Hi all, finally uncrated my press this weekend after shipping across the country only to uncover that the riggers most likely over tightened the bolts to the pallet. The result is a large crack and most likely completely severed foot on the back right corner of the press. Attached are a few photos. I understand welding cast iron can be very tricky, but I am not sure what other solution there is to this problem. I’ve been conversing with a few but I don’t want just any joe shmoe saying it can be done and cause more damage. Does anyone have any suggestions? I need to get it fixed now before I can even think of moving it into my house.
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It has been published many times, inc., on B.P. and fairly recently that welding Cast Iron breaks are now Metaphorically Childs Play with the T.I.G. (Tungsten Inert Gas) method.??
Small broken parts onto large parent lumps, and large fractures/breaks in very large pieces.!
Yes, way back welding Cast Iron was very difficult, even for the professionals because it involved massive Pre-Heating of both parts and long slow cooling down., etc. etc.,
Several helpful post,s on B. P. mid 2016.?
With *luck and a fair wind* it is well within the bounds of possibilities? that Your (Fairly) local (hopefully) welding experts can come to You, with Mobile M.I.G. welding set in the back of just a Small(er) pick up truck, with on board Generator, leaving the Machine still bolted down and welded, >In Situ< … Good Luck.
Thanks, I am searching now, I just need to get the press moved quickly so I don’t have much time to research and I wasn’t sure if someone was able to help quickly.
Not sure where you are. But look for a welding shop that works with cast. Companies that specialize in cast iron engine blocks and large pumps -are ideal. Some may offer an “on-site” service - which in your case could save a lot of time and money. We would have no problem doing the repair if it were here so it can be done. Good luck.
Too late now, but would people concur with me when shipping, to put a piece of lino or several thick sheets of grey board between press and pallet in case of unevenness , to provide a slight bit of “give”?
Hi all, still looking for some expert advise here. I am speaking to a few different welders. Two of them are saying the repair won’t be an issue and they can come to me, and one of them is saying this: ”Fully cutting off the broken piece and welding new piece to the foot is the best option. Any other way could lead to it breaking again in same place or different place due to us possibly making the cast weaker next to the break.” Well, the foot is already completely severed. They wanted to remove the press from the pallet (which I don’t have the tools to do) but honestly I don’t really feel comfortable with doing that, regardless. Is that necessary? I feel like it would be best to leave it where it is considering this part is not removable (other than the fact that it’s broken!) as it is a frame part. I probably should have taken a better photo last night, but it is completely severed.
the break is minor and more cosmetic than anything. The original cast broken piece can be used no problem. You could also cut a steel plate to shape of underside then screw it (grinding off the head so its not seen) similar to shoeing a horse. Cheap and cheerful too!
Thank you. That makes me feel a bit better. The press would definitely not support itself though without the foot, as the break does move up the side of the leg a bit. It was probably welded there before. I believe I have two individuals can do it. Glad to hear it’s not a huge problem though. The press appears to have two other welds in more critical areas of function, hoping they’re strong and don’t decide to give out one day!
There is one other method of repair that I have used with very good results.
Lock n stitch has a system that mechanically locks broken cast iron back together, in most cases the repair is stronger than the original part.
The best part is that there is no heat involved. Welding, even TIG introduces concentrated heat at the joint and that upsets the carbon content at the joint.
The result is 2 fold. One is that you introduce stress in the part as it cools, which is why preheating and slow cooling are necessary if you try welding.
The other problem is the carbon content of the cast iron is changed at a crystal level. As far as I know there is no way to weld cast iron without changing the crystal structure of the base metal.
Having said that I realize that many people swear that cast iron welding is possible. I know that it is possible, however I think that Lock n Stitch’s system is vastly superior.
I successfully repaired a small proof press that had been dropped. The break in the casting was in the worst possible place. It went thru a small threaded bore where the casting was only 1/8” thick up thru a bore that held a bearing and on up to the handle where the cast iron was over 1”’ thick.
My first thought was to weld and then rebore the bearing housing. The entire part would fit into my heat treat oven so that I could bring it up to 400-500 degrees, weld it and then slowly over 24 hours or so cool it down.
I was unsure how the casting would react due to its wide range of thickness.
I decided to use Lock n Stitch pins instead. The end result was that no machining was necessary, there was no warpage of the casting and that part of the press was actually stronger than new, and you had to look closely at it to see that it had been broken. I was able to blend the repair into the surrounding texture of the cast iron.
Here is the website for Lock n Stitch
No connection, just a very happy customer.
Hi Marshall, thanks for your insight. Do I need to contact a machinist for something like this? I am in contact with some welders. One wants to braze, one wants to weld. Don’t know who would do lock n stitch or where to start to contact someone to do it. I don’t mind if it looks like it has been broken and patched, its the back leg of the press which will go into the corner of the room and won’t even be seen. I need to make my decision on what to do by tomorrow though, these welders have been very patient with me. Thanks in advance.
And if it comes down to brazing vs. welding, anyone have a recommendation as to why one would be superior in this instance? Thanks.
My gut feeling is to go with brazing. A little less heat and it is spread out over a wider area.
One tip that I would do. Get some very dry sand and as soon as the the torch is done with the brazing and completely cover the joint with as much sand as you can get to stay in place. Leave the sand on the joint for 24 hours before removing it. The sand will hold in the heat and let the part cool slowly. The slower the better, this will help the cast iron in dealing with the tensile stress that forms.
There is also thermal blankets available for welding, check with your welder and see if they have any.