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Thread: Learning TIG -- wheelchair user -- additional precautions?

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    Learning TIG -- wheelchair user -- additional precautions?

    Hi there,

    I use a manual wheelchair. It's titanium.

    I'm learning to TIG.

    Are there any additional precautions I need to take due to the wheelchair? If I am in contact with the ground-clamp table while welding will this pose any danger? If my wheelchair is in contact with the table, will this be a problem?

    I thought I had a grasp on this, but I dipped the tungsten and got a shock. Is there anything I can do to prevent that?

    Since having gotten shocked my confidence while playing with the torch has totally dropped -- and thus my steadiness and work quality has suffered tremendously. Just knowing what I need to do or equip myself with in order to avoid shocks would help a lot. Since i'm afraid to lean against the work area i'm having a hell of a time trying to hover around everything -- i'm sure you can imagine that gets pretty tough after a minute.

    Thanks a lot for any advice.

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    Re: Learning TIG -- wheelchair user -- additional precautions?

    Welcome to the forum. I never been shocked when dipping the tungsten. Sometimes I’ll get a little shock but other times I’ve got it pretty good. I think it was the filler rod that got me good lol. I don’t think you should have much too worry about tho

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    Re: Learning TIG -- wheelchair user -- additional precautions?

    Usually it's the high frequency used for starting the arc in DC or maintaining the arc in AC. You can take some common sense action like keeping your gloves dry, don't rest bare skin on the table or work, and don't get between the torch and ground. Other than that, somtsomes you just get bit. The high frequency arc can jump a long ways or through materials.
    My name's not Jim....

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    Re: Learning TIG -- wheelchair user -- additional precautions?

    I have experience a little "sting" every now and then from the HF arc start and it's usually because the thing I'm welding isn't grounded properly. If you're worried about it, you might try using the "lift arc" option if your welder has that. Since the arc voltage for TIG is down around 20 volts or so, you're not likely to be harmed by that. Arc flash to your eyes and UV radiation of exposed skin are more dangerous in the "big picture."

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    Re: Learning TIG -- wheelchair user -- additional precautions?

    I was going to suggest staying dry. Sometimes you just plain get hot and sweaty so you can jet a little jolt. Establish the arc first and try not to have the rod on the work.

    Also I would think that dropping your wire ends on the floor would make “wheeling” a bit difficult.

    If it were me I’d have a good side cutter and cut the 36” filler wire in half. Yeah you waste a little wire but it can be easier to move around on your table. Have wire available close by, I’d have 25-50 sharpened electrodes in a small cup or holder so you don’t have to move all over to sharpen them.

    I had a production job that I’d come in 20-30 minutes early and grind at least 50 electrodes before the shift started. Then grab a full tube of wire and stuff my side cutter in my pocket and head to my work station. I could burn 10-20 pounds of steel wire a day for days on end. I rearely got to work on a table. It was always standing or laying on a creeper or on a ladder.

    Even today I hardly ever get to sit and weld. It’s always stand,lean, climb a ladder or roll around on the floor, just not a high production job. Lots of other things to do.
    Last edited by bentwings; 01-20-2019 at 09:54 AM.

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    Re: Learning TIG -- wheelchair user -- additional precautions?

    I am new at Tig so I still get a little zap once in awhile. What happened was the medication I am taking makes my finger tips crack .The Doc. said to use hand cream and cover with Nitrile gloves.So have been using them under my welding gloves.So far not one jolt. It is worth a try if you have any laying around.I know what you mean,trying to concentrate and waiting for the next Zap.
    Last edited by tonylumps; 01-20-2019 at 10:36 AM.

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    Re: Learning TIG -- wheelchair user -- additional precautions?

    If you are worried about your chair grounding out find like old rubber or **** even new rubber inner tubes for car or bike tires and that non conductive electrical tape and wrap up all the metal. if you don't like the rubber on there permanently and feel as though you gotta get a separate chair for welding then I would do that. although I would just rock the wrapped up rubber chair anyway if I was in that predicament. as far as getting shocked others have stated that its the HF in tig that you probably felt. I wear stick welding gloves when I tig and I'm not in a chair and even I have felt this shock. It hurts yes but it is usually caused by a bad ground in combination with something being wet or another problematic situation occurring. Even when stick welding in the rain if you clamp on to a rod you can feel a tingle. Don't let your chair stop you.

