Metal surfaces are highly susceptible to cross-contamination and rust due to its natural exposure to atmospheric conditions like humidity and oxygen.
They are also prone to heat tints and discolouration. As such, using a weld cleaning machine will help slow down their degradation.
With proper care, they can last for years, saving you hundreds of dollars from constantly replacing them. Here are some of the basic things you must know to keep your welding materials in tip-top shape:
Preparation Before Cleaning
Preparing the metal is necessary before the actual cleaning process. You may use a wire brush to eradicate impurities on the metal. If you are working on aluminium, you need to use a steel wire brush to avoid damaging it.
Then, you can use a flap disc or an angle grinder to remove the existing coating. For really thick metals, a plasma cutter may be necessary.
However, if you do have this on your toolkit because it is expensive, you can use acetone as an alternative to hasten the preparation. For metals that are covered with rust, it is best to utilize abrasive blasting.
Do not forget to show extra caution in demonstrating this technique. If you do not do it right, it may trap some metal pieces, which may later be the cause of further corrosion.
Electro-chemical Cleaning Procedures
One of the most widely used methods of weld cleaning is the utilization of electro-chemicals. This electrolytic process is characterized by the application of cleaning fluid on a cleaning brush. Electric current is then applied to the machine to clean the surfaces.
Electro-chemical processing with a weld cleaning machine is generally safe since it only utilizes phosphoric acid – an ingredient commonly found in carbonated drinks. Because of this measure, machines are portable, and you can do the cleaning on-site.
Additionally, the process is extremely fast and effective. Quality machines will passivate and clean your equipment at the same time and without unnecessary repetitions.
Another way of doing it is through the utilization of electrolytic baths. Instead of manually using a cleaning brush to remove unwanted substances, the metal parts of the weld are immersed in a mixture that automatically removes contaminants and rusts on their surface.
While this is an easier process, the downside to this is that it is more expensive than simply manually cleaning it with a machine.
Prevention is always better than cure. To prevent regular cleaning chores, you should learn how to store your metals properly. They should always be kept in a dry location that has minimum temperature fluctuation.
This kind of environment will minimize condensation that initiates the degradation of your base metals and filler metals.
Furthermore, their positioning also matters. Storing your metals vertically limits the absorption of water on their surface. They should also be covered at all times. If possible, you should bring your metals to the welding area a day before using them to acclimate with the room temperature.
Welding is a tedious labour. The most important aspect of this work is keeping your tools and your metals clean.
While there are preventive steps that you can do, the reality is that degradation does happen, and your equipment is bound to acquire rusts and other contaminants at some point. When this happens, roll up your sleeves and clean them up so that they will be in their best shape when you use them.
Alison Lurie is a copywriter and content strategist. She helps businesses stop playing around with content marketing and start seeing the tangible ROI. She loves writing as much as she loves the cake.