Welding lead do's n don'ts
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  1. #1
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    Welding lead do's n don'ts

    I am setting up my welding rig @ my new job and most of the guys have welding lead reel spools on thier trucks. i guess maybe i'm old school but i was always taught back when i was an apprentice that weld lead should never be rolled up on a spool and energized (used) due to it causing a magnetic field which would affect the quality of the weld. I have welded some with thier rigs and don't see any apparent difference but I will be doing code stamp welds and have my certs for 6G down to 1 inch so i don't want to be turning out a weld that looks good on top but does not have the quality where it counts. any input would be helpful.

  2. #2
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    Re: Welding lead do's n don'ts

    It is still official practice that the leads have to be completely unwound before use, but you see it done both ways, probably depending on job and time.

  3. #3
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    Re: Welding lead do's n don'ts

    Never heard that story. I ran a set of leads on spools for around 12 years and never had one problem with my welds or my leads. I welded a lot of high pressure pipe, sch. 160 and 180, and a lot of other things that had a lot of stress and never had any trouble at all. About all the pipeliners that I see around here use spools and always have.

  4. #4
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    Re: Welding lead do's n don'ts

    what was the diameter of thier spools, we are talking about 3 inch pipe with 12 or 16 inch flanges that the lead is rolled onto. glad to hear about not having problems, the reels seem like a real upgrade from stringing lead but i'm still not sure...
    RTCROSSRW

  5. #5
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    Re: Welding lead do's n don'ts

    Got a photo?

    Seems like a slow way to get your leads in and out. I have seen leads that are had it because they where used spooled up.
    I'd rather be hunting........
    USE ENOUGH HEAT.......

    Drifting around Aussie welding more pipe up, for something different.....wanting to get home.

  6. #6
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    Re: Welding lead do's n don'ts

    My 3-0 leads run side by side, attatched just like a set of jumper cables...It makes them easier to handle and keeps them from getting tangled. I bought them from a welding shop going out of business...I don't know what you call them, but the just "fold" up so easily and I wouldn't even think of rolling them.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Welding lead do's n don'ts

    The possible issues with having welding lead on a spool and using it while still (partially) on the spool are:

    - overheating the wire still on the spool. Resistance heating is based on the SQUARE of the current (I^2 x R), so at high welding currents you could have a relatively lot of heat in the wires and when they are all spooled up, the heat can't dissipate like when the wires are spread out and in the open. Worst case scenario would be a lot of wire on the spool, slightly undersized wire size for the current, and a lot of current (200 ft of #2 AWG with 250 amps, anyone? )

    - you are making an inductor or an electromagnet or a solenoid when you have current flowing through a coiled conductor. The more coils and the more current you have flowing through those coils makes for stronger effects. Wrapping the wire around steel/iron (the hose reel itself or a stub of steel/iron pipe) makes the inductance and electromagnetic effects stronger than just wire coils around air. You could magnetize things on/near the spooled wire, you could have things move from the magnetic field (loose steel/iron tool laying next to the spooled wire and then you start welding and the tool moves because of the magnetic field), or you could just have the inductance effects messing up or just changing your arc (a 'softer' than expected or desired arc on DC, or a really wonky arc on AC).

    The 'best' practice would be to uncoil/unspool the wires completely and lay them flat and spread out (not dumped into a coiled and tangled pile on the ground! ) before you weld.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Welding lead do's n don'ts

    One of the guys I work with has the reels on his rig. He said running 1/4 inch jet all day will cook 'em quick if you leave them spooled. He told me after he replaced the first set he went to unspooling them, lol.
    The difference between art and craft is the quality of the workmanship. I am an artist.

  9. #9
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    Re: Welding lead do's n don'ts

    I always make sure to unspool all the cable if I'm burning 5/32 or bigger (or using the LN25) for any length of time. If I'm working on the back of the truck I have a second lead right off the welder to plug the stinger into. Forgot to unspool a couple of times......gets so hot you can't touch the cable! I've never noticed any detriment to the welds from creating a magnetic field though.
    Rotavia

  10. #10
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    Re: Welding lead do's n don'ts

    I don't have reels, or any space on the truck for them either. My leads are in 50' increments and I only hook up and lay out use as much as I need so I don't have a whole mess of cable all over the ground. When I'm done, I just coil up the leads neatly and throw them back in the pack rat drawer. Locked up in the drawer, I don't worry about them being stolen and they stay out of the sun and rain too.
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  11. #11
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    Re: Welding lead do's n don'ts

    Coiled can and does cause arc blow, a real pain in the aRse.
    I'd rather be hunting........
    USE ENOUGH HEAT.......

    Drifting around Aussie welding more pipe up, for something different.....wanting to get home.

  12. #12
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    Re: Welding lead do's n don'ts

    Quote Originally Posted by RTCROSSRW View Post
    what was the diameter of thier spools, we are talking about 3 inch pipe with 12 or 16 inch flanges that the lead is rolled onto. glad to hear about not having problems, the reels seem like a real upgrade from stringing lead but i'm still not sure...
    The ones I had used 2" pipe for the center, flanges were about 12" in diameter and the width between flanges was about 14". Don't hold me to the measurements exactly cause it's been a few years since I had them. When I set up I would give the lead a couple of good yanks to spool a bunch of lead off on the ground. This prevented any heat build up and kept you from going back to the reel if you needed to pull more lead. Really fast way to unroll and spool your leads back up. Easy to clean up too if you happened to have to get them in mud or oil. Just wad up a rag and hold it around your lead as you guided it back on the reel. I never had any trouble with arc blow either. Of course I wasn't welding right on top of the reel where the magnetic field is concentrated either.
    Last edited by Oldtimer; 02-12-2009 at 12:34 PM.

  13. #13
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    Re: Welding lead do's n don'ts

    Hi, I am new to this forum and, alhough I work in the large pipeline industry I am not a professional welder. I have worked as a welder's helper early in my career. However I offer an opinion: the welder will link magnetically to whatever iron or steel the cable is wrapped around, just like a transformer. Any heating of the lead is coming directly from the power generated by the welder and is coming from the burning of fuel and is power not getting to the arc. I was my Dad's helper when he welded arond the farm; he hung his leads from a steel rod loop so they were sort of draped rather than wrapped tight. As he welded the loops would move and quiver, and it was obvious they were moving due to magnetic effects of the current they were carrying. I learned I could take a length of steel rod and push it inside the looped cable and feel the magnet pull while he was welding.

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