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Author: Subject: Welding safety advice
SteveWallace

posted on 1/9/17 at 08:35 AM Reply With Quote
Welding safety advice

I'm finally about to get around to learning to MIG weld. Most of what I'll be doing is thin sheet (1 - 1.2mm) that will not form structural components as its mostly mild steel skinning of the wood frame on my MG TC.

I've been looking at various instruction videos on Youtube and elsewhere and I'm ready to go. I have good gauntlets and a decent auto-darkening mask, but some of the videos give dire warnings about being hit by molten metal and it going through your clothes and flesh like blood from an Alien. Others suggest that everything that's flammable within a 10m radius will burst into flames.

I know that I need all of my skin covered because of the UV, but aside from gauntlets and mask, do I really need to dress in a leather apron like an axe murderer/blacksmith and empty my garage of everything flammable?

BTW, I also have a small fire extinguisher to hand.





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David Jenkins

posted on 1/9/17 at 08:53 AM Reply With Quote
I usually wear substantial overalls, good welding gauntlets, mask, and good boots (they are proper toecap ones, but I bought them because they were cheap - no VAT). I do wear a leather apron, but that was cheap enough. The apron is also very useful when angle-grinding, as it means that the sparks can't set my groin on fire! In addition, occasionally I use a wire cup brush in the angle grinder which can throw off lengths of steel wire into my legs - the apron's good for preventing that as well.

You can weld with a lot less protection, but it's nice to know that you can concentrate on what you're doing in the sure knowledge that you're not going to set fire to yourself.

As for your surroundings - welding can throw off sparks, but they don't go far before they're cool enough to be safe. Just make sure that all paper, oily rags and similar stuff is cleared from the area you're working in. If you have to weld really close to something inflammable, just put a board in the way - hardboard, MDF, anything like that - just to knock the sparks down to the ground so that they can cool safely.





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richardm6994

posted on 1/9/17 at 09:07 AM Reply With Quote
The only time molten metal has ever properly got me was when I was sat down tig welding and blew through and the pool landed on the top of my thigh.....very painful indeed.
That said, I don't bother wearing a leather aprons, I'm just mindful of where my body will be if a weld pool was to drop through again.

Weld spatter going down your boots will happen and get you hopping around the workshop, but nowt serious has ever come of that for me.

In terms of the flammable stuff. I generally stick to 2 rules.
1) make sure nothing flammable is within about 6ft of were I'm welding.

2) I make sure any welding is complete at least 40mins before I lock-up for the night. I had a instance some years ago where some weld spatter had started smoldering in some cardboard that I forgot was under my car as a drip tray - I very nearly didn't notice this smouldering and locked up for the night - god knows how bad that would have turned out if I hadn't of noticed the smouldering!
My theory now is that I'm still working for at least 40 mins after finishing welding, therefore if anything does decide to smoulder, I will spot / smell it during this end 40 mins after all the weld smoke/smell has cleared.

[Edited on 1/9/17 by richardm6994]






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nick205

posted on 1/9/17 at 09:39 AM Reply With Quote
I've MIG'd at home a few times. Like you I have gauntlets and an auto-darkening mask.

With some common sense (move flammable materials clear of your work space etc) I've not suffered any issues.

As above making sure you stop welding 1/2 hr before you pack up for the day/night is a good thing. Allows materials time to cool etc.

I burnt my hand once trying to pick up a work piece - keep your gauntlets on!

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24vseven

posted on 1/9/17 at 10:40 AM Reply With Quote
ok laying myself open to criticism here but,
I dont use aprons or safety shoes and yes i do get sparks on my skin and there uncomfortable but no more than that however if you get a molten ball of metal of any size find its way to your skin yes it hurts (and if you try it try your hardest not to flinch as it burns twice)
thats my experence of course not the correct way.

regarding things bursting into flames its common sense and remeber sparks melt into glass and plastic same as a grinder

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David Jenkins

posted on 1/9/17 at 11:21 AM Reply With Quote
I re-read what I wrote, and 'proper boots' sounds very grand, but it was simply the case of me needing some decent boots for working in the garden and a local hardware shop had some on offer. Cost me around 15 and they get used everywhere. Having boots with the ends of overalls over the top means that I've never got spatter inside my boots. I have managed to get a blob of molten solder inside my shoes, but that's a different story...

I have been caught with weld spatter in the past and, almost always, it was when I'd said "Oh, I can't be bothered to put all the kit back on just for 20mm of weld". The same has happened when I've done some grinding; done a heap of grinding with all the proper gear on - gloves, eye protection, etc - then after clearing up I've seen that I'd missed a bit. Couldn't be bothered to kit up again, so grabbed the grinder... and managed to take a few layers of skin of a finger (could have been much worse).





