Which welder should i use to build a airplane frame?

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dog

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some of the flux on a rod might vaporize,but I highly
doubt that it is an inert gas,I think it is very activly reacting with the atmosphere and other volitiles to
protect the weld puddle,and thats why a service rod
7018,ac,will give good results on rusty,painted,oily metal while for TIG and MIG its gota be squeeky clean and dry
 

BJC

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Installing a large steel beam truss about 120' long and 8' wide at about 300' from the ground floor.
Scary stuff, Pops.

I was a co-op student doing plant checkout and start up at Plant Harllee Branch back in the late 1960’s. Rushed to complete my assignments for the morning so I could go sit on the top elevation of steel, 250 feet above the basement, which was at -40 feet, and watch the heaviest lift of the framing, the same huge built-up beam that you referenced. The beam was on two special railroad cars at ground level.

The lift was delayed, and I had to go to a mandatory plant staff safety meeting. Walked the steel to a man lift, rode it down, transferred to another, rode it down to an elevation with some bar grate flooring, and headed across to the adjacent unit. Just as I got inside, the site emergency alarm sounded. One of the guy wires on the gen pole had broken with the beam just a few feet above the rail cars. The rail cars and one end of the beam ended up in the basement. Fortunately, the area had been cleared for the lift. The gen pole took out the beam that I had been sitting on and the two steel workers that I had been talking to fell 250 feet and died. This pre-dated OSHA, and there was no fall protection.

There were 16 fatalities there during initial construction. One was a coal yard operations employee, and the rest construction workers. When a 1,000 retrofit stack was built, there was another fatality. In reality, we were lucky not to have had many more.


BJC
 

Pops

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Scary stuff, Pops.

I was a co-op student doing plant checkout and start up at Plant Harllee Branch back in the late 1960’s. Rushed to complete my assignments for the morning so I could go sit on the top elevation of steel, 250 feet above the basement, which was at -40 feet, and watch the heaviest lift of the framing, the same huge built-up beam that you referenced. The beam was on two special railroad cars at ground level.

The lift was delayed, and I had to go to a mandatory plant staff safety meeting. Walked the steel to a man lift, rode it down, transferred to another, rode it down to an elevation with some bar grate flooring, and headed across to the adjacent unit. Just as I got inside, the site emergency alarm sounded. One of the guy wires on the gen pole had broken with the beam just a few feet above the rail cars. The rail cars and one end of the beam ended up in the basement. Fortunately, the area had been cleared for the lift. The gen pole took out the beam that I had been sitting on and the two steel workers that I had been talking to fell 250 feet and died. This pre-dated OSHA, and there was no fall protection.

There were 16 fatalities there during initial construction. One was a coal yard operations employee, and the rest construction workers. When a 1,000 retrofit stack was built, there was another fatality. In reality, we were lucky not to have had many more.


BJC

Back at that time 15 fatalities was about normal for each boiler. In the 1960's and early 1970's it was safer being in Vietnam for each hour on the job. Rare to get hurt, you get killed.
I would have a close call from getting killed about every 3 or 4 months. Was hung upside down at 800'. Had to hang by holding to steel beam with one arm at 400'. In a building that blew up from a propane leak that blew all the sides off the building and twisted steel beams, I was at 229' directly over the blast, etc, etc , etc. Many of my fellow workers got killed. I still have nightmares.
I also worked building smoke stacks, tanks and TV and radio towers.
Glad to see OSHA.
 

Dana LaBounty

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Get the best welder that has the features required to do everything you will need it to do. Lincoln, Miller, Esab. For the few times you need it "on the farm" use the portable generator for your power supply. If you are on a farm you already have a portable generator.
 

