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  • Thoriated -dangerous?

    OK, I don't wanna start another headache, but I picked up some tig electrodes for mild steel and the lws recommended 2% thoriated.

    Well then I read about the radioactive thing...

    So what to do. Use them or return for...?

    Thanks
    John

    Thunderbolt AC/DC
    MM 175
    Maxstar 150 STL
    Blue Star 185 DX
    Spectrum 375

  • #2
    Is it the dust that is supposed to be radio active or the electrode itself while welding?
    Owner of Burnt Beard Fabrication & Welding Ltd.

    BigBlue 500D
    Dynasty 200DX
    Millermatic 211
    4' Box and Pan Break
    IR compressor

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    • #3
      Technically both are radioactive. The dust is what's dangerous. Thorium is primarily an alpha emitter which doesn't do much unless you ingest it or breath it in. Definitely read up before taking a grinder to them and get a respirator.

      A few links I found.
      http://www.iem-inc.com/prmad9r.html
      http://www.twi.co.uk/j32k/protected/...thoriated.html

      I'm sure other will have more hands on advice for working with throiated tungstens.

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      • #4
        didnt know that..... thanks for the info jonsam
        my daddy always said i was IRONHEADED....
        feel free to P/M me

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        • #5
          ceriated, lanthanated...

          Just wondering; if there are other electrodes not radioactive, why bother with the exposure? Is it that there are not really as good or maybe more expensive?

          I dunno...
          John

          Thunderbolt AC/DC
          MM 175
          Maxstar 150 STL
          Blue Star 185 DX
          Spectrum 375

          Comment


          • #6
            From what I have heard it is just a case of them being the electrode of choice/ only choice originally and just became the old standby.
            Owner of Burnt Beard Fabrication & Welding Ltd.

            BigBlue 500D
            Dynasty 200DX
            Millermatic 211
            4' Box and Pan Break
            IR compressor

            Comment


            • #7
              I think people use it just because thats what they have been using. I just recently signed up for a TIG class and the instructor told us to get red and green tungsten. he didn't seem to know anything about other options.

              I have a Dynasty and i use Lanthanated for everything. Can i do the same with the schools Synchrowaves?? Is there any disadvantage? My understanding is that i can use the pointed/flatspot tungsten on AC and get the same advantages i get using it on my inverter. Is this true?

              Either way, unless you find it works better for you than other options, why expose yourself to anything you don't have to.
              Dynasty 200 DX
              Millermatic 175
              Spectrum 375
              All kinds of Smith OA gear

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              • #8
                My LWS doesn't cary anything but red and green, although he will order it (non radioactive) for customers. He says the red and green is what people want in this area, I yhink its just a case of people being creatures of habit, "this is what I've always used".
                I've used both and at my skill leval (beginner with tig) I see no real difference. I like the lanthanated myself, it seems to last longer than the ceriated.
                To all who contribute to this board.
                My sincere thanks , Pete.

                Pureox OA
                Westinghouse 300 amp AC stick
                Miller Syncrowave 250
                Hexacon 250 watt solder iron

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                • #9
                  I had to get my LWS to order lanthanated. They just had pure and thoriated. SWMBO put up a huge fuss about the thoriated when she found out it was radioactive. Never leave books open where anyone can read them. The lanthanated seems to do just fine for me, but I am still learning.

                  With the thoriated, I wouldn't be paranoid about it...you won't glow with contact..but the grindings can be dangerous. Radioactive stuff is accumulative and can get you down the line if I remember my NRC stuff correctly. With the proper precautions, I'm sure you can be safe with it. They would be the reason I would buy a tungsten grinder. They contain the dust for disposal. In this case, it would be a plus. Really, all tungsten dust isn't the best thing to breathe in.
                  Don


                  '06 Trailblazer 302
                  '06 12RC feeder
                  Super S-32P feeder

                  HH210 & DP3035 spool gun
                  Esab Multimaster 260
                  Esab Heliarc 252 AC/DC

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                  • #10
                    We generally recommend that unless you are required by specs to use thoriated, use something else. There have been a lot of improvements in the blends of tungsten since 1940something....

                    Here's some good articles on tungsten:

                    Guidelines for tungsten electrodes by Mike Sammons (from Weldcraft)
                    (good overview of all the tungsten blends available)


                    Selecting the right tungsten
                    (outlines the basics of square wave technology and which tungstens perform better on the newer inverter machines)
                    Carmen Electrode (Arc-Zone.com)
                    CarmenElectrode.com

                    powered by... Arc-Zone.com (R) Inc.

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                    • #11
                      Here's the deal I ran the maintenance shop at an OEM injection mold company
                      (UK international) And I was placed in charge of our safety system. So I had to do the research on this exact subject and turn over my finding to our HR dept and they in turn wrote the guidelines into our IIPP (injury, illness prevention plan)

                      So here it is Thorium is and alpha emitter meaning the radiation it emitts can be shielded by something as thin and paper. And the other posts that mention the dust are correct. See Thorium it self is not bad and you are not exposed to it long enough to get a high dose of radiation. It is when the dust is inhaled or ingested that it will cause problems. Once it is inhaled it will continue to release radiation into your body forever or at least longer then you will be alive.