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MikeR

posted on 1/9/17 at 11:59 AM Reply With Quote
I wear gloves (usually welding gloves but occasionally just normal thick work gloves) and a mask. If i'm doing a lot / i remember i wear an apron. I got the apron from Aldi after welding for about 10 years.... and setting fire to myself a few times with the grinding before / after the welding. NB if you have something in a vice and start grinding you're likely to have the sparks heading to your groin. Having your groin on fire isn't great as you've got the choice of burning of using your gloved hand to smack out the flames - it hurts what ever you do!

I've often danced around the garage when some splatter burns through my trainers. You quickly learn by the time you've got your trainer off its cooled down so you just do the dance like an idiot.

I keep my arms covered with something to protect from the radiation / stop sunburn. I've got a lovely blue rugby style top with hundreds of little holes from weld splatter.

As for the garage - the splatter / sparks quickly lose heat so you just need to be sensible. I try to make sure i weld in the middle of the garage away from things and make sure i tidy up afterwards. The time taken to tidy up means i figure out if i have a problem. NB if your neighbours are having a bbq it can be damned difficult to figure out if the smell is cause your garage is on fire or them (that was a scary hour).

In the garage i've got a fire extingisher by the exit and the opposite wall, and small washing up bottles of water dotted around. The assumption is if i see something small i can put it out quickly without using the fire extinguisher. Once found some burning paper i hadn't noticed when welding or tidying up.

If i am welding and remember i try to ensure i've got a clear route to the exit.

Perhaps i'm just a bad welder

Oh and don't forget, once its stopped glowing red its still HOT!!!!

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richardm6994

posted on 1/9/17 at 12:09 PM Reply With Quote
Just to add a little side note..........Deerskin welding gloves are incredible, I wished I had bought them years ago! Light and flexible so you can feel what you're doing (especially TIG) and just as good at resisting heat as normal welding gloves.






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ianhurley20

posted on 1/9/17 at 12:10 PM Reply With Quote
I've set myself on fire a few times so I have learnt to wear more protection. Minimum is gauntlets apron and steel toecap boots with a washing up liquid bottle filled with water - cools things down and does not waste fire extinguishers and can be useful to cool bits of yourself down if needed. I also have a leather welding jacket with I tend to use with the angry grinder as that has caused more problems than welding has.

It is surprising how far sparks can go so always be mindful of that as well.





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bonzoronnie

posted on 1/9/17 at 12:30 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by richardm6994
Just to add a little side note..........Deerskin welding gloves are incredible, I wished I had bought them years ago! Light and flexible so you can feel what you're doing (especially TIG) and just as good at resisting heat as normal welding gloves.


I also choose to wear tig welding gloves for mig welding sheet steel.
Lot more comfortable to hold & manipulate your mig torch.
Just remember not to handle freshly welded parts, tig gloves do not provide the same heat barrier as heavy leather gauntlets.

Heavy cotton boiler suit for me, proper brass zip.
Rigger boots ( Cheapos from screwfix )
Boiler suit over the top of the boots, saves the hot spark dance routine.

Earplugs are a must if overhead welding, not very nice having a bit of splatter fizzing in your ear.

If your weld settings are correct, there will be minimum splatter on sheet metal.

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907

posted on 1/9/17 at 01:13 PM Reply With Quote
As a professional welder I always dress with safety in mind.

Description
Description




Or you could just wear a thick cotton shirt (rugby type) and jeans.

If your tacking thin sheet over an ash frame your not gonna be underneath.

Paul G





The one and only member of the Suttol Owners Club. Now also the MX5 Owners Club. A few more in that one.

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jps

posted on 1/9/17 at 02:02 PM Reply With Quote
Nothing more to add than the advice above - personally I don't wear a welding glove on the hand moving the gun - but that is only for feel. I have a boiler suit handed down from somewhere which soaks up the sparks no problem - main issue is getting hot with it on - but it beats melting your skin or clothes.

I do also have the aforementioned t-shirt made of holes - in my case it was angle grinding that did it before I knew better. I have taken to angle grinding in a corner of the garden when I can - up against the back of the garage wall and the garden fence - but still managed to set the lawn on fire the other day thanks to the sparks...

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David Jenkins

posted on 1/9/17 at 03:23 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 907
As a professional welder I always dress with safety in mind.

Description
Description




Or you could just wear a thick cotton shirt (rugby type) and jeans.

If your tacking thin sheet over an ash frame your not gonna be underneath.

Paul G


You came to mind when I wrote my comments! I think the difference is that, with your years of experience, you get far less spatter than us mere mortals. Also you use TIG a lot, which also means a lot less metal flying around (hopefully none).

It's amateurs like me who get the settings wrong and send showers of sparks flying everywhere!





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loggyboy

posted on 1/9/17 at 03:32 PM Reply With Quote
Rather than bottles of water, I keep a hose with a gun nearby, primed and ready. Damp cloth/towel is always handy too.






