Following discussion in thread "Another simple weld that worked.",
posted up a web-page showing techniques I know for fabricating in
- marking-out accurately using a soapstone
- setting-up an oxy-acetylene torch
Has a lot of hand-drawn sketches and handwritten notes, as doing any
other way would be more time-consuming than I could get around to.
OK. But if I am to do this I can't be "ploughing a lone furrow".
I am on an intense course at the moment and the effort would have to
be slotted in over weeks, when "a change is as good as a rest".
Additionally point about "scanned cursive" - the text in the scans
cannot be seen by a search engine. So someone searching for the
knowledge with a search engine wouldn't see it
So if there is comment and what is helpful to present comes out as a
concensus, I could do it.
A reality - the skill to the level shown enabled me to "fab. on site"
- have the steel - beams, columns, plate - delivered direct from
stockholder to site and fabricate the steel structurals there to
measurements at site. Useful for doing changes to heavily twisted
buildings - portal-frame buildings can be if bulldozers operate
inside, for instance. So that every new structural must be made to
the measurement of what is, not what the original drawing showed.
Even at the workshop, it seems often faster and more accurate to wheel
the bottles to the stockyard than bring stock into the shop and saw.
You get random error on flame-cut, whereas saw though very precise
usually has systematic errors bigger and more of a pain than the
random error of the hand-held torch-cut - eg. slant from the material
not being truly square-on to the blade.
IMHO only, all suggestions with respect,
Word prcocessed text is not only much easier to read, it is also editable
and easy to send or share electronically. I suspect that Weldsmith is a
work in progress which will evolve with much editing and consolodation which
will be much easier to do if your notes are done with a word processor at
Most artisans and tradesmen develop individual styles and techniques as part
of their skill set. No one technique is always perfect for all situations
or all people. An artisan needs to be versatile and possess a skill set
large enough to accomplish the desired result and quality. They also need to
learn to do quality work using a minimalists tool selection. Apprentices
often have the biggest box of tools but an experienced artisan will usually
accomplish more with fewer but more carefully chosen tools. This is
especially true in the field or outside the shop. The fewer tools you need,
the less you need to carry.
I do use the suggested marking technique of "approach direction to the
'true' edge", when working with wood or in some precision layouts, but when
doing metal fabrication, I generally use the 'cut on the center of the line'
technique. Most torch work is not done to extreme precision and fitup for
welding usually requires some root gap, IMHE use of the "approach
direction to the 'true' edge" technique usually results in oversized pieces
that need excessive grinding to fit. It is usually easier and better to cut
pieces for fabrication a little on the short side and then fill the gap with
weld. It helps if your torch tip is the right size (no larger than
required) and clean, and that your hand be very steady. When torch cutting,
I find it a LOT easier to accurately follow the center of a line, than it is
to find the edge of a soapstone line that is being blown or burned away.
I do not 'hollow grind' sharpen my soapstones, but that is mainly because I
seldom have a wheel grinder closeby. I use flat soapstones which I sharpen
on both sides (of both ends) using a flat file or the side of an angle
grinder disk. I prefer the end curved. I usually break the sticks in half
(pocket size) before use, and do not use any holder. YMMV, different
strokes and all that.
I do not use your 'steady the torch with your thumb' technique, but you
should use what works best for you. I prefer to steady my hands by touching
my elbows but with very little weight on them so I can move them one at a
time when making a long continuous cut. I can make a much longer continuous
cut from my elbows than from my hands, a long torch also helps (and saves my
I do use several large carpenter's framing squares but seldom use a
combination square or an engineer's square. I grind a fillet clearance on
the inside and outside corners of the square so I can check for square over
a fillet or an edge weld.
IMHO by far the handiest layout tool for both structural and pipe work is
the Curve-O-Mark Contour Gauge. It makes layout of square or complex angle
cuts on beams really easy.
some other neat pipe tools here
I suspect that 'pug' is local usage, I have normally referred to a torch
motor drive as a 'bug'.
I really like 'cutting machine torch tips as they are thin and have smaller
than typical preheater flames. They do very fine work but require a steady
hand or you will loose the cut.
IMHO, preheater flames are primarily required only for starting a cut, once
the cut is established, they can be shut off and the cut continues just fine
with O2 jet only. This is a common trade school demo. This trick works a
lot easier using a cutting machine (or 'bug') and with very slow travel
speed. I understand that some large operations shut off the preheaters on
their cutting tables in order to save gas but I have not actually seen this
IMHO, Weldsmith is a good start and you should be congratulated and
encouraged in your efforts. ISTM that there is a point on the learning
curve where it is natural and helpful to write about what you are learning,
it is a bit if a learning diary which could be helpful to others but will be
gratifying for you to look back on in a few years, kind of like a student
pilot logbook allows you to relive the exciting experience of learning.
Good luck, YMMV
Sometimes you need to let the thoughts flow. Working at the computer
is too restrictive. You can't maintain purpose while occupied in
time-consuming implementation. I was probably in a comfortable
arm-chair, on a train or in a cafe, in a moment of relaxation, when I
did those sketches. It makes premium time out of what could be dead
time. I like travelling by train for that reason that it can be very
valuable inspiration time. I sometimes tolerate a bit longer journey
time and/or a bit higher cost in order to be granted that time instead
of driving by car. I have to disagree with this point you make, for
myself at least. The sketches and annotations capture something pure
and complete as they poured out clear and simple.
You could take the inspiration and make a web-page which largely
captured the idea. You'd not loose your way in the implmentation
True, this is my story. Only I can tell it.
The technique I describe certainly works for me. I was finding I was
inside a millimetre (40thous) tolerance band. Given that when you
wipe the cut with a 9inch angle-grinder you can lean a bit harder on
regions your square has shown to be high.
I know exactly the issue you are saying about size. Jobs have "cut to
nominal (accept + or - half the tolerance band)" or "definitely not
over (-2mm +0 tolerance)". Never met the third possibility. Most
structurals are "definitely not over". You probably couldn't force in
a steel 0.5mm oversize, but bolts will get by elasticity a close-up on
a -1mm +0 tolerance steel. Which I reckon I could work to. 1mm on
say a 2.5metre steel is 1 part in 2500 - not a lot.
Indeed - I knew of as "bug" but stuck with local name. Would use that
name if typed-out text.
Yes - it is a diary. You benefit yourself. Then you can get a
message from someone saying how much it made a difference to them and
how off the back of some success things took a turn for the better.
As I've benefitted in that way, it seems right to put back in.
The only thing I would add/suggest would be filed under 'tools' and that is
the laptop computer. We all have differing learning and creative styles,
our task is to determine what is personally most effective. I suspect some
of the newer and more compact 'pad' and 'netbook' computers may be better
for some, but I still use a basic laptop as I do not need to learn new
programs and the data is easily transferred to my desk unit. I also do lots
of sketching for concept and design, and like pencil and paper as a thinking
Also agreed, with the added bonus of additional learning in the process.
This sharing and learning is the main reason most of us are here on sejw.
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