Had this post in rec.crafts.metalworking. It's turning into a welding
solution, so I thought I would ask here also. The task is to butt join two
1/4" low carbon steel rods. Take 2 four ft
rods, and join them into one 8 ft rod. Lots of them. 10,000+. Using
un-skilled labor, and
do it relatively cheap. And have a system in place to do it by yesterday.
So far, the solution that appeals to me the most is to pick up a used
bandsaw blade or
wire butt welder, modify the clamps as needed, and weld a bunch of rods.
Any other good suggestions? Any recommended sources for a welder in the
Pacific Northwest? Lots of them on-line, but they all seem to be in the
Midwest or on the east coast.
Probably not much help but for that volume, why not buy 8' rods?
A bandsaw welder won't have the power to do 1/4" rods. Other factors
that need to factor into the equation:
this there a strength requirement, appearance, do they have to be
There are special solutions for high volume situations like induction
heating and butting the rods together under pressure so more info would
Bill Marrs wrote:
They are plant support rods. Manually pushed into the ground a foot or so,
then a sapling tree
or whatever is tied to them for support. Need to have a solid joint, but
it's not a high precision
thing. Got a quantity update yesterday--there are around 300,000 of the 4 ft
rods, which need to be joined into 150,000 8 ft rods. At 2 per minute,
that's 1,250 hrs!
Good grief, you are asking for 1,200,000 feet or around 200,000 pounds.
(5 semi trailers!!) With quantities like that you can have the rods cut
to a specific length and delivered to your job site. Might as well have
galvanized stock while you are at it. Classic example of taking a
process developed for short runs and trying to use it for high volume
Bill Marrs wrote:
"Bill Marrs" wrote: They are plant support rods. Manually pushed into the
ground a foot or so, then a sapling tree or whatever is tied to them for
Bill, you need to get outdoors more. A quarter-inch dia rod, pushed 1 ft
into the ground and sticking 7 ft into the air will barely hold itself up,
much less a tree that tall. More likely the tree will support the rod. :-)
Hmmm- Guess maybe I had better start calling the hombres "sir". They push
the rods into the ground to the required depth by hand. No driver, no
hammer, not even a pair of pliers to grab it with. Odd that we use tens of
thousands of them every year if they don't work.
"Bill Marrs" wrote: Hmmm- Guess maybe I had better start calling the
hombres "sir". They push the rods into the ground to the required depth by
hand. No driver, no hammer, not even a pair of pliers to grab it with.
Odd that we use tens of thousands of them every year if they don't work.
Every year? Tens of thousands? But this year, somehow, you have them in
four-foot lengths instead of eight? Did I say anything about the difficulty
of pushing them into the ground? You responded to a question that wasn't
asked, since you have no answer to the question I DID ask.
Leo, Look at your own previous post. You never ASKED a question. You made
of statements, based on the information available to you at the time. Yes
indeed we do
currently use tens of thousands of 8 ft rods. The darned things are
currently sitting on pallets in the nursery yard, as bare root tree digging
season is just over with.
The company bought another nursery business--bag and baggage. They grew
probably in pots. They used 4 ft rods. Part of the "baggage" is approx.
300,000 4 ft rods.
We do not currently, and have no intention to in the future, use 4 ft rods,
hence the desire to turn the 4 footers into something useful to the current
operation---8 ft rods.
You really need to get some different exercise. Jumping to conclusions and
running off at the mouth doesn't seem to be doing it for you.
I had a couple of thoughts...
Could you use a crimp on connector? I'm thinking of something similar to
those crimped cable connectors. It'd be cheap and fast.
Do the rods have to be butt welded? Could you overlap a couple of inches
and MIG weld them? This'd likely be stronger than using a band saw welder
that may not get full penetration.
Have you found out how much you could get if you sold them? The money
saved may not equal the cost associated with joining them.
"Bill Marrs" wrote: Leo, Look at your own previous post. You never ASKED a
Okay, then, let me phrase it in the form of a question. How can a 1/4"
steel rod, sticking up 7 feet out of the ground be expected to support a
tree, since it can hardly support itself? And, another question, if you
care to continue this discussion: Why did you respond to this point in my
previous post with a statement that does not apply?
I am posting this for the others in the discussion to consider. I don't
expect a cogent answer from you.
Steel rod is to heavy for a sapling.
You want a tube.
You want a wood rod - two or three of them.
The whole point is to limit the action of the tree - not hold it tight.
The tree is learning what to grow - and will grow roots to help it against
the wind. So keep it from moving more than a few inches in a direction.
Thus three - create a triangle.
The tree will protect itself - you are protecting your investment.
@ home at Lions' Lair with our computer lionslair at consolidated dot net
NRA LOH & Endowment Member
NRA Second Amendment Task Force Charter Founder
Leo Lichtman wrote:
If you really want to try welding them up, and you don't care what they
look like, just set up a 'gob' weld fixture. Fixture should hold about
50 pairs of rods approximately 1/8" to 3/16" apart. Set the fixture at
an angle so that the upper rod will butt soldily into the lower rod. Run
your MIG welder across the whole set, pausing at each joint just long
enough to get a puddle started. Don't trigger the gun, the rods are
close enough together so the arc will jump from one pair to the next.
Flip the fixture over, hit the back side, dump them out.
You should be able to do all 50 rods (it's only 16" of weld!!) in about
a minute, assumes you spend about one second establishing the puddle.
Flip side should take another minute. Dump into a pile takes 30 seconds.
Reload 50 pairs (100 of the 4' rods) in 2-1/2 minutes. 5 minute cycle
time for 50 rods = 10 rods per minute/ 600 per hour. More than likely
you will need a helper to load the rods, preferably into a second
fixture. This is GRIM duty!!!
Bill Marrs wrote:
Actually, only 250 hours since the count if for 150,000 finished rods.
Just think, 10 hours a day, 6 days a week and you can be done in a month.
I still think selling the short rods on the open market and buying the
right stuff is the way to go.
Peter Grey wrote:
I hate it when I have to weld together two short pieces of anything to get
what I want. Although for most uses, it is just fine, I prefer one
uninterrupted length unless I am out of full sticks and have to make due.
That weld always stands out to me although others say they don't notice it.
Or you can take more time and weld it flush and it looks a little better.
I think the answer might depend on what tools you have on hand.
My first suggestion would be to consider that the business that was
bought has customers for shorter trees or plants, and maybe you should
expand into growing shorter trees and use the rods as 4 foot rods. I
also suspect you have already considered that and ruled it out.
A bandsaw blade type welder is a good idea, but they are not typically
designed for continuous production.
Since you say the rods are on pallets, you might try to get quotes from
local shops. But if the idea is to provide some steady employment for
your own workers then forget that.
I think that Peter Gray had one of the better ideas. Making a short
overlap and mig welding. That kind of assumes you have a mig welder or
that you would have some use for a mig welder after you have done these
rods. If I were doing it, I would make a jig out of angle iron that
would hold the rods and have stops so the rods could be pushed against
the stops to get the overlap you want. I would run a test of some sort
to see if welding on one side is adequate. I would have the work at a
height so it can be done sitting down. Two pallets of rods across from
the jig so rods don't have to be moved except a few inches. Preferably
slight slope so the rods roll toward the jig. And then a section of
roller conveyor so the completed rod can be easily slid off say to the
right onto the rollers and then it would drop off onto a pallet. I
would also not have anyone work more than half a day doing this, as I
suspect the repeditive motion could easily lead to some sort of carpel
tunnel or similar problems. Maybe you could arrange some sort of
counter which might lead to some competition between workers.