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Need Pipe Thawing welder

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  • #16
    Did a small section (about 20 ft) of a neighbor's 1/2" copper water line in their garage 2 weeks ago during the ice storm and power outage.
    They had a 120 volt generator to run their fridge and a space heater and a few lights.

    Used my LMSW-52 spot welder. Miller Rocks !
    I dragged over my 7500 watt generator and plugged the spot welder into the 220 v outlet.
    Brought along the 50 ft stick cables.

    Opened the outdoor spigot first and connected the electrode cable to it using a vice grip.

    Held the spot welder switch down for about 20 sec and then waited for 1 minute.
    Ground clamp was moved about 1 ft at a time toward the warm part of the house.
    Felt the tongs and copper lines to make sure they weren't getting too hot to touch.
    With copper sweat connections, I didn't want to make more problems for my neighbor.
    Took us about 3 hours and 12 beers as we were not in a hurry.
    We had beer, VCR (what's a VCR?) and a small tv in the garage with us.
    Life is good.

    Luckily the water line was run on the garage ceiling and was exposed so
    we had complete access to the entire length.
    Garage is normally heated but they were out of power for about 9 hours
    before they got their generator.

    They were smart and turned off the water inside the house so the garage was isolated.
    Small split and leak in the copper line before they turned the water off.
    Will insulate lines the lines in the spring.

    All turned out well and we got to meet more of our neighbors
    who wandered by as we were doing this.

    Wonder what they thought of us in lawn chairs drinking beer in the driveway.

    I know this won't work for larger and longer pipes but sometimes you luck out.
    Thermal Arc GTSW400, Airco Heliwelder II, Miller Dynasty 350, Hypertherm 1000, oxy-fuel setup, metal cutting bandsaw, air compressor, drill press, etc.:

    Call me the "Clouseau" of welding !

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    • #17
      What is this "Frozen Pipe" you talk about?

      Ed Conley
      http://www.screamingbroccoli.net/
      MM252
      MM211
      Passport Plus w/Spool Gun
      TA185
      Miller 125c Plasma 120v
      O/A set
      SO 2020 Bender
      You can call me Bacchus

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Broccoli1 View Post
        What is this "Frozen Pipe" you talk about?

        As a native Vermonter I am able to say you are hilarious!
        Dynasty 280DX
        Bobcat 250
        MM252
        Spool gun
        Twentieth Century 295
        Twentieth Century 295 AC
        Marquette spot welder
        Smith torches

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Willie B View Post
          As a native Vermonter I am able to say you are hilarious!
          Not too many slate house foundations in Los Angeles...
          .

          *******************************************
          The more you know, The better you know, How little you know

          “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”

          Buy the best tools you can afford.. Learn to use them to the best of your ability.. and take care of them...

          My Blue Stuff:
          Dynasty 350DX Tigrunner
          Dynasty 200DX
          Millermatic 350P w/25ft Alumapro & 30A
          Millermatic 200

          TONS of Non-Blue Equip, plus CNC Mill, Lathes & a Plasmacam w/ PowerMax-1000

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          • #20
            in 1996 the federal government pressured the people in my little two town water system to accept the gift of matching funds for a new water system. At that time ditches on the opposite side of the road were dug installing new plastic trunk line. Nearly all home drop lines in town were galvanized. To some homes drop lines were shortened to the new main, those on the other side of the street were lengthened to reach. In all cases 3/4" K copper was used to connect. Those I had influence with got a cable from the saddle where it joined the main. The contractor used a compression sleeve with rubber seals.
            Prior to that I used my Twentieth Century 295 Amp AC. I disconnected the ground wire to the water supply, separated the pipe at the pressure reducing valve and turned on the welder at a low (70 amp) setting. After 15 minutes, if it wasn't flowing, I would turn it up to 100. This was successful on 100% of frozen pipes.
            My competitor, an old farmer did not separate pipe from supply or disconnect ground cable, often he damaged things. I suspect he was less careful with amperage.
            We now use a length of 1/4" "pex" (cross linked polyethylene), It is stiff and pushes easily down the inside of a pipe. Once we start a siphon from a bucket on the first floor, someone starts a bucket brigade from the neighbor's with warm water. Up to 75 feet are easily thawed this way.
            Dynasty 280DX
            Bobcat 250
            MM252
            Spool gun
            Twentieth Century 295
            Twentieth Century 295 AC
            Marquette spot welder
            Smith torches

