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Fabtech 2013 Highlights

For this weeks video, I am including several highlights from my visit to Fabtech 2013 also known as "the AWS welding show".
But to make things more interesting, I also included several clips from previous videos where it made sense.  There are lots of new products out there that can help us work smarter so I thought I would show just a few.

One of the first booths I visited was Jackson Helmets.  

BTW the link to cyberweld.com and a rebate program for this helmet is here http://goo.gl/XQJXQv

The folks at Jackson sent me a Balder helmet several months ago and I have been using it quite a lot ...especially for low amp tig welding. (it is rated down to 3 amps for tig welding.) Thats important for me because all of my tig welders have a very low amp start and some of the cheaper helmets will not pick up the light signal at low amps....especially using tig inverters because the arc is so smooth on DC.

For example, years ago I welded an aircraft fuselage using a syncrowave 250. I tried out one of those 50 dollar helmets from Northern tool and it actually did quite well.  But when I tried the same helmet using a Dynasty 200dx, it flickered. I set the welder to pulse at 33 pulses per second and it worked fine...didnt flicker.  Thats when I realized it takes a good helmet for low amp tig welding using an inverter.

So here are some Fabtech 2103 highlights...things I thought you would find interesting...

  • One of the more interesting things I learned at Fabtech was that Thermal Arc welders are now TWECO.  Tweco and Thermal Arc were both under the Victor brand but apparently someone thought there were too many brands.
    But that is not the main thing....The main thing is that they are expanding their product line to include several AC/DC Tig inverters that might provide some serious competition to the Bigger brand welders.
    The 300 amp tig inverter on the cart with the small water cooler really  interests me because its a 300 amp welder that is smaller than most 200 amp welders.
  • Stronghand tools had lots of new stuff too. A larger table, a heavy duty precision table from Siegmund, along with many new style welding clamps and modular fixturing.
    I bought 2 nomad tables as a start but now I have a Build Pro table and its awesome.
  • Aquasol purge equipment offers purge monitors, purge tape with no adhesive in the joint area, as well as purge paper, purge balloons, and even water soluble pipe spacers.
    Purging stainless steel for food and beverage work is a big deal...likewise for any critical work such as nuclear, aerospace, etc.
  • Abrasives..  There were lots of abrasive companies giving demonstrations of grinding steel, and aluminum.  Special wheels for grinding aluminum without loading up are offered by ARC abrasives.
    Diamond cutting wheels have been used for cutting ceramic tile and such but now there are specially engineered diamond wheels for cutting metal.  More expensive but are supposed to outlast 50 of the abrasive type cutting wheels and give off less dust...only metal dust .
  • The Profax booth had few cool tools too.  Like a molded extension cord for welders, weld positioners, pipe rollers, and old school spool guns that were old looking on the outside, but updated with new circuit boards inside
  • Sellstrom offers a low profile welding helmet with leather on top and bottom for those welds where you have to jam your head in a tight spot to make a weld.
  • Saftcart has a really cool aluminum tread plate cart for oxyfuel . I thought showing it might be cool as well as maybe giving some folks ideas for a welding cart.
  • E3 electrodes are being promoted heavily as a better alternative to 2% thoriated.  I will be doing an evaluation on electrodes soon.
  • One of the most interesting things at Fabtech 2013 was Tip Tig  Not a machine the average guy would want or could afford but I can see it being used more and more in pipe fab shops where increased productivity will easily justify the cost of the unit.
    Tip tig is a modified hot wire TIG process where current is applied to the automatically fed filler wire.  But in addition to that, the wire is mechanically joggled to agitate the puddle and help in wetting out for sluggish alloys like inconel.
  • The Tig brush is an electrolytic etching process that removes heat tint from hard to reach areas.  I have seen several different models of heat tint removers but the fact that the TIG brush uses brush bristles makes it unique and possibly much more effective in removing heat tint from hard to reach nooks.

Next week I should be back to making the regular weekly welding videos...I have some high strength steel parts to weld that required a 500f preheat so that should give us lots to talk about.

Fabtech 2014 is in Atlanta so I will definitely be going.

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