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Arc welding on any occupied narrowboat


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Turn off battery isolators, having disconnected any solar panels first. Should not be vital but better safe than sorry.

Turn off and remove gas bottle.

Get a CO2 fire extinguisher and someone inside who knows how to use it without asphyxiating themselves.

Have buckets of water immediately to hand or better a hose connected and turned on ready.

 

Ensure that there is insurance in force for the work to be done, either yours or the welders, not just accepting that it should be covered.

 

Have a fire and evacuation plan understood by all concerned.

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Two risks welding on a boat apart from fire.

 

Any electronic devices will possibly be damaged if connected to wiring. Alternators, inverters,  PV controllers, etc. Risk is low, disconnecting is simpler than replacing.

 

Any wiring that gets burnt causing shorts powered from the batteries which can pas thousands of amps so can burn the boat out before you are aware.

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Welding an upright 75 x 75 x 5 angle iron stub to the uxter plate. Going to isolate batteries, turn off inverter and PV's, intending to supply the arc welder through the 16A shore-line via a commando plug to 13A socket. Welding is well away from any wiring.

Thanks for all the advice given.

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If you're isolating batteries and solar panels then using the same rationale you'd have to isolate the alternators too, but few people are going to do that.

 

What you do need to do is make sue the welder's earth clamp is close to the work that they're doing and the connection is good so that the current flows along that path rather than through any of your electrical connections.

 

 

 

 

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On 06/08/2021 at 10:07, canute said:

Welding an upright 75 x 75 x 5 angle iron stub to the uxter plate. Going to isolate batteries, turn off inverter and PV's, intending to supply the arc welder through the 16A shore-line via a commando plug to 13A socket. Welding is well away from any wiring.

Thanks for all the advice given.

 

That sounds like a potential for a blobby sparrow crap weld with little penetration when welding 5mm to 6mm+ steel plate on a 13 amp socket, but I am no welder.

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32 minutes ago, Tony Brooks said:

 

That sounds like a potential for a blobby sparrow crap weld with little penetration when welding 5mm to 6mm+ steel plate on a 13 amp socket, but I am no welder.

Could be, having water the other side will not help.

Now it is surprising how much penetration you can get with the modern inverter welders on just a 3kw supply.

My old Oxford will reliably weld 6mm plate but with a nonferrous fuse in the plug!

Never use the boat wiring for an arc welder, its just not worth risking it, too many connections betwixt mains and welder.

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Blackrose good point, I'm planning to earth clamp the piece being welded, as piece is a snug fit to Uxtor plate and being held in-place by a magnetic angle.

Tony you have a good point too "blobby sparrow crap weld" however I'm an OCD, 60yr old, fussy bug--r, only ever having had a few jobs done for me in that entire time, the majority of which I could have made a better job of myself, including the job in question, which is as a result of rectifying and very, very prominent boat builders school boy error, namely installing an exhaust silencer with the pipe running uphill towards the outlet, to make matters worse the outlet is placed direct below the handrail gap where all the roof rainwater cascades down the side of the boat. I spent a lot of time last year removing oil water mix from the engine, vacuuming out the oil water mix, changing oil and filter, running engine for a couple of minutes and repeating the process again and again, until absolutely sure that all traces of water were gone, incidentally, I'm not quite sure how much water/oil mix would have entered the boat if the dipstick had popped out?

After consulting the wife we both agreed that I purchase a welder and have ago myself, if all fails, well I'll have to bit my lip and trust a "professional", if we succeed, we save the inconvenience of appointing a third party and end up the proud owners of a new welder.

Wish me luck, I haven't arc welded since my apprentice toolmaker days, I understand that striking the arc is a lot easier these days, with inverter welders, that should help with the arthritis, always preferred oxyacetylene gas welding and brazing myself, very little Mig/Tig in those days? 

Thanks gentlemen all comments are welcome. 

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57 minutes ago, canute said:

snip

 

Wish me luck, I haven't arc welded since my apprentice toolmaker days, I understand that striking the arc is a lot easier these days, with inverter welders, that should help with the arthritis, always preferred oxyacetylene gas welding and brazing myself, very little Mig/Tig in those days? 

 

 

That sounds very much like myself. Unfortunately, I only have a cheap arc welder and on a 13X plug I can't get it to strike  with much more than a 2 mm rod.

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Scheppach WSE1000 130amp Inverter Welder | 230v

Hopefully arriving Monday, done plenty of research into cheaper end welders (Sip welders seemed to be in every mothers home catalogue back in the 1970's) that operate on BS1362 fused plug, going to use the 16A shore line and using E6013 2.5mm rods from Electricfix, again very good reviews, it's all down to the grey stuff now, if the results are positive I'll probably boast, if you don't hear from me, I'm either dead or to ashamed to report the outcome!