    Oh and another thing your gonna need to look out for or prepare to prevent depending on your chair situation is sparks landing in between the bottom of your pants and tops of your boots. It may not be a problem if you don't have any legs but if you do you may want to wrap that area in leathers if you move on to mig or stick. tig doesn't have nearly as many sparks so you may not have to worry about that for now. Also HF tig can mess up pacemakers if that applies to you. unless they changed one of the two or both recently. hope this helps man. don't quit just cause of one bad experience. learn from it and push on.

    oh And if you do use a separate chair for welding, customize the crap out of it to make it the most badass welding chair you can and post some pictures of it one day for everyone else. if it really is titanium it will spark bright white when hit with a grinder. if its aluminum there will be no spark. titanium is hard to weld with out cracking but **** you got the tig machine already.

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    Re: Learning TIG -- wheelchair user -- additional precautions?

    Thanks all for putting some thought into this for me.

    So it seems like the consensus is that it was probably the HF circuit that buzzed me. I'll just have to swallow hard and keep practicing to try and get over it.

    Also I would think that dropping your wire ends on the floor would make “wheeling” a bit difficult.
    You have no idea. Zip-Ties are the worst, too, and they get thrown everywhere around here. A 3 inch aluminum/rubber caster stalls out at the very smallest pebble on the ground, so there is definitely a lot of time spent managing my floor space.

    I am new at Tig so I still get a little zap once in awhile. What happened was the medication I am taking makes my finger tips crack .The Doc. said to use hand cream and cover with Nitrile gloves.So have been using them under my welding gloves.So far not one jolt. It is worth a try if you have any laying around.I know what you mean,trying to concentrate and waiting for the next Zap.
    That's an idea. I'll give an inner glove a try next time, too.

    Oh and another thing your gonna need to look out for or prepare to prevent depending on your chair situation is sparks landing in between the bottom of your pants and tops of your boots. It may not be a problem if you don't have any legs but if you do you may want to wrap that area in leathers if you move on to mig or stick. tig doesn't have nearly as many sparks so you may not have to worry about that for now
    That's exactly why i'm TIGging now. I was learning to MIG and had the worst time with burns on my lap and legs, even with work boots, apron, etc. Sitting down like a big shelf for slag to fall onto is a bummer for MIG.

    No burning balls yet with the TIG machine, knock on wood.


    oh And if you do use a separate chair for welding, customize the crap out of it to make it the most badass welding chair you can and post some pictures of it one day for everyone else. if it really is titanium it will spark bright white when hit with a grinder. if its aluminum there will be no spark. titanium is hard to weld with out cracking but **** you got the tig machine already.
    My goal is to make a 'industrial' chair once i'm good enough with the torch. This titanium frame is too well but together for a beginner like me to try and burn.

    (but I do think i'm gonna go hog-wild with the anti-conduction coatings/paints/wraps now)

    Thanks again everyone.

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    Re: Learning TIG -- wheelchair user -- additional precautions?

    I have had a wheelchair bound employee who I taught to tack a bazzlion assemblies together with or without filler. He had a rather upright wheelchair that rolled right under the bench. The torch had a thumb wheel amptrol. He never really got shocked or never mentioned it. Was a pleasure working with him.
    Weld like a "WELDOR", not a wel-"DERR"
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    Re: Learning TIG -- wheelchair user -- additional precautions?

    You probably don't want slag burns on your nice presentable chair. If a generic chair suits you, you might modify a $30 thrift store wheelchair to optimize it for welding. All-rubber (bicycle tube) covering over metal parts, maybe cut down the arms to go under a work table so the table shields your lap, whatever you need to customize it.

    Here's a photo of a wheeled welder rack I made with minor mods to an old-man walker. $5 + some scrap molding. Just an example of inexpensive but quality specialty stuff modified to a new use. It might be worthwhile to keep an eye on Craigslist.


    Electricians use rubber gloves, electronics techs wear a grounding bracelet wired to ground. Is there anything in the world of safety gear, like these, that would prevent those shocks?
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    Re: Learning TIG -- wheelchair user -- additional precautions?

