What Does Molten Metal Have to do With Woodworking?Len Hovarter
The end of the year is near and the Hovarter Custom Vise accounting department luckily found some extra money in the budget so we decided to spring for some new equipment. We purchased a Lincoln Square Wave 200 TIG welder! We have some new products that we are working on which will require some precision welding and this unit fit the bill. TIG stands for Tungsten Inert Gas and it utilizes a non-consumable tungsten electrode to form the arc and creates an argon gas shield around the weld to protect and cool it. I hope to share more about what we are creating in the very near future.
TIG welding allows for very fine control of the welding process and can be used on a variety of materials like aluminum, stainless steel and titanium. Currently it is the only reliable process to weld titanium. The picture below shows the torch which holds the tungsten electrode and has a ceramic cup that directs the flow of argon gas over the molten puddle of metal. The argon gas helps cool the torch and prevents the molten metal from reacting with the atmosphere which would weaken the weld. Additionally the weld current is controlled by operating a foot pedal which allows excellent control of the weld.
We purchased some extra goodies like this really cool auto darkening welding helmet. The auto darkening feature is really nice to have. In 1/25000 of a second the lens changes from transparent to full shade to protect the wearer’s eyes from the very bright arc light. Old style welding helmets were always the dark shade and had to be flipped down just prior to striking an arc. Hard to keep your hand steady while you are flipping your head around. Another cool feature is that the lens shade can be adjusted by turning a knob allowing you to see lower amperage welds easier.
You might have noticed that I have everything displayed on a fold up table but I am in the process of building a welding table. The welding table will be made of a laminated plywood core and will be covered in steel. I will share some pictures in another post. I am also making a small stand to set the welder on. This stand will be made of plywood and painted red to match the welder. It will have a drawer underneath to keep power cords and other supplies handy. The construction of the stand is pretty basic using biscuit joints and glue. Although this little project is not up to the fine woodworking level I do find it enjoyable to crank out a project in a short amount of time and improve my shop organization.