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Fabtech 2017 Highlights & Hoodies
I just got back home from FABTECH 2017 in Chicago. It was awesome. I came away more interested in welding than I’ve ever been, and I came away very inspired by the people I met. I took some video. I want to to show you some highlights of the FABTECH event. If you’ve never been before, what I hope happens is these clips will make you want to go to the next one. In 2018, it’s in Atlanta. Let’s check it out.
All right, I’m going in. FABTECH lasted four days this year. This is first thing Monday morning when they opened, and I got to go catch up with my friend JD.
You use a quite unusual way of welding. Do you want to talk a little bit about your methods?
Yeah, for the heavy stuff, I use dual shield Flux Core …
(I’m doing video. What an idiot.) Well, as long as I’m doing video, this is my buddy Isaac. He’s getting ready to put on a cutting clinic at the Flame Tech Scorpion booth.
As long as I’ve welded, I’ve pretty much only used acetylene and oxygen, but they had this one set up with natural gas. It did a really good job. Here’s Isaac doing his cue-sticking motion here, cutting out an odd shape, just to kind of show off the torch, show off his hand. Just a good dog and pony show, draws in a nice crowd. I hope to have Isaac on for some future videos, because he’s really good with a cutting torch, and just a really good guy.
Flame Tech sells flow meters, regulators, cutting torch kits, and they had this sort of like a track torch but it’s non-motorized. I think there’s like a centrifugal clutch in it that pretty much no matter how you pull on it it travels at the same speed, so there’s no jerking motion at all. Like I said, there’s no motor in it, no electricity, but man it makes a smooth cut, and pretty much anybody can learn to make a smooth cut with this thing in a matter of minutes, so it’d be great for helpers to help cut things like big square tubing and things like that.
This is my friend Joel Buschmann. I met a lot of nice people at FABTECH. I got to know him know him doing the Welding Tips and Tricks podcast. He builds monster trucks. Just an all-around good human being.
Went over to the Piranha booth. Piranha’s usually got a really strong presence at FABTECH, a really nice, large booth, showing off plasma cutting tables like this one. They were cutting out these little logos, and they were giving away little small versions of that. I didn’t have much room in my bag, but I did get one.
This is a laser cutting table here. They’ve got lots of different thickness plates here, doing sample cuts, really cool demonstration. Look how fast that thing is zipping through that three-eighths inch thick carbon steel there.
This is Kait Paine. She’s @perfectpaine on Instagram. She’s at the Piranha booth running the plasma tables and running the iron worker here, apparently. We’re going to get a little demo on it in just a minute.
That’s JD’s little brother, John. Little big brother.
Just a minute, we’ll see if we can watch this punch a hole in this angle, like butter, so cool. This would go great in JD’s shop, with the kind of work that he does making base plates for columns on mezzanines and things like that, flanges to bolt up to stuff.
Can you see my grenade? The grenade’s the cool part.
That’s true. I think you guys pulled it off.
It’s a pretty cool set, right? I’m really disappointed that it’s going to be split up.
Weiler Abrasives had Barbie Parsons in, aka Barbie the Welder, and I really was looking forward to meeting her, so I got to take this picture next to this reaper statue that she made, and we had a nice long chat, and she’s just a good soul.
Apparently they will just let anybody into one of these events. What’s up, Bob?
You can see a lot of different things, a lot of new processes that you didn’t really know were available. OTC Daihen does some really high-end work with pulse MIG. This is some aluminum beads, just like 3D printing almost. If you saw it up close and personal, it’s just amazing how small and uniform the beads are.
I stopped by Westchester Protective Gear. Nice Friendly face there. Checking out gloves. I’m always looking for nice, soft TIG gloves that offer a lot of dexterity for picking up rods, and they had quite a few that fit the bill. I’ve got a pair of these now to try out. I haven’t tried them out yet, but I’ll be giving them a sort of once-over when I get back home.
I stopped at the Abicor Binzel to kind of check out some water coolers, TIG water coolers, like this one right here, but I stumbled on this little process called span arc. I guess this is something fairly new. The idea is that it will agitate the puddle and make it wet and better down in a deep groove like this with very little or no prep, just a gap. They had a nice little set of samples here where they’ve done some work with cladding Inconel 625 on carbon steel, which is a fairly common thing to do in boilers and things like that. Very interesting.
I stopped by the Praxair booth to get a demo using their Stargon AL gas for TIG welding aluminum, but they were doing this little demo on MIG using a different blend of gas. 850 inches a minute, just kind of showing what can be done, .035 wire. None of my wire feeders quite go that high, only go up to about seven, seven fifty, but pretty impressive for what can be done. That one was done with a robot arm right there.
I’m always checking out different positioners and different sizes, different capabilities. This is the Profax Lenco booth. That’s Roy Crumlin and Sarah.