    Quote Originally Posted by California View Post
    You probably don't want slag burns on your nice presentable chair. If a generic chair suits you, you might modify a $30 thrift store wheelchair to optimize it for welding. All-rubber (bicycle tube) covering over metal parts, maybe cut down the arms to go under a work table so the table shields your lap, whatever you need to customize it.
    I've had good luck so far on the slag, but you're absolutely right. It'd be a much better idea to have a dedicated chair lying around just to experiment with the rubber coatings and such.

    I already fit under a table pretty well (no arms on my chair), just don't have a good work table yet. It's on the big to-do list.

    Electricians use rubber gloves, electronics techs wear a grounding bracelet wired to ground. Is there anything in the world of safety gear, like these, that would prevent those shocks?
    I was wondering the same thing, but in the cases that you're talking about the technicians (I believe) are trying to match their bodies current potential with the work; I don't think the same strategy will work with welding -- I think on the welding side of things one has to focus on staying out of the arc path and separating themselves entirely from the circuit. (but again, i'm learning here.)

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    Re: Learning TIG -- wheelchair user -- additional precautions?

    Quote Originally Posted by California View Post
    You probably don't want slag burns on your nice presentable chair. If a generic chair suits you, you might modify a $30 thrift store wheelchair to optimize it for welding. All-rubber (bicycle tube) covering over metal parts, maybe cut down the arms to go under a work table so the table shields your lap, whatever you need to customize it.

    Here's a photo of a wheeled welder rack I made with minor mods to an old-man walker. $5 + some scrap molding. Just an example of inexpensive but quality specialty stuff modified to a new use. It might be worthwhile to keep an eye on Craigslist.


    Electricians use rubber gloves, electronics techs wear a grounding bracelet wired to ground. Is there anything in the world of safety gear, like these, that would prevent those shocks?
    From how I understand it is that those bracelets are only to make sure there is no static electricity buildup that could damage the boards not the people.
    That being said the only way I have been shocked with the hf is when I forgot to hookup the ground cable or when i stuck the tungsten and lifted the part off the table trying to remove it and hitting the pedal on accident.
    As a sidenote I don't believe is all that dangerous I wouldn't worry about it too much. I would regularly arc it off my finger for demos and when I was in school we would reach around to the other booths and shock other guys for a little scare.

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    Re: Learning TIG -- wheelchair user -- additional precautions?

    Agree a wrist bracelet isn't the answer for welding. What I'm thinking is somebody must have worked out a solution to eliminate HF shocks, and somewhere in the world of safety gear there is a device or perhaps a recommended procedure that would serve him well. Hopefully some professional on here can point to an answer.
    HF MIG-180 with all the mods.
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    Re: Learning TIG -- wheelchair user -- additional precautions?

    Quote Originally Posted by California View Post
    Agree a wrist bracelet isn't the answer for welding. What I'm thinking is somebody must have worked out a solution to eliminate HF shocks, and somewhere in the world of safety gear there is a device or perhaps a recommended procedure that would serve him well. Hopefully some professional on here can point to an answer.
    I totally agree -- I just don't know what that might be.

    It feels strange that the industry standard is "just get used to it, it happens.", but simultaneously I have a hell of a time imagining what such a safety system might do.

    That being said the only way I have been shocked with the hf is when I forgot to hookup the ground cable or when i stuck the tungsten and lifted the part off the table trying to remove it and hitting the pedal on accident.
    That's an idea; maybe I didn't lift my foot off when trying to remove the tungsten after I dipped it.

    Is there usually a circuit to prevent the HF firing when the tungsten is shorted? I'm using an HTP Invertig 221. If so, I can imagine how I could be zapped during the process of getting un-stuck if I had forgotten to take my foot off the pedal.

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    Re: Learning TIG -- wheelchair user -- additional precautions?

    Quote Originally Posted by hikkakaru View Post
    I totally agree -- I just don't know what that might be.

    It feels strange that the industry standard is "just get used to it, it happens.", but simultaneously I have a hell of a time imagining what such a safety system might do.



    That's an idea; maybe I didn't lift my foot off when trying to remove the tungsten after I dipped it.

