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Newbie with welding questions

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  • Newbie with welding questions

    Hey all,

    I'm totally new to the welding world, and I have an idea I was wanting some info on.

    One of my hobbies is making maille (as in chain maille) for rennaisance festivals and the like. My idea was to weld each of the rings closed individually as I think that would look better and may be easier than riveting.

    As to the welding part, I'm not really sure what I would need to do so. Specifically, I would like to be able to butt weld several different kinds of materials (not at the same time) using one welder, and I think that some form of resistance welding would work best. The materials to be welded would be aluminum, copper, galvanized steel, mild steel, stainless steel, or possibly titanium. The specific alloys vary because of the different applications and suppliers I work with, though they are usually the most common for each respective metal.

    What I would really prefer to be able to do would be to attach an electrode to either side of the gap in the ring, flip a switch, and be done with the welding part. I know things are not that simple, but I would like to get as close to that as possible, and if need be I have the resources at hand to build a custom welder.

    I realize this is a very open ended request and any help would be appreciated.

  • #2
    warrior ........................

    go to your local welding shop and get a MILLER catalog or check out the site and check out "spot welders". you put a piece of metal in between the two tongs, press a button and zap! It's welded. The tongs and tips come in different variations. you would probably use a standard or a flat tip. I don't know if a spot welder would work for you. you'll have to check it out. now here is the downfall......
    spot welders are used on steel and stainless steel. they are not recommended for aluminum or copper. It would be super fast and easy but you would be limited to steel and stainless steel. If you want a machine that will weld steel, stainless steel, aluminum, copper, brass, titanium and magnesium alloys then you want to check out the tig welders, especially if you're going to be welding thin/small metal. you want a machine that has both AC(alternating current) and DC(direct current) and high frequency. DC is used for steel, stainless steel, copper, brass and titanium. AC is used for aluminum and magnesium alloys. High frequencey is used to weld aluminum and it also allows you to start the arc without touching the tungsten to the work piece when welding AC and DC. go to resources at the top of this site, then go to improving your skills, go to tig resources. the "tig hints and tips" are videos and there's a downloadable tig book called "tig handbook". download it and check it out. my advise is to do some research then go in and talk to a miller representative. they will have all your answers.
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    • #3
      maille huh. sounds cool.
      here's what i think you might be able to do..
      if you can find a spot welder you may be able to modify something to fuse the open end of the links. the problem is tha the links themselves only have one open end and if hey were to be placed in a modified spot welding machine, the circuit is closed before you even apply the first bit of current. this is a problem. induction welding? I dont know much about that process... did you check out any youtube welding vids?? you migth get an idea or two from there...

      i think you might be best to TIG them together. it would be labor intensive (isnt making maille already like that???) ,but im not sure there is another way. I could be wrong and/or the possible alternate costs you an arm and a leg. (lopped off by a sword because you bought a laser welding machine and didnt have enough cash left over to complete the armour for that particular arm and leg...)

      A small AC/DC TIG machine would allow you to do practically everything you mentioned.. Stay away from galvanized if you can though. When the Zinc burns off it gives off a toxic gas... Great for the most awesome headache youve ever had.. hope this sorta gets the wheel turning..

      I knew a couple in Vancouve that were making Maille. this was around 1990 they called themselves Roque Runes. there may still be a web site.. if you hunt it down... Good Luck
      Will it weld? I loooove electricity!

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      • #4
        I have welded chain maille. I started with a very small Oxy Act torch. I started the job by making a long length of chain then using loose links joining two adjacent lengths of chain making three. I used a pattern for a cloth vest from the fabric store. A small hemostat with one handle held in the vise held each link up for welding. Took a long time. Didn’t make much on that job. The second one was stainless used a tig welder set real low to join the links. That worked better about twice as fast. Still took a long time. The worst part was the amount of argon it took. A Tig machine with adjustable post flow will save a bit of $$$ in argon. Is that the corrtect spelling or is it mail? don't know. spent mot of my school time in metal shop.



        • #5
          TIG it

          With the different metals mentioned, plus the precision required, TIG is the way to go. You could get by with a small TIG rig since you will be dealing with small diameter wire and thin sheet.

          If it is given an assembly-line approach, the chain maille will still take time, but be as efficient as possible. For example, for the links, tightly wrap a single layer of wire around a solid rod (just slightly larger than the desired diameter of the links), then cut them (with a circular saw blade) all along the length of the rod. There are the links. Weave them together, leaving the ends to be joined as high as possible. Bend the ends until they touch (of as close as you can get them). Come along with the TIG torch and hit each one. After about 40 hours, you will have a decent sized panel of chain maille.
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          • #6
            One of my college instructors is rather well known for his abilities in maille. Pretty decent welder too considering he has never done it as a profession, and he closes his with solder. I am pretty sure coming from the pro-welder/artist (art is fun, welding pays for the art) that solder would be your best bet. I try to keep up on the technology and am not aware of any method of doing this conveniently and inexpensively. About the only thing I can think of that might give you the precise control you will need with the tight confines you are looking at might be a laser. The tig could do it, but the setup and tight confines are going to make it difficult.
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            • #7

              Hey All,

              Thanks for the advice and info. I'm getting into the end of my semester at school right now, so I've been (and will be) pretty swamped, so it'll probably be some time before I can really make some headway on this. You guys have been really helpful so far, and I'll post again at a later time if I get something worked out or if I get confused again. Thanks bunches


              • #8
                Samurai dave explaned the best (and original) method to produce maille. As far as welding goes the original method was to forge weld the 2 ends together or to flaten the 2 ends, punch a whole into the flat parts and then rivet them together. I would either tig or soilder them together. A qiuck way to soilder them together would be to assembel the sheet of mail and then heat the entire peice to the neccesary temp., then touch the soilder to all the joints. It would save you the time of having to heat each individual joint seperatly.