This smaller version of that smaller positioner here, probably more suited for the kind of work that I usually do, but I like to think outside the box sometimes. They sell all kinds of other things as well, lots of replacement MIG guns, use old-school-looking spool guns.
There’ve been times when I wish I had a wire straightener, and that’s one right there. I do want to try this little TIG amperage control out. It looks like it might work really well.
One of the coolest demonstrations that I see at FABTECH, and I’ve seen this in prior years too, is this little induction heating unit. It’s a handheld unit, and man it heats up a piece on one-inch bar stock in nothing flat, and the coil, the round, it doesn’t get hot at all. He had his thumb on there a second ago.
This is just a dog and pony show here, just to kind of show the capabilities of it. When I worked for the airlines we silver-brazed a lot of tubing this size, and they got x-rayed, and sometimes they’d have to be redone, so being able to do something repeatable and uniformly, put a ring, flux something up, put a ring of filler around it and just heat it up, and you could do the same joint every time and probably never fail an x-ray.
I want to go back to the Lincoln booth real quick while people aren’t sitting on these chairs. You know, Lincoln had Youtuber maker community, some of them come in and make a table and chairs, and it was just a lot of fun. That’s the chair that John Malecki, sort of themed after Pittsburgh bridges. That’s the chair that Doug from RetroWeld built. I worked with him a few months ago on some TIG welding. That’s the grenade stool that April Wilkerson built and had cut out on the torch-mate and tacked it all up, and then that’s the stool that Johnny Brooke from Crafted built.
Over to the Fronius booth. You can hear something humming back there. It sounds like pulse on pulse. Fronius’s got really high end machines, a really good reputation. They’re doing a campaign to help the wounded warrior project, and so they’ve got a machine here. I think this is called a TransPocket. This particular model, for every unit that’s sold they’ll give something to the wounded warrior project, very nice.
MK Products. Again, I always look at positioners. I’ve had a chance to use this one, visiting Roy Crumlin’s place, in a previous video, like a few years ago. Super smooth, super nice little positioner, and a very much smaller version of it is this one here, called the Aircrafter, for doing really small parts.
They’ve got the CobraMig push-pull aluminum setup there. That’s the Cobra Python gun. That’s the same gun I’ve got on my Lincoln 350MP. Works great.
For orbital welding that’s the power source, and orbital welding is done a lot for sanitary tubing, just because it’s so repeatable and you get such good shielding.
Stop by the RoboVent booth. They have a little video playing here. They got fume extraction at the gun, so it draws the smoke in right at the gun, as well as other fume extractors. That was really cool.
Bessey clamps, all kinds of clamps. You can never have too many clamps, and they got ’em, and at a FABTECH you can come and see all of them under one roof. Not in one day though.
Next up is the Suhner grinding and grinder grinding wheel booth. This is a flexible shaft grinder. It’s an electric grinder with a flexible shaft, and I guess the idea is not much weight in your hand but plenty of power.
What do we call that?
This is our new ceramic flat disk.
They’ve got all kinds of things at this booth, just other flexible shaft grinders, looks like it kind of got a 45 head on it, and all kinds of other specialty grinders for getting in all kinds of little tight areas.
All right, we’re at the Walter booth now, Walter Abrasives or Walter Surface Technologies. That FlexSteel flap disc there is a really good one. I’ve been using that quite a bit. Walter also makes a few specialty grinders for doing special things, like that would be used for polishing stainless tubing, probably.
All right, the StrongHand tools booth now. They’ve got this new thing called the Rhino Cart. I don’t know how new it is, but it’s a small precision table that you can wheel around. It’s got places for tools and things like that.
Of course there’s the full size BuildPro table, when you really need to put something together and have some repeatable fixturing. They’ve got a little chassis here, some kind of little buggy. They’re probably going to get that done out of chromalloy or something, just for a better showpiece.
I thought this was pretty cool though. They got a little tubing notcher here integrated into that Rhino table, and of course would just make somebody’s life a whole lot easier, being able to clamp stuff down with all their tooling and everything, but also have everything on sort of a turntable rotisserie thing here, locked in place with a pin, being able to position something in any position you want very easily, just super handy. This is the heavy-duty Sigmund line.
This is kind of cool. You know your third hand you make yourself? This is a spring-loaded thing with a magnet base, soft jaws for copper, for stainless steel and other stuff, line-up tools for small stainless-steel tubing, all kinds of things.
This is a CK Worldwide cold-wire feeder. I ordered one of these when I worked in the aircraft maintenance. It’s got a little auto-wire feed. It even pulses, and setting up a little station, I was able to produce this little part here with just very little effort. That’s a lot more weld than normally goes on the part, and it all gets machined off, but this is something that we did just hundreds off, and the cold-wire feeder would definitely be handy for something like that. It’s not for everybody, but again it’s just something you see at FABTECH that you might not otherwise see anywhere, unless you got your welding rep to bring you one.
