Let’s talk about one of the most popular materials and the first step that a beginner welder must take, therefore, is to learn the correct welding method.
The first objects made of iron date back to over four thousand years ago, and this demonstrates the importance that this material has had in the history and development of civilization. The use of iron is widespread also nowadays for the creation of various objects, from utensils to furnishings and artistic creations.
Learning to weld the iron in order to obtain perfect joints with high durability, therefore, is a fundamental step for all those who have chosen the profession of a locksmith, for DIY enthusiasts and for those who are used to personally providing small home maintenance jobs.
Consequently, iron welding is the first procedure that a beginner must be able to master, not only because of the fundamental importance of this metal but above all because the required equipment is of a basic type since it uses the traditional procedure based on on the use of coated electrodes and any filler rods.
From this point of view, therefore, MMA coated electrode welding systems compete strongly with those intended for the most modern welding procedures, above all thanks to their low cost; the only exception is represented by TIG welding machines sold online which, thanks to their versatility in welding different types of metal alloys, have a similar number of requests if not even higher than that of MMA welding machines, despite the higher price.
Cleaning the metal
The first thing to do when you are preparing to weld the iron, to ensure a quality joint, homogeneous and destined to last over time, is to prepare the pieces to be welded by subjecting them to thorough cleaning.
Unlike steel and aluminum, in fact, iron is much more subject to rapid oxidation; the surfaces of iron sheets and profiles tend to rust very quickly and with a greater degree of penetration. It is useless to remember that if the rust particles end up in the weld pool, they will irreparably compromise the seal of the joint, making it weaker and subject to breakages all the easier the greater the stresses to which it is subjected.
Before welding the pieces, therefore, these must be properly cleaned so as to remove both the surface layer of dirt and rust and the oxide particles that have managed to penetrate deeper into the material; to obtain adequate and effective cleaning, sandpaper, brass brushes or other abrasives are required.
If the surfaces to be welded are small then cleaning can be performed manually, but always scrupulously; for larger surfaces, however, the use of multifunction electric tools or sanders is recommended, in order to speed up the process and make it more effective.
Once you have made sure that you have removed all visible particles of rust, dirt and other foreign particles from the areas to be welded, it is good to complete the work by “washing” the latter with acetone or with a specific product for cleaning the components. electronic.
These substances, in fact, have a low acid content and are able to dissolve all the oxide and dirt particles invisible to the naked eye, which could have remained on the surfaces to be welded. Once the washing has been carried out, obviously, the areas must be carefully dried so as to also remove any residues of the substances used.
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In addition to being well cleaned, the edge of the pieces to be welded together must also be chamfered or angled, depending on the type of joint to be made; the pieces, then, must be put together and locked firmly in position with clamps, so as to make them fit perfectly.
This step is very important as it serves to guarantee continuity and linearity at the joint, and also to avoid the formation of “beads” on the weld bead; the beads, in fact, are nothing more than drops of molten metal that are formed when the electrode is moved inaccurately or at an inconstant speed.
Apart from the obvious imperfection that derives from it, since they make the junction point immediately visible, the beads also represent a risk factor as they create irregular points where dirt and water, or particles of humidity, tend to accumulate with extreme ease by favoring the subsequent oxidation of the joint.
Another risk that derives from an improper movement of the electrode during the welding process, especially on thin sheet metal, is that of piercing the material, ruining the welded pieces and making the work done up to that point vain.
Before dedicating yourself to jobs of a certain importance, therefore, it is good to practice a lot on pieces of sheet metal and recycled profiles, in order to acquire the right dexterity and mastery in the use of the equipment.
Choose the right electrodes
The choice of the type of electrode to be used is another fundamental point to learn how to weld the iron correctly. The electrode is a metal rod that is melted during welding, thus bringing material to the joint; this rod has various types of coating that have different effects, therefore the type to be used varies both according to the type of welding and the intensity of current required to perform it.
On the market there are welding electrodes that differ both on the basis of the diameter of the metal core and on the type of substances used in the coating. Cellulosic electrodes for example, which are characterized by a coating of organic material, are more suitable for welds that require high arc voltages and a high degree of penetration; Furthermore, the position of the pieces to be welded is an additional factor that can influence the choice of electrodes.
The overhead welds, for example, are those where the pieces to be welded are higher than the welder’s head; in this case, the electrodes with a basic coating are usually used since they are able to work with a relatively cold bath.
Before facing an electrode welding, therefore, and in order to obtain the best results, it is necessary to properly document the various types of coated electrodes and their specific applications.