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Ground clamps?


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The ground is most important for electrical flow.

You want a quick and easy way to attach the ground to make life easier.

 

Without a good ground on the metal, YOU could become the electrical return path to ground. Not good.

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Here's a trick I weld a stainless 3/8 x3/4 bolt to the top of an old pair of vice grips for a grounding clamp works good

*** NOTE *** only thing is if welding on something that you move into the shop & take out when done like a trailer or somthing

remember to take ground clamp off !!!  OR you will see you're welder follow the trailer out the door LOL :unsure: 

I have seen this twice @ the Old mans shop pulled the old heavy Lincoln welder right off the top of the fringe it sits on

5' drop to concrete floor ouch ! Hay its a Lincoln & keeps on welding  he's done it twice I know of lol

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Something other than the clamp may be the grounding problem. Is the cable connected to the clamp well? this is what I've found to be the most common hardware problem.

 

Another common problem is dirty steel making for poor contact. It can be dirt, rust or the coating on it coming from the mill. In the field I just scratch a clean spot with a rock, a golf ball piece of granite is good ad small enough to carry is necessary. Just make a shiny steel spot for the clamp to contact.

 

The C clamp grounds are for large projects, say a ship or sky scraper, even a trailer frame isn't large enough to warrant one of these PITA grounds.

 

In short, check the cable connection on your clamp, clean a spot for it to contact failing those just buy a ground clamp. forget the home made ones, they work but why bother, they may work but not as well. Oh yeah, a home made ground just may offer enough resistance to get hot, REALLY HOT, light a fire or brand you if you touch it.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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I almost always have my grinder with a sanding disc within reach when welding.  Easy enough to clean a spot for the ground clamp.  In addition to checking the ground clamp connection, check the insulation for the terminals.  The stick welder I picked up on CL for next to nothing supposedly didn't work.  A quick glance at the cables showed bare wire, a real safety hazard.  Since I cut back to good wire it welds beautifully.  I can't say how it welded before that and inspecting the insides, checking & cleaning contacts because I wasn't going to risk turning it on beforehand.

 

Maybe this article would be of some use to you.  Don't know what type of welder you have.  This is the type that I got.  Be careful.

 

http://www.instructables.com/id/Refreshing-your-Lincoln-AC-225-220V-tombstone-weld/?ALLSTEPS

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Frosty the clamps that were on it were overheating but got a new clamp today gonna try to fix it tomorrow

 

New clamps are good, we used to replace them at the welding shop for GP. Being the new guy/helper it was my job to change them every other month unless one was wearing faster.

 

Overheating is a sign of bad connections, cable or clamp on steel OR over amping the capacity of the ground clamp. (okay, over amping isn't a connection issue.)

 

Changing them out is never a waste of  money.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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Better safe than sorry, or dead. Replace it with a good quality clamp. They do make a C clamp style ground, but those are generally used on high amperage machines. Clean attachment points as well as dressing up and shining up the copper lug on the ground will go a long way in making your work easier.

 

Chris

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11 posts and no smart xxx pointing out that it is actually a "welding return" and not a "ground" or "earthing" clamp?

 

Looks like it will have to be me then.

 

I use a permanent magnet return for mild steel welding and either a clamp return or clip the magnet to the steel bench or solid jaw side of a snap clamp for non magnetic materials like copper aluminium or stainless.

 

Alan

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Oh, the beaten zone greasy spot where the dead horse used to be. Urge to be the language police, pass me by. Particularly in an international forum.

 

There was a company run by an ex-pat Brit called "Negative Earth". Not science fiction related or Goth, just a reference to Range Rovers or Land Rovers, which used what we would call a negative ground on their electrical harness.

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11 posts and no smart xxx pointing out that it is actually a "welding return" and not a "ground" or "earthing" clamp?

 

Looks like it will have to be me then.

 

I use a permanent magnet return for mild steel welding and either a clamp return or clip the magnet to the steel bench or solid jaw side of a snap clamp for non magnetic materials like copper aluminium or stainless.

 

Alan

 

Alan: would it still be a "return" if you reverse the polarity? It SAYS "ground" right on my welder.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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On 6/25/2013 at 2:54 AM, Frosty said:

Alan: would it still be a "return" if you reverse the polarity? It SAYS "ground" right on my welder.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

 

 

OK Frosty, Do you cottect "that" lead to "the ground" or "the earth" or "the job" or "What"?

It's like the top of a bottle of Bud says "Twist to open" well you can dance your little touche off, it will still stay closed!

 

Oh how I love "taking the xxxx"

 

Ian

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There isn't a journeyman welder in all of alberta that calls it a return. Walk into a welding supply shop and ask for a negative return and you will just get a blank stare.

You can build your own ground clamp by cutting a piece of steel in a c shape and welding a nut on one end. Then find a bolt that fits it and weld a T handle on top of it. Put another stud and nut on it to hook your lug to off the back.

Heck bare cable vice gripped to the steel you are welding will work in a pinch. When you are in the field and things go wrong you gotta be inventive. I've used a pair of vice grips as a stinger in a pinch.

You can't get shocked if you are wearing dry welding gloves it's impossible there just isn't enough voltage.

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John Mc, Oh yes, a number of our old vehicles were "positive earth" now you remind me.

I wonder if any other disciplines use a "live" and an "earth" to form a circuit apart from the welding and motor vehicle fraternities.

 

 Frosty,

The "welding" or "work" return does not refer to the polarity...I think that is the point. If you have a circuit between a live cable and an earth/ground it is impossible to reverse the polarity...mind you if you did manage it you would have solved the world's energy crisis!

