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Maillemaker

Patternweld troubleshoot

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I had the fortune to go home two weeks ago and do some smithing. Regrettably, I can't forge at all where I'm enrolled at UW-Stevens Point, so it was a wonderful experience. Having nothing else to do, I grabbed a strip of mild and an old file, then welded and just kind of had fun with it. After sanding with 400 grit paper and etching in Pepsi this is the end product.

post-15814-0-95701000-1352228264_thumb.j

As you can see, it is a rather poor example of a two-bar twist billet, about 5 inches long, 3/4 inch wide, and 1/4 inch thick.

Red means a crap weld/weld delamination. I've been welding long enough to notice poor welds when I see one, but I tried several times to re-weld without success. Used plenty of borax, and reached proper welding heat. Were the surfaces simply not clean enough?

I noticed that even though I sanded the entire bar and was sure not to touch the surface afterwards, one part etched darker than the other, indicated by the yellow line. Any conjecture as to how this happened?

The sections outlined in blue are areas of file steel that etched lighter than the same material elsewhere in the billet. Upon closer inspection, these areas have a "pebbly" texture. Is this caused by overheating?

I want to branch out and expand my smithing horizons, and I think p-welding is something worth diving into.

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How many times did you heat and forge weld the billet?

With old files there can be a lot of rust did you grind all the file cuts off?

pebbly texture can be caused by improper grain growth. with some billets you want to cool very slowly maybe heat and cool 3 times it relax the metal and get good grain growth.

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I took three heats on the initial weld, then each fold went through at least two, making sure the weld areas overlapped. The diagonal void opened up when twisting, and I tried at least three or four times to get the weld in the center to stick.

I did quench after I was done, but I've seen other pieces of steel on IFI that have very similar surface texture which were diagnosed as an overheat problem.

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Common problems: Dirty steel,,or as mentioned the file teeth couild have been and issue,,,fluxing at the wrong heat,,hitting too hard, taking too long to bring up to welding heat.
Keep those things in mind for next try. Along with these:
Some tool steels require that you bring them up to heat slowly so they do not crack as the temps in middle and outside equalize. I heat my gasser up and turn it off and put billet in..after several minutes I relight and bring heat up..When the steel begins to show color I flux. If you heat the steel til it is red before fluxing it is scaling as you wait. After I flux I bring the steel to welding heat and tap the hot area a couple of times,,wire brush reflux and reheat ,,same thing as i work down the billet. I only work a couple of inches at a time/ If youi try the whole length you will be working part of it at too cold a temp. You did not mention wot fuel you used but there are areas that look like they got wayyy too hot...When you hit the billet for welds, if it is throwing a lot of sparks out you are hitting too hard. That is not a good thing/ Try a small hammer and light taps,,only a few on eaxch spot flip to other side and right back into the fire with new flux. Good luck....For all the work a billet is I would suggest trying small two layer welds for a while to get the moves down...

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Thanks for the advise. I'm working with a coal forge, and there were a couple times that the billet threw a spark or two, but it never went fourth-of-July-sparkler on me. I'll try to slow down next time and work more methodically.

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What temperature when you were twisting? Steels of different alloys move differently and so weak welds can shear during manipulation. Also (particularly in solid fuel forges) junk can accumulate in a fold make for inclusions and a weak or failed weld.

And looking at that piece the first thought I had was that you had an overheated section in it...looked "crunchy" to me...

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the crack in the Red is dead center of what looks like NI clad or Nickel the other cracks look like a bad weld ie has porosity (Slag in it from the forging process the Quench or air is what made it crack in the NI side of things it could be re done and forged but you need to split it at the cracks and clean it well and use some good or fresh flux for the welding /forging of it . Good luck .

Sam

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etched in Pepsi ehh? How long does that take? What prep did you do?


I ground the surface on my belt sander just to expose the steel, then hand-sanded with 400 grit. Poured the Pepsi into a glass bottle, capped it, then shook to remove the CO2. Set the steel horizontally in the soda, and let it sit for ten to twenty minutes. Gives a pretty good etch, but you've got to neutralize quickly, or the steel turns brownish.

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