Dont forget the sunblock

May 25th, 2012

With the British summer finally upon  us (well just for now anyway), and us all involved in one of the warmer industries, it is very tempting when we just have a little bit of welding to do, not to put on the appropriate welding safety wear. But please don’t forget the sunblock, you will find that the inside of your left arm, if your a right handed welder, will be the spot that gets most of the welding UV.  I remember one summer, when i had been testing a Powcon inverter welder. It was a very hot day and i just needed to lay down a few MMA rods to give the welding unit a good work out. I remember a little while after the welding tests were completes the area on the inside of my arm was feeling a little sun burnt.  Over the next 24 hrs, this concentrated welding UV caused a reaction in my body. It meant i had to immerse myself in a bath full of a burn treatment liquid for 30 minutes , twice a day, for the next 3 or 4 days.  Needless to say i cover up know.

Welding health and safety is of course a  well covered area.  But it surprises me how many welders fail to understand the risks involved in they do.  Let face it, even at the lightest level. A welder will be turning to pieces of metal into a liquid, whilst injecting inert gases, copper coated or flux cored wire,  this produces all sorts of air borne nasties . There is on the NSE  site, a break down of all the issues involved with all processes on all metals. It must be said that if you did read all the articles on the risks in welding, you would probably change your job.

As a welding employer you have obvious responsibilities for your employee health care, and with retrospective action being taken more often buy ex-employees, due to inadequate welding extraction and protection, it makes a good deal of sense to make sure you know what you should be doing, and also  in my experience as a welding supplier, the best work is done by a fit workforce in a clean and safe environment.  IE. A welder in a workshop regularly running at plus 30 degrees, will work longer and better with an air fed welding helmet on than without.  Welders tend to look after a company that is seen to be looking after them.

As self-employed welders, we can tend to overlook such issues, but the same applies, if you are more comfortable, quality and efficiency will follow.  Welding supplies have certainly moved on over the last few years and the cost of some pretty amazing kit has come right down.  Of course there are air fed welding helmets out there for up to £1000, but for around £300 a perfectly serviceable unit  can be obtained. Lets face it a helmet has to filter and protect to EN and BS standards, so welding respiratory protection is now available to all.  You have one set of lungs, treat them well.

 

welding supplies news 04.04.2012

April 4th, 2012

Oh dont I love the end of March in the world of Welding supplies, not only month end, its VAT quarter end and financial year end, paperwork, paperwork and a stock take.  Wonderful!

Counting MIG contact tips, abrasive discs, helmet cover lenses and glasses, MIG shrouds, TIG ceramics,Tungstens, rulers, tape measures, and so on and so on, the trouble with trying to supply a comprehensive range of welding supplies,  is counting a comprehensive range of welding supplies.

The new MIG welder range has gone down well in the online catalogue, and it seems there may be more power to add.  A couple of other welding plant manufacturers have been in touch, so once I have put their welding machine ranges through their paces, I may just add some more.

In the shop, I think due to both economic pressure and the fact i have reduced the price to £60, the argon gas economiser has been very popular.  These units can save 50% of the normal gas lost in welding processes due to the rise in pressure behind the solonoid and with the price of welding gases rising all the time, it doesnt take long for the economiser to pay for itself .

There have been a good number of welding machines and plasma cutters repaired in the last month.  As usual ranging from the most basic, to the welding plant at the front of todays technologies.  One  repair brings me to this welding supplies blogs cost saving tip… we all know that plasma torch consumables can be expensive, to help cut down this cost fit a good quality filter to the rear of your plasma cutter.  I always recommend that a Thermal dynamics filter is fitted to any plasma cutter sold, regardless of make.  It cleans the air to a very fine level extending the life of the torch and its consumables.  Plus while we are on the subject of Plasma torches,  replace the tips and electrodes at the recommended point. Use beyond this can cause damage to the plasma torch head, and thats when it gets really expensive.

On the MIG welding repair side here is another thing to look out for.. some MIG welding wire is supplied on wire baskets. While you are welding these baskets become live with the welding power.  If the MIG wire hub is a little worn, or the panels of the machine out of shape, the turning wheel can come into contact with the case of the welder eventually rubbing through the paint and arcing out. As well as causing problems with the pefrormance of the welder it can cause damage to the control pcbs etc.  So have a look inside your MIG welder, if you are using wire caged rolls of MIG wire,  check this isn’t going to happen to you soon.  Thats why my standard MIG wire is always supplied on plastic reels.

Happy welding     M.

welding supplies news 14.03.2012

March 14th, 2012

So the MIG welding section in the online welding supplies shop has just got a lot bigger.

