When most people think of cast iron, their minds go to the tenured frying pan in their cupboards or the trusty Dutch oven from their camping trips. And while these are great examples of the resilience of cast iron, they don’t truly do this material justice—the applications for such a reliable material range far and wide, from gates and bridges to automotive parts and beyond!
Cast iron is widely trusted because of its many superb properties, which include the following, among others:
- An extremely high melting point
- Resistance to wear and tear, including deformation or abrasion
- Superior machinability
- Resistance to oxidation and rust
With so many benefits, it makes sense that cast iron is heavily relied upon in the wide world of fabrication… but it’s within these benefits that a common problem also arises. Simply put, cast iron is extremely difficult to weld!
Welding with care in mind
Cast iron welding in Phoenix, AZ differs from most other material welding jobs in that more often than not, welding cast iron means welding wrought castings instead of welding as a means of cohesion. Welding cast iron generally means repairing breaks that can surface as the result of cast iron’s inherently brittle nature at a microscopic level.
Now, even for repairs, welding cast iron can be difficult. Temperatures generally have to exceed 1450-degrees for repairs to be made and even at this temperature, cast iron is left exposed in a way that could lead to further damages, such as cracking. Therefore, cast iron welding in Phoenix, AZ needs to be done quickly and accurately, so as to prevent any issues from arising.
The welding process
The most common way of approaching a cast iron weld is the preheating method. It’s best to preheat the sections that need welding to an optimal range of 500- to 1200-degrees before welding. Also, pre-weld, it’s important to prepare a patch that’s heated sufficiently, but still able to be handled with ease—this will reduce the amount of time spent welding. Patching can then be done quickly in small sections, to offer up a repair that will hold strong when cooling is complete.
Another method of cast iron welding in Phoenix, AZ is using studding to patch and reinforce repairs. This method involves drilling small holes where the patch will be placed and screwing a patch in place prior to the weld. Because cast iron is easily machined, this is often preferred over a spot weld, since it’s easier to secure a patch and weld accurately.
No matter how cast iron is welded, the eventual result will be noticeable as a patch—it’s one of the inevitabilities of dealing with cast iron. It’s important to realize, however, that the integrity of the casting itself will be maintained and protected via the application of a patch, allowing you to continue using that casting as per usual, without fear of further degradation.
Cast iron isn’t impossible to weld, but it’s far from being the easiest material to work with. If you’re in need of a cast iron patch or welding to restore the integrity of a casting, make sure you’re choosing Metal Pro, Inc. to get the job done right.