Moses Ludel’s 4WD Mechanix Magazine – Welding & Cutting Methods
Cutting is a fundamental of metal fabrication work. There are a variety of modern methods for cutting metal. Some processes are costly for the home garage or small shop. Since welding depends upon metal cutting and heat, learning to weld often begins with oxygen-acetylene (gas) cutting and welding processes. Shown here is a gas mixer assembly, the foundation for cutting and welding accessories.
This section of the magazine contains specific welding ‘how-to’ and sections devoted to each welding and brazing process. See the following pages for details!
Gas welding and brazing are useful processes that most consider the foundation for developing advanced welding skills—that’s how millions of us began! And that’s where you can begin, too. In my view, the best teacher for controlling molten metal is an oxy-acetylene welding outfit and the use of hand-fed gas welding rod.
Regardless of brand, oxy-acetelene welding and cutting kits consist of regulators for the oxygen and acetylene bottles, hoses, a torch mixing chamber that accepts interchangeable welding/brazing tips plus a cutting head that threads onto the mixing chamber. Shown is a metal cutting attachment (top) and ‘rosebud’ torch tip (bottom) for broad heating of metal. Welding accessories like tips also attach to the mixer.
In addition to purchasing a welding/cutting kit, you will need gas bottles. The traditional weld/braze and cutting outfit requires a bottle of oxygen and a bottle of acetylene. In the United States, you can either lease bottles or buy them outright. If you consider leasing, realize that the lease fee will be ongoing. Although it costs more at the outset to buy your bottles, owning them allows refilling or exchanging bottles when you need gases.
I have owned each of my bottles for many years: the gas welding-cutting cylinders, the MIG bottle and the TIG bottle. This eliminates paying needless “rent,” especially during long periods of limited use. If cost is an issue, maybe you can purchase bottles when you know that you will be welding and cutting over a longer period. For some, a short-term lease works okay while you’re learning to weld.
A plasma cutter can save time, draws straight cuts and does not require bottled gas. Here, I quickly scarf off a bracket section while installing a FTS 6-inch lift kit on the XJ Cherokee project.
Here, I MIG/GMAW weld a new bracket supplied with the FTS lift kit. Process took only minutes in all-position angles. Use of ER70-S6 0.035″ wire is optimal on this slightly oxidized, mild steel base plate material.
Finished and painted, the new bracket will function like OEM. This work has been off-road tested to its limit over the last five years. 70K-plus tensile of the ER70-S6 wire is well up to the task. MIG welded quick in position saves time and gets excellent results!
TIG on cast iron can be stress and crack-free in the heat affected zone (HAZ) if done with proper filler material. Here, I use a precise filler rod with high carbon content. The result is higher graphite ductility. Pre-heated mildly, peened after every pass, this massive casting repair was better than new when completed.
See the ‘Welding Equipment’ section for equipment suggestions. When you have your equipment, move to the subsections for each welding process. Oxygen-acetylene cutting and plasma cutting have their section, too.
Welcome to the welding and cutting processes!