Welding zinc coated chain
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  1. #1
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    Welding zinc coated chain

    Does anyone have experience or advice for stick welding zinc coated chain like the one in this link:https://www.lowes.com/pd/Blue-Hawk-1...e-Foot/4222669

    I know welding zinc coated or galvanized metal produces harmful fumes, well more harmful than regular welding fumes. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
    I would be welding with an old idealarc 250. If you need more information about the project to answer the question, let me know.
    Thank you

  2. #2
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    Re: Welding zinc coated chain

    What's the intended end use for this welded chain?

  3. #3
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    Re: Welding zinc coated chain

    It would be purely decorative in the end, no load bearing. Although I'd like I eventually make one into a table or chair.

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  4. #4
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    Re: Welding zinc coated chain

    wear a respirator and be sure to do this in a well ventilated area. I like the 3M 7500 half face respirator with the 2297 pancake filters. fits under my welding helmet and rather inexpensive to buy.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Welding zinc coated chain

    All the respirator stuff with a clean shaven face, and 6010 or 6011 will do just fine for decorative.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Welding zinc coated chain

    Yeah, the more I use 6011 lately the bigger fan of it I am becoming.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Welding zinc coated chain

    couple of options then...

    get a respirator, work in a weld ventilated space and get after it with some small diameter 6010 or 6011 rod.

    For a little prettier end result you could soak the chain in some muriatic acid to get the plating off and use a rod like 6013, 7014 or even 7018 to get smoother looking welds. Where ever you weld is going to burn the plating off any way and need to be painted to keep from rusting so it will end up looking over all higher quality if you just get rid of all the plating to start with and then paint the whole thing when finished. You might want to also put some effort into just finding a source for unplated chain to start with. Depending on what exactly that plating is a gallon of cheap white vinegar might also get it off there. Might just take a couple days of soaking where a strong solution of Muriatic Acid would get it off in a hour or two.

    Having welded a bunch of small chain like that together before for various artsy / craftsy projects I can tell you that stick welding isn't the best choice of welding processes. Getting an arc struck with out sticking the rod and pulling the chain out of the alignment your wanting it to end up in can get frustrating. If you're not already a fairly skilled stick welder well, I can see that giving you a lot grief.

    For the small size chain you're wanting to use and the kinds of things you say you want to build out of it I think a small mig welder would be a much better choice for you. To get decent result though you would have to get any plating off first to mig it and have it look decent.

  8. #8
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    Re: Welding zinc coated chain

    We use to weld chain together all the time, to handle wire rope. Always used 7018 or 309 stainless steel. Used endless chains to pull wire rope up to 2-inch in diameter.
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  9. #9
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    Re: Welding zinc coated chain

    Thanks guys, I've had a hard time finding non galvanized chain, anyone know where to look? Also HT2-4956, all I have is the stick welder so I'll have to make it work if I can

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  10. #10
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    Re: Welding zinc coated chain

    One of my anticipated future yard art creations is going to be to use this piece of curved pipe as a guide to push this old piece of chain up against and then weld every link so it ends up in a nice smooth curve. Then weld the bottom to something substantial so it'll stand up right and work as a stand to hang something else from (like a gong / bell made from an old welding gas cylinder). While I've got the skills to do it with stick just the thought of having to do it that way is kind of off putting. Knowing I've got access to a decent MIG welder to do it with greatly increases the odds that it'll actually get done some day.

    Name:  Barn Finds 010.jpg
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  11. #11
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    Re: Welding zinc coated chain

    Another option that might make it easier to use stick welding to join the links together would be to use heavier chain. While the chain in the picture below might be a little over kill for most artistic projects I'm pretty sure you wouldn't have to worry about a stuck stick rod pulling any thing out of place. You probably wouldn't even need to have the links clamped to any thing to keep them where you wanted them.

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  12. #12
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    Re: Welding zinc coated chain

    Quote Originally Posted by HT2-4956 View Post
    One of my anticipated future yard art creations is going to be to use this piece of curved pipe as a guide to push this old piece of chain up against and then weld every link so it ends up in a nice smooth curve.

    Name:  Barn Finds 010.jpg
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    An easier way to do that is to put the chain around the outside of the bent pipe rather than pull it up to the inside of the curve. Tack or clamp the chain to the pipe on one end, put tension on it around the outer circumference and clamp it on the other end, weld away. No need to worry about the chain getting out of position as much while welding.

  13. #13
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    Re: Welding zinc coated chain

    Quote Originally Posted by Bistineau View Post
    An easier way to do that is to put the chain around the outside of the bent pipe rather than pull it up to the inside of the curve. Tack or clamp the chain to the pipe on one end, put tension on it around the outer circumference and clamp it on the other end, weld away. No need to worry about the chain getting out of position as much while welding.
    Bistineau,

    Dam it man, that's a hell of a good idea. Now I know why I've been holding off on this project, I was just waiting on some one like you to come along and tell me the secret to doing it the easy way.

  14. #14
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    Re: Welding zinc coated chain

    Quote Originally Posted by name user View Post
    Thanks guys, I've had a hard time finding non galvanized chain, anyone know where to look? Also HT2-4956, all I have is the stick welder so I'll have to make it work if I can

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    I think you should just go get a couple feet of that chain and start playing around and see what you can do with it. Get some 1/16 6011 and 6013 and try different settings and techniques with them. Part of the entrance fee to this game might just be wasting a few dollars worth of chain (and some welding rod) until you figure out how to get acceptable results.

