Welding spatter, or slag, refers to those annoying drips of molten metal that screw up the appearance of your welding job. Apart from leaving a mess behind, there are other problems with welding spatter that you want to avoid, such as burnt holes in your clothing, burn marks on your skin and wasted time cleaning up the slag. Here are the best methods for cleaning up welding spatter and how to prevent it next time.
Cleaning Up Welding Spatter
If the finished piece ends up with messy spatter, clean it up with your preferred method:
- Scrape it off: Use a file for small bits or a hammer and chisel for larger globs. A grinder also works. Remove spatter stuck to the nozzle with pliers.
- Use chemicals: Anti-spatter compounds help remove spatter from welded pieces. Water-based products are biodegradable while solvent-based products are more toxic. To avoid skin irritation and other risks associated with solvent-based products, we recommend water-based anti-spatter compounds whenever possible. These come in dip, gel or spray form, and should be applied directly to the work piece and the nozzle to prevent spatter.
- Use gas-fed continuous spray: This dispenser attaches to the welder to provide continuous protection against spatter.
Preventing Welding Spatter
Protect your piece, your clothes and your skin with these tips to avoid the problems with welding spatter:
- Adjust the voltage: Voltage and the arc’s length are closely related. Find the balance between a tight weld at the right intensity to reduce spatter.
- Wipe down the welding surface: Getting rid of oil, rust, and other contaminants can help prevent spatter. Use an abrasive tool or chemical to prep the welding surface before you start.
- Secure the environment: Get out of the wind and secure cabling on clean surfaces to prevent weld altercations.
- Angle the torch correctly: By assuming a drag angle and keeping the wire behind, spatter stays in the weld pool so you can clean it up as you go.
- Use shielding gas and wire to your advantage: These should prevent spatter, not add to it. Minimize welding spatter with argon shielding gas and wires with deoxidizing substances in them.