CK Worldwide is mostly known for their TIG accessories, TIG torches, TIG cups, TIG accessories, and they also make purge bags for welding titanium, and probably a few other things.
This is a super nice display of probably every application torch that you can think of, and there’s CK’s new TIG welder. You’ve seen me use that one in several videos. Nice little welder.
This is CK’s Steady-Grip pistol-grip style handle for a TIG torch. I’m going to try one of these out pretty soon. I haven’t really done that yet, and the cool thing about it is it’s got a built-in amperage control, and that you can put a straight torch on it too. I don’t know what the application myself is for one of these, but I’m going to look into it.
I found out that Chandler Vincent, who placed fifth in the most recent World Skills Competition, was downstairs at the AWS booth.
The pressure vessel’s made out of plain carbon steel. It’s all four main welding processes on it, and you see we got some gas tungsten arc welding up here, some stick on the pipe face. When we’re done welding this pressure vessel, it gets compressed to a thousand psi to check for any leaks.
What I would do is I run, I center up my 15 millimeters here on the bottom tie-in, and I’d weld the right side first, and I’d start clear over here, get my weld pull running nice and hot through that tack. I’d run it up and over, weld that first half, and then I’d take a carbide grinder on my die grinder and I’d burr all the way out clear to here and then wrap around to where I knew I had this weld running over and fusing, and I’d ground out and then that next pass going over it as well, so the final pass ended up happening to be one pass, but right there on the tie-in I had probably three passes inside of it that were ground out to get good fusion.
The bead width of the butt welds can’t vary more than half a millimeter on this structure.
As you can see here, we got little red circle spots, where I stepped just a little bit too far, and they can measure in between those steps. All this is rooted with pulse so I don’t have to worry about lack of fusion with the short arc.
It’s cool to see that we came from all around the world doing the same thing, meeting the same criteria, but doing it a hundred different ways.
What do you want to do? You pull backwards, because you don’t want a gouge. The problem is when you pull backwards, you wear more than a quarter of an inch of the wheel. Pretty soon the edge starts straw-hatting and starts throwing crap all over. This, there’s your angle already, 15 degrees.
Like a hybrid sanding disc grinding wheel. It’s a good sales …
Fireball Tool Rep:
It’s got a universal bolt pattern on the back of 6 by 6, and it’s designed to use with these threaded fasteners, so when you can build your own table and adjust the height by adding these tabs on the body with these threaded holes in here, and it takes care of two angles of measurement, super fast and quick, because maybe it’s just a one time little weird job, okay, that I don’t want to spend time making those [inaudible 00:16:27] fixture for it. I can just bump it down, position my plate where I want it, and I can reach through here and weld all the way around. Real fast, real simple, real seamless.
Angle iron is kind of tough to hold or measure from the inside because of that roll inside there, where I can now position angle iron, clamp it in a fixture. As you can see, I can weld, I can come over here and I can tack weld so it stays where I need it to be. The lines I can now make an adjustable parallel surfaces.
Get out of here.
FireIce Shield Rep:
Let’s be realistic. You’re not going to be doing that, right?
FireIce Shield Rep:
More realistic applications, working with thin gauge metals that you don’t want to warp, stainless steel that you don’t to discolor, or you’re working on something that’s got a valve or rubber O-ring or any sort of delicate material. Basically, spray it down, wipe the area that you want to get hot. Now it’s going to absorb the heat where to whatever you don’t want.
Where you’re seeing the bubble, that’s where it’s absorbing the heat. [inaudible 00:17:44] very rapidly heated, if you’re getting close to that valve or whatever you might you don’t want to heat up, you …
Whatever area it’s on. Get this nice and hot. Now it’s glowing. Spray it right back down. When you see the gel again, that’s when you know it’s cool to the touch. Just like that, cools it down instantly.
Dino-Lite digital microscopes. The image quality on these is super good, and to be able to measure using the software is interesting to me. Check out the tiny little moving parts as compared to the magnified on the screen. That’s just crazy good imaging.
Another great thing about FABTECH is you get to try out stuff that’s new on the market. This is the ESAB’s new machine that does multi-process as well as AC TIG. That’s not my weld, by the way.
Coming up is a virtual reality training demo at the Lincoln booth. We talked about FABTECH on a prior Welding Tips and Tricks podcast, and I said you can really score some free stuff, one reason for going. Well, these students scored big time. They actually got welding machines and welding helmets by staying until quitting time on the very last day, so worth the trip for them.
If you watched this whole video, that says something right there about how interested you are in welding. 2018 FABTECH is in Atlanta. I hope to see you there.
I just wanted to mention I got these hoodies for sale up at Weldmonger.com. They feel awesome.