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  • Copper plated filler rod for TIG

    A welding book I was reading last night (I'm fairly new to TIG, being a grizzled old gas welder) and the author was quite firm about NEVER using copper plated filler rod unless the project was something on the order of fixing old lawn furniture. He mentioned the problems of the copper finding its way into the weld structure and forming grain boundaries that can lead to cracking. He also mentioned the danger of inhaling copper fumes.
    My LWS sells lots of copper plated filler rod and I see a lot of it for sale at various welding supply places on the web. When I bought some rod the other day to use for practice, the stuff was all copper plated. I didn't ask for un-plated rod.
    What's the true story about filler rod for TIG? The place I was working part-time and where I learned the basics of TIG had only copper plated rod to use.

  • #2
    Here's one opinion:

    http://goarticles.com/article/Copper...iller/6416212/
    Miller stuff:
    Dialarc 250 (1974)
    Syncrowave 250 (1992)
    Spot welder (Dayton badged)

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    • #3
      Been doing this a long time and never had a problem with copper poisoning or weld degradation.

      The copper has an added benefit of keeping the wire from rusting.
      Nothing welded, Nothing gained

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      • #4
        I always wear a respirator whenever I strike an arc, regardless of which process I'm welding with.

        There are small amounts of copper in the great majority of the commonly available grades of carbon steel. Take a look at pretty much any MTR for carbon steel pipe or plate and you will find copper listed as an ingredient in the steel.

        Welding filler metals are engineered and formulated by people who specialize in metalurgy. The author of that book is out to lunch. He's wrong on at least two things. One is the copper issue. The other is the fact that lawn furniture supports human beings. There weld criteria is more stringent for things that support or protect human beings than for things that do not so his implication that an (allegedly) inferior filler material should be used for that purpose only shows his ignorance. Stop reading that book.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Matrix View Post
          I always wear a respirator whenever I strike an arc, regardless of which process I'm welding with.

          There are small amounts of copper in the great majority of the commonly available grades of carbon steel. Take a look at pretty much any MTR for carbon steel pipe or plate and you will find copper listed as an ingredient in the steel.

          Welding filler metals are engineered and formulated by people who specialize in metalurgy. The author of that book is out to lunch. He's wrong on at least two things. One is the copper issue. The other is the fact that lawn furniture supports human beings. There weld criteria is more stringent for things that support or protect human beings than for things that do not so his implication that an (allegedly) inferior filler material should be used for that purpose only shows his ignorance. Stop reading that book.
          Well I agree with the Author, for critical items, the copper does migrate between the boundaries, saying he is out to lunch because you have not heard of this shows you need to do a little research, yes, the copper does help keep the rod from rusting, but does not stop it completely, only a sealed container will do that, another reason I have read for copper, it makes it easier to pull through the sizing dies, but that may be MFG. hype...and yes, there are multiple types of steel ER made, some are for gas and have lower tensile strength ...hope this puts you back on track Doberman
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          • #6
            From Welding Engineer Richard Finch's Book, [he was the engineer for the escape tower for the Shuttle launch Complex] http://books.google.com/books?id=GcP...%20rod&f=false
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            • #7
              a little more info from this link,hope this helps...

              http://www.petroplasma.net/en/sferi/

              Plasma-arc technologies for welding wire cleaning may be of interest for large engineering plants, shipbuilding yards and tube-rolling mills.
              At present expensive copper-plated welding wire is mainly used. The copper coating is not inspired by environmental considerations or attempts to increase weld seam strength. On the contrary, the use of copper coatings on welding wire results in large-scale and dangerous pollution of not only welding shop area but also a whole plant and environment.
              It is known that all copper compounds are carcinogenic, toxic and abnormally dangerous for human health. Employing of 100-150 tones of welding wire with copper coating (5-8 microns) within a month results in 0,07-0,12 tones of dangerous copper compounds spread out into ambient air. During a year it will make 0,9-2,0 tones.
              In terms of weld seam quality, the presence of copper is also undesirable; welders have known this.
              The main purpose of copper coating of welding wire is to guarantee a good electrical contact when welding current is fed to wire. The other purpose is to protect welding wire from corrosion while in transportation or in storage, although it is known that copper coating is not a good corrosion protector for steel.
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              • #8
                Many thanks for the inputs. I guess it's OK for me to used copper coated rods for practice but if I ever get good enough at this to weld something serious I may need to think about some higher-grade rod which probably won't be copper coated.
                See, it's all my wife's fault because she bought me this really, really, really nice Dynasty 200 DX for my birthday so I'm off on a new learning adventure. I've read the books, read the various welding forums and am still amazed at this Dynasty and what it can do. I mean, it's got to be a good machine if even I can weld stainless with it and make it look halfway decent.
                Aluminum is probably the next adventure after I get my welding cart built.

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                • #9
                  Paul I clicked on your link. I don't know how to type this without sounding like I'm trying to pick a fight. I'm not. That article is nonsensical to me. My eye saw the heading "Copper Coated Rod" so I went straight to it. After the second paragraph under that heading I stopped reading.

                  And I quote:
                  "Copper is used because it will not mix or fuse with steel or other metals."

                  I'm sorry but that's just ludicrous. It's not even worth discussing.

                  I know for an absolute indesputible fact that copper does mix and fuse with steel and other metals. Has he never heard of the bronze age? What does he think bronze is made of?

                  I tried to find an actual MTR to show that there is copper actually in steel but all I could find was this Youtube video . Right near the end it shows that there is copper in even nuthin-special steel like rebar. I can promise you there is also copper in the better grades of steel than that MTR shows.