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by H80N View Post
              Not too many slate house foundations in Los Angeles...
              Not in Vermont either, Those on the west side of the state where the slate quarries and rattle snakes are, can be considered east New York. Most of those people don't know how to pronounce syrup. They are beyond hope!
              Dynasty 280DX
              Bobcat 250
              MM252
              Spool gun
              Twentieth Century 295
              Twentieth Century 295 AC
              Marquette spot welder
              Smith torches

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by Willie B View Post
                Not in Vermont either, Those on the west side of the state where the slate quarries and rattle snakes are, can be considered east New York. Most of those people don't know how to pronounce syrup. They are beyond hope!
                we did in East Braintree (Snowsville)....

                grey slate and quartz from on the property

                house and barn foundations laid about 1840.

                heck...we had fence posts made of slate...
                Last edited by H80N; 02-20-2014, 07:08 PM.
                .

                *******************************************
                The more you know, The better you know, How little you know

                “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”

                Buy the best tools you can afford.. Learn to use them to the best of your ability.. and take care of them...

                My Blue Stuff:
                Dynasty 350DX Tigrunner
                Dynasty 200DX
                Millermatic 350P w/25ft Alumapro & 30A
                Millermatic 200

                TONS of Non-Blue Equip, plus CNC Mill, Lathes & a Plasmacam w/ PowerMax-1000

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by H80N View Post
                  we did in East Braintree (Snowsville)....

                  grey slate and quartz from on the property

                  house and barn foundations laid about 1840.

                  heck...we had fence posts made of slate...
                  That's cool! I was of the belief that slate was limited to the south end of the west edge, this is, I believe the only area where rattle snakes can be found. On a kayak day, we found one at Glen Lake. I am told the layered slate of the cliffs along lower Lake Champlain have crevasses deep enough so the cold blooded creatures don't freeze to death. I am 2 miles from Danby Marble Quarry where the Lincoln Memorial and a number of famous buildings were quarried. Here many old buildings have marble foundations. doorsteps are often made from headstones. Some misspelled, some never paid for, and I think, some stolen.
                  The mountain I see out my window is littered with the ruins of the marble industry from as far back as 200 years ago, but mostly its heyday began in 1845 when the railroad was built. At 11 cubic feet per ton, transportation by horse was limiting.
                  Dynasty 280DX
                  Bobcat 250
                  MM252
                  Spool gun
                  Twentieth Century 295
                  Twentieth Century 295 AC
                  Marquette spot welder
                  Smith torches

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by DSL Power View Post
                    The city where I live just asked me today if I would be willing to come do this. I don't think I want to dead short my trailblazer 302 for this. Also my insurance company said they wouldn't cover me at all for that type of work.
                    You short circuit your welder every day. I would be concerned about copper. the rim principal makes it a great conductor of electricity. much of the heat you generate will be in the welder and its leads. Some underground splices use non conductive parts, and at these couplings pipes tend to burn off. A local guy is sort of famous for this blunder, again and again. Be careful where current is flowing you don't want it. Lots of ground wires to water heaters boilers jacuzzi tubs and dishwashers have burned up the full length of the cable. The Danby Town Office has a permanent burn up the wall, across the ceiling and down the other wall from a farmer thawing water.
                    Warm water siphoned through a stiff plastic air compressor hose is as effective and safer.
                    Last edited by WillieB; 02-20-2014, 08:57 PM.
                    Dynasty 280DX
                    Bobcat 250
                    MM252
                    Spool gun
                    Twentieth Century 295
                    Twentieth Century 295 AC
                    Marquette spot welder
                    Smith torches

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Great thread. I often wondered when I saw in welder manuals do not pipe thaw what they were talking about.

