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Thread: Carbon arc torch?
04-16-2006, 11:50 AM #1
My father had a carbon arc torch along with his buzz box welder. while I know how to weld I never knew what the carbon arc was for. I know it makes a arc light for heating/melting stuff but why. Is this so you can do gas welding with out the bottles. I understand it has been replaced by MIG tig etc.
PS can you still buy the carbon rods?
04-16-2006, 12:11 PM #2
Carbon arc welding used to be done a long time ago. I don't know of any modern application for it. Does the torch hold one electrode or two?
If it only holds one electrode, it's for cutting/melting material away. If it has two electrodes it can be used as a heat source for welding/brazing like an oxy/acetylene unit. If the stinger holds one electrode and has a button on the handle, it's for air carbon arc gouging and uses a stream of air to blow molten material away for better control and more precise cutting action (without air, gravity pulls the molten metal from the cut; messy.). Lots of sparks, lots of heat, lots of noise, and looks great at night. [img]smile.gif[/img]
Gouging is done a lot to cut heavy sections, remove welds for reworking, or prep material on structural components.
04-16-2006, 04:27 PM #3
I've never used one, but I'm told that they are faster and cheaper than OA for heating steel to bend it or to straighten something steel that has been bent accidentally. Always intended to get one, never did, and now that oxygen and acetylene are skyhigh in price I can't find one.
04-16-2006, 06:57 PM #4
I had one years ago. It worked ok for heating up steel for bending and making a real bright light. After I got the oxy/act rig, I never used it again. You can probaly still get the carbon rods.
04-16-2006, 07:16 PM #5
My old stick welder used to have one.
It held one carbon and you scratch started it, drew it away to get an arc and it was used for brazing.
Wasn't much good, just an added gimmic.
Only use I found for it was to use a small carbon out of a 'D' series battery and drag t across the edges of two pieces of 10 thou shim.
It melted the edges together with tiny weld beads.
You could go in the local pub and bet all the car boys you could stick weld 10 thou sheet.
When they had placed their bets you then fished this lump of shim out of your pocket and you were in pints for the night.
04-16-2006, 09:34 PM #6
carbon arc is used for removing metal.the proper rig has a hose for an air hook-up. you clamp the copper coated electrode about half way down so you have about 6 or 8 inches of it sticking out,make sure the air holes on the rig are under your rod.you press the button on the handle to start the air flow and as you strike the arc the molten metal is blown away.the clamp for the rig swivels so you can move left to right or vis versa and keep the air flow under.it is best for removing previous welds when tearing parts that are welded outand there going to be put back at some point.you can get very precise with this and actually see the edge of the welded piece where it was joined as you remove the old weld,you run the amps all the way up around 275 or so.dont do this on a small unit or you will burn it up. we use tail so we come off of two machines into one lead to lessen the draw on the machine or in the case of an 8 pack on the banks.
04-16-2006, 10:51 PM #7
Kinda off topic, but I figured I'd throw in a comment here. When trying to figure out the BEST way to remove an old blade from a front loader, I considered the Carbon Arc arir gouging method. After talking it over with a few shops, they turned me on to a "scarfing" tip on the O/A torch. Kinda hooked-like O/A cutting tip. Boy that sucker worked good. I was able to remove ~16ft of weld bead and the old blade came off easy. Prep for next blade was easy as there was not much to clean up. This $30 tip saved me a lot of time and $$$. Sorry for hijacking the thread.
04-17-2006, 03:37 AM #8
You guys must all be a little on the young side.
If you take a carbon rod, grind to a pencil point, touch to where you want to braze, you will heat a very little spot, with little distortion, and flow a brazing rod as fast as you can push it.
Low current required.
Yes, they still make copper clad carbon rods. From at least 3/16 to 3/8 dia.
Buy and try. Or bum one and try it. Similar to TIG, without the IG, or inert gas part.
TIG and MIG are the biggies, now, so mebbe this is not a silly question, just along the lines of "What would you use a "scorp" for?"
04-17-2006, 04:37 AM #9
According to local legend, carbon arc gouging o4iginated here in Bremerton when Niel Krumm and a couple of other welders in the early days of WW II thought to formalze an old welder's trick and combine an air nozzle with a welding electrode torch and manufacture a torch especially designed for air/carbon arc gouging. The arc melted a puddle and the air blew it away in a shower of sparks.