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34 minutes ago, Tracy D'arth said:

Have you got an automatic mask? They are not expensive on ebay and much better than the usual hand /face shield. They can make an idiot into a fair welder!

 

Not in my case :D

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6 minutes ago, Tony Brooks said:

 

Not in my case :D

But then Tony you are certainly not an idiot. I did say "can" not will.  Welding as a non professional to a reasonable standard is only practice and good equipment + clean steel. 

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You will probably need all the 130 amp of the welder for 6-4mm plate, keep a bit biased to the 6mm plate cos it's thicker and on water. Get comfortable. Strike up boldly, if you dither nervousely it'll stick. If you've been used to hand held shields I'd be vary careful using an automatic helmet shield. If you do tie you free hand behind your back, it's so easy for it to wander into the job,  OOOUUUCH!. 

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I am a welder . The most important thing is to make sure the metal is very clean  where the welds are going and where the earth return clamps on the metal

as above disconnect all battery’s etc 

face masks , auto ones are good  if you buy a decent make 

have fun and don’t forget to get some welding gauntlet 

Graham

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As well as the prep tips from jacko above, practice, practice   practice at home till you can make  a decent weld of some spare angle onto a piece of 6mm plus plate. Once you have the hand, arm and eye in sync at home it will go easier on the boat.  Get in a comfortable position before you start.  The experts can weld in all sorts of contorted attitudes, often by ear it seems, but us beginners find it difficult to concentrate if your hip, shoulder or whatever are complaining loudly or  if all the weld spatter is dropping down your socks.

 

If it goes to c@rp on  the boat, don't be afraid to stop and grind the weld out, then try again.  It is  really difficult to recover from  pigeon poo without grinding out, to the point where if you are that good you would not have pigeon poo in  the first place!

 

Good Luck

 

N

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All great advice, not quite sure what Tracy D'arth is implying, Hmmmm!! All steel has been ground-back to bright, unfortunately I'm to far from home for any practice. I'm going straight in at the deep-end. New gauntlets from Toolstation for under a fiver and no socks in this weather (keeping my feet well out of the way). I seem to remember when I was an apprentice that fillet welds were the easiest? So as long as I can successfully strike an arc I'm hoping for the best, even with the cheapo, hand held face shield supplied as part of the kit, otherwise I have several grinding discs, if the results are any good I might buy a decent face mask and take up the profession, I'm sure others have! Welding 60 x 60 x 5 angle as couldn't get 75 x 75 x 6, both inside edges and one outside, no access to the other outside edge, I even have the room to mount up the pigeon poo in the internal corner if need be!

Joking aside I appreciate all the advise given and not one of you said get a professional to do it, I like that kind of go for it attitude.

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Sounds like you are up for it strike the rod and push it into the metal  don’t let it burn away from the metals

where are you ? I may have bean able to come and help if you wanted it 👍

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On 07/08/2021 at 13:53, canute said:

Scheppach WSE1000 130amp Inverter Welder | 230v

Hopefully arriving Monday, done plenty of research into cheaper end welders (Sip welders seemed to be in every mothers home catalogue back in the 1970's) that operate on BS1362 fused plug, going to use the 16A shore line and using E6013 2.5mm rods from Electricfix, again very good reviews, it's all down to the grey stuff now, if the results are positive I'll probably boast, if you don't hear from me, I'm either dead or to ashamed to report the outcome!

 

It's me, I'm back and I'm very pleased to say I'm not pushing up daisy's just yet, I'm back to "boast" about my welding skills, I must say the grey stuff didn't let me down. Joking aside the welder and rod combination worked a dream, not one stuck rod, which was my biggest fear. I would certainly not claim that the welds were the best I'd ever seen, but they were pretty good considering the forty odd years since last having a go and much better than the ones I ground off, that the the boat fitter (not shell builder) had done.

 

Tony and anyone else who dismays at their old style cheap, heavy, Sip type welders, I recommend you try one of these modern cheap (£129.99) inverter welders, I'm sure it's far superior to the ones I used in the old day's, brilliant live arc on 110A and 2.5mm rod, good melting of both uxtor plate and angle, I even turn the amperage down to 100A and would have probably tried a slightly larger rod if I had one and a place and time to practice. The whole welder isn't much bigger than a shoes box and weighs under six kilo, absolutely amazing.

 

Plug unit directly into the 16A shore-line, Fire chief (wife) stood by with the water hose running, disconnected house and gen-set batteries and engine alternators also turned off PV, MultiPlus and isolator, to hard to reach engine battery, haven't started engine or gen-set yet but inverter and PV's seem to be doing their job.

 

Thanks to all of those who posted advice and opinions, apologies to those I didn't see until after the works had been completed.

 

Regards

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Glad you managed to do it  it’s always good to do job for yous self  

yes the. Modern welders are fantastic  to the old type  

pulse welders are brilliant to use especially on aluminium 

Graham

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