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adithorp

posted on 1/9/17 at 03:34 PM Reply With Quote
Only things I'd add are..

Use sods law to your advantage and swap that small extinguisher for a huge one; That way you'll never need it.

A cheap plant sprayer filled with water will put out most small fires that you might inadvertently start and no clean up required.

Do up the neck and cuffs on whatever you're wearing and put trousers over rather than into boots. Fleece will NOT stop sparks; It won't even slow them down. Old school engineers overalls are best (they're treated with fire retardant, thats why they smell odd). Personally I prefer poppers to zips having suffered with a zip that had got "a bit warm".





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907

posted on 1/9/17 at 03:43 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by adithorp
Only things I'd add are..

Use sods law to your advantage and swap that small extinguisher for a huge one; That way you'll never need it.

A cheap plant sprayer filled with water will put out most small fires that you might inadvertently start and no clean up required.

Do up the neck and cuffs on whatever you're wearing and put trousers over rather than into boots. Fleece will NOT stop sparks; It won't even slow them down. Old school engineers overalls are best (they're treated with fire retardant, thats why they smell odd). Personally I prefer poppers to zips having suffered with a zip that had got "a bit warm".




Yup. Zips never made good earth leads.





The one and only member of the Suttol Owners Club. Now also the MX5 Owners Club. A few more in that one.

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907

posted on 1/9/17 at 03:46 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by loggyboy
Rather than bottles of water, I keep a hose with a gun nearby, primed and ready. Damp cloth/towel is always handy too.




Used to know a coded welder that kept a gun nearby.

He said he would shoot himself if he ever had an X-ray fail.



He's dead now.





The one and only member of the Suttol Owners Club. Now also the MX5 Owners Club. A few more in that one.

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907

posted on 1/9/17 at 03:53 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by David Jenkins
quote:
Originally posted by 907
As a professional welder I always dress with safety in mind.

Description
Description




Or you could just wear a thick cotton shirt (rugby type) and jeans.

If your tacking thin sheet over an ash frame your not gonna be underneath.

Paul G


You came to mind when I wrote my comments! I think the difference is that, with your years of experience, you get far less spatter than us mere mortals. Also you use TIG a lot, which also means a lot less metal flying around (hopefully none).

It's amateurs like me who get the settings wrong and send showers of sparks flying everywhere!





I've had my fair share of mishaps.

I set the band saw on fire once.
It had been used to cut unobtainium and the tray was full of swarf. Like wire wool it was.

A few sparks from a 7" grinder later and the glow was like a nuclear bomb.





The one and only member of the Suttol Owners Club. Now also the MX5 Owners Club. A few more in that one.

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coozer

posted on 1/9/17 at 04:18 PM Reply With Quote
Arms covered due to weld burn, gloves and trainers I can kick off quick..

Tend to lean away from the arc so any spatter doesnt hit me..

Getting the wire and power settings right minimises the amount of spatter as well...





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jacko

posted on 1/9/17 at 05:56 PM Reply With Quote
as above helmet gauntlets and fire retardant overhauls and over head welding a welders cap.

Just a little tip if you are welding against a wood frame screw a band of thin steel to the wood under the panel joints it stops wood fumes and you get better welds

https://www.pebble.co.uk/search?q=welders+caps&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=%2BWelders%20%2BCaps&matchtype=e&bitmatchty pe=bb&utm_content=78477671560262&device=c&utm_campaign=171517504&adgroupid=42

jacko

[Edited on 1/9/17 by jacko]

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bart

posted on 1/9/17 at 06:31 PM Reply With Quote
cotton overalls rather than flammable cheap ones
welders don't use lace up boots , hot blobs always find the gaps
put your overall legs over the top of the boots that way hot bits wont go down the boot
good gloves and a cap , always where it backwards its the law ( also stops it going down your neck )

having said all that with what your doing , sweat shirt and jeans and a good pair of shoes will do. but gloves are a good thing .
practice on scrap first in the same attitude as you will be welding , if its blobbing your settings are wrong.

and always keep a fire extinguisher close and as others have said last weld 40 to 60 minutes before you lock up.

ive seen welders laying down 400 amp welds with barley a spark coming off and the welds singing a tune . all comes down to your settings and prep. also use welding gas not co2 , and make sure your weld wire is not rusty .

one last thing don't start with down hand welds , try to position so its either flat or horizontal . push over is I think easier than pull welding for a beginner and helps with burn through on thinner stuff

good luck hope all goes well.

just remember you will also see on youtube . Asian welders welding in a string vest , shorts and flip flops ,and a piece of glass to look through , so it cant be that bad





BE ALERT > BRITAIN NEEDS LERTS

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David Jenkins

posted on 1/9/17 at 08:28 PM Reply With Quote
We've probably scared Steve off now...





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