Pipefitting Pitfalls to Avoid

According to our friends at Miller Welders, there are a dozen basic pitfalls a pipefitter can make when welding. Let’s take a look at an overview of these common mistakes so you can become a pro pipe welder. And when you’re done, be sure to check out our fine selection of Miller welders at the five locations of Sidney Lee Welding Supply in the Atlanta, Georgia area.

DON’T CUT CORNERS

After cutting with either a plasma or oxy-acetylene fueled cutting machine, make sure to remove the oxide residue that will inevitably be left over by either of these processes. Once this has been ground away, your weld will be cleaner and stronger. If the oxide burns away from the heat of your welding equipment, rather than being removed by grinding, its higher melting point will cause the workpiece to become more porous. So grind the pipe inside and out before attempting a weld.

Likewise, cutting is a crucial part of working with materials like stainless steel and aluminum that require higher heat for welding. If there are gaps left over from lack of precision, the additional metal used to fill those gaps can reduce the resistance of the stainless steel to corrosion. If your shop specializes in pipefitting, consider investing in an orbital pipe cutter to keep your cuts precise. If your shop employs both a fitter and a welder, it’s best if the two workers communicate about what’s in the pre-fit material including the tacking filler. Cutting it out or feathering it can help it to be safely consumed when welded.

AVOID THESE WELDING GAS WOES

If you’re experienced with stick welding techniques but are new to pipefitting with the latest MIG welding equipment, there can be a learning curve. Specifically watch out for using too narrow a landing area, which you might have learned works with TIG–not so with MIG, which can require a gap of 1/8 of an inch around the joint so it isn’t exposed to too much heat.

Learn to regulate your flow meter, so that first of all you don’t waste your precious welding gas, and secondly because too much shielding gas can actually induce a flow of oxygen that disturbs the weld. Likewise, ensure that you purchase quality mixed welding gases rather than trying to rely on a flow regulator on the fly to mix your argon gases with helium, for example. It’s best to order the precisely mixed welding gas from a distributor like Sidney Lee Welding Supply. As any expert welder knows, an interrupted gas flow can cause a more porous weld.

WHEN WELDING WITH WIRE

Wire welding requires the right kinds of welding equipment. The kind of drive roll in particular has to be matched with the kind of wire: if using flux-core, choose a knurled drive roll, while for solid wire applications use

a standard V drive roll. Otherwise you’ll probably encounter too much tension on the wire feed.

There’s no need to add lubricants to a dust pad, which can contaminate your wire. Instead you can cover the wire supply with a spool cover.

Make sure you’ve chosen the right nozzle size for your welding process, and lastly, choose the right gun for the application. That is, get one designed with the right levels of amperage for MIG pipefitting, like the Pipeworx system from Miller Welders from Sidney Lee Welding Supply Co in the Atlanta, Georgia region.