Vacuum rod dryer
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  1. #1
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    Vacuum rod dryer

    Most of my welding is not stick, so my rods sit for a long time. I can't see affording to run a rod oven for years just to store them. So I played with the idea of vacuum sealing them, either in bags or heavy duty rod holders. The bag system ( like a food storage) probably doesn't create enough vacuum to remove existing moisture, but might keep good rods dry. Using a vacuum (air conditioner recharge pump) on a heavy tube container would definitely keep rods dry, although it may not be enough to suck out existing moisture. Another high vacuum source is manifold vacuum on an engine. On deceleration you can pull 29" of vac and lock the storage tube.
    So I guess the question is, how dry is dry enough? Has anyone else tried vacuum storing rods between usesage? How would I know if they are dry enough? Is it overkill, should they be fine just in the sealed container, maybe a bag a of decateciant or rice thrown in? So... How dry is dry enough, especially for low hydrogen rods?

  2. #2
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    Re: Vacuum rod dryer

    An addition to your idea....
    If you heated the rods while vacing them would help tremendously.
    Build a steel rod holder...
    2" threaded pipe, both ends capped, drill and tap a hole in it for a shredder valve.
    Put on a vac pump and heat with a torch
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  3. #3
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    Re: Vacuum rod dryer

    Yeah, my rod goes dry in a heavy sealed plastic one with a shrader now. I pump it down past 29" for a while to remove any moisture. I just don't really know if it even works. The rod holders do hold vac, the bag system is questionable. Heat would probably help too. But is this too much work, I mean if you buy a 50 lb box of rod, it's just wrapped in plastic.

  4. #4
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    Re: Vacuum rod dryer

    Quote Originally Posted by blackbart View Post
    Yeah, my rod goes dry in a heavy sealed plastic one with a shrader now. I pump it down past 29" for a while to remove any moisture. I just don't really know if it even works. The rod holders do hold vac, the bag system is questionable. Heat would probably help too. But is this too much work, I mean if you buy a 50 lb box of rod, it's just wrapped in plastic.
    when i get a 50# of rod it is in a sealed metal tin
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  5. #5
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    Re: Vacuum rod dryer

    But wouldn't even a very low watt bulb in an insulated container be worth while and cheap to run?

  6. #6
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    Re: Vacuum rod dryer

    If you just wanted to keep moisture out you could seal the rods in argon. The gas that comes from the gas company has no moisture in it. That's going to be better than a vacuum. Also you don't need a pressure container to store it in. You could basically put the rods in a plastic bag, purge argon in it so the argon will replace the air and then tie a knot or two on the bag.

    Other high pressure gases would also work.

    BTW, a lot of food is stored this way, usually in nitrogen because it's dirt cheap. But the primary issue with food is to keep oxygen away.
    Last edited by Pete.S.; 04-08-2013 at 07:03 AM.

  7. #7
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    Re: Vacuum rod dryer

    Quote Originally Posted by blackbart View Post
    Yeah, my rod goes dry in a heavy sealed plastic one with a shrader now. I pump it down past 29" for a while to remove any moisture. I just don't really know if it even works. The rod holders do hold vac, the bag system is questionable. Heat would probably help too. But is this too much work, I mean if you buy a 50 lb box of rod, it's just wrapped in plastic.
    Your schrader valve holds a decent vacuum?

    Schrader valve seats get tigher under pressure, but the vacuum is pulling against the spring holding the seat. They're not designed to hold vacuum, and I would expect air to rush right in past the seat. Perhaps if you used the schrader to connect to your pump, but put a ball valve behind it, it would be ok.

  8. #8
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    Re: Vacuum rod dryer

    Never thought of argon. I called them schrader valves, but the ones I experimented with were simple gas valves with AC pump fittings. I could use a light, but I have some specialty electrodes 25 years old or so, I was trying to make a cheap alternative ( maybe that's why some of mine came in boxes) and I'm mainly thinking about the rods I store in my portable rig.
    I was told by some AC techs a vacuum pump probably wouldn't pull all existing moisture out even if it pulled for 30 minutes or so. Although storing them in the vacuum may or may not work. The heavy plastic rod holders seemed to hold full vacuum without crushing.
    I just thought it would be an inexpensive idea to have small containers on your truck that after using you just put the under manifold vac before you stored them again.
    So, is it that important? Is simple room temp dry good enough? I may have tried to make something more complicated than it really is. Maybe starting off dry then storing them in th small container wit Rick, argon, or a decassient is enough protection.

  9. #9
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    Re: Vacuum rod dryer

    I've heard of using vacuum-seal bags to store rods, but vacuum alone will not dry them. The reason that drying rods requires heat above 500*F is that the moisture is chemically combined with the flux, and only sufficient heat will remove it.

    Rod-Guard canisters cost $6-7 on-line. Just get new, dry rods and put whatever you don't use right away into the Rod-guards. Simple.

    John
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  10. #10
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    Re: Vacuum rod dryer

    I use rod guard type O ring containers now. It's probably plenty of protection, just a thought that crossed my mind about the vacuum. AC techs use full vacuum to pull moisture out of AC systems before recharging them. So my mind went bizerk hoping to make that type of product even better.

