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Old 03-05-2003, 07:18 AM
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Post Anyway of distinguishing metal types?

Was looking at the polishing HOW TO--and also considering that there are some types of metal you're not supposed to weld because it lets off toxic crap...

How can you tell if someone gives you a piece of scrap sheetmetal?

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Old 03-05-2003, 09:38 AM
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I have been welding for 47 years and there isn't any metal that doesn't give off some toxic fumes. Lead is the worst but others are bad also. Mild steel sheet metal is not so bad if it doesn't have any coatings on it such as Galvanise or Epoxy coatings, even some paints are bad. My advice is to clean the metal by grinding off all coatings and vent the area and weld it...GlennK
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Old 03-05-2003, 11:10 AM
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Isn't galvenized steel like stuff you want to avoid welding?

that's what I'm really worried about, getting some scrap sheetmetal from work, and they have no idea what it is, and neither do I.

Don't want to kill myself in the process of learning.
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Old 03-05-2003, 11:50 AM
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Yes, galvanized is bad, but you can grind the galvanizing off on both sides and weld it with little or no zinc fumes. you only have to grind the weld area approx. 1 1/2 inches on both sides and it should be pretty safe. I think some of the epoxy coatings are worse than the galvanized. At any rate clean it good and you should be ok, orjust go and buy raw sheet metal from the steel supply and then you have no worries. If I worried about every piece of steel I welded I probably wouldn't have welded any thing together and I have welded almost every alloy known to man and welded nearly every working day. Tig..Mig. stick..Oxy-acetylene..Silver braze...Nearly all of it..I am 66 years old and retired and still welding in my garage and building chassis and what ever else I need to weld... I loved it when I started and I still love it. One day it may kill me but til then...Weld On....GlennK..
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Old 03-05-2003, 02:31 PM
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As said above welding fumes of any kind aren't much fun. Steel is ok, zinc galvanize fumes aren't toxic - no long term health risk - but breating the fumes will cause the "galvanize fever" - a few hours after breathing them you sill swear you have the flu! Goes away over night. Cadmium plating is another story. It will do permanent damage so be very careful if it. Best bet is to do as advised above and clean any coating off the steel well clear of the heat affected zone and you won't have any problems. Also, if you leave the coatings, they will pollute the weld and the joint will be significantly weakened. Also, use a fan to keep fresh air circulated into your environment reqardless of what you are welding. Can get a great box fan @ Walmart for about $20.

One thing you can check is whether it is alloy steel or mild steel. Grinding sparks for mild steel are red balls whereas alloy steel gives off bright red or white star shaped sparks. The latter must be welded the heat treated or will be brittle and prone to crack.

[ March 05, 2003: Message edited by: willys36@aol.com ]</p>
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Old 03-05-2003, 04:39 PM
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So, best practices...regardless of whether the metal is painted/rusted or not...grind the weld area and I should be good to go?

Sounds easy enough. Thanks for your time gentlemen. One of these days I'll have some pictures to show for all these newb questions.
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