    Is there usually a circuit to prevent the HF firing when the tungsten is shorted? I'm using an HTP Invertig 221. If so, I can imagine how I could be zapped during the process of getting un-stuck if I had forgotten to take my foot off the pedal.
    Getting a slight Zap every once in a while is part of the learning process. After a while you learn how keep them to a minimum. The HF is designed to start the arc and not designed to punish you. The new inverter type welders like your HTP Invertig really does not want to zap you but if you like ground yourself out it will deliver. On hot sweaty days when your leather gloves get wet the arc might find yourself as a nice ground path. But then you might be able to reduce the HF start on your machine a bit if it is adjustable. You might even want to wrap bicycle handlebar tape around the tubes of your chair for insulation in case it accidentally touches under the table.
    Weld like a "WELDOR", not a wel-"DERR"
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    Re: Learning TIG -- wheelchair user -- additional precautions?

    Since you have a TI chair, I assume you also have ultralight wheels w/tubed tires. Gotta watch our for flats also. Every time my youngest son wheels into my shop, I get nervous if I haven't swept for a while...Had some blow outs in the past. A dedicated shop chair w/ solid (heavy!) tires would be the ticket.
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    Re: Learning TIG -- wheelchair user -- additional precautions?

    Quote Originally Posted by hikkakaru View Post
    That's exactly why i'm TIGging now. I was learning to MIG and had the worst time with burns on my lap and legs, even with work boots, apron, etc. Sitting down like a big shelf for slag to fall onto is a bummer for MIG.

    No burning balls yet with the TIG machine, knock on wood.
    You might be able to try throwing a cheaper leather welding jacket or some type of material like that down on your lap I know they make welding blankets for protecting hydro cylinders and such when you can't take them off but have to weld next to them. I Don't know if that would be better than a jacket as I've never used them. even like a long leather apron might do. I usually take my jacket and use it to cover things when I'm welding next to them and it works fairly well. You might need to breakout the duct tape depending on your chair situation to hold the jacket in place but thats an option to get back to mig work.

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    Re: Learning TIG -- wheelchair user -- additional precautions?

    If you're striking the HF with the filler too close it can jump to it..thru you to the bench instead of to the work. ..make sure you have a good earth to the job and try keeping the filler out of the way when striking the arc then bring it in keeping it in the gas shield...i'll bet that's whst you've got going on...i very rarely ever get zapped that way no matter if i'm leaning on the bench. ..with or without gloves....again...good direct earth to the job...don't make yourself an easier path

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    Re: Learning TIG -- wheelchair user -- additional precautions?

    Try running a ground wire from the welder case to the to the welding table then to a ground rod driven into the ground. This will give the HF a place to go. Not sure what recommendations are in your owner's manual. But the best HF ground system drawing I have seen is in the miller tig owners manuals. Just go to millerwelds.com Go to owner's manuals and look up a syncrowave 250.

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    Re: Learning TIG -- wheelchair user -- additional precautions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gump View Post
    Since you have a TI chair, I assume you also have ultralight wheels w/tubed tires. Gotta watch our for flats also. Every time my youngest son wheels into my shop, I get nervous if I haven't swept for a while...Had some blow outs in the past. A dedicated shop chair w/ solid (heavy!) tires would be the ticket.
    Get him these tires!

    https://www.schwalbetires.com/flat-less

    I routinely had flats every 2-4 months of industrial use with my chair. I switched to those, haven't had a flat since. I've worn down three pairs over five years to bare rubber, not a single flat with routine machine shop use. They are fantastic -- the price sucks, but they're worth every penny. They wear well, too.

    (you're absolutely right, pneumatic tires. Solid tires are miserable to use every day; repetitive stress injury is a fact of life for wheelchair users, so it's important to save effort wherever one can. Pneumatic tires help a ton, but flats are the worst.)

    You might be able to try throwing a cheaper leather welding jacket or some type of material like that down on your lap I know they make welding blankets for protecting hydro cylinders and such when you can't take them off but have to weld next to them. I Don't know if that would be better than a jacket as I've never used them. even like a long leather apron might do. I usually take my jacket and use it to cover things when I'm welding next to them and it works fairly well. You might need to breakout the duct tape depending on your chair situation to hold the jacket in place but thats an option to get back to mig work.
    I drape a leather welding apron over my legs and lap. It helps a ton. I did that with MIG too, but still managed to get burned pretty often. TIG is so much nicer in that regard.

