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Micro welder fumes health concerns


#1

Hi there,

I have always used a torch when making jewellery but recently the
oppertunity to try out a micro welder came my way and boy!! have I
fallen in love with it.

It’s abilitys with detail are next to none and I am very tempted to
purchase one. To be honest I have never felt too easy about using
gas,
it cant be good to be around no matter how you look at it so I am
looking for an alternative and right now the idea of using a micro
welder is very attractive to me. But, before I jump in and buy one I
would really appreciate some helpful advice and feedback from those
of you who use one, perticularlly on the safety aspects of using one.

  1. Should I wear a mask when welding?
  2. Are the fumes very harmful?
  3. Would an open window be enough air flow or should I at all times
    use an extractor fan?

Thanks in advance to all who take the time to reply to me.

Sincerly
Tina
In rainy Dublin, Ireland


#2
Should I wear a mask when welding? 

If you are welding a lot, you will get radiation burns. Discharge
welders like those being marketed to jewelers have less radiation
exposure due to short dwell. I suppose if you were

constantly welding for hours it might be a problem. If you mean a
respiratory mask, it would be up to your personal concerns. There
are welding helmets that have fans built in to push fumes out of the
helmet. I am more concerned about cadmium fumes from solders that
fumes from welding precious metal alloys.

Are the fumes very harmful? 

It depends on what your welding. It’s important that you do what
your comfortable with. One person could never experience respiratory
illness and another have chronic disease related to fume exposer.
You will not be able to sue yourself for damages!

Would an open window be enough air flow or should I at all times
use an extractor fan? 

Definitely use a combination. A fan can not suck all the air out of
an area. Incoming air is needed for the fan to work.

Consider a TIG welder as option. TIG is possibly more economical due
to it’s greater industrial use. One machine would be the Miller
MaxStar 150 series.

Kevin
In rainy ol’ Oregon


#3

Hello everyone;

This is the opinion of Patrick Marsh at Schutz Dental Group that
sell the Schutz Micro Welder that I have. He mentions about the
exhaust port on this welder and I did not hook mine up as I figured
that it would interfere with the flow of argon that is used to
protect the weld.

  1. You can most certainly can wear a mask if you prefer, it’s really
    the technicians’ choice, but not necessary. Just like when grinding
    porcelain or metal.

  2. There really is not much difference between melting with a torch
    and welder when it comes to fumes although you get much less with the
    welder. The real misunderstanding is with the argon. Most studies
    done on the effects of argon were done in the industrial field using
    industrial welders that use hundreds of times more argon and use it
    on a continuous basis.

  3. If your machine comes with an extraction feature (which ours
    does) by all means use it if there are any concerns. Of the roughly
    300 machines I have placed, I know of very few who actually use this
    feature. It is best not to disrupt the argon flow towards the metal,
    as this is what cleanses the metal of oxygen. Using an outside
    airflow source would defeat the purpose of the argon.

Hope this is usefull to all of interest in this.

Take care, Paul LeMay.


#4

Hi all:

In regards to argon from mini-welders, it should be pointed out that
argon’s heavier than air. (25% if memory serves.) If your head’s
above the welder (where it should be to look through the scope), the
argon will just head for the floor, and end up in a pool around your
ankles. Nowhere near anywhere where you’d breathe it. So unless
you’re pumping out enough argon to flood your room chest deep or
more, with argon, you’ve got no worries about it.

Regards,
Brian.


#5

To Expand on Alberec’s (Brian’s) comment regarding Argon. Argon is
not only heavier, but being inert, if you were to breathe it in the
only concern would be if it displaced all the oxygen. It is totally
nontoxic to humans.

What you do need to worry about is the fumes, not the argon. Capture
at source combined with ventilation is always the preferred method
for dealing with it.

Remember the dose makes the poison, even water or oxygen is
poisonous to you, if you consume too much in too short a period…
While Hydrogen cyanide takes a microscopic dose which can be absorbed
over a longer period of time and still kill you.

In regards to being poisoned and at the risk of getting too
technical the 3 interrelated variables are Absorption rate, Clearance
rate, Toxic dose. As long as your body can clear it faster than you
are absorbing it and your body levels stay below the toxic levels you
won’t be poisoned.

The other class is cancer causing materials. Again the exposure
limits are calculated using similar variables using Rats as a target
class, which means unless you are a lawyer the results may or may not
apply.

Remember when reading health precautions and MSDS sheets, that they
are written both for worst case conditions and with lawyers in mind.
For your edification here are a few links:

http://www.hsegroup.com/hse/text/water.htm
http://www.sciencestuff.com/msds/C2959.html

You will notice both are similar but not identical, this is all too
common in MSDS sheets.

http://encyclopedia.airliquide.com/sds/en/097A_AL_EN.pdf – Europe

What is interesting here is how 3 different safety and lawsuit
environments require different presentations and subtly different
spin on the data.

But again this is Oxygen something we breath every day… it can’t
be dangerous right?

Kay