View Full Version : Safety Curtains
09-07-2007, 11:56 PM
Like alot of guys my "welding shop" is only a few feet from my "woodshop". It also converts to my "autoshop" at times.
I would like to rig a spark proof curtain that would be ceiling mounted and could be pulled in an "L" 1/2 way around my welding area. Anybody seen or done such a curtain?
09-08-2007, 01:58 AM
Yes, they had them at my technical college. Basically like a shower curtain is how we hung them. I think there are a few other products. Like a screen thing you can wheel out and set up a border thing. Then wheel it back away. I seen that in a few welding videos.
09-08-2007, 02:08 AM
We have those at our aluminum, machine and pipe shops at work. They are similar to those mobile chalkboards that they had in school, but have a thick semi-transparent plastic that doesn't burn and filters all unsafe light so all you see is a light glow through it.
09-08-2007, 02:09 AM
09-08-2007, 10:58 AM
HF has welding blankets in a few sizes. Buy a few, punch or use a few tarp rings in them and hang 'em up from your rafters. I would also move all your papers, folders, chemical cleaners or anything else you have in that area that is flammable or can catch fire. One little spark is all it takes, ask my friend down the road how we know. :(
09-08-2007, 03:33 PM
Just make a mobile curtain. Weld up a frame, put casters on the legs and zip-tie a cover to it. Move it where ever you need it. I like this stuff but about anything will do;
You can get the stuff pretty cheap if you look around.
09-09-2007, 12:12 AM
Thanks for the replies. Yes I definetely have to clean up before I weld indoors. You are correct Microzone, burning down the house would be bad.
I plan to tackle it this winter. I will remove the shelf above the table, insulate and install fire resistant drywall over the studs and then use the curtain to isolate the rest of the garage. I need more light in that corner also.
I like the idea of the semi-transparent material, keep things from looking like a cave. I had envisioned a retractable curtain mounted on a cieling track but it sounds like the rigid frames maybe more practicle.
09-09-2007, 11:02 AM
My two car garage/shop has the same challenge. So far a 3/4 inch conduit "curtain rod" has kept the sparks contained (not the dust). The curtains go on the table (with HF wheels) and the table goes to the garden shed.
When HF had their curtains on sale I gathered the six by eight footers, which have grommets.
Still be careful and wait a half hour before leaving. As in sweeping up.
09-09-2007, 11:15 AM
Wow - that's a great example of a weld booth for a small garage! Excellent work Tom.
09-12-2007, 10:54 AM
Thanks for the pics, that is what I am thinking of. Do you raise the entire curtain and hange it when in use or can you retrack the curtains and leave them on the cieling.
09-12-2007, 12:34 PM
I'm probably way too organized for many folks, I take the curtains down and fold them, stack them on the cart and haul the cart out to the shed. Takes about a half hour to put the booth up, take the wheels off the cart, hang the grinders and string the extension cord (I'm running it over the top these days). Another half hour to store everything away.
If you look closely at the corners of the conduit in photo #2 you would see pre-made corners. Thank you Homeless Despot. Using couplers at the corners allows opening the coupler and sliding the curtain off. The curtain rings stay on the curtains. I overlap the curtains two grommets to seal the "booth".
If you have space you could just pull the curtains into a "pocket" by your bench except for the needed hangers that hold the whole thing up. I used the garage door track for the "curtain rod" mount, the rod is a sorta permanently installed if ten gage wire counts as permanent. If a hook type hanger were used the curtain could slide to one end and store there---makes a fairly large bundle.
09-13-2007, 04:23 PM
Nice work. Neat and professional-looking. Make sure you have planned/incorporated ventilation into the area if you run a barrier from floor to (almost) ceiling. Your barrier is helping to keep in or block the UV from the arc and the sparks-n-such too, but is also blocking air flow.
You might want to somehow mark/indicate the seams between panels. Maybe even be as simple as having different color blankets ( I -think- HF had different color welding blankets) adjacent. If you had to rapidly exit the area in case the SHTF, you don't want to have to fumble to find a way out.
Yup on moving the flammables (solid, liquid, spray, etc) away from the spark-n-arc area.
Check with your local building department on what the local building code requires regarding drywall etc before doing the work. For a bit more 'durable' surface you could look into skinning the drywall with concrete backer-board (which btw is usually nicely water resistant, see below about water and drywall). Or put up a sheet-metal surface over the drywall.
It looks like your garage stud walls run down to the garage floor (no masonry knee-wall). Garages often get wet (on purpose, like from hosing the floor off, or incidentally, like from snow/rain/slush dripping off vehicles, or by accident). If the drywall is run down to floor level, you then have the possible problem that drywall really-really-really doesn't like wet. Even 5/8 fire-resistant drywall (what many building codes call for in a residential garage, or the separation wall between the house and the garage, your local codes may vary). You would need to use the water-resistant drywall (a little more $) and I don't remember if the water-resistant (green board usually) meets the code requirements for fire-resistant as well or not.
