If you are an amateur DIYer who likes to do automotive repair work, then you may shy away from tasks that require you to adhere two piece of metal together. This type of thing generally requires arc welding skills that take years to perfect. If arc welding is not something you want to invest your time in, then you can complete stud welding instead. Stud welding is quick, easy, and cheap. All you need is a stud welding machine and welding tips, and you can create welds that are often stronger than traditional ones. Before you can create the strong welds, you will need to prepare the metal pieces first. Keep reading to learn how this should be done.
Grinding The Metal
Clean metal is absolutely necessary to create strong welds. While a piece of metal may look clean after being buffed or scrubbed with a cleaner, it will contain a layer of contaminants from its environment. These contaminants will remain in the small scratches and openings along the exterior of the material. When it comes to stainless steel pieces, like the ones used for car bodies, the material will usually contain an exterior layer of zinc. This protects the metal from oxidation, but it also keeps studs from creating strong bonds. The zinc and other foreign matter must be removed. If the body piece is covered with automotive paint, then this must be removed too where the weld is made.
You can clean the surface of steel in a variety of ways. A grinder will complete the task quite quickly, and a disc or angle grinder is a good tool to use. This will work well if you have a large area to weld. If you are experienced with the use of a grinder, then place a flap disc on the tool that is made from a variety of different polyester sanding strips or flaps covered in zirconia. The disc will release the top layer of the steel quite quickly, so use the grinder on a low speed and move over the metal quickly for only a short period of time.
If you do not want to use such an aggressive grinding pad or disc, then use a wire cleaning brush instead. A piece of sandpaper can be used as well. This will take a long time, so use this method if you only have a small piece of metal that you want to weld.
Grinding and sanding methods are appropriate if the metal you want to stud weld is free of oxidation. If any rust is present, then you will need to use abrasive blasting techniques before you grind to remove the majority of the rust.
Cleaning The Metal
Steel that no longer contains an outer coating of zinc and other contaminants must be thoroughly cleaned to remove grease, oil, metal dust, or dirt that has ended up on the surface during the initial preparation process. There are a variety of different material you can use to clean. Acetone is one of them. Place a small amount of the fluid on a clean cloth and buff the surface of the metal.
If you notice a good deal of automotive grease, hand oils, or other oily material on the surface of the metal, then it is wise to use a degreasing agent like trisodium phosphate to do the cleaning. This will help to break down the grease so residue is not left behind that can weaken your stud weld. Trisodium phosphate is a powder, so place about two tablespoons of it in a dish and mix in one tablespoon of water. Mix in water until you create a thick paste. Use a clean cloth to spread the paste on the steel. Wait several minutes for the material to break up the grease and oil. Wipe the surface with a damp rag afterwards.
For more information about stud welding systems and how to use them, contact a local supplier or manufacturer.