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Tool Talk Discussion Board

How To Weld Cast Iron... Like A Cheapskate

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Posted by Lanse on November 25, 2012 at 21:48:29 from (

Hey guys!!

So, things are going alright for me now... Tomorrow (Monday) is my first day of School at Hobart, looking forward to it :)

Anyways, this is one of my next projects:

Its a broken Chas-Parker vise from a local steel yard. The place is probably three acres, and theres a 12x12 shed of good, clean,new metal. The rest is full of... well... junk. They sell steel by the foot, and although it is expensive, buying it from them saves me the 50ish mile trip to the "other" steel yard. I was there a few weeks back, and found this poor broken vise sitting in a shed(like thing) and brought it home. Figured it would be a fun project if nothing else...

Heres the dilema.. I'm in this thing a whopping $20 (I know, I know, the guy there is a tough negotiator but its got to be worth atleast $10 in scrap lol), and its clearly broken. Its a thick casting, probably an inch in places. Theres no way Im going to spend $100+ on specialty cast electrodes to fill that opening when theres no guarantee it'll even work (even less with me doing the welding), and you can buy a nice Chinese wilton vise thats bigger and probably stronger for $250 anyways. This vise, just isnt worth it.

A buddy of mine grew up welding on a farm, and is of the "screw it, lets do it" mentality. Says he's welded cast with 7018 many times and its almost always held... And I've heard of people using Stainless Steel tig wire, and tigging it. Im told these old vises are quality castings, so they should weld better than some other things, cast wise atleast.

I can understand spending a fortune on Ni rods or something and doing it "right" if its a super rare engine block, or head, or something that lives and livelihoods depend on, but this... isnt. Its like an old beater pickup, sure the "right" fix might cost $1000 but its a $600 truck...

Anyways, I wonder what my best bet here would be.

Im thinking I could grind a nice "V", preheat and 7018 it, then bury it in sand and let it cool slowly. When we learned about 7018 in welding class, our decades old paper thing we were handed mentioned that 7018 could be used for welding cast in some cases, and I've always wanted to try it. Or do the same thing, but replace the 7018 with some 309 stainless tig wire. Its pretty rusty... And Im partial to SMAW, so I think Id rather not go that way...

Look, its not like this is for a customer... Its because... I dont really know why I bought it lol. It'll be fun. If it works, GREAT, if not, the loss of $10 and a few electrodes isnt going to break me.

Who's successfully welded cast with 7018 or stainless wire or the like? I understand cast is always a little bit of a crapshoot, but like I said, Ive never done it.

Ohhh, and another update. I got the new StickWeld wired in, and tried it out for the first time tonight. That thing is SWEET! I'll have a video here soon. Have a nice week, everyone :)


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