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How do I square my 1/4 mild steel brackets?

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  • How do I square my 1/4 mild steel brackets?

    I thought I did an okay job clamping my two pieces together, but I'm still fighting some distortion. I made 5 brackets out of 1/4 mild steel, each bracket is made up of two 1/4 pieces joined at the corners.

    How do I go about squaring them, I'm not that far off but desire perfection. I've hammered some but the hammer probably isn't beefy enough.

    What other ways can I use to square my brackets other than pounding on them?

    Oh and I don't have a vise.
    Last edited by TigR; 11-21-2008, 10:03 PM.

  • #2
    I definitely don't have it mastered, but one thing i can say is that strategically placing your tack welds and where and how much filler you deposit (and by skipping around with the welds while checking "square-ness") makes a huge difference... I read some books that showed a tacking and welding sequence for multiple types of angled and flat welds and by following those (with my own twists since every scenario i use wasn't in teh book) has all helped in keeping my parts from having to be post-weld-modified for trueness.

    These few things along with clamping the pieces to right angle stock has helped a ton over the years of learning, but i must agree.. If i do several runs of a part that i dont' have a jig for , everyone will have a slightly different angle upon finishing.... Which brings me to antoher useful tip.. JIGS... build some, build many,,, use them!!! They are great.. I ahve so many odd items that people can't even understand what they are, but they are jigs for things i make and they take all teh worry out of warpage and such.. So the only thing i'm left to deal with is stresses in the welds and HAZ, but witha little heat treating (from a real heat treating facility) works great.. Annealing with a torch may get you by, but you have softened the metal even more... But in all honesty.. I would rather have a part bend than to snap..especially at 150+ MPH

    Most of the time i can use some heat in the right places to fix it though.. It use to be i would have to use a BFH or vice to correct this, but the more i try the better i get.

    Are you simply clamping your parts to a flat surface and welding or are you claming them to something that's known to be a true 90* angle and welding?
    Last edited by turboglenn; 11-21-2008, 11:44 PM.
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    • #3
      what are the shaped of the 1/4" mild? flats, angle, tube? The biggest thing to remember is that a weld bead shrinks as it cools.. so if you take 2 pieces of flat, clamp them at 90 deg and lay a fillet on the inside... the bead is going to pull the ends in a couple of degrees...you can do either of 2 things... 1 put a couple of decent tacks on the outside of the 90, then weld the inside, OR clamp the flats a couple degrees wider than a right angle, then weld them.

      make sense?
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      • #4
        Depending on what the pieces are many times it is just faster to weld them up, let them cool & hit them straight with a hammer. Some people spend to much time overthinking the process instead of just doing it. A lot, not all, real world welding requires persuasion of some sorts. Of course if many pieces are being made a jig will do wonders. In response to your question of hammer alternatives you could use a press of some sorts or heat applied in the correct manner (usually opposite of the weld).
        Last edited by MMW; 11-22-2008, 01:02 PM.
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        • #5


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          Tack weld first.
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          • #6
            As others have mentioned, tack the welds, make sure you tack on opposite sides, etc. You can fill in latter.

            I remember building my pickup rack, I thought I had the angle just right and decided to just "weld it up", boy did that sucker move...

            After cutting it apart, tack welding then filling on alternate sides sure worked better as do using a jig..
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            • #7
              This is likely not proper, but seeing as I am not formally trained and that I've never had a structure fail, caveat emptor, here is my method:

              If I'm welding sq. tubing a table, for example, I tack weld the entire table - two tacks at every surface intersection. Then I go back and only put full welds in certain places. I decide which welds provide the best strength in the direction I'm supporting. I don't weld in places that I know will affect the flatness of the top. And you can always go back and put a weld someplace opposite to where you have a warp to unwarp an area. I rely heavily on those corner claps while tack welding. I also use a lot of tie-down straps to pull thinks into place while I clamp and tack.
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              • #8
                Thanks for the replies! I just took a sledge hammer to the inside of them and worked it out. It sucks doing when you have nothing to hold the brackets with other than your hands... But oh well it worked after some heavy pounding... At least I know my welds hold up fine. I held the brackets at an angle and pounded them, kinda looks like pounding the center of a V thus spreading the V.

                These are some of the brackets I made that I had to pound for squareness.

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                • #9
                  I might have missed it in your post did you weld the inside corners? If you did weldinf the outside corners first and the the inside will help it to not pull so much. Hope this helps
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