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  • Portable Welder
    started a topic Need Pipe Thawing welder

    Need Pipe Thawing welder

    For the first time in a long time I've been getting calls for Pipe Thawing, Sure wish I had a old 400 amp @ 100% duty cycle machine that I didn't like.

    I wont do it with the trail blazers or Pipe pro ( To Expensive to fix. )

  • Sberry
    replied
    This week is going to be bitter. We have super road salt and 2 miles of gravel. I keep the road grime out of my shop even when I use it as a parking lot. I have sloped wash apron outside, can get on the edge of it and rarely have to clean up any grime.
    I been storing my plow truck in and a couple passenger cars, I lose a touch of heat opening doors but they are ready to go when its going to be below 0
    Attached Files

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  • Sberry
    replied
    Mine is plumbed in.
    I made a wrong turn the other day and ended up on 2 miles of heavily brined road for one little job and made a mess of my service truck which was going right back in to storage, took 20 minutes by time I was done but washed it off.
    I have out door switching, no set up time. Hot pressure water on demand 24/7 like air or electric service.
    If I was to do this again would have LP fired unit, this is better than none.

    A point I was thinking of earlier was flow, sometimes you arnt more water, 2 gpm is fine for little work but is super slow, same for thawing, it just cant carry the same heat.
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  • Sberry
    replied
    Ideally is a truck with insulated body, don't got to be a great truck in many cases, a 1 ton is too light really, but F600 with 2 500 gallon water tanks on it. Saddle tank another 60 gallon to get road tax off for burner, tank for engine fuel, add ground level tool box in the bumper between the frame for common tools.
    Buy some soap, mark up the cost a little, put in garden sprayer.
    Letter your company name on side of box.
    Washing is harder as it gets colder but at 25 or above can cut the ice off of a semi trailer in an hour, can do it colder but gets slower and operator needs to be patient.

    3rd. After you figure out how some of it is done hire a moderately lazy operator to run it. There is a lot of wait in the biz and that is good but need someone that can stand to be idle and figures out the easiest way to make it look like a great job with the least effort. Saves a lot of fuel.

    Leave a comment:


  • Sberry
    replied
    I havnt done a lot of thaw work, I have a Bud or 2 does and I hear the stories. Had one stop by a couple days ago with a reel of frozen Pex. You got to like the ideas with the bucket of warm water.
    I am kicking myself a bit for not being on the weather curve with a contingency plan. I am riding it out vs making money, I got enough to do to sap my ambition as it is ,,, although money would help a lot.

    As it pertains to this,,, I should have had, still should a portable steamer,,, really a hot hi pressure washer, engine drive in an insulated truck with a tank. I should have it ready to shove in my cooler truck. I can keep it inside if I was using it daily. Even sub myself out in the oil patch pretty easy but the same thing is done but can pump hot water.

    The unit Portable got is too small. It is handy and got its place but I cant show,,, and don't know,,, everything that you can do with one. A small unit of 5 gpm with a 300K burner on it has to have the flow slowed a little to get it toasty hot, 200. I havnt put thermometer on mine but it is a washer with an unloader, many of the portable versions are an engine to a pump with a needle valve for bypass, can throttle an engine. The bad is that it has no no flow, they tape the pressure wand open constant when washing. Its kind of primitive but you can use it as a pressure pump,,, hydro test,,,, pump water and in some cases other fluids in another line,,, say 5 gpm hot light brine in to a line with 800 psi on it.

    Leave a comment:


  • WillieB
    replied
    Originally posted by H80N View Post
    FWIW... of all the times I have seen pipes thawed with a welder

    it was always galvanized steel pipe...

    and that was in the late 1950's early 60's when I was a kid..
    3/4" K copper has an OD of .875, an ID of .745 Using pie x R2 for each, subtracting in from out the cross sectional area of copper is .16540524 square inches or larger than a 000 copper welder cable. Series circuit theory puts equal amperage throughout the circuit voltage will divide among the resistors most volts to the highest resistance. The rim principal says electricity flows easiest on the surface of a conductor. pipe has much more surface than a solid conductor of the same area. Rough estimate 3/4" K copper has equivalent conductive properties to 4/0 or 0000 copper welding cables. Unless your outfit is very heavy duty, most heat will be in your machine and it's cables. 300 amps over K copper will barely warm it at all!

    Equipment to thaw a water line is cheap and simple. Most installers avoid elbows underground. Leaving the gate valve in place, open the pipe entering the house. Small diameter PEX (cross linked polyethylene) hose will slide down a pipe easily. At a higher level place a bucket of water, start a siphon, while someone keeps the bucket full of warm water, slide the PEX down the water pipe. I've gone 70' before in an hour. Water usage isn't great. You aren't likely to burn down a house.

    Leave a comment:


  • H80N
    replied
    FWIW... of all the times I have seen pipes thawed with a welder

    it was always galvanized steel pipe...

    and that was in the late 1950's early 60's when I was a kid..

    Leave a comment:


  • Portable Welder
    replied
    Willie B. Thanks for the Info.

    S. Berry, If you ever head south you gotta stop at my house- shop, Id love to meet you face to face.

    Leave a comment:


  • WillieB
    replied
    Originally posted by Portable Welder View Post
    Willie B.
    They recommend AC because it creates more heat for the same amount of amps.
    With DC, electrode positive heats the electrode, electrode negative heats the workpiece. I doubt this phenomenon carries over to pipe. Theoretically current would be equal throughout the complete circuit, voltage would vary with resistance. If you imagine a series circuit with four identical 100 watt bulbs connected to a 480 volt power source, each should receive 120 volts and work fine. Bump one or change it out with a 60 watt, the 60 gets most of the voltage, failure of the bulb is instantaneous, and catastrophic. The high resistance portion of a circuit ideally the pipe in the ground will uniformly heat spreading heat (3.4 BTU per watt) over the length of the pipe. If AC is better than DC it would be my guess it has to do with converting AC to DC in some welders.
    Most of the pipe thawers I'm aware of use "pipeliner welders" that only produce DC using comutators.
    By the way, when installing pipe underground, a #10 THHN conductor wrapped around a copper water pipe make it childs play later when it freezes, A layer of dirt in the ditch covered with sawdust or styrofoam will prevent freezing altogether.
    Maybe global warming ain't all bad!

    Leave a comment:


  • Sberry
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Portable Welder
    replied
    Willie B.
    They recommend AC because it creates more heat for the same amount of amps.

    Leave a comment:


  • WillieB
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • WillieB
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Portable Welder
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


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

    Leave a comment:

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