                  I won't argue against the idea there may be some welds somewhere in this world critical enough that they want to control copper content. I've certainly never seen it and I cut my eye teeth welding in pulp mills, refineries and chemical plants where every weld is critical and scrutinized and subject to all kinds of testing. I don't believe the day will ever come when I will be confronted by the copper content of my TIG rods and I suspect nobody else here will either. For the author of the book mentioned in the original post of this thread to suggest that nobody should ever use copper plated rod except in the case of some piece of junk that nobody cares about, well, that's proof enough for me he's out to lunch. Copper plated rod is the norm. It's used every day by millions of welders around the world working on ordinary things as well as extremely critical things. Just because someone somewhere has an issue with the copper on those rods doesn't mean the rest of the world should just simply abandon them altogether as he implies. That's just nutty, I'm sorry. I stand by my statement, he's out to lunch.

                  What are we all going to do? Start second guessing the engineers and metalurgists and foundries? I don't know ... I don't want to argue with you on the possibility that copper can create problems in certain situations but, well .... you know what I'm saying.

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                  • #10
                    Just for the record, bronze is made of Copper and Tin. Iron is not involved.
                    CG
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by chewinggum View Post
                      Just for the record, bronze is made of Copper and Tin. Iron is not involved.
                      CG
                      Which falls under the category of "or other metals."

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Matrix View Post
                        Paul I clicked on your link. I don't know how to type this without sounding like I'm trying to pick a fight. I'm not. That article is nonsensical to me. My eye saw the heading "Copper Coated Rod" so I went straight to it. After the second paragraph under that heading I stopped reading.

                        And I quote:
                        "Copper is used because it will not mix or fuse with steel or other metals."

                        I'm sorry but that's just ludicrous. It's not even worth discussing.

                        I know for an absolute indesputible fact that copper does mix and fuse with steel and other metals. Has he never heard of the bronze age? What does he think bronze is made of?

                        I tried to find an actual MTR to show that there is copper actually in steel but all I could find was this Youtube video . Right near the end it shows that there is copper in even nuthin-special steel like rebar. I can promise you there is also copper in the better grades of steel than that MTR shows.

                        I won't argue against the idea there may be some welds somewhere in this world critical enough that they want to control copper content. I've certainly never seen it and I cut my eye teeth welding in pulp mills, refineries and chemical plants where every weld is critical and scrutinized and subject to all kinds of testing. I don't believe the day will ever come when I will be confronted by the copper content of my TIG rods and I suspect nobody else here will either. For the author of the book mentioned in the original post of this thread to suggest that nobody should ever use copper plated rod except in the case of some piece of junk that nobody cares about, well, that's proof enough for me he's out to lunch. Copper plated rod is the norm. It's used every day by millions of welders around the world working on ordinary things as well as extremely critical things. Just because someone somewhere has an issue with the copper on those rods doesn't mean the rest of the world should just simply abandon them altogether as he implies. That's just nutty, I'm sorry. I stand by my statement, he's out to lunch.

                        What are we all going to do? Start second guessing the engineers and metalurgists and foundries? I don't know ... I don't want to argue with you on the possibility that copper can create problems in certain situations but, well .... you know what I'm saying.
                        Matrix, well put......I tried researching a little more, but could not find any data at the time.....I had a text book in welding school, 85 dollars....it had an article that showed some missile launchers on a US ship that kept failing, they discovered it was the copper covered filler rod causing the issue, they also showed micro photos of the copper being in the grain boundaries......thanks for the input......nice to see.....Paul
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                        • #13
                          Corten steel has 0.25-0.55 percent Copper. T-1 steel has 0.15-0.5 percent Copper. Some alloys contain well over 1 percent.
                          Miller stuff:
                          Dialarc 250 (1974)
                          Syncrowave 250 (1992)
                          Spot welder (Dayton badged)

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by USMCPOP View Post
                            Corten steel has 0.25-0.55 percent Copper. T-1 steel has 0.15-0.5 percent Copper. Some alloys contain well over 1 percent.
                            I found this chart, not many of the alloy steels have copper......hope this helps....

                            http://www.nickelinstitute.org/~/Med...teels_447_.pdf

                            http://www.ebladestore.com/steel_chart.shtml

                            http://www.magnumsteel.com/html/carb...art%20BARS.pdf
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                            • #15
                              ok, I just came across this from the site listed....

                              http://www.weldreality.com/SHIP%20YARD%20DATA.htm


                              Electric Boat and Newport News share the construction workload for Virginia-class submarines under a team agreement. Together, they produce one $2.5 billion submarine a year.

                              The US Navy said it is too early to estimate the cost or describe plans to fully correct the welds on the Virginia-class submarines. The problem is being blamed on “Weld Process Control Weakness” at Northrop Grumman Newport News in Virginia.

                              Some welders and fitters used different welding materials than the consumables prescribed to hold portions of the 2.5 billion dollar boats together.

                              The incorrect filler material utilized had trace amounts of copper which can lead to cracking of the joints.

                              In perhaps the most sweeping yard action, all welders and welding foremen are required to attend a mandatory, eight-hour training session over the next few weeks. The yard also has since prohibited welders from carrying multiple filler materials to reduce mistakes, and it now forbids them from correcting their errors without supervision. The yard will take "appropriate actions against welders" found to have made errors, Dellapenta said. She didn't specify what those actions would be.

                              Note from Ed . I found no mention of management, engineering or navy accountability or responsibility for the weld issues in the reports I read. From my simple perspective, it requires no analysis to figure out what went wrong in welding these submarines.When you have weld control issues in building a ship and welders are using what they please, you simply have a lack of QA, supervision, engineering and management control. Those managers and engineers responsible simply need to look in the mirror to find the root cause of the lack of that weld process control.
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