Regarding drywall, gloss paint really does help to keep the walls clean(er). Yes, I am saying you should paint your garage drywall. With good paint.
Ceiling-mounted track to hang curtains on means you don't have to move/store the frames. Portable frames means you can move/relocate however you want or need, but you have to store them.
Oh, and stop using your wiring as a place to hang things. :nono: The wire is for the electricity, it is not a part of the shop storage plan. :laugh:
09-17-2007, 12:01 PM
Moonrise, Thanks for the response.
Yes safety is priority one. I have an attached garage so the whole place would go up quick. The garage does have a 3-4" cement riser that the stud wall sit on, so the wall board won't be right on the floor.
One last question I have is ventalation: Do I need some type of active vent or do I just raise the garage door a couple of inches when welding? I only have an AC stick welder which is supposed to produce alot of fumes.
Making a safe welding area is a top project this winter.
09-17-2007, 01:11 PM
Active vent. A fan in a window or a wall-mounted vent fan blowing fresh air in that then vents out through the garage door opening. Or a fume extractor hood/nozzle that can suck the fumes away and out and a source of fresh air intake to allow the air/fumes to actually flow.
Speaking of garage doors ...
If your garage door is wood, then it is flammable. :blob2: Keep the sparks and flames away from the garage door, probably by having it open all the way.
Also, if something goes wrong and you need to get out, you don't have time to fiddle with opening a garage door. Leave the door open all the way. Or make SURE you have a clear and quick way of getting out FAST. Fiddling with opening an overhead garage door, or looking for the seam in some canvas curtains that are between you and the outside, or having to do an obstacle-course run under stress (what my and many other garages seem to look like, a total obstacle course), or some combination of the above is NOT what you want to have to do in an emergency. :eek:
Ventilation, clear space, and a way to get out FAST are what you need if you are welding inside (by yourself, nobody standing fire-watch while you are busy concentration on welding and too occupied to notice that you just set your pants/wall/curtains/etc on fire). If you are outside, most of those factors are taken care of because you are outside.
Even with ventilation or being outside, don't stick your head in the welding fumes. :nono:
09-17-2007, 09:51 PM
Thanks again, That is an out side wall so I may incorperate a vent hood of some type over the bench and vent it directly outside.
09-18-2007, 10:47 AM
Ventilation is tricky says me, after twenty years in HVAC---hospitals and high tech industry. More is better, and pull the air across your work if possible. In your case George I'd set an exhaust fan in your exterior wall at bench top height and open a door on the other side of the garage. A range hood, for example, is for removing odor not toxic fumes. If you want safety go overkill, like an attic fan on a speed controller (to keep your hat on).
The tricky part is controlling the flow of the air. Like water, air will follow the most direct path. A bench level exhaust in George's garage with the garage door open will pull air along the wall and not much over the bench. This can get complicated and expensive. My solution ain't cheap, but seems to work. One fan as shown in the photo but on a shop built pedestal and the caged (old Sears yard sale find). The Sears fills the opening and the pedestal fan blows air over the curtain. Stirs the fumes and pulls them out.
09-18-2007, 11:16 AM
Thanks for the reply Tom, I was think of opening the rear enterence door which is behind me over my left shoulder when welding in the opposite corner of the garage. Is it better to have the exhaust fan at table top level? Is that to prevent breathing of fumes before it is exhausted?
09-18-2007, 11:56 AM
Yes to the door. Yes to table top level for best exhaust. Yes to prevent breathing fumes.
That said, it's always your choice as to how much you want to concentrate on safety and how much you want to enjoy welding. It is very possible to get so anal about safety that you don't have any fun. Reasonable prudence is a legal concept that translates into common sense.
I ventilate the work area as best I can and concentrate on making stuff. And always try not to catch myself on fire.
09-18-2007, 12:07 PM
Hey Tom, maybe his idea of a vent hood is a 6" dia flex pipe with a 2 ft2 hood on a repositionable linkage and a 400+ cfm blower run from a 1/2 - 3/4 hp motor.
Which really wouldn't be that bad of an idea. Or the attic blower (~$50-$80 at a home center) or two and rig up some ducting as well.
A typical home kitchen vent/range hood won't be much use though. Not enough airflow.
Yes, your ventilation plan should be to not be breathing in the fumes. So you want fresh air coming from by you and blowing/pulling the fumes away from you and then out-n-away. More than one way to do that. Just remember that air doesn't 'suck' from very far away from the fan/blower at all, but air does blow much farther than it can be sucked.
09-18-2007, 12:07 PM
edit- server did a double post
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