    Figuring out how to fixture stuff and hold it securely in place for welding is going to be just as important as the welding its self. In fact it might even be the bigger challenge. A bunch of clamps and some different shaped things to clamp to will certainly help you out.

    For instance I think you could end up with a nice circle (or just part of a curve) by going about it like this.

    Attachment 1636091

    I think you could get a nice helix shaped object by clamping along the edge of a piece of screw flighting like I've got mocked up in this picture.

    Attachment 1636131

  15. #15
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    Re: Welding zinc coated chain

    Quote Originally Posted by HT2-4956 View Post
    Bistineau,

    Dam it man, that's a hell of a good idea. Now I know why I've been holding off on this project, I was just waiting on some one like you to come along and tell me the secret to doing it the easy way.
    You welcome HT2. Another way is to suspend each end the distance apart you want and let it hang naturally by gravity, no need for any form to follow that way. You still end up with the curve to it.

  16. #16
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    Re: Welding zinc coated chain

    Quote Originally Posted by Bistineau View Post
    You welcome HT2. Another way is to suspend each end the distance apart you want and let it hang naturally by gravity, no need for any form to follow that way. You still end up with the curve to it.
    I don't know about that idea. Granted it sounds good in theory I'm just not to sure it'd work out all that well in practice. I can see the mig wire running out and pushing on it hard enough at the start to get it swinging. And trying to strike up a stick arc and weld on a loose hanging chain sounds even more problematic to me.

  17. #17
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    Re: Welding zinc coated chain

    Don't know if you have any farm stores in your area of NJ, but sometimes you can find the cheaper proof chain without galvanizing by the foot. If not, go to Walmart or a grocery store or a Dollar Tree and get "The Works" brand toilet bowl cleaner. The plain liquid kind, not any bleach cleaner. It should have 9.5% muriatic acid (HCl) and some inhibitor to reduce fuming and attack on sound metal. I just saw about a quart bottle at my Kroger store 20 minutes ago - $2.09.

    As for hanging the chain, you will get a catenary arch shape, which is pleasing and has merit in structures, but may not be what you want. You can always hang the chain against a scrap of plywood that is leaning at an angle to keep it from swaying until you tack it up.
    Last edited by Oldendum; 03-20-2017 at 05:59 PM.
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  18. #18
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    Re: Welding zinc coated chain

    I havent found non galvanized chain at any of the farm stores near me, i think ill give the toilet bowl cleaner a shot, thank you oldendum

  19. #19
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    Re: Welding zinc coated chain

    HT2,
    Another option for your art projects is to stand up a section of pipe and then wrap the chain around it. If you tack a link at the top you can then adjust the amount of spiral that looks good. With some of the bigger material you seem to have either at home or at work, you may be able to find something with a diameter that can be used.
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  20. #20
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    Re: Welding zinc coated chain

    Quote Originally Posted by name user View Post
    I havent found non galvanized chain at any of the farm stores near me, i think ill give the toilet bowl cleaner a shot, thank you oldendum
    Be careful when removing zinc with products that have muriatic acid, aka hydrochloric acid in them. Search the net for more info.
    Last edited by Pete.S.; 03-20-2017 at 08:11 PM. Reason: Not sure if it always happens

  21. #21
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    Re: Welding zinc coated chain

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete.S. View Post
    Do it outside, far from everything. Removing zinc with muriatic acid, aka hydrochloric acid, will rust everything close by. Together with zinc the acid reacts and produces hydrogen gas and godknowswhat. It's nasty stuff if you inhale it, burns your lungs.
    Will do, thank you

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  22. #22
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    Re: Welding zinc coated chain

    Yes, anything with muriatic acid, or lye for that matter, should be approached with caution. Use outdoors, with splash-resistant eye protection. The "dumbed-down" 9.5% stuff with the inhibitor is about all I'd want to use at home, though it freaks me out that it is being sold in stores as a simple bathroom cleaner. Not sure if citric acid will do a good job on galvanizing, bit it's worth a try. Lemon juice or citric acid powder is cheap. I cook with it.

    Odd part is, some of the stuff you buy in a regular store would have OSHA all over your butt if used in an industrial setting. I got the lecture from my plant years ago. Cleaning stuff, Krylon spray paint, etc. Deadly.
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  23. #23
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    Re: Welding zinc coated chain

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldendum View Post
    Yes, anything with muriatic acid, or lye for that matter, should be approached with caution. Use outdoors, with splash-resistant eye protection. The "dumbed-down" 9.5% stuff with the inhibitor is about all I'd want to use at home, though it freaks me out that it is being sold in stores as a simple bathroom cleaner. Not sure if citric acid will do a good job on galvanizing, bit it's worth a try. Lemon juice or citric acid powder is cheap. I cook with it.

    Odd part is, some of the stuff you buy in a regular store would have OSHA all over your butt if used in an industrial setting. I got the lecture from my plant years ago. Cleaning stuff, Krylon spray paint, etc. Deadly.
    I work with hazardous chemicals and biological agents regularly so I'm fairly comfortable using them. If you recommend the toilet cleaner works best. That's what I'll go with. Thank you

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  24. #24
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    Re: Welding zinc coated chain

    HCl and zinc will liberate hydrogen, which is flammable. No biggie, just don't do it in a small bathroom with candles burning...

  25. #25
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    Re: Welding zinc coated chain

    Has anyone tried using a base like sodium hydroxide rather than an acid? The iron under the zinc shouldn't be as affected by a base. It'll still make hydrogen gas but the steel should be less affected I would think.

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