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Tips, Techniques, and Questions -- Technical questions or tips

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  #1  
Old 2017-12-06, 8:52pm
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Default Mandrel making from welding rod

I need longer then 12 inch mandrels and was told I could buy welding rod from Harbor Freight and cut my own.
No problem, except I know nothing about welding and all the rods I have found are soft wire.
What am I looking for, to cut mandrel from?

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  #2  
Old 2017-12-06, 8:59pm
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You need TIG rod, stainless steel 308, 309 or 316. I usually get mine from a welding shop.

Also make sure to scrub them, since they can be oily & bead release won't stick.

dj
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Last edited by Croft Eeusk; 2017-12-06 at 9:01pm.
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  #3  
Old 2017-12-06, 9:42pm
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Thank you.
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  #4  
Old 2017-12-06, 10:23pm
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Oh and file, grind or otherwise round the cut ends.


Nipping them to length leaves a wonderfully wicked corner that just wants to reach right out and slash the side of your thumb right down to the bone just when you have a monster size blob of hot molten glass on the other end with the master piece of a life time perfectly encased in a wonderful clear without a single air bubble in it.

I use the side of one of those disc cutters in my dremel tool and just rotate the point gently against the flat of the disk to round the end of the mandrel.
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Last edited by Speedslug; 2017-12-06 at 10:25pm.
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  #5  
Old 2017-12-07, 7:18am
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All of the above. Don't waste time on Harbor Fright. They have better quality rods at the welding supply and they're all cheap compared to mandrels. You can harden them a little more by heating them to cherry red (not really glowing) an dunking them in water a couple of times in quick succession. I've even gotten the shop guys to cut mine to length and de-bur the ends for me a time or two, if I ask really nice and take them cookies.
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  #6  
Old 2017-12-07, 11:20am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chocake View Post
All of the above. Don't waste time on Harbor Fright. They have better quality rods at the welding supply and they're all cheap compared to mandrels. You can harden them a little more by heating them to cherry red (not really glowing) an dunking them in water a couple of times in quick succession. I've even gotten the shop guys to cut mine to length and de-bur the ends for me a time or two, if I ask really nice and take them cookies.
OOohhh, good tip on the cookies!

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  #7  
Old 2017-12-09, 6:06pm
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I agree with everything everybody said and what's nice about a welding place is they have so many different sizes
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  #8  
Old 2018-01-17, 9:48pm
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I go to Norco and ask for a pound of stainless steel welding rod in whatever size I'm looking for at the time. Cut them to length with the chop saw or the bolt cutters and then over to the grinder to gussy up the cut ends. You can make a big pile of mandrels for less than you can buy a few... I still have mandrels that I made about 20 years ago!
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  #9  
Old 2018-01-27, 9:00pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Croft Eeusk View Post
You need TIG rod, stainless steel 308, 309 or 316. I usually get mine from a welding shop.

Also make sure to scrub them, since they can be oily & bead release won't stick.

dj
I've been doing this for years, and it's soooo much cheaper than buying mandrels. Also, as you mentioned, you can cut them to any length you want. If I remember correctly, there are 10 rods in a package, and they are 3' long, so I get approx. 30 mandrels per tube of welding rod. I think I paid around $12 last time?? Not sure about that, because it's been a while, and different locations probably have different prices as well.
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  #10  
Old 2018-01-30, 11:15pm
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Glad someone brought this up, I keep forgetting to ask. I always make mine. Last batch are way too weak. I bent one by just cutting it even, I burn through them often when not even in the flame. They only last a couple of times where my others lasted forever.

1/16th, says E308
Does 316 vs 308 make that much of a difference?
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  #11  
Old 2018-03-07, 12:32am
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Anyone? I can barely work with these. The last ones I bought lasted me years so I have no idea what I even bought.
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  #12  
Old 2018-03-07, 8:50am
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I don’t know the answer either, I was taught to use 316 but never knew why. Here’s an interesting article about the properties of different stainless welding rods ~ doesn’t directly answer your question, but explains why 316 is probably recommended (corrosion resistance).

http://www.weldingtipsandtricks.com/...allurgy-2.html

Do you think you might have gotten some mislabeled rod? I don’t recall having a similar problem, but I haven’t made new mandrels in a very long time....
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Old 2018-03-07, 8:57am
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From what I have read, the 316 is the most common and better grade of stainless steel. I am going over to a local welding shop today and having them cut some for me, I would be glad to send you some if you want to try them out. I use them in 12" lengths, otherwise they sell them in 3 feet. Do you want me to have them cut a couple longer for you?
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Old 2018-03-07, 4:06pm
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I spoke with the guy from the welding shop today and he told me the 316 steel is a better grade however, he said as far as what we use them for, the 308 would work the same, and is cheaper. He talked a little about properties of the rods but his bottom line was that whether we used the 316 or 308, those properties weren't relevant for us.

If anyone thinks or knows any different, please chime in.
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  #15  
Old 2018-03-07, 11:51pm
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Interesting. Well something is certainly different about these.
Thanks for the offer though, that is very kind. I'll just use these up and try the 316, pretty sure that's what I bought before.

Thanks all
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Old 2018-03-08, 7:52am
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In my experience 308 is a waste of time, especially at 1/16. My torch just destroys them.

Maybe I'm hard on them but they bent if I looked at them wrong. I ended up using them to make metal shank buttons.
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  #17  
Old 2018-03-08, 8:28am
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Some of the thinner rods can easily melt if you use a boro torch, even with a fairly small torch. So I normally use my thin rods for 104 work and save the more sturdy rods for boro.

Though I like the idea of using them as button shanks. Thanks for the idea!
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Old 2018-03-08, 12:15pm
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Uh oh, I hope this guy wasn't blowing smoke up my keester. We'll see. I have a tendency to burn mine off too, if I'm encasing or just not paying attention to a certain spot. I swear I bought 316 too, but this guy said the 316 was of "restaurant" quality and that I would pay double for those over the 308.

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Originally Posted by 5betsy View Post
In my experience 308 is a waste of time, especially at 1/16. My torch just destroys them.

Maybe I'm hard on them but they bent if I looked at them wrong. I ended up using them to make metal shank buttons.
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  #19  
Old 2018-03-11, 2:20pm
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Pricing on the 316 is a little higher in general. the smaller size at 1/16" and .045 it takes very little to bend or melt the mandrels. I tend to build on the .045 and just cut the mandrel before pointing them.
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