Welding bed frames?

I need to weld up a couple of simple jigs but am fresh out of 1 1/2" angle
iron. I do have several sets of old bed frames but I remember someone once
saying that bed frame steel doesn't weld all that well. Can anyone tell me
what to look out for? I really don't want to go buy a whole stick of angle
for these short life jigs.
Reply to
Glenn Ashmore
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I can definitely remember seeing bed frames that looked a lot like cast iron, and then some that looked like light angle iron. If these are short use items, I would use them and not look back.
Just buff all the paint off, as they may be powder coated, lead paint, or just some thick goopy industrial variety that causes aromatic carcinogens that will kill you in 30 years. Steve
Reply to
Steve B
There may be more to it but my understanding is that it's a structural grade, graded on strength rather than alloy, etc. Thus, some of it has a lot of carbon in it. As usual, that makes welding more difficult.
-- Ed Huntress
Reply to
Ed Huntress
I think they must have some carbon content, I used some a while ago for some brackets and it was actually somewhat difficult to drill due to the hardness. Welded okay with MIG, didn't try TIG. Should be okay for non critical use.
Reply to
someone once
Here in the UK many bedframes were rolled from old tram rails, which iirc had a high nickel content so that the surface work hardened. Yes they are tough to weld but weldable. The usual problem is drilling holes, as they work harden as the drill penetrates and grab it !
Reply to
Andrew Mawson
Just do it - see what happens......
Andrew V3BFA.
Reply to
Andrew VK3BFA
I do it all the time. I've probably used several hundred feet of the stuff.
1. the frames vary. Some are much harder than others. 2. use cobalt bits to drill, abrasive saw to cut. 3. the HAZ can be brittle. Shouldn't matter much for a jig. I've had a couple of joints break in the HAZ and have stopped using it for this reason. Broken joints are a nuisance even if it wasn't structural (i.e., not a matter of safety). Note test it was only a couple of joints out of dozens and dozens, and I wouldn't hesitate to use it if I was short on "regular" steel. 4. I generally use my stick welder.
HTH, Bob
Reply to
Bob Engelhardt
They are normally fairly high carbon, you can assume they are in the .4 to .6 range or more. Should weld just fine with stick or MIG. The HAZ will likely be quite brittle, will fatique crack quickly. Keeping the welds hot or a little post weld O/A heat does wonders.
I've seen small utility trailers welded with this stuff, NOT what you want for on-road bumps and jolts over many miles. Same story for rebar.
Glenn Ashmore wrote:
Reply to
RoyJ wrote:
Yeah, the big deal with this stuff is hardening and cracking from hardening, so post heat (propane would be cheaper, a brush-pile or charcoal barbecue grill cheaper yet) is the ticket to success. Using a low-hydrogen process [mig, tig, 7018] can't hurt, though enough post-heat should knock that down, if it does not crack before you get it post-heated. Having the post-heat ready to go right after welding is thus a good plan. You don't need to fully anneal the stuff, think of it as trying to at least temper it, after having brutally hardened some parts of it near the weld. If you have a shop stove you could just throw it in a hot oven.
Reply to
Partly true. There's rebar that's made for welding (really) and rebar that isn't. If you have mystery rebar, not a good idea. But rebar in large structures gets welded every single day.
Reply to
Grant Erwin
Standard issue grade 40 rebar is rated for 40kpsi. How the mill gets to that is pretty much dependent on what is in the pot that day. If the mix has some alloy, the carbon will be down some. If no alloy, it will be right around .4 carbon. If you weld that stuff and it gets chilled quickly, it is as fragile as glass. I dropped a welded assembly on the floor once, it shattered!
Granted, there is some weldable rebar out there. Has some specific markings IIRC. But anytime a hobbist or non industrial level person mentions welding rebar or bed iron, I cringe.
I've even gotten a batch of high carbon hot rolled bar stock. The gang took the teeth out of 3 blades before I shut one job down and started doing a quality quarantine and audit. One bar out of 4 in a shipment was high carbon, really messed the process up.
Grant Erw>
Reply to
I'm of the opinion that the best results that can be consistently anticipated from welding OBF are slightly better than joining the pieces with hot glue. Joining parts with quality hardware would be very likely to produce much more reliable assembly. Be prepared to sharpen your drills.
I had been using bed frame for some utility-type projects, but I wouldn't trust it for any parts related to load holding strength, since I saw my flux core wire welds pull out from a fairly low force (just hand pulling on a 12-16" length). The weld had nearly full penetration, but it pulled all the way out, leaving a deep rut/gouge where the weld was.
The bed frame manufacturers punch and rivet for fabrication and assembly. The stuff is generally pretty miserable to saw or drill, so I always be sure to slop on the cutting lube.
WB metalworking projects
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Glenn Ashmore wrote:
Reply to
Wild Bill
I use a chop saw to cut them to small size. About 12inch. Then use the stock for welding pratice.
Its real tuff stuff.
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