Welding Sheet Metal.
Welds in sheet metal up to 1/16 in. (1.6 mm) thick can be made satisfactorily by flanging the edges at the joint. The flanges must be at least equal to the thickness of the metal. The edges should be aligned with the flanges and then tack welded every 5 or 6 in. (127.0 to 152.4 mm). Heavy angles or bars should be clamped on each side of the joint to prevent distortion or buckling. The raised edges are equally melted by the welding flare. This produces a weld nearly flush with the sheet metal surface. By controlling the welding speed and the flame motion, good fusion to the underside of the sheet can he obtained without burning through. A plain square butt joint can also be made on sheet metal up to 1/16 in. (1.6 mm) thick by using a rust-resisting, copper-coated low carbon filler rod 1/16 in. (1.6 mm) in diameter. The method of aligning the joint and tacking the edges is the same as that used for welding flanged edge joints.
Where it is necessary to make an inside edge or corner weld, there is danger of burning through the sheet unless special care is taken to control the welding heat. Such welds can be made satisfactorily in sheet metal up to 1/16 in. (1.6 mm) thick by following the procedures below:
Heat the end of a 1/8 in. (3.2 mm) low carbon welding rod until approximately 1/2 in. (12.7 mm) of the rod is molten.
Hold the rod so that the molten end is above the joint to be welded.
By sweeping the flame across the molten end of the rod, the metal can be removed and deposited on the seam. The quantity of molten weld metal is relatively large as compared with the light gauge sheet. Its heat is sufficient to preheat the sheet metal. By passing the flame quickly back and forth, the filler metal is distributed along the joint. The additional heat supplied by the flame will produce complete fusion. This method of welding can be used for making difficult repairs on automobile bodies, metal containers, and similar applications. Consideration should be given to expansion and contraction of sheet metal before welding is stated.
For sheet metal 1/16 to 1/8 in. (1.6 to 3.2 mm) thick, a butt joint, with a space of approximately 1/8 in. (3.2 mm) between the edges, should be prepared. A 1/8 in. (3.2 mm) diameter copper-coated low carbon filler rod should be used. Sheet metal welding with a filler rod on butt joints should be done by the forehand method of welding.
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