Nickle-free cast iron rod Q

I have a pack of Nickle-free cast iron electrodes that I picked up some place in the distant past and never had a need for until now.

I have an old vise whose base is missing a hold down flange on one side. I planned to make a new one out of 3/8" steel and weld it to the cast iron base.

The box says that this should be good for old rusty cast iron and joing steel to cast iron, so presumably I've got what I need. Anybody have any expereience with this type of rod and what I need to do to make it work? Sounds like the weld will not be machinable, but will it be readily grindable?


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GeoLane at PTD dot NET
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I am a big fan of this type of rod for welding cast. IIRC, Lincoln? markets it as 'Ferro-weld' and it is often marked FE.

I MUCH prefer it to any ni type rod. IMHO, It has a much nicer arc and is easier to get a nice looking bead that washes well into corners and at the toe without excessive convexity or cold lapping and seems more tolerant of incompletely cleaned base material and without inclusions.

I do advocate standard cast welding procedures to limit heat input such as short beads and back stepping, also piening the weld when still hot to minimize contraction stresses when cooling. I use an air powered needle scaler type flux chipper which is fast and easy and helps clean and prevent slag & flux inclusions at the starts and stops of the short beads. I would avoid or at least minimize multiple passes when possible.

The deposit is easily shaped with standard grinders but I have never tried to drill or tap it and most sources say the deposit is much too hard to machine cut. For machinable repairs I prefer brass brazing. I am not a big fan of ni-rods, they are very expensive, hard to weld and have poor appearance. I have little confidence in their performance. Many people seem to think they are the only thing to use on cast iron but end up using them on miss-identified cast steel which could have been better welded with regular steel electrodes. Use your cutting torch to verify that the suspected cast will not cut, if it cuts properly with OA then it is not cast iron. If the broken piece requires bevelling, use of OA will reduce grinding time and provides a good opportunity for the cut test. Some claim to be able to identify cast types from the grinder sparks, but I just don't see enough cast to develop a good eye for this and usually need to refer to my books for spark examples.

Good luck, YMMV

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