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TIG welding copper plate

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  • TIG welding copper plate

    I'm a shade tree welder, but I consider myself to be a pretty fare welder on carbon steel, stainless steel, and aluminum with my old DialArc HF welder. I've got it rigged with finger tip controls that work quite nicely. The machine itself is rated to push up to 300 amps DC. Last night, I tried welding some copper plate for a customer. I was getting my arse handed to me. I read about welding copper before I started, so I used pure helium shielding gas, 2% thoriated tungsten 1/8" electrode, 1/8" deoxygenated copper filler rod from the welding store, and used all the amperage I could squeeze out of my machine. Torch is water cooled, and even at that it was getting pretty warm.

    With all of that, I was having a terrible time getting a decent weld pool to form. I cleaned the oxide off before I started working, and preheated as best as I could with a small Mapp Gas torch (don't have O/A at home).

    The finished product came out pretty solid, but my welds were embarrassing. I can get some pretty good looking welds on steel or aluminum, but that copper looked terrible. Just seemed like I could not get enough heat, no matter what I did.

    Anybody got any ideas on what I was doing wrong? The work piece was fairly large. I was adding a piece of 2" x 1/4" copper flat bar to a section of doubled up 1/2" thick plates (1" total) that was about 3 feet long, and 6" wide. My only guess was insufficient preheat, but you guys are the pro welders. I'm just a desk jockey by day, hobby welder (and fisherman) by night.

  • #2
    More welder needed. I am working with a customer on trying a Dynasty 700 out next week on copper bars. He had an old 500 amp at his last job...Bob
    Bob Wright

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    • #3
      Mo pow-wah required. <br />
      <br />
      I've joined copper a bit with my gear, nothing near that size. If I can, I tig braze it with silicon bronze on DC or aluminum bronze on AC. Have had success with that. You don't need it quite as hot to braze it and I find the cleaning action on AC tends to help with the rapid oxidation of the metal while you're welding. Plus the color difference looks pretty cool.

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      • #4
        I have done type K copper pipe before with my Dynasty 200. Made a pipe stand for a plumbing job I did out of it to avoid electrolysis for the pipe. Turned it all the way up and welded away, DC. Looked pretty good in the end.

        Not sure if its relevant here but figured I would share either way.
        if there's a welder, there's a way

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        • #5
          Originally posted by McDaniel8402 View Post
          ............................
          The finished product came out pretty solid, but my welds were embarrassing. I can get some pretty good looking welds on steel or aluminum, but that copper looked terrible. Just seemed like I could not get enough heat, no matter what I did.

          Anybody got any ideas on what I was doing wrong? The work piece was fairly large. I was adding a piece of 2" x 1/4" copper flat bar to a section of doubled up 1/2" thick plates (1" total) that was about 3 feet long, and 6" wide. My only guess was insufficient preheat, but you guys are the pro welders. I'm just a desk jockey by day, hobby welder (and fisherman) by night.
          What does piece acually weigh...??? sounds like it is sucking up the heat faster than you can apply it...

          PICS Pls...???

          .

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