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For welding equipment to operate at peak efficiency and give useful service, you must perform the proper maintenance and upkeep on it. Your responsibilities involve the maintenance and care of oxygas welding equipment. You will not be required to make major repairs to welding equipment; but when major repairs are needed, it is your responsibility to see that the equipment is removed from service and turned in for repair. This section briefs you on some of the common types of maintenance duties that you will be required to perform,

Torch Gas Leaks

At times the needle valves may fail to shut off when hand tightened in the usual manner. When this happens, do not use a wrench to tighten the valve stem. Instead, open the valve and try to blow the foreign matter off the valve seat, using the working gas pressure in the hose. If this fails, it will be necessary to remove the stem assembly and wipe the seat clean. Reassemble the valve and try closing it tightly by hand several times. If these measures fail to stop the leak, you should have the parts replaced or the valve body reseated. These repairs should be made only by qualified personnel.

When there is leakage around the torch valve stem, you should tighten the packing nut or repack it if neces­sary. For repacking, you should use only the packing recommended by the manufacturer of the torch. DO NOT USE ANY OIL. If the valve stem is bent or badly worn, replace it with a new stem.

Before you use a new torch for the first time, it is a good idea to check the packing nut on the valves to make sure it is tight. The reason is that some manufacturers ship torches with these nuts loose.

Leaks in the mixing-head seat of the torch causes oxygen and fuel-gas leaks between the inlet orifices leading to the mixing head. This problem causes im­proper gas mixing and results in flashbacks. The prob­lem can be corrected by having the seat in the torch head reamed and by truing the mixing-head seat. Usually, you must send the equipment to the manufacturer for these repairs.

Figure 5-5.-Welding tip orifice cleaner.

Figure 5-6.-A welding tip cleaner in use.

Welding Torch Tips

Welding tips are subject to considerable abuse and you must keep the orifice smooth and clean if the tip is to perform satisfactorily. When cleaning a welding tip, you must be careful and ensure you do not enlarge or scar the orifice. Carbon deposits and slag must be re­moved regularly to ensure good performance.

Avoid dropping a tip because the seat that seals the joint may be damaged. Also, the flame end of the tip also may receive damage if it is allowed to come in contact with the welding work, bench, or firebricks. This dam­age roughens the end of the tip and causes the flame to burn with a "fishtail."

Special welding tip cleaners have been developed to remove the carbon or slag from the tip orifice. The cleaner consists of a series of broachlike wires that correspond in diameter to the diameter of the tip orifices (fig. 5-5). These wires are packaged in a holder, which makes their use safe and convenient. Figure 5-6 shows a tip cleaner in use. Some welders prefer to use a number drill the size of the tip orifice to clean welding tip orifices. A number drill must be used carefully so the orifice is not enlarged, bell-mouthed, reamed out of round, or otherwise deformed.

Figure 5-7.-Reconditioning the orifice end of a torch tip.

The flame end of the tip must be clean and smooth. The surface must beat right angles to the centerline of the tip orifice to ensure a proper shaped flame. A 4-inch mill file or the file in the tip cleaner can be used to recondition the surface, as shown in figure 5-7.

Recondition the tip if it becomes rough and pitted or the orifice is bell-mouthed. An easy method to use involves placing apiece of emery cloth, grit side up, on a flat surface; hold the tip perpendicular to the emery cloth, and rub the tip back and forth just enough to true the surface and to bring the orifice back to its original diameter.

Regulator Leaks

With regulators, gas leakage between the regulator seat and nozzle is the most common type of trouble. You often hear this problem referred to as regulator creep. This problem can be detected by the gradual rise in pressure on the working-pressure gauge without mov­ing the adjusting screw. Frequently, this trouble is caused by worn or cracked seats. It also can be caused by foreign matter lodged between the seat and the noz­zle. It is important that you have leaking regulators repaired at once; otherwise, injury to personnel or equip­ment damage could result. This is particular y danger­ous with fuel-gas regulators because fuel gas at a high pressure in a hose becomes an explosive hazard. To ensure the safety of personnel and equipment, ensure that regulators with such leaks are removed from service and turned in for repair.

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