Last night my son wanted to do some welding on a friends snowmobile.
As I don't yet have heat in my shop and it was around 10 degrees in my
shop, I asked him to not do any welding till we had heat in the shop
as I was concerned that running the welder in cold temps was not good
for it. I assume that internal parts of the welder (coils, etc...)
might be more prone to failure in extreame temps. Any thoughts on
that...or is it no harder on the welder to be run in cold weather as
Outside temperature does not make a difference to the welder itself...you
may want to pre-heat the part to be welded though to get the chill out of
it. We have a Lincoln Ranger 9 gas powered welder mounted in the back of a
pick -up and it is used all year. When I say get the chill out I mean up to
maybe 100 deg. F. Could probably be done with a small propane torch if you
don't have O/A set-up
I wouldn't worry too much about the welder, other than to let it idle
for a few minutes before and after use-- before to let it warm a
little and drive any moisture out, after to let it cool (always a good
The weld, on the other hand, I would worry about. A few questions
first: what process? What filler? How experienced is your son? What is
the part being welded? Is it safety critical?
Now, general info, presuming mild steel:
Low temp welding can be tough to get right: the part should be
preheated for a good distance from where the weld will be done. The
cooling rate of the weld must be held down to avoid cracking. The
faster the cooling, the harder and more brittle the weld. The
surrounding metal will also be embrittled. With sufficient preheat,
the cooling rate will be reduced, as will thermal stresses in the weld
area that will promote cracks. If you must do this without preheat (no
torch or other means) in a pinch, grind the area immediately before
welding,and let the grinding heat warm the material, and lay a cover
bead to refine and anneal the weld. Grinding the cover down may also
be used to help anneal the weld.
Other metals should also be preheated to reduce cooling stresses, as
well as to insure that there is sufficient fusion.