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                      • #26
                        S Berry, I did get a Hot water pressure washer, A under ground contractor neighbor of mine that I weld for bought a 5HP electric unit from Northern tools.

                        It puts out 2750 PSI at 2.5 gallons. which was not enough for him so he bought a bigger one that would knock of the dirt quicker.

                        This one seems okay to me compared to what I used to have and the fact that it puts out 250 degree water really cleans the grease away.

                        However the unit is 8 months old and I already had to take it in to have them replace the electrical contactor.
                        __________________________________________________ ________________

                        I found a guy with a 600 amp 1946 welder with a 6 cylinder Chrysler engine that is run off propane, he wants $ 500.00 for it.

                        So my next question is : What is the going rate for thawing pipes per hour.
                        Is it worth my time.

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Portable Welder View Post
                          S Berry, I did get a Hot water pressure washer, A under ground contractor neighbor of mine that I weld for bought a 5HP electric unit from Northern tools.

                          It puts out 2750 PSI at 2.5 gallons. which was not enough for him so he bought a bigger one that would knock of the dirt quicker.

                          This one seems okay to me compared to what I used to have and the fact that it puts out 250 degree water really cleans the grease away.

                          However the unit is 8 months old and I already had to take it in to have them replace the electrical contactor.
                          __________________________________________________ ________________

                          I found a guy with a 600 amp 1946 welder with a 6 cylinder Chrysler engine that is run off propane, he wants $ 500.00 for it.

                          So my next question is : What is the going rate for thawing pipes per hour.
                          Is it worth my time.
                          I want that hog, I'm dying to know if it is like the one I had. Mine was Westinghouse. It had a Chrysler industrial 236 engine. These engines were built! 25" block they had more meat between cylinders, and more bearings than the 230 23" block used in all the military, and earlier civilian trucks. The 23" as my Power Wagon has is notorious for failed head gaskets between the front and rear two cylinders. DC only at 36 Volts DC 600 amps it welded smooth. I hate myself for letting it go. I want another! I don't know what it weighed but I had several blowouts using ordinary car tires. 6.50- 16 if I recall.
                          Last edited by WillieB; 02-21-2014, 06:49 PM.
                          Dynasty 280DX
                          Bobcat 250
                          MM252
                          Spool gun
                          Twentieth Century 295
                          Twentieth Century 295 AC
                          Marquette spot welder
                          Smith torches

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            If you do thaw water with a welder this hog would be overkill. I can't think why, but old timers believed DC didn't work as well as AC. I suspect it had to do with big honkin diodes, the one you are talking about has no diodes.
                            Dynasty 280DX
                            Bobcat 250
                            MM252
                            Spool gun
                            Twentieth Century 295
                            Twentieth Century 295 AC
                            Marquette spot welder
                            Smith torches

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Willie B.
                              They recommend AC because it creates more heat for the same amount of amps.

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                              • #30
                                This one seems okay to me compared to what I used to have and the fact that it puts out 250 degree water really cleans the grease away.
                                Probably pretty close to accurate. I am kicking myself for not having the foresight to have a portable steamer this year, I have a truck I could use seasonal that would be ideal. Its just one of those pieces I never put together and at one time had access to. I don't hook/unhook mine, its planted. Be neat to see what could be found at the rental store. Lower water use is nice when you got to haul it, besides gleaning they are used for all kinds of jet/ice removal, simple melting. running hot water on demand/location.

                                You of all people would be a poster child adding this piece of equipment, kind of like your crane was such a huge asset. After you got one you cant imagine life without it. I can fix any part of mine so its unlikely I will have to come up with 5 or 6 K replacement, I had it 30 yrs. I would have to read the directions on making steam with it, I use it as pressure washer and free flow hot water.

                                I was living in my shop and had a nice date from out of town, I filled a horse tank with it in my wash bay and made a hot tub.
                                Last edited by Sberry; 02-22-2014, 02:02 PM.

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