MACOWA

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Before going to Babcock and Wilcox's welding school to weld tubes for their coal fired boiler power plants. I worked at a high rigger building the boilers for several different large contractors. Installing a large steel beam truss about 120' long and 8' wide at about 300' from the ground floor. Had a wire rope choker attached to a steel plate on one end. The large steel plate that weighed about 300 to500 lbs was welded on 3 sides with a large fillet weld. The large mig weld looked very good and was painted where it was made in a shop. The weld was a Mig coldlap weld and I ended up dropping the steel plate about 300' down in the building to the floor. Could have easily killed many people. It hit and damaged a large steel duct and ricocheted to a place that missed everyone. There was weld penetration one place about the size of an aspirin.
I do not have a mig and never will. If I can't weld the part with the tig, I will stick weld it.
I run low alloy hard wire in 75/25 shield gas in mine I think it's great for F-150 exhaust pipes & lawn furniture. I got my first certs ( 3 process 6-G ) at the USN. welding school San Diego in 1969, and worked as a union boiler maker most of my life. B/W school would certainly have been a plus. especially when doing the "mud drum crawl" in one of their larger units, talk about sparks in your ear ! I have always favored O/A for 4130 thinwall. Its real comfortable for me and I can stress relieve as I go. But mostly it's just because I'm an old fart.
 

TFF

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Everyone loves the oddity and special cases. I love them too. Reality is if you have to ask the question, your not welding nuclear vessels. Unless it’s Pops or the other profession welders or multi decade welding hobbyists, the baby steps are what the baby steps are. I am forever a beginner. I have been payed to weld stuff. That does not make me a professional. It’s always because I’m game and can never find anyone acceptable that will do it. Nothing I do will win a medal. I know what is required for minimum experience maximum success. Talking about stir welding, laser welding, underwater plasma welding and tons of others might be fun, but sitting in the garage, it’s a nail and hammer question and answer. Anything more is trying to get away with stuff.
 

Pops

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Everyone loves the oddity and special cases. I love them too. Reality is if you have to ask the question, your not welding nuclear vessels. Unless it’s Pops or the other profession welders or multi decade welding hobbyists, the baby steps are what the baby steps are. I am forever a beginner. I have been payed to weld stuff. That does not make me a professional. It’s always because I’m game and can never find anyone acceptable that will do it. Nothing I do will win a medal. I know what is required for minimum experience maximum success. Talking about stir welding, laser welding, underwater plasma welding and tons of others might be fun, but sitting in the garage, it’s a nail and hammer question and answer. Anything more is trying to get away with stuff.

Anyone can do it if you do what you are taught. Just like flying. You do it that way because it works.
 

TFF

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That’s the point. Starting from zero certain things work. If you have the budget for the world, why limit yourself, but who has that? On your own is completely different than spending six months on the job or in a trade school where you are focused on learning or starving. It’s slower and one has to stack the deck for success. Skip the fundamentals and what’s going to happen is a dead project. It usually discourages enough to never overcome it. A plane falling out of the air would rarely be the outcome, just because it won’t ever get that far from the discouragement.
 

BJC

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Want to see how well you can weld aluminum?
We had a three weld certification for welding on fossil power plant steam generators, and a five weld certification for welding on nuclear power plan reactors and steam generators. A friend / homebuilder / nuclear certified welder / welder instructor was without a doubt, our best welder. If you saw the turbine Brokaw Bullit, you saw his work on the intake and exhaust duct.

We needed to weld thick aluminum (1 inch thick bars) to make isolated phase bus duct, for about 30,000 amps continuous. We contracted an instructor. My friend was first to weld a test coupon. It was 0230 hours on new years day, and my wife waited in the car while I talked to the instructor. Just by listening to the sound of the MIG welding machine, he accurately described what we would see in the microscope, and accurately predicted an unacceptable weld.

Point is, “welding aluminum” is not just one thing. There is considerable difference between welding sheet metal fuel tanks with hydrogen / oxygen, and using MIG on thick bars.


BJC
 
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PMD

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While there is a lot of really good advice and experience in this thread, THIS is really what is most important to someone about to build their first (or 10th) airplane. Pretty much anyone can learn to make an acceptable weld with any number of welding processes in position on the welding table, but when you have to build an actual structure, you now to do that with gravity and fluidity fighting you every step of the way. THAT skill does not come after a few hours on the bench.

Having been involved in this exact question for decades, I have learned that I simply will never spend the time to be able to make a competent, never mind certifiable weld overhead with ANY process, so I simply use a positioner or re-position the part(s) and/or jigs and fixtures to allow me to work within my "plane of confidence" (notice it did NOT say "competence". I have managed to become familiar with the metallurgy, chemistry and mechanics of the process so as to be able to design and often build a properly penetrated and minimally stressed and thermally damaged weld - but that in NO WAY makes me a "welder". A weld designer, yes - a Welder....no. While I would be prepared to do either and OA or GTAW fuselage in a rotating jig, if I need a motor mount, I am probably going to a pro - or possibly doing it in a jig followed by full post weld heat treatment (helps to have a friend and neighbour who manufacturers boilers) followed by X-Ray inspection.
 

