Before we go on and discuss how to prevent spatters when it comes to welding, it would be best if we know what a spatter really is and how it happens. So according to Merriam-Webster, when we say spatter, we refer to the drops of liquid that seems to have been thrown forcefully in different directions. Here they gave an example sentence: “… blood spattering everywhere“. And sometimes in welding, this happens which isn’t really nice to look at. Take a look at these pictures.
It’s messy and it somehow blemishes the beauty of your finished product. I don’t think this will be concealable with paint. Weld spatter mostly occurs in GAS METAL ARC WELDING or most commonly referred to as MIG welding. These spatters have been generated near or at the welding arc. Spatters does not only cause aesthetics problems but it also (1) hard to remove and quite annoying when it sticks to work pieces or even your tools, (2) it is a risk to the welder because if it lands on your skin or clothing, it could cause burning, (3) loss of your material from the arc and weld, and finally (4) it’s very hard to clean up. I understand that you want to rid yourself of spatters. Yes, that’s what you are here for. To find a solution, we must first find out where exactly it comes from and what causes spatters.
There are several factors that are able to cause spatters, however, among these, the main factor would be the disturbance in the molten weld pool during the process of transferring the wire into the weld. Experts say that this is due to the relationship between amperage and voltage. You should check if the voltage is too low or if the amperage you are using is too high for the materials and the gas combination.
Another factor would be because of the gas you selected to use. If you are going to do MIG welding, the first choice you would go for would be CO2 because this gas is able to increase the arc energy, plus it is will save you a lot of money being less expensive than the rest. Sadly though, using CO2 has been found out to cause a lot of spatter. The gas Argon has been suggested to counter balance the spatter caused by CO2.
Other factors would be:
- The weld droplet may come in contact with the weld pool and scatter the base metal before the fusion has began in a short arc process.
- “Arc Explosion” caused by a excess amperage, causing the weld bead to heat up.
- “Arc Repulsion” refers to the force that causes the weld bead to break off and scatter.
- If the weld bead breaks off and falls into the molten pool, which is a very common occurrence in globular transfer mode.
- Poor quality welding wire
- Incorrect gas mixtures may also cause spatters. It is important that you do your research before you decide to use two gases together. As I said above, Argon is quite good for CO2.
- Improper torch angle
- Wire stick-out length
- Loss of shielding gas
- If there is moisture in the atmosphere
- Grounding location.
The ones I’ve mentioned above starting with poor quality welding wire can cause a disruption of balance in the amperage and voltage, which as I said above is the main cause of spatters. You have to prevent this from happening. No worries though, there are a lot of ways for you to reduce spatters. It may be hard to get rid of them completely though, but you can reduce them.
The first thing you should do is to properly set your MIG welder. Be ready to make the necessary adjustments. The important thing here to remember is that even if we cannot completely get rid of the spatter, our goal would be to simply keep the spatter form sticking to the surface of the work metal so it will not ruin your finished product. Plus, hopefully you won’t be having a hard time cleaning it up.
If you have set your MIG welder, then you sr”hould test it out on a “tester” metal and examine the changes. Are you okay with that amount of spatter? If you aren’t okay with the amount of spatter, you can adjust the wire speed, or increase the voltage – just a little bit. Not too much.
Then do a test again, until you are satisfied. Keep trying. You may not get it right the first time.
But of course, there are available products in the market that can also help you if you still aren’t satisfied after all the adjustments you just made. You still have to make the adjustments, okay? Don’t rely on these products. There are actually anti-spatter sprays you can buy. It is sold in different types.
- AEROSOL SPRAYS are a great choice! They have been proven themselves to be effect and also cost friendly at the same time. All you will need to do is spray a little bit over the area, and it will prevent most of the spatter from sticking to the surface. Due to this, you can easily wipe the area with a cloth or with the use of a wire brush.
However, aerosol sprays give off fumes so you better put on your respirator.
- COOKING OIL. Some welders prefer to use cooking oil that has been dissolved in water. I don’t know how they dissolved it cause whenever I try, the oil doesn’t dissolve fully. They then pressurize this mixture in a can. Cooking oil is good since it doesn’t produce as much fumes compared to aerosol sprays. Plus it is cheaper than aerosol sprays.
- WATER SOLUBLE. You can mix water and something that is sprayed on plants. But these aren’t really that effective, and it could potentially cause problems in the long run.
Don’t forget that the angle of how you hold the torch also matters in the prevention of too much spatter. You just have to practice because “Practice makes perfect”! Hopefully this article has helped you, and you were able to understand it easily. If it was, please go on and share it with your friends, workmates, and even family members who may be into welding as well. It might be useful to them like it has been useful to you.