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  • Winter welding conditions

    Hey there, so I am a bran new to welding (just plan on being a hobby welder and doing projects in my garage) i just bought a handler 190 and have been doing a ton of reading/online video watching and I feel I’m about ready to start practicing some welds. I have a question for some of the guys that live up north, I live in North Dakota where it’s not uncommon to hit -30 to -40 in the winter, I plan on welding in my uninsulated garage. Like I said I’m bran new to welding so bear with me through some very noob questions.

    -are there any considerations I need to be aware of about welding in the 0-30 degree range?
    - is it okay to weld aluminum and steel that is very cold? Should I pre heat the metal?
    - will welding in weather like that effect the integrity of the the weld in any way?
    - it it okay to keep gas cyclinders (I have 100% argon right now for aluminum welding) in a garage that may hit -30?

    Thanks!



  • #2
    Welcome to the forum. I live in northern Colorado and we sometimes get the temps you mentioned. I haven't done much welding under those conditions, but I have never had an issue with those welds I did. I am employed at a large fabrication shop and all our welding is steel only. All gas bottles are stored outside and the cold poses no problem. Our shop [10,000 sq. ft] is heated [and its not insulated] but not to the degree that you could call warm and its never turned on till work begins. Again the cold poses no issue. If you find it necessary to weld in such brutal cold, go for it. FY- Welding tip #1, stay in the puddle.

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    • #3
      The cold poses no problem. Think Alaska Pipe Line and all the other outside fabrication and repair work that takes place year around under those conditions. Oil field work is a good example.
      Last edited by Hunter55; 02-11-2018, 12:17 PM. Reason: Additional info

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      • #4
        When metal is -30 and you start welding on it you shock the metal. Metal also starts to sweat when it's that cold and heat is applied to it. This is why preheat is a good idea when metal is that cold.
        It gets this cold where I live also. The equipment will work in those temps but I don't.
        Lincoln Idealarc 250
        Miller Bobcat 250
        Thermal arc Hefty 2 feeder
        Thermal Dynamics Cusmaster 52
        Torchmate CNC Table

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        • #5
          Maybe a hair dryer to use on the inside of your helmet to stop the fogging problem

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          • #6
            Keeping your hands warm, wearing a hat that won't ignite from a spark. If you're not comfortable it might be hard to watch and concentrate on the puddle.

            I rarely do anything in my garage when it's below 32, of course I'm in my 60s and retired so I don't do stuff thats not fun anymore. I live in Northern MN by the way.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Draht View Post
              Hey there, so I am a bran new to welding (just plan on being a hobby welder and doing projects in my garage) i just bought a handler 190 and have been doing a ton of reading/online video watching and I feel I’m about ready to start practicing some welds. I have a question for some of the guys that live up north, I live in North Dakota where it’s not uncommon to hit -30 to -40 in the winter, I plan on welding in my uninsulated garage. Like I said I’m bran new to welding so bear with me through some very noob questions.

              -are there any considerations I need to be aware of about welding in the 0-30 degree range?
              - is it okay to weld aluminum and steel that is very cold? Should I pre heat the metal?
              - will welding in weather like that effect the integrity of the the weld in any way?
              - it it okay to keep gas cyclinders (I have 100% argon right now for aluminum welding) in a garage that may hit -30?

              Thanks!

              Here is an old thread on this question which is quite informative.

              https://weldtalk.hobartwelders.com/f...the-cold/page2

              Also, cylinders will be fine, although pressure may drop while conditions are cold. (No need to roll the bottles to re-mix the gas, as we used to tell the apprentices!)>

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              • #8
                Hi' We get the -30 40c here Manitoba. While there is never any problem with stick welding I have found the Lincoln 180 mig reluctant to even switch on
                when its sitting out in an uninsulated steel shed I think the electronics freeze up and the fan wont run If I need to weld something I n the extreme cold
                I leave the mig in a warmer place to warm up a little first

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                • #9
                  only trouble welding during winter is the helmet and eye glasses fogging up

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Andy578 View Post
                    only trouble welding during winter is the helmet and eye glasses fogging up
                    Not true!

                    Check the thread mentioned, and the comments above.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Hunter55 View Post
                      The cold poses no problem. Think Alaska Pipe Line and all the other outside fabrication and repair work that takes place year around under those conditions. Oil field work is a good example.
                      Wonder why they make, rent and sell welding tents, and have, for many years, and this is not Alaska. Cold is a problem for weldors and weldments.
                      Last edited by Northweldor; 02-18-2018, 09:18 PM.

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                      • #12
                        With MIG and those temperatures some preheat is in order. Not a lot, but try and get your pieces up around 50° to 70°. A simple propane torch with a piezo start makes it so easy there's no real reason not to. MIG is prone to cold starts and tacks any way. Larger sections with thicker materials make it almost a necessity for reliable welds with MIG.

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                        • #13
                          Here is a fairly good article from Hobart brothers discussing impact toughness and other factors affected by cold weather, as well as how pre- and post -weld heat treatment can help. While it doesn't deal specifically with aluminum, there is much alloy-specific information available in Frank Armao's many articles in "The Fabricator".

                          http://www.hobartbrothers.com/news/1...-Projects.html

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                          • #14
                            I remember that thread, NW, Mike Sherman is a good friend, and helped me alot, being A cwe/cwi. . The AWS D1.1 code states, "3.5 Minimum Preheat and Interpass Temperature Requirements:
                            The preheat and interpass temperature shall be sufficient to prevent cracking. Table 3.2 shall be used to determine
                            the minimum preheat and interpass temperatures for steels listed in the code." So as a rule of thumb, it is best to preheat the steel or any weldment to a safe temp before welding. That said, I realize there may be times when you need to get the job done quickly as in a repair situation, but the bottom line is don't weld on cold steel.
                            Arcin' and sparkin', Rocky D <><
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                            • #15
                              The rule of thumb I've always heard is that the steel needs to be at least 55°F to weld.

                              On the Alaskan pipeline, I suspect that meant heating up the pipe with a propane weed burner or whatever.

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