                      Now in a large enough quantities it can release enough radiation over time to cause health problems. You would have to inhale a lot of dust though
                      The MSDS sheet supplied with most thorated tungsten simply say don't breath the grinding dust or particles and vacuum up all dust and particles and properly dispose of it.

                      So there you have it.

                      But here's something else thorium is also used in the mantels on your Coleman lantern and it's in magnesium alloys.

                      So set up a vacuum near your grinder and use it with a HEPA bag filter and you're good to go.
                      Kerry
                      Miller Syncrowave 200 W/Radiator 1A & water cooled torch
                      Millermatic 252 on the wish list
                      Bridgeport Mill W/ 2 axis CNC control
                      South bend lathe 10LX40
                      K.O. Lee surface grinder 6X18
                      Over 20 years as a Machinist Toolmaker
                      A TWO CAR garage full of tools and a fridge full of beer
                      Auto shades are for rookies
                      www.KLStottlemyer.com

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                      • #12
                        Handy560, fun4now sent me a website to get and try out some free tungstens. They want your business, might want to check them out!
                        www.diamondground.com On the top, click on "request samples"
                        I know LOT of people buy stuff from arc-zone, Carmen is one reason why

                        Carmen, thanks for the articles, they are great!!!!!
                        I'm not late...
                        I'm just on Hawaiian Time

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                        • #13
                          Free Samples!

                          Wow, that was great. Not sure who Carmen Electrode is, but I met Carmen Electra once . I may be in love again.

                          At any rate, all the feedback and articles are great. I think I will return most of these thoriated electrodes and switch to Lan or Cer, depending on what the consensus is for what works best for the material I am welding. I agree that the risk is probably minimal, but here is the thing.

                          I am a firm believer that so many of our malidies are induced from all the crap we are exposed too. Growing up I thought that if the govermnent allowed something it was safe. I thought if you saw something on TV or advertised, it best be true, because the government would be all over it.

                          Well, the government is just now figuring out that our kids are being exposed to lead from their toys. Our toothpaste has chemicals long since banned in Europe our water has fluoride, our shampoo and soap and just about every lotion has antifreeze in it (ever see the fold out warnings on a bottle of antifreeze?), pesticides, herbicides, it goes on and on.

                          I can't help but think that the cummulative effect of all these things is bad. So why take or add to the chance. It doesn't make any sense. We are exposed to so many things that we cannot help or avoid.

                          Additionally, why have them around to expose them to our kids who have hopefully years ahead of them.

                          I know some will say hey, we didn't wear helmets, sealtbelts, have carseats etc., but the proof that they have saved countless lives is indisputable. (of course the people who didn't get saved aren't around to say "well I survived" like many do!)

                          I am no saint: I have smoked and drank and eaten plenty of things not good for me. But things that are easy to avoid and from which there is no gain or pleasure borders on being foolish. JMHO

                          OK, so which are the best electrodes beside Thoriated? For Mild, for SS for AL?
                          Last edited by Handy560; 03-11-2008, 02:57 PM. Reason: cause I cAn'T tYpe
                          John

                          Thunderbolt AC/DC
                          MM 175
                          Maxstar 150 STL
                          Blue Star 185 DX
                          Spectrum 375

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Ceriated Orange tip is non radioactive and it's also great for aluminum too.
                            I've used pure Tungsten and orange tip and find the Ceriated to hold it's shape better.
                            Kerry
                            Miller Syncrowave 200 W/Radiator 1A & water cooled torch
                            Millermatic 252 on the wish list
                            Bridgeport Mill W/ 2 axis CNC control
                            South bend lathe 10LX40
                            K.O. Lee surface grinder 6X18
                            Over 20 years as a Machinist Toolmaker
                            A TWO CAR garage full of tools and a fridge full of beer
                            Auto shades are for rookies
                            www.KLStottlemyer.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Laiky View Post
                              I think people use it just because thats what they have been using. I just recently signed up for a TIG class and the instructor told us to get red and green tungsten. he didn't seem to know anything about other options.

                              I have a Dynasty and i use Lanthanated for everything. Can i do the same with the schools Synchrowaves?? Is there any disadvantage? My understanding is that i can use the pointed/flatspot tungsten on AC and get the same advantages i get using it on my inverter. Is this true?

                              Either way, unless you find it works better for you than other options, why expose yourself to anything you don't have to.
                              I had a Syncrowave 250 and currently have a Syncrowave 350. Not liking the idea of radioactive thoriated tungstens, I tried ceriated and later tried lanthanted 1.5%. I now use lanthanated on mild steel, stainless and aluminum with excellent results.
                              I know the thoriated tungstens do not "have much radiation" in them but in this case none is better than not much.
                              Griff

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