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Thread: Shocking Experience Today

  1. #1
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    Shocking Experience Today

    I was TIG welding on my steel welding table, putting some decorative leaves on a bamboo themed security door; i got the snot shocked out of me multiple times! That has never happened to me before; I had a good ground, gloves on....seemed to happen when i added filler rod. of course, I was wearing coveralls which were pretty sweat drenched, and it is very humid as well, and i was leaning on the table and/or door every time it happened. Got me a bit nervous to start an arc! Other than not leaning on the table, or wearing a body condom, any other tips for avoiding the shocking experience? Way worse than grabbing live 115 volt wires........

  2. #2
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    Re: Shocking Experience Today

    Keep the filler farther away till the arc is started. Get the filler too close and you become the path of least resistance.
    My name's not Jim....

  3. #3
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    Re: Shocking Experience Today

    What kind of machine and torch, air or water cooled?

    A real arc or just HF zap? If you've been hit by the arc you'll know the difference, but even the HF hurts more than 115AC.

    You may be leaking HF from your torch. Even with a "good" torch you may be leaking HF. I'm no electrical engineer maybe someone else can explain it but you may need to wrap up your torch and ground wires together for a foot or so coming directly off the power supply. If all else checks out, that may work. I have an older transformer machine I use at someone's shop sometimes and that's the only way I can get it to not leak HF current, even when it had a new torch.

    Are you sure your BAMBOO door was grounded?

    I had a similar DUH experience years ago. Maybe it's what knocked some sense into me. Minute before lunch, hanging up the torch, already took off my PPE, a machine builder comes over carrying an stainless steel soundproof door for a machine enclosure (it has a thick rubber squishable weatherstripping to seal tight...) He needs me to tack on a hinge for him to test fit the door, he has it clamped on where he wants it. Sure, no problem it will take a second. Put it on my table (which 99.9% of the time the ground clamp never leaves the underside to my left because the table is 5'x10'x1.5" even huge machine frames I always throw them on top with a tow motor or crane so welding is at a nice comfortable height. I grab the torch (no gloves, no jacket, I was already for lunch) Tack, Tack on the jamb side. Flip over the door. Right hand with the torch on the door which is ONLY TOUCHING THE TABLE WITH WEATHERSTRIPPING. Left hand with the rod on the table WITH THE GROUND UNDERNEATH. Floor the pedal...



    BAM! Lit up with 120V, 70A DC. Arc shot into my right hand, through my chest, out my left wrist, nice burn marks on both ends. I shot back into the welder which was right behind me with my seat on wheels when apparently every muscle in my body tensed which also pulled my foot off the pedal thankfully. The machine builder was like HOLY $&^!)@*#% what was that? I felt like Babe Ruth just took a swing at my chest. That was 20 years ago and I still have the scars.
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  4. #4
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    Re: Shocking Experience Today

    Quote Originally Posted by Boostinjdm View Post
    Keep the filler farther away till the arc is started. Get the filler too close and you become the path of least resistance.
    ...or keep the filler rod touching the workpiece (keeping it "grounded") until your arc is started. Then pull the filler away from the work and start dipping it into the puddle.

  5. #5
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    Re: Shocking Experience Today

    Sweat is salty. Makes a good conductor.

  6. #6
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    Re: Shocking Experience Today

    Machine is an Everlast Power Pro 256Si with a water-cooled torch; door was grounded on the same pipe the leaves were being welded on....the shock was enough to make me toss everything involuntarily and swear violently....the arc was already started and puddle forming when it happened (several times). I am thinking that lending on the table/door while sweaty is a main factor....might have to get a floor mat to drape between myself and the work, as sweaty is a normal working state here. I will also be aware of the filler rod; would rubberized gloves help?

  7. #7
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    Re: Shocking Experience Today

    if it is hot and sweaty conditions - earth to the object, keep object insulated from table if your leaning on table, dont lean on object.

  8. #8
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    Re: Shocking Experience Today

    If your don't discover any equipment problems as the root cause of getting shocked, there's one other thing to do. Move your work clamp closer to where you're welding. If you work clamp is on the welding table, move it to the part. If it's on the part, move it as close to the weld as you can. The closer the work clamp is to the weld, the less likely you are to be a part of the shortest path to 'ground'.

    This isn't always practical. Sometimes you can't clamp to the part, or you don't want any possibility of arcing between the clamp and the work. You might find that you're moving the work clamp all the time and it's inconvienent. But having the clamp close to the weld will help prevent accidental electrocutions.

    Rubber dishwashing gloves inside your welding gloves may help. But with TIG welding they'll take away from your ability to feel the rod and or torch. They also won't help if you're hands aren't where the shock is occurring.
    Benson's Mobile Welding - Dayton, OH metro area - AWS Certified Welding Inspector

  9. #9
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    Re: Shocking Experience Today

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Shimanek View Post
    Machine is an Everlast Power Pro 256Si with a water-cooled torch;
    Check your ground circuit, even inside the machine. A proper ground circuit goes a long way in preventing shockes, even when damp.

    And stop leaning against the bench or insulate the edge of the bench.
    Weld like a "WELDOR", not a wel-"DERR"
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