Lead is one of those metals widely used globally for different purposes. That said, despite a dip in usage, around 11.5 metric tons of lead were consumed worldwide in the year 2020.
But why is that?
The reason is straightforward. Lead is waterproof, and as a metal, it corrodes rarely.
That is why it is a top choice for welding. Now, you might ask what lead welding is. Don’t worry, as I got it all covered.
I’ll give you a total overview of lead welding so that you can understand things better. Therefore, let’s waste no time and jump right into it.
What is Lead Welding?
It is the process of joining lead sheets to give them a shape.
This type of welding is quite similar to that of other metals. But the main difference here is that Flux isn’t necessary. With that being said, the whole welding process is manual and requires gas to do the job.
If you want to do it yourself, keep in mind that torch flame is used, and the fluxing agent here is of the lead itself.
Also, you will need a combination of gases for welding or burning lead. Mainly you can use three different types of gases, with oxy-acetylene being the dominant one.
What is the Use?
Since you already know that burning lead is done for combining lead sheets, it has myriad uses.
Its primary usage is on different types of construction works. And these construction works are both for commercial and residential purposes.
Especially for the pipe joints, there is no better alternative. Lead prevents rusting and corrosion better than any other metal.
Besides, it is highly recommended to use for roofing nowadays. It helps melt metal sheets, which eventually form a strong base.
Moreover, the usage of lead burning isn’t limited to plumbers anymore, and it has comprehensive functionality that can be useful for multiple tasks.
Lead Welding Equipment
As a welder, to carry out welding, you need some equipment. That said, here are some top lead welder components below –
Lead Burning Rods
These rods should be the same type as the lead to be welded. And also, their size will vary depending on the weight of the lead.
If it’s a lightweight lead, rods must be smaller in size. In comparison, bigger rods are preferable for heavyweight lead.
Lead Burning Torch
As the whole process involves burning down lead, the torch is integral, and it’s small in size and can be conveniently handled.
It has gas valves located on the frontal end, and you can even adjust them by simply using your thumb.
Now, for the weld, you would need joints ranging from the butt, lap, or even edge joints for the welding.
These are some of the joint types primarily used in this type of welding. You’ll be able to use a butt joint in a flat position welding, whereas the lap joint is for overhead positions.
Besides, the edge joints are rarely used only under specific requirements.
Which Gas is Used?
As I said earlier, it is oxy-acetylene, the primary gas used for burning lead.
Other than this, oxyhydrogen and oxygen- natural gas is also used. Primarily, you can use oxyhydrogen and oxy-acetylene for almost all positions.
On the other hand, oxygen natural gas is preferable for overhead positions.
How to Do Basic Lead Welding? 6 Easy Steps
Lead is a metal safe from corrosion and is a good solution for any welding task.
However, if you plan to use lead, you must be careful enough. As it can turn out to be toxic if you don’t manage it appropriately.
Therefore, it is necessary to take precautions and carry out the process effectively.
Now, I’ll show you the welding operation step-by-step for your ease. All you need is to follow them whenever you plan to weld.
Step 1 – Ensure Safety
The process of welding lead can cause various hazardous situations. As you will be working with toxic and flammable materials, It is wise to take as much precaution.
That is why, before doing the tasks, you need to ensure that you have a welding face mask, hand gloves, and other necessary safety gear.
Moreover, your safety comes first before anything else. That’s why make sure that you are adequately covered from top to bottom.
Step 2 – Ventilate the area
Since lead can be toxic material, you should ensure that you have a ventilation fan placed near the working area.
As the welding fume produced from the burning can be dangerous, the ventilation fans can redirect them to other ways. Eventually, the welding fume won’t stay for a long time around your working space.
Step 3 – Clean Lead Sheet
You will find it quite flexible and easier to clean lead. It is soft, which makes it cleaning-friendly.
Besides, you should remove all the types of spots and debris present on the surface of the lead sheet. And for that, you can use weak acids like vinegar or even a knife.
Step 4 – Use Clamps to Hold Lead Pieces
You need to ensure that you set up the lead pieces correctly. And that’s why it is wise to use clamps. You can use these clamps to hold the lead pieces firmly and ensure their stability at any position like butt, lap, or edge setups.
Step 5 – Select Your Welding Tools
At this step, you need to choose your tools as a lead welder
The lead burning involves a torch, welding rod, and the Flux for tools.
What you need to do in this situation starts with applying Flux. You need to use it in the welding area, as it is beneficial for keeping the metal clean.
Now, you need to select a welding rod of good quality. The rod acts as a filler in the joint by filling the gaps. And besides quality, you need to be aware of their weight as it matters in the case of welding.
That means heavier lead and lighter leads have different uses.
Lastly, you need to ensure that the welding torch is appropriately adjusted.
Step 6 – Join the Lead
You must start this step by tacking all the lead parts together, and you should do it at the front and back end of the joint.
Now, you should point the torch at the edge of the joint, given that a filler rod is beneath. You should make sure that they are 2.5 cm apart. Make circular rings with the torch for 3 seconds.
And this would help in the heating and melting of lead.
After this, you need to tilt the road and the joint before starting the process. It should be at 45-degrees, as it would allow you to move freely across the joint.
You should hold the torch and the rod at a similar angle to the start. Heat the portions until you see they start melting. If you didn’t opt for a filler rod, you can hold the torch generally as you would like.
Lastly, keep in mind that you need to move the torch at a consistent pace as this will enable constant melting.
Moreover, you need to be innovative while doing this as you need the molten lead to settle down to have a consistent shape.
Is Lead Welding Strong?
Yes, the output of burning lead is comparatively solid and long-lasting. The reason is the waterproof characteristics of lead, which again is less susceptible to rust.
Hence, properly burning it using suitable gas with the right tools helps create a strong bond.
Can You Weld a Lead with a TIG Welder?
Yes, it is possible to weld a lead with a TIG welder, but there are some issues.
The thing is that it isn’t easy to carry out like the normal process. While welding lead, it is tough to hang around.
The lead fumes, in this case, are quite strong, and that’s why it’s not recommended to use a TIG welder in most cases with lead.
Advantages: What are the Benefits of Burning Lead?
Welding lead can be a perfect solution over many other metals. It is such a metal that it doesn’t rust much and is soft, making it easy to wash.
Besides, it flexes very well with other metals instead of cracking. Overall, its long-lasting ability makes it a good option for welding.
Disadvantages: What are the Drawbacks?
Despite various benefits, you cannot disagree that lead is toxic. And it can result in a harmful situation if you don’t handle it properly while welding lead.
That is why, as a welder, it might seem that safety precautions are incurring many costs as you don’t want to get in contact with fumes. But at the end of the day, if you’re going to burn lead, you have no other option.
So, there goes everything about lead burning or what you may call lead welding.
In this guide, I tried to cover all aspects that might give you a clearer idea about the entire process. It includes an overview of what welding lead is and the process of carrying it out.
Also, it warns you to take measures against fumes and have good welding experience as a welder.