  11. #11
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    Oct 2007
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    Re: Vacuum rod dryer

    I once made a small vaccuum chamber out of a 4 inch iron pipe nipple with 2 screw on end caps. I pit a stainless+brass ball valve on one wne to evacuate through. Pulled it down with a mechanical rotary vane pump (welch) to about 29 inches (all it would pump)
    I also had a vac gague plumbed into the other cap. I came back 2 or 3 weeks later and it hadnt leaked a bit. Weld some legs on the bottom out of bolts-
    I would try using some 110V heating tape arround the body and then wrap it with fiberglass insulation. I didnt know you had to getit to 500 degrees though.

    T

  12. #12
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    Re: Vacuum rod dryer

    What's your max vacuum?
    Blackbart
    29 inches?

  13. #13
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    Re: Vacuum rod dryer

    I can get over 29" with an AC pump. My experience is even when you get close to 30" it is hard to remove visible moisture. But I would think that putting already dry 7018 rods in a container, then charging it at 29+" vacuum would keep them as dry as an oven. You can almost get 29" of manifold vac if you use a check valve on max deceleration. I am at 1200' elevation so 30" is to much to ask. In my opinion it would be a cheap alternative to running an oven for months.

  14. #14
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    Re: Vacuum rod dryer

    My memory is full vacuum is 29.9" at sea level, but there is more to it than that. AC techs are using micron gauges now and I don't quite get why it's that critical. When I do a car I go to full vac for an hour and assume the moisture is gone. A good AC tech just shakes his head when I say that. I've played around with vac systems quite a bit for other fluid evac systems and sewage trucks.

  15. #15
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    Re: Vacuum rod dryer

    In an AC system that uses mineral oil such as R12 or R22, removing the water is mostly to remove non condensable materials from the loop. In a system that uses PAG oil, water contamination, on even a tiny scale, can cause real damage (R410a comes to mind as a common newly used system where a micron gauge comes in handy).

  16. #16
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    Re: Vacuum rod dryer

    Moisture does create havoc in a vacuum but bart, seriously, this is overkill. A good idea but overkill. It seems to me that some weldors on this site can dry their rods when they strike an arc.

  17. #17
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    Re: Vacuum rod dryer

    Wonder how well a pvc pipe container would work for vacuum storage....hmmmmm

  18. #18
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    Re: Vacuum rod dryer

    Pvc would work fine. Basically I have found that most things that hold pressure will hold full vacuum as well. And it might be overkill, but that was my question in the post. How dry is dry enough? It is easy to throw a days worth of rods in a plastic rod guard, or PVC tube and give it a quick vacuum charge. When you study other threads on this site, many are saying low hydrogen electrodes must be stored in an oven. I would think storing them in a vacuum would be free and easier. Again, I'm talking full vacuum (29"+)
    Again,the post on purging the rod guard with argon sounded like a good idea as well. I know throwing a cell phone in rice absorbs moisture if it gets wet, so maybe thats just as good too.
    So it boils down to the first question again, how dry is good enough for 7018 for everyday welding? Most welders I know store them in a dry place, but not an oven.

  19. #19
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    Re: Vacuum rod dryer

    I would vac pac half of the 50# for long term storage and about ten pounds for short term .
    My rod oven draws about 6 amps or 0.750KW/hr. It adds up to more than the 7018 is worth based on my usage if I leave it on. I usually turn the oven on about 2 hours before I weld but usually forget to plug the darn thing in.

  20. #20
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    Re: Vacuum rod dryer

    So "preheating 7018" is just about as good as storing it warm? I use 50 lbs of 7018 in 5-10 years.

  21. #21
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    Re: Vacuum rod dryer

    Quote Originally Posted by blackbart View Post
    So "preheating 7018" is just about as good as storing it warm? I use 50 lbs of 7018 in 5-10 years.
    No it should be on the whole time to keep them dry

  22. #22
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    Re: Vacuum rod dryer

    If my oven at 6amps draws 0.750KW per hour at 15 cents per hour, then it cost about $900 per year to leave it on. A 50# box of LINCOLN 7018 is about $100 to $150 more less. They dont come hot from the LWS but if your making money from those low hydrogen rods, then , by all means, leave the darn thing plugged in. I would stick with the vacuum packing idea. Just my two cents.

  23. #23
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    Re: Vacuum rod dryer

    Note that the 6 Amp draw is a maximum. Once the oven warms up, its thermostat will cycle on and off to keep it at the set temperature. The average draw is probably around 1 or 2 Amps depending on the oven.

    Still not economical for the hobbyist or occasional user.

    John
    A few welders
    A lot of hammers
    A whole lot of C-clamps

  24. #24
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    Re: Vacuum rod dryer

    I dont think it has a thermostat. It just warms up and keeps going. I think it only gets to about 280F on the IR thermometer. Its great if you dont have to pay for the electric. Figure $80/ month x two months is about the cost of a 50# box of 7018. An oven that has a themostat would probably cost alot more than buing new rod.

  25. #25
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    Re: Vacuum rod dryer

    Using a 60 watt incandescent bulb: One hour of use is 1.44 kWh

    Take your electric utility Kwh cost Or use an average of say - - $0.10 per Kwh
    So If I can do the math ~ ~ ~ ~ a doubtful proposition on the best of days ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ then:
    $0.10 x 1.44 kWh = $0.144 per hour
    A light bulb is pretty cheap to run
    Hey~!! It's a hobby. It's not supposed to make sense~!!

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