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Welding when cold out

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by my37ford, Jan 15, 2011.

  1. my37ford
    Joined: Dec 16, 2010
    Posts: 8


    Hey guys, just wanted to ask your opinions on the subject. I don't have heat in my shop just a kerosene heater I fire up when I'm out working, question is this: shop is around mid to upper 40 degrees maybe 50ish, need to weld up my frame rails to replace the back half of frame ( rust issue's) do you think I would run into any problems if I welded them at that temperature in the shop? I will be making both sides of rails and boxing them, basically from back of cab to the end of the bed, about 70" total. Just don't want to have it come and bite me in the butt later down the road.
  2. pitman
    Joined: May 14, 2006
    Posts: 5,151


  3. Plenty of welding has been done in freezing temps.

    One thing to do that makes not only nicer looking but higher quality weld is to warm the metal until the moisture sweats out of the metal. Do a general warm up before you start and the heat from welding will do the rest.

    Warm to the touch is what you'll have
  4. oldspert
    Joined: Sep 10, 2006
    Posts: 1,263

    from Texas

    My dad spent two, thirteen week stints, welding on the Alaska Pipeline. They only had shelters to protect them from the wind, not to warm the pipe. The average daytime temp was in the low 20's to low teens where he was (way up on the north end). I don't think temps in the 40's will have any effect on your frame welds.

  5. davidbistolas
    Joined: May 21, 2010
    Posts: 962


    Interesting points. I always assumed you needed to pre-heat the metal. It's WAAAY below freezing out there right now, my shop isn't heated either...
  6. mastadon
    Joined: Mar 14, 2010
    Posts: 168


    oldsper beat me to it,Iwas gonna say ask the guys that did the alaskan pipeline.
  7. cal1954
    Joined: Aug 1, 2008
    Posts: 107

    from Omaha, NE

    You will be alright. No big deal.
  8. badshifter
    Joined: Apr 28, 2006
    Posts: 3,417


    As I remember, welding occurs between 5,000 to 10,000 F. It won't know the difference between 20 and 100 degrees. Now preheating to remove moisture is a different story.
  9. newsomtravis
    Joined: Jun 1, 2009
    Posts: 562

    from pville, ca

    man, sometimes its like beating a dead horse on here.......if you can work in it, its not that cold, and you are not welding the space shuttle..........mayeb you should have the welds xrayed after to make sure they penetrated the 3/16ths you just
  10. garagerods
    Joined: Dec 15, 2006
    Posts: 451

    from Omaha

    I'd buy another heater!

    It won't make a difference on your welds but you'll feel better :)
  11. thats not realy that cold, its pretty cold here in the evenings despite everyones 'oh sunny california is always hot' i weld and work outside on the side of the house with a lousey home made easy-up structure. i wear sweaters and im good to go!
    Joined: Sep 6, 2009
    Posts: 393


    Welding at that temp will be just fine. Lets see some pictures of your project!

  13. i know two guys that welded on the Alaskan pipeline, most of what they did was in the cold. they told me many stories about booze and hookers that probably won't be much help to you..... but they also told me to pre-heat before welding
  14. willowbilly3
    Joined: Jun 18, 2004
    Posts: 4,356

    Member Emeritus
    from Sturgis

    I was there, not welding pipe but welding on heavy equipment. Everyone had a theory, preheat or not. We were welding ice growsers on D9 cats, up on Atigun pass (yeah, the same pass on those Ice Road truckers show) Well some guys said you had to preheat, run 3 passes with 5-32 rod. My crew did not preheat and ran one pass with 1/4 in rod and we never had a broken weld, the other guys had lots of them, big chunks broke out of the track pads. 14 hour shifts running 1/4 rod will let the smoke out of a Lincoln SAE 200 welder though.
    Well, anyway, if you think about it, whats 30-40 degrees ambient when you are welding at several thousand degrees.
    BTW, most of those 798ers couldn't weld anything but pipe, caused a lot of trouble around camp too, falsified weld reports, did a lot of crap. They'll never work in Alaska again.

    PS, the booze and hookers storys are true, hundreds of hookers everywhere. Didn't mess with them but did a little bootlegging when I was in Livengood camp.
  15. thunderbirdesq
    Joined: Feb 15, 2006
    Posts: 7,072


    You might want to pre-heat your welder if it's really cold out, I went out to my frozen shop one morning, it was about 15 deg F, fired up the welder before the shop warmed up. BOOOM!! the electrolyte in the capacitor in auxilliary transformer had frozen and exploded... $100 mistake!
  16. 58fed
    Joined: Jul 11, 2008
    Posts: 262


    I am an iron worker by trade and have welded in below freezing temps with no preheating, and never had a problem, the only thing I have seen is if you are using a mig welder and leave your machine in the garage with no heat, you might want to take the spool of wire inside with you when not in use, a friend of mine had the spool rust up on him and he couldn't weld an inch after that,perosity, spittin, it was funny. He replaced the spool.
    The other thing I wanted to add is under water welding, I know its a different set up but, do you think they worry about moisture?

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