Re. the "ground" marking on your welder it must be as John Mc said, an international thing, an American use of the word rather than an English one. 

My newest (German) welder is a little single phase 140amp inverter and that just has "+" and "-" marked on the connector sockets . My big shop welders came out of the Arc (Ark geddit? :) ) the old BOC ADR300 TIG has "work" and "torch" terminals and a 3 position switch for AC, DC normal (Torch Negative) and DC Reverse. On the Norman Butters MIG NBC500 it has sockets for "welding cable Negative (work)" and "welding cable positive (Electrode)" The 3 phase Kemppi (Finnish) inverter TIG has  "+" and "-" marked sockets as well

Perhaps it is because they are all DC capable machines that they make the positive/negative distinction?

 

want2learn

I was always corrected for calling it an earth clamp by the real welders I know. The oil pipe line coded Lloyds registered type of welder. But they still knew what I meant! Most blacksmiths I know refer to it as an earth clamp.

 

 Ian....you silly twisted boy! :)

 

Alan

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Alan, I'm a Redseal Journeyman in Alberta, ticketed to weld everything from inconel tig, small bore, downhand, pressure pipe in tig, stick, STT etc.  They were right to correct you as it is incorrect terminology for the trade.  Considering 99% of welding done with SMAW uses DC current electricity only flows in a single direction unlike AC were it is constantly changing between negative and positive on the sine wave.  Current theory says that in a DC circuit energy flows from the negative to the positive so calling your ground clamp a return would be incorrect as the energy is flowing from the ground to the stinger.  Mind you this is theory and no one REALLY knows how it works but we know enough to have a decent understanding.  The distinction is also important because when switching between say TIG and SMAW your "ground" will be positive for TIG and negative for SMAW (this is a generalization as there are exceptions.)

 

Remember it is a SIN (stinger in negative) to have your stinger hooked to negative.  Good way to remember which way your cables go when welding using DC current.  

 

If anyone wants to do any serious welding using the SMAW process get a welder capable of Constant Current in the DC setting.  AC is rarely used and when welding 7018 (most common electrode/rod for mild steel) will never ever put down a bead as nice as a DC welder will.

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On 6/25/2013 at 2:07 PM, ianinsa said:

OK Frosty, Do you cottect "that" lead to "the ground" or "the earth" or "the job" or "What"?

It's like the top of a bottle of Bud says "Twist to open" well you can dance your little touche off, it will still stay closed!

 

Oh how I love "taking the xxxx"

 

Ian

 

Uh NO IAN, I NEVER CoTTect anything in public, what kind of boy do you think I am!? the - the lead to, yes, huh? yes. I make a point of brushing the earth off so it gets a good ground.

 

You READ bear bottle caps? You have way too much time on your hands my friend.

 

It used to bother me when a subject went semantic and lost all value. Getting language/word usage, idioms, etc. strait is a legitimate use for semantics. On the other hand it's all too often a college kid trying to make folk think s/her knows more than they do. In which case I feel "taking the xxxx" is the only proper response.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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 On the other hand it's all too often a college kid trying to make folk think s/her knows more than they do. 

 

Frosty The Lucky.

 

 

Sadly I used to be that college kid. I got humbled real quick here a  while back when I nearly got fired at my previous job. Then I did get fired three months later. Honestly I love the welding talk I learn a lot. I did not know the distinction between polarity and honestly I have an old buzz box and I do not know which is pos or neg. I am still new to the trade even though technically I am a "welder" where I work. I just load the robots. Still waiting to properly learn Mig. It's much faster than stick. I'd like to take classes at some point but financially can't right now. Thank you all for the many responses!

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On 6/25/2013 at 11:30 PM, Frosty said:

bear bottle caps?

it's all too often a college kid trying to make folk think s/her knows more than they do. In which case I feel "taking the xxxx" is the only proper response.

Frosty The Lucky.

1) Wotsat? bear? you been up north too long Frosty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :P

2) Alan may be a lot of things :D but that boy ain't no clown(works in close proximity to some odd/fun? parrots though) he also happens to do some really good(read impressive) work.

Ian

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On 6/26/2013 at 1:29 PM, ianinsa said:

1) Wotsat? bear? you been up north too long Frosty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :P

 

2) Alan may be a lot of things :D but that boy ain't no clown(works in close proximity to some odd/fun? parrots though) he also happens to do some really good(read impressive) work.

 

Ian

 

Oops is right, Beer. Not to say you can't buy Brown Bear Ale here but that wasn't my typo inference.

 

I wasn't trying to mess with Alan. I thought I said there are valid times for semantics as in establishing specific meanings for words and terms. Any foolishment I aimed at YOU for fun. I wasn't "Taking The xxxx" A phrase of which you and I established the semantics. word meanings, etymology, etc.

 

Any time professionals work together, especially if it's an inherently dangerous job, establishing a good working language (learning the jargon) is important. Were I working with him in Britain I'd be clamping the return lead to the work, were the situation reversed and he working here, he'd clamping the ground to the work. If either of us got stubborn we'd be sweeping floors or looking for another position.

 

Frosty The Lucky.

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  • 11 years later...

 

Welding clamps are essential tools in welding that ensure a secure and stable electrical connection between the welding machine and the workpiece. These clamps provide the necessary grounding to maintain a consistent arc and prevent defects in the weld. Typically made from durable materials like copper or brass, ground clamps offer excellent conductivity and corrosion resistance. They feature strong grips and adjustable designs, allowing for easy and secure attachment to various surfaces and materials. By ensuring a reliable ground, these clamps enhance the quality of welds and improve safety by minimizing the risk of electrical shocks and other hazards.

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