Welding Gray Cast Iron
(1) Edge preparation. The edges of the joint should be chipped out or ground to form a 60 degree angle or bevel. The V should extend to approximately 1/8 in. (3.2 mm) from the bottom of the crack. A small hole should be drilled at each end of the crack to prevent it from spreading. All grease, dirt, and other foreign substances should be removed by washing with a suitable cleaning material.
(2) Welding technique.
(a) Cast iron can be welded with a coated steel electrode, but this method should be used only as an emergency measure. When using a steel electrode, the contraction of the steel weld metal, the carbon picked up from the cast iron by the weld metal, and the hardness of the weld metal caused by rapid cooling must be considered. Steel shrinks more than cast iron when cooled. When a steel electrode is used, this uneven shrinkage will cause strains at the joint after welding. When a large quantity of filler metal is applied to the joint, the cast iron may crack just back of the line of fusion unless preventive steps are taken. To overcome these difficulties, the prepared joint should be welded by depositing the weld metal in short string beads, 3/4 to 1 in. (19.1 to 25.4 mm) long. These should be made intermittently, and in some cases, by the backstep and skip procedure. To avoid hard spots, the arc should be struck in the V and not on the surface of the base metal. Each short length of weld metal applied to the joint should be lightly peened while hot with a small ball peen hammer and allowed to cool before additional weld metal is applied. The peening action forges the metal and relieves the cooling strains.
(b) The electrodes used should be 1/8 in. (3.2 mm) in diameter to prevent excessive welding heat. The welding should be done with reverse polarity. Weaving of the electrode should be held to a minimum. Each weld metal deposit should be thoroughly cleaned before additional metal is added.
(c) Cast iron electrodes are used where subsequent machining of the welded joint is required. Stainless steel electrodes are used when machining of the weld is not required. The procedure for making welds with these electrodes is the same as that outlined for welding with mild steel electrodes. Stainless steel electrodes provide excellent fusion between the filler and base metals. Great care must be taken to avoid cracking in the weld, because stainless steel expands and contracts approximately 50 percent more than mild steel in equal changes of temperature.
(3) Studding. Cracks in large castings are sometimes repaired by “studding” (fig. 12-47). In this process, the fracture is removed by grinding a V groove. Then holes are drilled and tapped at an angle on each side of the groove. Studs are screwed into these holes for a distance equal to the diameter of the studs, with the upper ends projecting approximately 1/4 in. (6.4 mm) above the cast iron surface. The studs should be seal welded in place by one or two beads around each stud and then tied together by weld metal beads. Welds should be made in short lengths and each length peened while hot to prevent high stresses or cracking upon cooling. Each bead should be allowed to cool and be thoroughly cleaned before additional metal is deposited. If the studding method cannot be applied, the edges of the joint should be chipped out or machined. This is done using a round-nosed tool to form a U groove into which the weld metal should be deposited.
(4) Metal-arc brazing of cast iron. Cast iron can be brazed with heavy coated, reverse polarity bronze electrodes. The joints made by this method should be prepared in a manner similar to that used for oxyacetylene brazing of cast iron. The strength of the joint depends on the quality of the bond between the filler metal and the cast iron base metal.
(5) Carbon-arc welding of cast iron. Iron castings may be welded with a carbon arc, a cast iron rod, and a cast iron welding flux. The joint should be preheated by moving the carbon electrodes along the surface, thereby preventing too rapid cooling after welding. The molten puddle of metal can be worked with the carbon electrode to remove any slag or oxides that are formed to the surface. Welds made with the carbon arc cool more slowly and are not as hard as those made with the metal arc and a cast iron electrode. The welds are machinable.
Welding Cast Steels
(1) Joint designs for cast steel weldments are similar to those used for wrought steel.
(2) The choice of electrode filler metal is based on the type of cast steel being used, the strength needs of the joint, and the post-weld heat treatment. When welding carbon or low-alloy cast steels, the electrodes recommended for comparable wrought steel plate should be used. When cast austenitic stainless steels are jointed to either cast or wrought ferritic materials, the proper filler metal depends on the service conditions.
Welding Carbon Steels
(1) Low carbon steels.
