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WELDING QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS Q: How are Aluminum Castings repaired?

A: Aluminum Alloy castings scrapped in the foundry because of surface defects and lack of dimensional integrity can be salvaged by welding except if they present massive porosity. Gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) with high frequency stabilized Alternating Current is normally used to repair sound castings. Inclusions should be prevented by taking care to avoid touching the surface with the pure tungsten electrode. Argon with or without helium can be used as a shield. Helium helps generating a hotter arc if necessary. To prepare for welding one should remove defects, especially cracks, by dry chipping with a rounded tool or by hand milling, to obtain a smooth area. One should never attempt to weld on the original casting external rough surface without first removing the oxidized layer. Removal of oil and grease is performed using vapor degreasing or clean solvents.Use of acid etch is not recommended. If impregnation was applied, it should be removed before welding. A clean stainless steel wire brush should be used to remove thick oxide layers just before welding. Filler material alloy is usually the same as that of the casting. Preheating is needed only in exceptional cases to overcome difficulties. On suitably prepared surfaces of sound castings, with oxide layers thoroughly removed, one should be able to weld as easily as on wrought alloys. It would be good practice to look for cracks in the weld by using penetrant inspection. Radiographic inspection may be required by contract in certain cases. If the original castings are to be heat treated, also the repaired ones should follow the same process. Weld repairing of heat treated casting would impair their mechanical properties. The feasibility of repair of aluminum alloy castings that were already heat treated and machined is questionable because of stresses and deformations likely to develop during welding.

An example of such a repair performed by developing a special procedure with electron beam welding is reported in this page here above under the title "EBW Repair of a rejected Casting".

Top Weld Crack Repair in a Transition Part Q: What makes an all position welding rod/wire, 'all position'? What is the difference between this type of rod and the others for flat or horizontal only? A: Covered electrodes (SMAW) for flat and horizontal positions are optimized for maximum weld deposition rate. As such they provide a large but still manageable weld pool that does not run out. Out of position electrodes, useful for vertical or overhead welds, are made with modified shielding cover, designed to control the viscosity of the molten metal to make it more sluggish and capable of adhering to the surface even in overhead position, instead of dripping down immediately. The electrode cover for these electrodes contains elements that affect the wetting of the base metal and the viscosity of the molten weld metal. Viscosity can be controlled also, within limits, by mastering the technique and by adjusting the current. Adequate skill is essential to obtain good and repeatable results. Note that vertical and overhead joints are welded with smaller diameter electrodes than would be used in flat position for the same thickness, with corresponding lower deposition rates. It should be noted that the welding position is an important variable that can affect the weld metal quality. For this reason one should select, whenever possible, the flat position.

Weld repair of nitrided tools

Q: How can tools made of nitrided tool steel be repair welded? A: Nitrided layers should first be mechanically removed, for a depth at leastthe double of their original nominal thickness. Then welding can be attemptedbut its quality may be questionable because of diffused nitrogen even deep inthe tools. Process Comparison Q: A butt weld has to be performed on short lengths of sheet metal. It could be done by Plasma Arc Welding, by Electron Beam or by Laser Beam Welding: which process should be preferred? A: Given the availability of different processes, once the quality requirements are satisfied, the most economic one should be selected. The economy of performance, expressed as cost per weld, has to be calculated by taking into account all the expenses for equipment, consumables, workforce, handling etc. A first evaluation can be done by comparing advantages and disadvantages of each process in turn. If manual and automatic operation can be performed, the cost of both should be estimated. Plasma Arc Welding (PAW): Advantages of PAW as compared to GTAW:

Higher energy concentration, higher heat Improved arc stability, especially at low current Greater arc length tolerance Greater plasma and welding speed, shorter weld time Tungsten contamination eliminated Less skill required for manual welding For larger thicknesses welding in one pass with Keyhole technique Smaller weld volume, less filler metal than with GTAW. Reduced rework and rejections.


Equipment more expensive than Gas Tungsten Arc welding but much less than EBW. Short life of orifice body, requires replacement.

More welder's knowledge required Higher rate of consumption of inert gas.

Electron Beam Welding (EBW) Advantages:

High energy heat source, for deep penetration in thick narrow joints Filler metal usually not required Total heat input lower that for arc welding, limited deformation Welding in vacuum, ideal for reactive metals Difficult-to-weld materials can be joined. Elevated welding speed Beam shape, focus and path controllable by electric and magnetic lenses Automatic beam tracker available Permits solution to otherwise impossible procedures


Expensive equipment including vacuum chamber and pumping system Beam sensitive to occasional magnetic fields Unproductive pump down time required Shielding against harmful by-product x-rays required Precision set up required with special fixtures

Laser Beam Welding (LBW) Advantages:

High power density heat source, for deep penetration in thick narrow joints Welding performable in air (depending on materials) Total heat input lower that for arc welding, limited deformation Easily mechanized high processing speeds with very rapid stopping and starting Micro welding possible, precise welds can be obtained. Difficult-to-weld materials can be joined. No electrode or filler materials are required. Welds with little or no contamination can be produced. The laser beam can also be time shared.

If a weld can be done by both EBW and LBW, (with limited power) the last one is more economic as vacuum system is not required Hybrid systems available combining LBW and GMAW


Limitation on power available (affecting thickness) for solid state systems Capital cost more expensive than power arc welding systems. Even more expensive high power sources for welding thicker materials Additional shielding provisions required for reactive metals Safety concerns for operators' vision protection Precise fit up critical Low electrical conversion efficiency The penetration is less than for EBW The power at the workpiece will be significantly reduced due to reflection

Carburize with Oxyacetylene Flame? Q: Is it practical to use an oxyacetylene torch to raise the carbon content of mild steel in an attempt to carburize the mild steel for case hardening by heating and water quenching? A: Unfortunately no. What can be done instead is "pack carburizing" in a stainless steel box. Proprietary products made for this purpose, contain besides carbon (in the form of charcoal and coke) also other important ingredients (carbonates of barium, calcium, sodium) called energizers. Parts are buried in the granular carburizing product, the box is closed with a cover and loaded in a furnace at about 850-900 0C (1560-1650 0 F) for 4 hours or more, depending on the depth of case required. If parts can be removed quickly from the granules they may be then quenched immediately in water. Otherwise the box is slowly cooled in the furnace and then the parts are reheated for quenching.

Fillet welding of Rimmed Steels Q: Why is Fillet welding preferred for Rimmed Steel? A: Rimmed Steel manufacturing processes provide a case or rim of very cleanmaterial free of defects. Conversely impurities tend to concentrate in themiddle section of ingot or billet. This feature persists through the rollingprocess, so that plates of this kind tend to have their central core less cleanthan the superficial layers. This property provides and advantage when designcalls for fillet welding, which does not penetrate to the center of the plate.