BJC

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Taking the welding test is easy compared to the positions you have to weld in when out on the job.
Our certification test (note that I never have had any welding certification, but I am familiar with my employer's welding certification / QC program) required welding in all positions. Those who burned another belly button did not qualify.


BJC
 

Pops

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Our certification test (note that I never have had any welding certification, but I am familiar with my employer's welding certification / QC program) required welding in all positions. Those who burned another belly button did not qualify.


BJC
Yes , all positions, but those positions are nothing that you will encounter out on the job. On the largest B&W boilers there is one 8" supply tube where you are wedged between other tubes and have to bend over and weld back between and behind your legs. Another you have to wear a harness and get lowered down into a cluster of tubes and not enough room for a welding hood, so you have to wear a welding sock and a helper hangs upside down, reaches down and bends your welding rod and puts it in your welding stinger for you. You have about 3" in front of your face and not much movement with your arms.
Normally there is a group of welders getting all the easy welds and they bypass the hard welds that takes a lot of time. Will be 2 or 3 welders that pickup all the hard welds. I have done that and know how to get each weld.
 
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Tom DM

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Our certification test (note that I never have had any welding certification, but I am familiar with my employer's welding certification / QC program) required welding in all positions. Those who burned another belly button did not qualify.


BJC

Welders are a special lot and have a warm place in my hart.

My first religion is "levers" : give me a lever and I'll lift the world. My second religion concerns welding: welding is strong.

Encountered the limits of "certification" on my first job (heavy haulage/ construction). We had a welder, a life time on the job with a face to prove it. He failed everything, every single test. Management imposed ISO-certification and ISO being ISO he received his C4 (=was sacked). Fond memories : he told me C4 in hand that I would see him soon.

He rewelded teeth on diggers, bulldozer shovels and the lot. The certification tests proved he could not weld but all teeth welded by certified welders failed and his didn't.

14 days later I was ordered to sign him again (the yard was filling with broken machinery). He wasn't at home, his wife told me he went to work every day. I found him at the café (bar) across the street of the yard where he greeted me beer in hand and -ahum- rather filled. He resigned on sole condition I would clear the tap. He got a raise, the company paid the tap ( 1 beer / 10 minutes over two weeks). My -then- boss didn't flinch the next morning.

Some welding cannot be taught, can not be explained. You just stare at the endproduct in disbelief... (in a good or bad manner) . The better they are, the easier they make it look.
 

Pops

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Welders are a special lot and have a warm place in my hart.

My first religion is "levers" : give me a lever and I'll lift the world. My second religion concerns welding: welding is strong.

Encountered the limits of "certification" on my first job (heavy haulage/ construction). We had a welder, a life time on the job with a face to prove it. He failed everything, every single test. Management imposed ISO-certification and ISO being ISO he received his C4 (=was sacked). Fond memories : he told me C4 in hand that I would see him soon.

He rewelded teeth on diggers, bulldozer shovels and the lot. The certification tests proved he could not weld but all teeth welded by certified welders failed and his didn't.

14 days later I was ordered to sign him again (the yard was filling with broken machinery). He wasn't at home, his wife told me he went to work every day. I found him at the café (bar) across the street of the yard where he greeted me beer in hand and -ahum- rather filled. He resigned on sole condition I would clear the tap. He got a raise, the company paid the tap ( 1 beer / 10 minutes over two weeks). My -then- boss didn't flinch the next morning.

Some welding cannot be taught, can not be explained. You just stare at the endproduct in disbelief... (in a good or bad manner) . The better they are, the easier they make it look.
Some people can get good and some can weld their whole life and still are not good. The good makes it look so easy you would think anyone could do it. Same for flying.
Like you , I like levers. On my first house I built, I set the concrete 800 lb lentil -? over 8' high over the garage door by myself. Also built the complete house by myself.
 
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