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Carbon arc


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I have been wanting to do some sculpting using carbon arc. I have racked up several hundreds of hours using this process at work. I was wondering if anyone has tried this process in doing sculpture and if anyone has some suggestions on techniques. I have been really putting this experiment off just because of the expence of materials. I was thinking of using the carbon arc in the same sense as a stone carver uses a hammer and chisel. I believe it would give some very interesting texture from the puddling of metal. If anyone has any information or experience please let me know as I think this would be a great way to make some neat art!

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  • 10 months later...

Hi, D.J., I am a new mem. of several days, of all the metalwork sites this is the most comprehensive, neatest. I have been exploring this site, going down the list, saw the word ARC, stopped immediately, as arcs and hi voltage phenomena have been a keen interest since I first saw lightning. What you speak of however is not hi volts, rather, hi current, as you probably know. I am sorry I don't have the email for you, but several weeks ago I was exploring another site and saw remarkable work by a fellow, I think Swedish, large, perhaps several hundred pounds slabs, blocks etc. steel and he goes after it with various carbon and if mem. serves oxygen lances. Then leaving the raw cuts, gouges exposed, celebrating that wonderful patina! When and if I find the "links or addresses, even a name, I'll give it to ya. The photos of this mans work surely inspired me. My taste and some work is similar although not heavyweights as his are.

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  • 1 month later...

Any basic welder will power the torch. The higher the current, the hotter the arc, and a 200A has plenty of juice to melt metal. However, an AC welder works far better than DC. With DC, one of the electrodes will burn down much faster than the other. It doesn't take too long for the short one to get so short that you can't make contact without repositioning the carbons. You can reduce this somewhat by reversing polarity and just "take turns".

And the thing makes a racket, though. It's a pretty cool sound if you don't live too near crabby neighbors. It will also interfere with some radio reception.

One thing I did was get this thing called a "MIG-IT" shield. This is a welding filter that normally clamps onto the MIG gun, and you look through that. I clamped it onto one of the electrode holders. This works better than helmet, since you can't see color through the filter, so you don't know how hot the piece is. Constantly flipping the helmet is a pain. It's easier to keep the arc going and just move it out of the way. You could easily rig a normal welding shade to do the same thing. I don't think MIG-IT is still around.

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Hello, fellow bashers,

I was a bit confused when I answered a question on the forum, I had
mistakenly thought D.J. hammered was the author I wanted to address,
when instead it was creek.
I had just joined the forum at that time and didn't know for certain which name to attribute to which entry.

Any way...as I explored the forum I found this thread on carbon arc,
found this experiment interesting, as I had messed around with a resistance welder (nichrome elements) plugs in the wall, el'cheepo unit.

I had ordered the famous unit, advertised on the back of a popular mechanics, or the like.
I was about to start 7th-grade, had the summer to teach myself welding.

This kind of unit makes the pole trany the power supply, yes you can get a good shock, but with some small care you wont, at least, not too often!
The main point here is that I was able to get more heat than I could ever use, simply by changing arc length; longer for more heat.

Now, this is surely not for everyone, but for cutting roughly, and texturing, even "rough" welding, it is fast and cheap.
Remember, I am using only carbon and the "ground", which is the neutral, for safty's sake, I simply clamp to the "work".

If one uses an actual welder supply, they are treading on ground I have not yet tread, regarding carbon arc that is.

The resistance welder is to be used with 2- carbons and will allow one to brase, weld, silversolder.

After using this thing for a while, I had to "break the rules" and try odd
things with it.

I tried one carbon, as a "stinger", much the same as with TIG.
This, on sheet metal say, up to 1/16-in. or so and smaller.

I found that although I could weld with this arangement, the real value, for me, was the rough, drip covered edges I got simply using this rig as a
method of cutting.

The extreme texture, is exactly the kind of thing for my sculpture.
I like to make funky, organic, nonrepresentational forms.
If I cut or treat sheared edges this way, I am left with complex roughness which I can control, and saves on oxy/ace. usage.

Oxy/ace cutting with an actual cutting torch or "cutting" (melt cut) with a welding tip, is another way I get the look I am after.
This can be tedious, and expensive as gas costs are through the roof here.
I think I am being gouged.

The edges have what looks like sharp edges, without actually being able to cut (people or clothing.)
Any edges that are too sharp get a short sanding to fix.

Regarding the use of a D.C. source, in my reading I have learned that;
in a D.C. arc 90% of the heat is liberated on the positive side.

This may be a powerful aid in some work, especially if one is using only one carbon.

My computer is ill, I will try not to be absent from this great forum too long.

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