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Old 09-04-2013, 12:59 AM   #1
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Default help with welding my 55 gallon barrel, single tier, tippy dump system

Hi HBT! I am working on my 55 gallon barrel, single tier, brew system that will have a triple tippy dump setup for easy cleaning.

I was hoping to get some tips and advise for TIG welding the supports on the barrels. I am worried about the weld not being strong enough to hold the weight ( I calculate each barrel to weigh around 470 pounds if completely full of water) and also blowing through the sides of the barrels when welding.

I really I am looking for advise on on amp settings, filler size, travel speed, tungston and filler rod diameter, and strength of the welds. I am a beginning tig welder. I did weld the stand up myself, but not much experience with stainless.

The barrels are 55 gallon, 304 stainless steel. and only 0.035" (0.9mm) thick.

The bar that I am going to weld to each side of each barrel is 0.25 inches thick and the round bar is 1.25" inches in diameter.

So, there will be two welds types of weld. First, welding the 0.25" stainless steel flat bar to the 0.035" side of the barrel. The difference in thickness of materials makes me concerned about blowing through the barrel's side. Also, There will be a small gap that I will have to bridge between the bar and the barrel due to the curve of the barrel. I imagine I have to use filler rod to fill this gap. Should I back purge the inside of the barrel so it doesn't sugar?

The second weld is welding the 1.25" stainless steel round bar to the 0.25" thick stainless steel flat bar. I am wondering if multiple passes are required to increase weld strength as that joint will be holding a lot of weight (almost 500 pounds of hot water!)

Advise and encouragement meant please!

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Old 09-04-2013, 01:14 AM   #2
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I know this would be an added cost but why not make a cage for the barrels and just have them sit in the cage.

PS: Where did you source the barrels?

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Old 09-04-2013, 01:23 AM   #3
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Lay your tig wire along side the 1/4" bar and concentrate the heat on the heavier bar working the torch quickly into the thinner metal. If you have some scrap, try it on the scrap first to get your amps right. You want to be able to break down the heavy material and not blow through the light metal. If you can't get it all in one pass because of excessive heat move to another spot and let it cool. Stainless will hold the heat. Don't try to hurry and cool it with water, bad things happen. Backing gas would be a good idea as that light material will sugar quickly.
Hope I helped a little bit.

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Old 09-04-2013, 01:24 AM   #4
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I got the idea from wadefisher's original build but I just expanded it to all three barrels. I think it should hold without have to build a cage. I got the barrels from bubba's barrels.

here's wadefishers build that I refered to:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/55-gallon-ae-kettle-system-267986/index9.html

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Old 09-04-2013, 05:37 AM   #5
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Thanks Cabby. Unfortunately I don't have any stainless steel scrap. Any ideas on how many amps? A TIG chart I found says only 20 amps for the .9 mm barrel. I kind of doubt that would be enough for the .25" flat stainless bar though. I like the idea of just laying the filler wire in the gap. thanks

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Old 09-04-2013, 06:34 PM   #6
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Good luck on your TIG practicing!

I personally would do the cage idea for them to sit in.........They could be mild steel as well, ( cheaper, where no stainless is needed), and the cage could be built hell for stout, with no worries of dissimilar thicknesses blowing through.

Unless ya' just gotta' have the pivots welded directly to the barrels......

In that case, give it hell!.......

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Old 09-04-2013, 08:30 PM   #7
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yeah I am going to stick with my plan as I have already invested in the stainless steel parts. I have been doing a bunch of practicing. Are there any experienced TIG welders who could give me amp setting recommendations for both welds?

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Old 09-04-2013, 09:06 PM   #8
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Lay the barrel on its side and focus arc on edge of flat bar wich would be the vertical leg of your fillet and quickly go down to barrel (thin part) flat leg of fillet and get right back up on thick vertical flat bar. if you have to bend radius in flat bar, use a ball pein hammer down middle of length of flat bar so you get a good fitup. Dont know about the rest of it but I do know that a 1/16" x 1" fillet weld in mild steel will hold 600 lbs so you wont need to over do things.

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Old 09-04-2013, 09:15 PM   #9
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What machine are you using?

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Old 09-04-2013, 09:25 PM   #10
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I am using my Miller Maxstar 150sl. I don't plan on bending the flat bar. I am going to try to bridge the small gap between the flat bar and the barrel (caused by the curve in the barrel) with stainless filler rod.

any idea of an amp range?

also what amp range should I use when welding the 1.25" round bar to the 0.25" flat bar? I only have 110V power available for the maxstar to run off of.

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