    If you're striking the HF with the filler too close it can jump to it..thru you to the bench instead of to the work. ..make sure you have a good earth to the job and try keeping the filler out of the way when striking the arc then bring it in keeping it in the gas shield...i'll bet that's whst you've got going on...i very rarely ever get zapped that way no matter if i'm leaning on the bench. ..with or without gloves....again...good direct earth to the job...don't make yourself an easier path
    Try running a ground wire from the welder case to the to the welding table then to a ground rod driven into the ground. This will give the HF a place to go. Not sure what recommendations are in your owner's manual. But the best HF ground system drawing I have seen is in the miller tig owners manuals. Just go to millerwelds.com Go to owner's manuals and look up a syncrowave 250.
    I think i'm getting HF'd , too -- I didn't know that there was a way to ground the machine additionally. I'll check out those diagrams; thanks a lot.

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    Re: Learning TIG -- wheelchair user -- additional precautions?

    Quote Originally Posted by hikkakaru View Post
    I drape a leather welding apron over my legs and lap. It helps a ton. I did that with MIG too, but still managed to get burned pretty often. TIG is so much nicer in that regard.
    Sounds like when they had me burning stainless with oxy-propane at the junkyard. no matter how much leather I wore that hot metal would find its way to my skin. and thanks to the guy that mentioned grounding the table to the ground. I might try that when I get my shop set up.

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    Re: Learning TIG -- wheelchair user -- additional precautions?

    I've had good luck with doubled nitrile gloves, when the power tool I was using in the RAIN was lighting me up (leakage through the trigger/switch)
    Single probably would have been enough, but I REALLY dislike being shocked, and no, no I do not find the industry standard of "Just get used to it" to be acceptable.

    As a matter of fact, having been shocked so many times has been the primary deterrent to becoming a competent welder.
    I wish that hadn't been the case.

    For your floor situation, you might check out the robot floor sweepers. We've been quite impressed, and while they don't get everything, it's a big improvement.


    Grounding the table... or rather making your ground circuit part of the current path... I thought this was bad JuJu?
    The guy was trying to lessen the chance of electrocution... OK so now you need a Megger, and find your ground rod.....

    Joking aside, the largest concern (by probability) with discreet grounding of devices, is that the entire current will find it's way into your rigged-up ground.
    Example, Bob runs a wire from table to Earth (calling it EARTH to avoid confusion with the circuit/welder ground lead)
    This wire's ampacity rating is BELOW the full welding output.
    Bob forgets to clamp the welder's ground lead to the table.
    INSTANT SMOKE and likely fire.

    The same thing can happen without forgetting anything.
    Imagine IF the main ground circuit loses continuity ( or just resistance during a arc-fault situation) and now your riggum-up ground lead (14ga?) on the table becomes Earth for the entire distribution system.
    This goes back to my "Megger" wisecrack, suffice to say that POOF! is an understatement.
    Not a good idea to be adding random connections to Earth without checking the main Earth rod resistance.... unless you rate it for the entire system.
    THAT IS a real concern.




    All that being said, copper clad ground rods are cheap, and most automotive stores (or Walmart) will carry a battery cable with pre-fitted ends.
    Last edited by BananasCentral; 02-06-2019 at 08:13 AM. Reason: meh meh megger and ground vs earth vs ground blah!
    If you are selling a lathe that swings 22", and live in Central FL, please PM me a price and some pics.

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    Re: Learning TIG -- wheelchair user -- additional precautions?

    You might try a set of lineman rubber gloves. They are from $20 to $50 on amazon. The class O rating makes them good for thousands of volts, and are thin enough to be worn under other gloves. They are very flexible and last well. Lineman are supposed to inflate them with air and check for leaks or pinholes every day to maintain their safety rating. I would certainly check them if I was handing 7,000 volt lines every day but for welding probably not required. Make sure anything you cover the chair with is fire proof as you don't want to catch your chair on fire. Also keep a fire extinguisher mounted on your chair to use in emergencies.

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