Razor Blade Challenge

What is the Razor Blade Challenge? and why should you care?

There is a thing that has been happening on Instagram called the #razorbladechallenge where welders post pics of welds on box cutter blades or single edge razor blades.

On the surface, it seems like just a parlor trick but its more than that.

Its really good practice.  But only if you do it with the intent of learning and improving.

Tips for the Razor Blade Challenge

  • wipe with acetone to remove oil
  • sharpen the tungsten like a needle
  • use small diameter filler wire like  .030" or smaller
  • wipe the filler rod with acetone too
  • use aluminum or copper backing and a third hand
  • I used inconel 82 filler metal in this video because that is the only type I had in .030" dia. I also like 308 or 309 for box cutter blades or razor blades

A really sharp tungsten helps with crisp starts at low amps

I sharpened the electrode using a diamond grinder but that is not really necessary.  I often just use a sanding disc and then polish it with a scotch-brite roloc disc.

Low amperage starts need to be crisp and a really sharp electrode helps a lot to prevent the arc from wandering.

I was using a block of aluminum for backing in this video but whether you are using backing or not, getting the lowest amp crisp start is important on thin metal like razors or box cutter blades.

Filler metal choices

Box cutter blades are made from high carbon alloy steel but since we are not really concerned about strength or mechanical properties here,  there are lots of choices for the filler rod used.

er70s2, er309L, er308L, and lots of other stainless or nickel alloy rods work just fine. 

I used inconel 82 just because I happen to have some in .030" diameter.

Diameter of the rod makes more difference than the type of rod in this case because these welds are strictly for appearance.

I normally like to use er309 filler metal because it flows a bit better and shows more color.

A short piece of mig wire can also be used if you find you dont have any tig wire small enough to do the job.

I used 3/32" (2.4mm) tungsten but 1/16" (1.6mm) would have been a bit better for the low amperage used for tig welding these box cutter blades.

I have seen this weld done using a 1/8" (3.2mm) electrode sharpened like a needle too but I think 1/16" diameter is the most appropriate for the job since I maxed out at only 20 amps.

check out the #razorbladechallenge on instagram

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