Due to demand i have decided to add some of the more economically priced machines to my range. These welders have always been available via the shop but not online.

I have always backed the more mainstream welding plant manufacturers, such as Murex, Migatronic and Thermal Dynamics, but the economic climate  now demands the more budget driven welders to be included.  Now if you run a company that uses MIG welders as the tools for its main earning stream, i would recommend that you stick to the the aforementioned. That said i have put the bigger machines in the budget ranges into some pretty harsh, and heavy use enviroments and they have held up well.

I would say though that this range is more suited to the welder that doesnt need to weld all day every day, motor bodyshops, garages, fitters etc.

What i have done though is made sure that the price of these units hasnt been at the expense of the  vital requirements of a MIG welder,  a good wire feed mechanism,  a  decent rectifier and the use of a euro torch.

Recently I was able to give the SIP ideal 301 inverter MIG welder a bit of a workout. Now this does seem to be a welder punching above its cost bracket. The infinately variable voltage selection made for setting a suitable and quality weld condition so easy.  Its high duty cycle should never have been threatened by the work it was going to do, and it wasn’t, it just welded consistently and faultlessly all day.   £650 for a 250Amp MIG/MMA inverter  welder with  a 60% duty cycle at 220Amps, well done SIP.

 

Welding supplies news 29.02.2012

February 29th, 2012

So 2012 so far… well i had to hit the world of welding supplies running this year, on my return from the christmas break, things were busy.   Big MIG welders and quality TIG welders being the order of the day.

Sadly it seems to be the time of year that all the manufacturers want to put their prices up, so all the reps are coming in or ringing me asking me if i want to order loads of stuff before their increase, all so keen to look after me!  Of course with the continual rise in raw materials and transportation costs, these rises are inevitable, it is just down to me to try to do our best to minimise the impact on the customer.  But I dont want to dwell on that…

Over the next few days i hope to put some more products into the online catalogue, there are several new MIG welders, and Plasma cutters that have proven themselves locally, so i am now ready to supply them with confidence nationally.

On the welding plant repair side, there have been several machines in of late, absolutely full of metal fab dust…not good, i may have said this before, but it really is a good idea to blow them out a couple of times a year.  Welders can be a complicated electronic machine, living in a pretty harsh enviroment.  10 minutes spent twice a year, can save a lot of expense.

local economy news…it seems that the south west of england is to become a manufacturing mecca, we have always been strong in the food manufacturing industries, and not all pasties and cresam by the way..but with the development of the new nuclear power station at Hinckley point and large distribution and manufacturing centres being built for large supermarket groups in the lower part of the M5 corridor, there is hope that at least some of the UK can get back to doing what we do best…making things well.   So with the range of welding consumables I can offer, some especially made to meet the criteria required by these specialised industries, hopefully I can continue to supply and service the varied and exciting manufacturing progression of the area.

So keep on welding      M.

 

Micraft news 18.11.11

November 18th, 2011

So another week ends in the world of welding supplies here in somerset., with supplies going to opposite ends of the country once again, supplying to customers as varied as farmers, the off shore oil industry and a chap welding roll cages for Drift racers.   The feedback has been good from the rearranged welding helmet part of the online shop. Maybe i should post the comments on the front page of the site..hmm.

The welding plant repairs have been quite interesting this week, its nice to have a challenge now and again, and thanks to Rob at Esab welding for his brilliant service support.  It must be said as a service centre for Esab/Murex, their support is second to none, the attention to detail in their service manuals for the welding plant is great. Making my job a whole lot easier.  If only this was the case for some other welding plant manufacturers. It just shows that quality will always shine through.

 

Welding Tips

May 7th, 2011

This section aims to give tips and advice such as identifying welding issues, maintainence of welding plant and the purchase of welding equipment and welding cunsumables.

So for starters

MMA (stick or Arc) WELDING

When Tack welding first, remember to remove the slag from the welds before you do the continuous weld.

Keep your welding electrodes dry,  a good condition flux well greatly aid a quality weld.

If you are going to be stick welding a lot, we would recommend the purchase of leather safety clothing, such as jackets, welding sleeves, trousers etc.  Stick welding is prone to producing high levels of spatter  and the burns become an unwelcome distraction from the welding  as well as painful.

Todays technology means that Dc arc welders are a lot more economical than before, if you can, purchase a dc welding inverter, the quality of the weld is so much better.