They founded ArcAir. They set up shop in Navy Yard City and kept going until Niel's opartners died off and he got old. AirCo bought them out in 1970 or so. I worked for them evening for several years. I was paying off my engine lathe: had no life at the time.
Arc gouging is the foundry's best friend for removing bumps and lumps, risers and other unwanted protuberances from castings. Also for gouging out bad welds, excavating subsurface defects, and other digging around in tough metals where a quick and dirty approach is desirable. I've seen the track layers gouge out crane rail with 600 Amp welding generators set to max. The current was such that 4/0 welding cable coiled up surplus fanned out from the magnetic forces in time with the arc's sound.
Wanna know where they got the sound for Star War's light saber duels? It's from an electric arc furnace beginning a melt. Arc gouging done with heavy current sounds like it except over the gouging comes the hiss of blowing air.
04-17-2006, 05:59 AM #10
I still have a Lincoln carbon arc heating torch - have hardly ever used it since I got an oxy acetylene set. It works OK, but my old welder has a 90 amp minimum setting. The original copper covered electrodes were about 1/2" diameter, and burned away quite quickly at 90 amps. The available 3/8" replacements disappear very quickly indeed - I'd guess about 45-50 amps would be about the maximum desirable setting for these. There are two electrode holders pivoted in the handle and geared together so the electrodes can be touched together to strike the arc, then seperated to give the required shape and size of heating arc, and to compensate for electrode consumption. With the present price of gases, I might try to find some of the correct electrodes and start using it again.
Slightly OT - many years ago I was in an Australian Army reserve unit which was still operating ex WW2 searchlights - now THERE'S a carbon arc torch! The electrodes were at least 1" diameter and about 2' long, and were automatically fed at the right speed to maintain the arc. Power came from a DC generator powered by a manual start 4LW Gardner diesel engine. It took 4 men to start the unit - three on the l o n g crank handle, and one on the compression levers. I often wondered whether one of these would have made a good high amperage welding generator.
04-17-2006, 07:11 AM #11
more fun than man was ment to have
fire shootin' everywhere
great for removing welds without
destroying parent metal
can also be used on stainless, OA can't
the real fun start's at about 3/8 rods
with the current on #8 on a 600 amp welder
o for the old Case dozer day's
life was simple
you made some fire
you picked up your check
04-17-2006, 12:15 PM #12
I have a set of Pop Mech books with how to build a carbon arc torch.
04-17-2006, 12:27 PM #13
I've used carbon arc for brazing. It works but it sure can give you a good sunburn.
04-17-2006, 01:34 PM #14
Mike C., any chance that you could scan the plans for a carbon arc torch and post them? (How old are the books, and are they still covered by copyright?) I've been thinking about making a carbon arc torch to use for heating and bending, since I don't currently have access to OA. I've experimented a little with single carbons held in the stinger, but that doesn't give me the effect that a dual carbon arc torch is supposed to give.
04-17-2006, 01:43 PM #15
All you need is an insulated holder that holds the carbons at about a 90 degree angle to each other like this \ /. The holder should be spring loaded so that it tends to spring the electrodes apart. You squeeze them together to strike and control the arc.
04-17-2006, 02:59 PM #16
I've got a book called "Arc Welding Lessons for School and Farm Shop." It's got great info on carbon arc torches. I've never used one of the twin torch rigs, but have done my share of arc gouging. A great process! It's an old book published by the James F. Lincoln Arc Welding Foundation. Maybe you can check for a copy on the net.
04-17-2006, 04:28 PM #17
I have a twin electrode carbon arc torch (not air arc) and have no real use for it. If anyone is interested send a private message, make an offer I can't refuse, and I'll ship it to you. I can also send a picture and/or description to interested parties.
It's spring cleaning time and I'm easy, so consider your offer carefully.
04-17-2006, 04:35 PM #18
John, you have a PM.
04-17-2006, 04:45 PM #19
04-17-2006, 06:18 PM #20
Dirty Old Man,
I sent you an email.