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  • Tubing to thin

    I am a new welder, no schooling and no books, just watching videos on the computer, certainly not an experienced welder. I have done a few unimportant projects such as a hot air vent in the bathroom. There is an iron railing on the steps leaving my home. Four of the verticals are one-inch sq. tube which is totally rusted out on the bottom. I have searched for heaver tubes but only found 18 gauge. I need to cut the bottoms off of the railing and replace them. The railing, I’m sure is as old as the house which is about 50 years old. Each time I try to test weld the 18 gauge, I burn thru. I’m using 1/16th E6013 at 30 amps but I still burn through. I have 3/32 E6011 & 3/32 E7014 & E7018AC. my welder (My Amico ARC-160D Welder) will not do AC) I also have 1/8 E6011 which I know will not help. I think that I can increase the thickness of the tubing by laying some weld onside the tube. Am I crazy or will it work and if it will work which is the best of my electrodes to use inside the tubing? I only have to thicken about a half inch near the ends so it should not be too hard.

  • #2
    Welcome, Rich.

    Welding 18 ga with stick is a challenge for an inexperienced welder, as you have learned. Don't feel bad--you've chosen a tough task for a newbie, and you haven't let it beat you yet.

    Will your welder go down any lower in amps?

    You could try thickening the wall with weld; might be hard to get it clean inside--6013 needs clean metal. But, you might just burn holes from the inside instead of from the outside. How about cutting some small pieces of metal and welding them inside?

    I would try getting some 1/8" wall 1" tubing, clamp the two pieces well to hold them together, and point your 1/16 6013 arc at the newer heaver tubing with just enough of the puddle touching the 18 ga to melt in; in other words, put most of the puddle (and heat) on the new thicker tubing. Be sure you have cut back the old tube to where it hasn't been thinned out by rust--you need all the thickness you can get. You should be able to buy 1/8 wall 1" tubing at any steel supply place. Google is your friend. With some practice you may succeed; it will take some finesse, and it's still gonna be hard. If you blow a hole or two, clean all the slag out real well and fill it up, again with the heat directed at the thicker metal. Do not bother trying this with 6011; you will certainly fail. You might also get some 1/16" 7024 and try that. What polarity are you using with the 6013? If you have been running EP (electrode positive; reverse polarity), try it with straight polarity (electrode negative). It may be a bit less aggressive.

    MIG would be no sweat, but you don't have a MIG welder. Good excuse for a new toy?

    How much tubing do you need? I could send you some, but depending on how much you need, shipping cost might get out of hand. Lots of short pieces lying in the shop if that's all you need. Probably just as cheap to buy it locally if you can find some.

    Another possibility is to just get some small angle iron and bolt it to the old and new with some silicone caulk in the joint to keep water from getting in and rusting out again.

    Well, that's my two cents worth. I'm sure others will be along with other ideas. This is a great group; lots of experience. Some may say (perhaps correctly) that I'm sending you on a fool's errand trying to do this, but I'd give it a shot just for the challenge.
    Last edited by Aeronca41; 10-16-2018, 06:05 PM.

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    • #3
      It may be easier to just cut the entire vertical out and replace it instead of attempting to splice a repair piece in with a butt weld.

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      • #4
        You are attempting some of the most difficult stick welding (thin AND rusty) without the experience of the far easier stuff. I wouldn't do it, and I kind of know how, but it just wouldn't be worth it. Even with new material, thin material stick welding, even with the small electrodes, is an advanced skill.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by MAC702 View Post
          You are attempting some of the most difficult stick welding (thin AND rusty) without the experience of the far easier stuff. I wouldn't do it, and I kind of know how, but it just wouldn't be worth it. Even with new material, thin material stick welding, even with the small electrodes, is an advanced skill.
          Rich--Mac has one vote for the fool's errand! And he's right. I probably shouldn't have led you on.

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          • #6
            Use what you have for a pattern. Make an entire new one out of thicker material. Scrap the old thin one. You'll spend more time fixing if it's very bad.... than you would making a much better version.
            Last edited by FusionKing; 10-18-2018, 07:13 AM.

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            • #7
              It may be easier to just cut the entire vertical out and replace it instead of attempting to splice a repair piece in with a butt weld.
              This is what I'd do too. Particularly since you don't know how much rust is inside the old one. My guess is your main problem is that the tubing is already mostly rusted out inside so, you're trying to weld to rust thinned metal.

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              • #8
                Guys, thank you for the suggestions. I thickened the tubing with E7014. It was a little scary but after a bit, I got used to it. Using the E7014 inside the tubing was ok. I had to make several passes on each side and was able to get it quite thick. Ugly (who cares), but thick. The 7014 seemed to shoot out from the stick, it also had a loud echo. I still have to screw my new legs onto the step then weld them to the old bars. For that I’ll have some help from my grandson, he’ll do the drilling. It’s better that way because I get tired too quick (80) and he does some construction work. After he does that, I’ll weld the new to the old. Guys, thank you for the suggestions. I think the hardest part is behind me, I’ll let you know how it goes.

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                • #9
                  Glad you got it fixed! Pretty hard job on stuff that thin and rusty.

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                  • #10
                    The job is finally complete. I got it all done by thickening a half inch at the end of the tubing. I even did it up into to the old ends so that I could weld the new to the old. Welding the new to the old with all ends thickened was a snap with 1/16th E6013. I'm pretty proud of it even is some of the welds are ugly. With a little black paint they will be beautiful.


                    Rich L.

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                    • #11
                      Grinder and paint...as the old saying goes....

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ryanjones2150 View Post
                        Grinder and paint...as the old saying goes....
                        That, and you kick in the a$$ anyone who bends over to look too closely.

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