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I'm trying to make a Damascus billet. I've made one before but it was in a class and I used their equipment. The problem I have is keeping a handle welded on. I have tried 1/2 tube and rebar. They keep coming off with all the slag mostly attached to the rebar not the billet. I've tried everything. Ground both smooth and hit them with a 120 grit flap disk. I put a cross slot in the rebar and welding in there. I have no idea what I'm doing wrong. The welds that hold the layers together work great.

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Hard to diagnose the problem without pictures and more info on the equipment you're using.

 

57 minutes ago, Jeremy Russell said:

They keep coming off with all the slag mostly attached to the rebar not the billet

This tells me you might need to work the puddle more towards the billet, then.

 

Edited by billyO
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Good morning, Jeremy.  Hard to tell from the picture, and I'm sure (or at least hope) that others with more welding expertise than me will chime in, but it looks to me like you aren't getting good penetration with the weld bead.  But you already knew that by it not staying attached (I have a pretty good knack for the obvious, sometimes :rolleyes:).

I've never used a flux core welder, but everything I've heard is that it can be a pretty steep learning curve as these units are often under powered. 

I'll suggest that you take some time practicing welding a couple of pieces of mild steel together then putting it in the vice and hitting it with a hammer to test your weld.  The first thing I would try is to hold off on moving the gun until you see a good puddle build up, and then move slowly, making sure you're actually moving the weld puddle across the joint, and not just the spark/wire.  Also, make sure the puddle is crossing both the handle and the damascus billet, and don't worry about contaminating the end of the damascus billet.  I (and most of us, I think) usually end up cutting off 1/4"-1/2" of the billet with the handle after drawing it out as standard procedure to make sure we're not incorporating any of the weld rod/wire material into the final billet.  Well, those of us without access to a TIG welder, anyway.

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hmm, try to put a heavy bevel all the way around the bar your welding on and try to fill that gap with your welding filler.  Secondly, as your tying to weld to a carbon steel, you can try to preheat your stack to see if that helps with penetrating the stack.

 

I've always had the same trouble with welding a holding stick on. Something I noticed that helps a lot, weld the stick on but only long enough to get a pair on tongs to grip it. The tongs seem to dissipate some of the shock from the hammer blow so it doesn't seem to shear away. 

 

Depending on what I've used them for I have always broken off a holding stick that has been long enough to hold by hand.  With tongs They last a lot longer, and most of the time stay on until the forging part is done.

 

If you can get a clearer picture of your holding stick, it looks very porous.  If you were welding with gas rather than flux core I would think you don't have enough shielding gas for what that looks like.

 

 

Edited by Daniel W
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After doing lots of research I think the problem is dirty material. I decided this time to prep with a grinding disk then hit both the rebar and billet with 60 grit flap disk this time instead of 120. Tac weld then hit it with a wire wheel. Weld one side, wire wheel... Hit the other side wire wheel. Fill in gaps... Wire wheel. I'll take a picture of the weld here in a little.

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hate to say it but you weld like the shop mechanic were i work i wouldn't be surprised if that fell off on the way to the forge

 

ok first make sure your polarity is set correctly for flux core wire if your machine cant use gas skip that part its fine the first time i tried flux core my machine was gas only and i set some stuff on fire that day

 

you need to get the filler to wet the metal as it goes along im not there to listen but you want a steady sound coming from the gun if you hold it in one spot if its not ether the speeds to low on the wire or the heats not set for the wire/workpiece

 

once you get it set then you wanna kinda wiggle the gun/wire as you go to make sure you get both sides/materials

dual-shield-flux-core-triangles.jpg

 

also if your wire is to old the flux might not be doing the trick

 

another thing if you cant see whats happening you cant know whats going on if you don't have an adjustable auto darkening helmet i would get one it made a world of difference in my welds some in just being able to dim or darken the lens some because i didn't have to flip the hood or duck back behind a hand held lens (i don't recommend) im using a $60 from amazon and had a $30 ish i donated to the shop mechanic in the hopes it would help him they both work fine there are better ones out there but if your not wearing one all day you can save a buck or two

 

hope this helps and dont forget to check videos on you tube for tips as well some of those guys have been welding longer than i have liked knives

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I just started welding and that's the only thing I've ever had failed. My welds are ugly. I beat that thing with a hammer and it didn't break. I have the adjustable auto darkening helmet. I'll try this and all the tips you guys have given. Thanks.

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That's good that it handled a beating, but it still looks like you've got more weld on the handle than the billet. 

Grinding off any mill scale and having clean metal really helps (unless you're using 6011 weld rod).  

1 hour ago, dragoncutlery said:

don't forget to check videos on you tube for tips

I'll second this suggestion.  There are a number of good videos that show what the puddle should look like during welding.
 

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I just saw this and I have to say that the welds I see show very little penetration into the billet. 

1. Turn up the heat. If your welding rig is a 110V flux core rig, it probably has 4 levels of heat. Which one are you using? I would recommend the highest level and turn up the wire speed as well. Your wire should burn as quickly as the wire feeds. Not faster, (sputtering) and not slower (pushing back against you).

2. Skip the rebar and use a piece of solid mild steel. Rebar can be kind of funky and welding it is not as simple as welding uniform mild steel.

 

Dragoncutlery gave good direction on how you should be moving the puddle around. Billy O gave good advice about not worrying about contaminating the billet. The handle end is always my tang end.

 

Welding with rod or wire is mixing three metals together. 

 

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Thanks everyone. I went back outside and did pretty much what everyone here said. Focused more on the billet. Made it hotter... Kept it clean. Made sure it was all filled it. I didn't take a pic mainly because it was ugly as hell.. but good news it's still attached and I think I finally have a solid billet. Thanks everyone for the help. I need a better welder but I'd either have to do a shit ton of wiring and add another breaker panel or get a generator...

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Good to hear you've got a solid billet.  

I'll modify my suggestion to:  If you're just starting out welding, instead of practicing welding scrap pieces together, take a piece of mild steel and spend an hour or so practicing laying down beads, until you get consistent laying down good beads. 

This is probably a good video to check out.  He gives a good view of what you should be seeing while welding.

 

Edited by billyO
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