Mold Maintenance & Repair

OCT 2016

Mold Maintenance & Repair

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F E AT U R E 14 Mold Maintenance & Repair FIGURE 1: This specialty TIG machine for micro-TIG welding uses a low-amperage TIG torch under a microscope. By Eric Hild Welding technology for mold repair has changed in the last decade. The industry standard used to be TIG welding, a technique that is still used for many repairs that require buildups of 0.060 inch and more. However, laser welding has changed the landscape of mold repair, because it can produce smaller welds than a TIG machine. Both processes have strengths and weakness that complement each other, and that is why most professional weld shops use both. Here is a brief overview of these two main welding processes and purchasing considerations: Micro-TIG welding. A micro-TIG welding setup consists of a specialty TIG machine with a low-amperage TIG torch used under a microscope. The microscope allows the operator to use smaller diameter filler to create welds as small as 0.010 inch, depending on the application. The machine is considered specialized because it is designed to operate at a much lower amperage than a regular TIG ma- chine. Welding at a lower amperage means that a smaller weld puddle is formed, which is criti- cal for creating small welds. Power is delivered from the machine to a welding torch through a power cable that also carries the shielding gas, which protects the weld from oxygen contami- nation (see Figure 1). The strength of the TIG welding process is that it can fill deep holes and rough areas, and BUILDING YOUR WELDING ARSENAL A combination of micro-TIG and laser welding technology should cover all your bases in mold repair. Figures courtesy of Toolweld Inc. create large buildups (see Figure 2). Micro-TIG welding can weld small, but laser welding is capable of welding even smaller, with less risk of accidental damage and distortion to the workpiece. The reason for this is the arc of the micro-TIG welder may wander from the elec- trode of the welding torch during the process, damaging sensitive details around the weld area. Also, a TIG-weld puddle (regardless of the size)

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