(a) Metal-arc welding. In metal-arc welding, the bare, thin coated, or heavy coated shielded arc types of electrodes may be used. These electrodes are of low carbon type (0.10 to 0.14 percent). Low carbon sheet or plate materials that have been exposed to low temperatures should be preheated slightly to room temperature before welding. In welding sheet metal up to 1/8 in. (3.2 mm) in thickness, the plain square butt joint type of edge preparation may be used. When long seams are to be welded on this material, the edges should be spaced to allow for shrinkage because the deposited metal tends to pull the plates together. This shrinkage is less severe in arc welding than in gas welding. Spacing of approximately 1/8 in. (3.2 mm) per foot of seam will suffice. The backstep or skip welding technique should be used for short seams that are fixed to prevent warpage or distortion and minimize residual stresses. Heavy plates should be beveled to provide an included angle up to 60 degrees, depending on the thickness. The parts should be tack welded in place at short intervals along the seam. The first or root bead should be made with an electrode small enough in diameter to obtain good penetration and fusion at the base of the joint. A 1/8 or 5/32 in. (3.2 to 4.0 mm) electrode is suitable for this purpose. This first bead should be thoroughly cleaned by chipping and wire brushing before additional layers of weld metal are deposited. The additional passes of filler metal should be made with a 5/32 or 3/16 in. (4.0 to 4.8 mm) electrode. For overhead welding, best results are obtained by using string beads throughout the weld. When welding heavy sections that have been beveled from both sides, the weave beads should be deposited alternately on one side and then the other. This will reduce the amount of distortion in the welded structure. Each bead should be cleaned thoroughly to remove all scale, oxides, and slag before additional metal is deposited. The motion of the electrode should be controlled to make the bead uniform in thickness and to prevent undercutting and overlap at the edges of the weld.
(b) Carbon-arc welding. Low carbon sheet and plate up to 3/4 in. (19.1 mm) in thickness can be satisfactorily welded by the carbon-arc welding process. The arc is struck against the plate edges, which are prepared in a manner similar to that required for metal-arc welding. A flux should be used on the joint and filler metal added as in oxyacetylene welding. A gaseous shield should be provided around the molten base and filler metal, by means of a flux coated welding rod. The welding should be done without overheating the molten metal. If these precautions are not taken, the weld metal will absorb an excessive amount of carbon from the electrode and oxygen and nitrogen from the air. This will cause brittleness in the welded joint.
(2) Medium carbon steels. The plates should be prepared for welding in a manner similar to that used for low carbon steels. When welding with low carbon steel electrodes, the welding heat should be carefully controlled to avoid overheating of the weld metal and excessive penetration into the side walls of the joint. This control is accomplished by directing the electrode more toward the previously deposited filler metal adjacent to the side walls than toward the side walls directly. By using this procedure, the weld metal is caused to wash up against the side of the joint and fuse with it without deep or excessive penetration. High welding heats will cause large areas of the base metal in the fusion zone adjacent to the welds to become hard and brittle. The area of these hard zones in the base metal can be kept to a minimum by making the weld with a series of small string or weave beads, which will limit the heat input. Each bead or layer of weld metal will refine the grain in the weld immediately beneath it. This will anneal and lessen the hardness produced in the base metal by the previous bead. When possible, the finished joint should be heat treated after welding. Stress relieving is normally used when joining mild steel. High carbon alloys should be annealed. When welding medium carbon steels with stainless steel electrodes, the metal should be deposited in string beads. This will prevent cracking of the weld metal in the fusion zone. When depositing weld metal in the upper layers of welds made on heavy sections, the weaving motion of the electrode should under no circumstances exceed three electrode diameters. Each successive bead of weld should be chipped, brushed, and cleaned prior to the laying of another bead.
(3) High carbon steels. The welding heat should be adjusted to provide good fusion at the side walls and root of the joint without excessive penetration. Control of the welding heat can be accomplished by depositing the weld metal in small string beads. Excessive puddling of the metal should be avoided because this will cause carbon to be picked up from the base which, in turn, will make the weld metal hard and brittle. Fusion between the filler metal and the side walls should be confined to a narrow zone. Use the surface fusion procedure prescribed for medium carbon steels. The same procedure for edge preparation, cleaning of the welds, and sequence of welding beads as prescribed for low and medium carbon steels applies to high carbon steels. Small high carbon steel parts are sometimes repaired by building up worn surfaces. When this is done, the piece should be annealed or softened by heating to a red heat and cooling slowly. Then the piece should be welded or built up with medium carbon or high strength electrodes and heat treated after welding to restore its original properties.