2013 14:46:14




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 Re: Stick Welded some Cast Iron the RIGHT way... in reply to Puddles, 03-19-2013 12:45:57  
I have not tried that process,Puddles and would not dispute it in any way, but it will still cost $75.00 to repair that 29.95 vice.



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Puddles

03-19-2013 15:03:49




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 Re: Stick Welded some Cast Iron the RIGHT way... in reply to welding man, 03-19-2013 14:46:14  
Oh Welding man I agree with you 1000%! :wink:
I think Lanse does a lot of this for the challenge, and the learning experience. You or I would have pitched that vice in the scrap bin in New York second! :lol:



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smallercrawler

03-19-2013 07:38:50




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 Re: Stick Welded some Cast Iron the RIGHT way... in reply to Stick welding, 03-18-2013 21:18:05  
Not a welder and no dog in this discussion, but do have a couple of observations: 1. Worked in a large internationally known gray iron foundry years ago that cast machine tool bases (lathes/mills/shapers/etc.) weighing into the multiple tons in size. Some were so big that the bottom half of the mold (cope/drag??) was actually set into a pit in the floor. After knockout and cleanup, the castings were inspected for flaws/voids/improper knit lines/general integrity. Both structural and cosmetic defects were repaired using OA and rough sticks of metal from that pour. Of course either ovens or large spot burners were used in the repair, along with proper cooling rates depending on the casting size. The repair guys were the specialists and IIRC recieved higher wages, as a proper repair would save the cost of a re-pour.
2. I think Lanse did title his post "...the RIGHT way" (his capitalization).

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george md

03-18-2013 21:28:57




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 Re: Stick Welded some Cast Iron the RIGHT way... in reply to Stick welding, 03-18-2013 21:18:05  
Arc always leaves a hard zone next to the weld and without normalizing it will remain brittle.

Article is not as much biased as it is accurate. Having o/a welded cast for the last 30 years ,I can assure you that it is more accurate than the rod suppliers trying to peddle their wares.



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Stick welding

03-18-2013 22:25:31




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 Re: Stick Welded some Cast Iron the RIGHT way... in reply to george md, 03-18-2013 21:28:57  
A lot of advances have been made in cast iron welding in the last 30 years as well. It would be interesting to hear someone like Eutectic Castolins take on cast iron repair with arc welding.



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trap4570

03-19-2013 08:05:26




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 Re: Stick Welded some Cast Iron the RIGHT way... in reply to Stick welding, 03-18-2013 22:25:31  
A friend had an old Massey with a water cracked block. I did some searching and came across a product called 'Castaloy' that made the repair really easy. It can be bought in less than a pound quantities and came with the flux. It takes a little more heat than a butane torch, but not much. It was just like soldering and sealed the crack perfectly. It's not intended for repairs to high stress areas but works great on cracks. I did the repair four years ago and no leaks. It was far easier than lacing the block with sintered iron bolts and a lot cheaper than using nickel rod and a lot of heat. I've also used the steelaloy and alumaloy for repairs to other stuff. I found the product on Ebay

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showcrop

03-18-2013 18:50:31




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 Re: Stick Welded some Cast Iron the RIGHT way... in reply to Lanse, 03-18-2013 11:00:50  
Thanks Lanse, I have long wanted to know about welding cast.



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George Marsh

03-18-2013 18:15:04




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 Re: Stick Welded some Cast Iron the RIGHT way... in reply to Lanse, 03-18-2013 11:00:50  
Lance,
Is the vise you are repairing the one sold by HF for about $70? A friend gave me one that looks like yours. It came from HF. It was broken in exactly the same place.

I'm not a formally trained welder, but I did stay once at the Holliday Inn express once. That's suppose to make you smarter, but I don't think it helped me.

That said, I took the broken vice apart, used wire brush on grinder and cleaned the broken parts. Put vice back together so the pieces fit perfectly. Then I spot welded it with a 6011 3/32 rod and 90 amps to burn it in. Took it apart and made about 4 passes. The round metal shaft looked like it was pressed in the jaws, not welded. So I used a little more heat to burn it in. Seems to be holding. Only cost me a few rods. I'm sure someone will give me a toung lashing for using a 6011 rod and not doing it the right way, but it worked. Vise was going to the recycler before I welded it. The guy didn't want his vice back, so I have an extra one.

Don't you find it odd that 2 vises broke in exactly the same place?

I'll post back when my weld breaks.

George

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36 coupe

03-18-2013 15:48:21




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 Re: Stick Welded some Cast Iron the RIGHT way... in reply to Lanse, 03-18-2013 11:00:50  
An old gas grill works well for heating cast parts and slow cool down.I dont mess with cast iron any more, used to bury the welded part in lime.I used stainless rod with good results.I bought a lot of stainless on Ebay for 2.00 delivered.