MIG WELDING

The better the MIG welding machine the more expensive the internal componants. you can get an idea of th relative complexity of a machine by comparing their weights.  A quality welder is generally much heavier (excluding inverter MIGs )

Quality wire feed is everything… smooth feeding of the wire is so important.  The cheaper table top MIG welders  usually have a small self contained plastic wire feed system, with a thin metal blade tightened down for feed pressure. even with new wire and a new torch these tend to be problematic at best.  These wire feed units tend to be put into some workshop style cheaper MIG welders too.  A good quality wire feed unit usually consists of a cast metal body with a substantial pressure arm assembly, the motor will tend to be visible upright behind the unit connected via a gearbox.

MIG welding consumable life..The end of the MIG torch is obviously working in a very harsh enviroment, most problems at this end are caused by a build up of spatter on or around the shroud, to stop the spatter sticking use antispatter tip dip(not the antispatter spray, that is for the workpiece).  Once the hole in the contact tip becomes oversized the wire will more readily arc and stick inside, dont try to drill or clean it out,  put a new one in in.  MIG welding wire can form a layer of rust as it sits in your machine, if this has become excessive, pull it through the torch unitl the next layer of shiney metal appears.  Recently some MIG wires have been supplied on wire baskets, it is worth remembering that the whole basket is live with the welding voltage, if this comes in contact with the case or cover on the welder it will transfer the welding voltage to this, on some brands this can affect the electronics inside the welder as well as the weld itself.

TIG WELDING

Tig welding was developed in the 1920′s to enable the construction of a great number famous aircraft and  further research  intensified during W.W.ll to develop lighter and lighter  needs.

Besides the romantic beginnings, the TIG process has been considered quite special for other reasons. It does take considerable practice to be good at TIG welding and because in the past the equipment has been rather expensive,  a welder who had one and was good with it would develop a reputation, particularly in the field of esoteric materials, aircraft and racing cars.

Since then, with the development of the chemical, food and a raft of other technologies, the need for TIG welding skills has grown, as well as the need for more machines bringing their cost, in some cases, down.

DC TIG WELDING

Unless you want to weld Aluminium or its alloys you will only need a DC  TIG welder.  Also if you are new to TIG welding this is the place to start.  Most of  todays MMA inverter welders will also do ‘scratch start TIG’ with the right attachments, but in my opinion, this method makes learning this art a lot harder.  A TIG welder with ‘HF ignition’ is the way to go, it will also cut down your consumable cost.  At the present time it is nearly as cheap to get an HF ignition unit, as adding the extras to a standard MMA inverter.

I would recommend that you look on You Tube at the multitude of instruction videos, or of course, if  i’m your welding supplier, you can always spend some time here at my workshop and i’d help you get started with your new TIG welding machine.

 

Micrafts New Feed

May 7th, 2011

Ok so this is day one for the Micraft welding supplies news feed.   It looks like today will be spent mainly repairing a variety of machines.  Yesterday i put a whole new range of automatic welding helmets on to the online shop. These include the Esab new tech, the Esab Aristo and the Esab origo welding helmets.  I also reorganised the page so that finding the appropriate consumables for the helmets is easier. Also I have  added split pack quantities of fluxed brazing rod the the shop. With the cost of  these consumables rising all the time I feel this may help customers not wishing to buy 2.5kg at a time.  I think I may do this with more of my welding supplies, as the costs can be making the light user have to think twice about pursuing their diy or hobby welding projects.

On the cost of  welding supplies, it was nice this time to actually not  have an increase in the MIG wire price, at last a couple of tonnes of wire with no price rise!  on the other hand the ‘alloy surcharge’ on stainless steel is now nearly as much as the product itself, oh we manufacturers have it so easy dont we??

As well as the news on my welding supplies side, as time allows, i hope to be able to log some welding tips and advice on the other feed on the site, but as you will appreciate there is only so much time i can sit in front of my laptop without getting a little stir crazy.

So to end this first effort i will give the first tip…

With the welding machine technology developing, the inside of your handy little welding inverter is a mass of very sensitive electronics, and probably(in fact definitely!) wont put up with the same abuse as the old transformer, air or oil cooled welders. Yesterday I had an inverter welder brought into me, on removing the case I found it to be completely full of pungent barn fodder, every transistor bank and PCB glogged up with goo.  On this occasion no damage was done, but i have seen far better machines than this fail due to the dust and things that the welding environment can produce building up inside, so every now and then take the case off and give it a good blow out.

Oh and back to the inverter that came in.. the green and yellow wire is the earth, the brown is the live and the blue is the neutral, a reminder that some machines are dangerous when they arrive for repair.

More from the world of welding supplies soon,  happy welding

Mike