Wealth of Experience:
One of the best apprenticeships or experiences you can receive in welding is on a farm. Farming requires that all the machinery is in good repair at all times.
A farmer cannot afford to wait four or five days to replace a broken part on a tractor or combine when crops are crucially dependent on timing. Nor can a dairy farmer allow his milking parlor to remain idle because something breaks in the machinery. How about those fences, rails, and sheet metal parts? There’s a plethora of projects to take care of on a farm.
A welder is as crucial to farm equipment as a plow, and saves the farmer countless hours and money that would otherwise be spent in replacement parts.
Not only is farm equipment in constant need of repair, but welding has many uses on the grounds as well. A farmer will periodically move fences and pens, alter steel gates and chutes, and reinforce weakened metal barriers.
With livestock, the farmer must consider the type of steel needed. Nearly all the needs for raising beef cattle can be met with soft steel, whereas the entire structure for the milk handling system of dairy cattle requires stainless steel.
Abrasion is the most common problem to appear in farm machinery. Abrasion appears in all earth moving equipment, such as tractor buckets, teeth, blades, feed mixers and grain handling products. Metal to metal wear is often common. This occurs from metal parts rolling, sliding or grinding together. Metal to metal damage can be found in pulleys, crane wheels, idlers on track drivers and shafts.
A farmer will hard face a damaged component, by applying a harder or tougher material to the base metal. Typically, this type of welding involves arc welding, or filler rod for oxyacetylene and TIG welding. As part of a maintenance program, farmers will often hard face new parts as well, to keep them from wearing out quickly, adding more duration to the work routine.
Hard Face Weld:
Before beginning any project, you need to determine the base metal. When you’re dealing with farm equipment, the chances are pretty good that it’s not mild steel. Nearly all farm implements are high or low alloy, high strength steel, while many are higher carbon steel. Distinguishing between the different types can be challenging, but there are a few simple tests to help in your determination.
The simplest of these is the magnet test. If a magnet will stick to the metal, it’s probably iron based. If the magnet will not stick, it’s likely the metal is a manganese or stainless steel product. Next, try the spark test. If the metal is mild steel, it will produce a fairly large volume of thirty inch long, yellow sparks, with just a few sprigs or forks. If the sparks are yellow orange, somewhat shorter and not quite so voluminous, your metal is a steel alloy. Sparks that are short, red, vigorous, with numerous sprigs, are a sign of high carbon steel.
Once you have determined your project’s metal, the decision of whether to hard face or weld it depends on your intentions. If your target is to reinforce a part so it will not break, such as a hitch, or mending a plow or chute, you need to weld it. If the purpose is to add strength and durability to a part of your machinery, such as tractor buckets or feed mixers, you need to hard face it.
Hardface Welding A Backhoe:
When You Need to Weld:
There are three different methods to consider when you are welding a project. Although the methods are applicable to all hard facing and welding projects, different products contain properties that are somewhat unique and will not generate the same results if used by a different method.
The simplest method is stick welding, as it requires the least amount of equipment and the greatest amount of flexibility for welding in all locations and in various positions. Typically, each rod used permits welding for one minute.
The process is quick, changing mild steel to stainless and to hard facing in a matter of seconds. Although stick welding requires the least amount of equipment and is extremely effective, it requires the greatest degree of operator skill.
Wire Feed, MIG, Stick, and TIG Welding:
Wire feed welding is much easier to learn. It consists of a welding gun held by the operator, with a wire feed. As long as the operator depresses the trigger, wire is fed through the gun. This method is often used on machinery that require more than minimal repair work. This method tends to increase deposition rates and more so than regular welding. The reason being, there is no need to cease activity after the burning of each rod.
Wire feed welding, MIG welding, and Stick welding are the easiest forms of welding to learn and use on a farm. Any one of these weld procedures will provide you with all the welding you need to accomplish. And you can buy very good welding machines in all these areas for very little money. You can even get really good portable MIG and wire feed welders.
TIG welding is a very useful form of welding because you have more control over the weld, which is important for various tasks that require a little more finesse. It’s more difficult to learn, but fortunately technology has advanced so much that it only takes a little practice.
There are numerous applications for farm welding. The needs cover machinery, chutes, pens, gates, basic loading and harvesting tools. The versatility involved increases the knowledge of overall welding skills. When you cover a farm-welding project, whether it’s hard facing or welding, you’ll know by the results that it was a job well done.
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