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Lanse

03-18-2013 11:11:48




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 Re: Stick Welded some Cast Iron the RIGHT way... in reply to Lanse, 03-18-2013 11:00:50  
Ohhhhh, and one other thing... I know someone asked me about school in another post, and I ment to reply to it, but I guess I never did :/

It's going great!! I really enjoy it. As you all know, I'm attending the Hobart School of Welding, for their 9 month structural and pipe course. So far I've made it through blueprint, O/A welding, Basic and Advanced Stick... Right now we're in our first pipe class, which teaches 2G and 5G on 6" Schedule 80 pipe... We took our first test last week, and I was one of VERY few in the class (like, 2 in 3 students failed it), to pass our 2G test with flying colors...

So now we're working on 5G... And I really like it. I have a ways to go, but I'm making progress... After this week, is 6G :)

Right now its all SMAW, but we also have classes with a TIG root and 7018 all the way out, and some MIG pipe as well...

Just thought I'd add all that in, haha... Hope that answers your questions :)

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Stan - Florida

03-21-2013 18:38:11




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 Re: Stick Welded some Cast Iron the RIGHT way... in reply to Lanse, 03-18-2013 11:11:48  
Lanse,

I posted over on Tractor Talk asking where you were, and several kind folks sent me over here.

I miss your adventures over on the Tractor Talk board, but glad you're still around and doing well.

Stan



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Stick welding

03-19-2013 16:03:21




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 Re: Stick Welded some Cast Iron the RIGHT way... in reply to Lanse, 03-18-2013 11:11:48  
It's great that you're finally realizing why there's money to be made welding pipe. When x-rays or bend tests are involved, there's not a lot of room for error. Some will claim you can have a minor flaw but most shops and/or inspectors won't allow any flaws. Nuclear specs. don't allow repairs. You have to cut the weld right out and redo the whole thing.



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Dalex

03-18-2013 17:21:25




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 Re: Stick Welded some Cast Iron the RIGHT way... in reply to Lanse, 03-18-2013 11:11:48  
Interesting ...



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Puddles

03-18-2013 14:03:57




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 Re: Stick Welded some Cast Iron the RIGHT way... in reply to Lanse, 03-18-2013 11:11:48  
I would have put a 6-feet long piece of 1-inch pipe on that vice handle! :lol:
You need to get a infrared thermometer for your preheating needs.
With SMAW, personally I think 6-G is easier than 5-G. With GTAW 5-G is a lot easier than 6-G! 6-G you have to know how to weld with both hands. :wink:



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george md

03-18-2013 21:20:21




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 Re: Stick Welded some Cast Iron the RIGHT way... in reply to Puddles, 03-18-2013 14:03:57  
Puddles,

I agree with the infra red gun, I got an extended range one that reads to 1800, need it when doing the normalizing as it needs to be 1500 for 15 minutes. Too hot to put fingers in to use temple sticks.

george



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Stick welding

03-18-2013 21:06:04




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 Re: Stick Welded some Cast Iron the RIGHT way... in reply to Puddles, 03-18-2013 14:03:57  
I've heard that the infrared thermometers aren't always accurate and tempilsticks are more accurate for preheating purposes.



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Puddles

03-19-2013 02:39:22




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 Re: Stick Welded some Cast Iron the RIGHT way... in reply to Stick welding, 03-18-2013 21:06:04  
Stick welding I have wondered how accurate the infrared thermometers are, don't see a lot of talk about them. I know they get real expensive, especially the temperature rage George is talking about! Temp sticks are a lot cheaper.
http://www.dualwelding.com/?page=store&item_no=222



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sheiserman

03-19-2013 16:16:35




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 Re: Stick Welded some Cast Iron the RIGHT way... in reply to Puddles, 03-19-2013 02:39:22  
We used a Type K thermocouple set-up in the past with a Fluke gun. The thermocouple and wand were as much as the gun it connected to. I forget the brand we use now, but much cheaper. Rather than paying to have it calibrated annually, toss it and buy another one.

For what it's worth, we aren't allowed to use infrared guns for heat treating purposes. I don't know if an infrared gun can be calibrated or not. Even the stop watches used have to be calibrated annually.

These same engineers (materials engineers) have stated for the record cast iron is a non-weldable material. I'm sure it's for liability purposes, but there it is.

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Stick welding

03-19-2013 18:58:43




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 Re: Stick Welded some Cast Iron the RIGHT way... in reply to sheiserman, 03-19-2013 16:16:35  
Thanks for posting that. It's always nice when there's evidence to back up something you've heard.



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sheiserman

03-20-2013 18:08:42




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 Re: Stick Welded some Cast Iron the RIGHT way... in reply to Stick welding, 03-19-2013 18:58:43  
Wish I could provide a little more information, but the reason we can"t use infrared has to do with a lack of control with the reflection of the beam. That"s as far as I can go with it.

Whenever we pre/post heat or stress relieve, we have to collect and store the data, and graph the process from start to finish. That can be accomplished easily with thermocouple connections.

I"ll bet a dollar we can get a vise up to 1200 + degrees in under a minute and prove it with some old school Miller powered induction heaters. Scary how fast that system is.

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Green Porsche

03-18-2013 12:28:52




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 Re: Stick Welded some Cast Iron the RIGHT way... in reply to Lanse, 03-18-2013 11:11:48  
Way to GO Lanse...!!

I'm glad you choose Hobart School of Welding !!

I told you when you were looking that my father went there !!



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