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 Post subject: DIY Spot Welder
PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:08 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:04 pm
Posts: 39
Location: Uptown, MN
I have identified a personal need. It is thus:

Problem: Some old NiMH cordless drill batteries are bad. Replacement batteries are hard to come by or annoyingly expensive.
Solution: Buy some NiMH batteries and make my own -- reusing the plastic casing of the originals. Need a low area of heat way of welding these batteries together to make a form-factor compatible battery pack. So I need a spot welder.

I have in my possession a Microwave Oven Transformer(MOV) and some knowledge.

Easiest to implement using an MOV is:
http://hackaday.com/2009/06/23/how-to-b ... ot-welder/
Image

but there are others that use Capacitive Discharge and cost a bit more:
http://ledhacks.com/power/battery_tab_welder.htm
http://ledhacks.com/power/tab_welder%20ii.htm

My thoughts are to build the first (Easiest) but making two "Wands" for hand placing the compression points instead of the "punch" style...

I don't have a lot of experience with either style (Capacitive Discharge or Transformer/high-current).
I would THINK a Capacitive Discharge spot welder would be more effective in creating a quick, local weld with minimal heat dissipation into the batteries, but both seem like they'd do the trick...

Does the Hacker Factory already have a low-heat, quick/localized discharge weld source? Would there be a use beyond my battery pack if I made one of these?

Any feedback/ideas would be great!

;)
-Ben

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 Post subject: Re: DIY Spot Welder
PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 11:52 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2009 11:03 am
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Location: Maple grove
every so often i have a need to redo some bat packs for laptops and this would be perfect i will help with this.


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 Post subject: Re: DIY Spot Welder
PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 5:59 pm 
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Location: Minneapolis
Whoa! That is easily the biggest SCR I've ever seen in the second CD link.

I ran a sheet metal fab department for over 20 years, and spotwelded a lot of thin stainless. A spring or an air cylinder is usually used to hold the pressure constant to get a good weld.

The ability to make up battery packs to order seems like it would be really useful, and keep a lot of gizmos from winding up in a landfill.

-Jim Hart


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 Post subject: Re: DIY Spot Welder
PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 11:18 pm 
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Posts: 217
Location: Brooklyn Park, MN (EN35ic)
A spot welder is probably the one piece of welding equipment we don't have right now. And it would come in handy for more than battery packs -- it's not easy to MIG-weld thinner metals without blowing clean through.

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 Post subject: Re: DIY Spot Welder
PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 1:17 pm 
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Location: Uptown, MN
Well, I'm working on this project already as it's a fairly quick one.

Though I have not yet become a TC Maker member or used the facilities yet (just stopped by on one Wednesday night to see what it's all about), I'll keep this thread updated. It's been kind of a side project to the FIRST Robotics work that's been taking up my time.

At this point I've got the MOV transformer's secondary windings removed and replaced with a 4ft piece of stranded 4AWG wire wind.

The 4AWG wire is crimped on both ends with some fairly beefy ring lugs. I also have two 1ft. lengths of solid 4AWG copper wire (grounding rod) that I want to join with the 4AWG stranded.

That's where it's at so far. I have not plugged it in and observed/measured current draw or anything yet.

Hopefully this works (and is safe).

Will keep you posted!
:)
-B.

EDIT:
Here are a number of other sources discussing MOV Transformer-based welders (for my reference or yours):
http://weldingweb.com/showthread.php?t=21185
http://www.dansworkshop.com/electricity ... welder.htm
http://www3.telus.net/public/a5a26316/TIG_Welder.html
http://www.cnczone.com/forums/welding_b ... elder.html

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 Post subject: Re: DIY Spot Welder
PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 3:25 pm 
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Location: Uptown, MN
Update:

I've finished revision 0.1 of this project. It is lacking (at least) three things that I feel would make it a practical tool:
  • An inline circuit breaker
  • A means of controlling the current/power output (variable resistor on primary winding side)?
  • A hands-free means of turning the surge/power on and off (foot switch interrupt on primary coil side of transformer.

That being said, it certainly does output plenty of current. I haven't measured the current flow when shorted, but it's shown itself to be enough to vaporize thin pieces of metal. A means of controlling output should help dial in the correct output for various jobs.

Here are some photos:


Attachments:
File comment: Rev 0.1 Welding Rods close-up
DIY_Welder_3.jpg
DIY_Welder_3.jpg [ 83.48 KiB | Viewed 4407 times ]
File comment: Rev 0.1 Transformer close-up
DIY_Welder_2.jpg
DIY_Welder_2.jpg [ 83.72 KiB | Viewed 4407 times ]
File comment: Rev 0.1
DIY_Welder_1.jpg
DIY_Welder_1.jpg [ 74.26 KiB | Viewed 4407 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: DIY Spot Welder
PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 9:09 pm 
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Location: downtown Saint Paul
I really, really, really

want to see some pics of this in action, and what it can do.

Really. (lots.) Thanks.

Wicked cool, by the way.

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 Post subject: Re: DIY Spot Welder
PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 9:59 pm 
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Location: NE Minneapolis
well as boltz said, an scr isn't a bad option (but that's a tiny one in the link, you should see some vintage theatre dimming gear)


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 Post subject: Re: DIY Spot Welder
PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:42 pm 
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Location: Uptown, MN
metis wrote:
well as boltz said, an scr isn't a bad option (but that's a tiny one in the link, you should see some vintage theatre dimming gear)

So I think what you're proposing is having an SCR inline with the AC waveform on the secondary winding?

In reading up on theory around an SCR, I seem to see that a nice medium between cheap, one SCR control circuitry is thus:
Image
effectively losing half the waveform, but then it's a one-way current path through the two metal pieces... Might that be better in some way?
I'm kind of a small signal circuit guy. This power electronics stuff is a bit out of my scale of thought (i.e. not very intuitive).

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 Post subject: Re: DIY Spot Welder
PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 11:51 pm 
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filed under: electronics things that i don't understand but have replaced.

i've had scr's explained to me several times, and all i really got out of it was it's a part that's going to fail at some point in analog theatrical dimming systems, and isn't bad to replace. similarly, i know that they're used in home brew transformer spot welders, but the theory behind it is magic blue smoke to me.

the big ones though... i've replaced ones bigger than a roll of silver dollars in theatre gear, (mostly 4k+ dimmers) but seen much bigger size wise on older, scary stuff.


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