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Facilitator’s
Guide
ARC GOUGING
AND CUTTING

© Copyright - All Rights Reserved


Arc Gouging
and Cutting

CONTENTS

Introduction to the Facilitator’s Guide 3

Introduction to the Video Program;


Arc Gouging and Cutting 4

Transcript of Video Program 5

Part 1 - Workshop and Personal Safety 10

Part 2 - Equipment Safety 12

Part 3 - Shielded Metal-Arc Cutting 13

Part 4 - Air Carbon-Arc Gouging and Cutting 15

Part 5 - Plasma-Arc Cutting 17

Questionnaire 18

Answers 21

2
INTRODUCTION TO THE FACILITATOR’S GUIDE

Arc Gouging and Cutting

The aim of this Facilitator’s Guide, when used in conjunction with the Video
program, is to provide the facilitator with discussion points important to the overall
development of the program and to allow participants the opportunity of
discussing the impact the program may have on current work practices and
whether in fact changes may be required.

The time allocated to the program will be determined by which areas are seen as
important to each Organization, the time taken to develop the points made in the
program and whether other data specific to your own environment is included in
addition to, or instead of, the program examples.

EACH FACILITATOR SHOULD CAREFULLY READ THE GUIDE DISCUSSION


NOTES SUGGESTED AND PREPARE THEIR OWN INPUT ACCORDINGLY.

The program transcript is included to allow your Organization to fully research the
program content and develop specific examples critical to the performance of
your own workforce.

Where the Video program is made available to small or remote sections of your
Organization, some other examples or discussion points may be preferred to suit
the needs of these people and if so, should be developed prior to distribution of
the program. Maximum benefit will then be obtained by your people.

All information included in the Facilitator’s Guide may be copied and distributed
with the exception of the transcript of the Video program. Any information which
is copied or distributed must only be used internally by the Organization that
purchased the guide.

SCREEN SHOT FROM THE VIDEO PROGRAM

3
INTRODUCTION TO THE VIDEO PROGRAM

Duration: 13 minutes

The principles which govern Arc Welding can be applied for two other
purposes, Arc Gouging and Arc Cutting.

There are a number of gouging and cutting processes but they all make use of
the tremendous heat generated by the electric arc.

This program discusses the types of Arc Gouging and Cutting processes
available and the safe and correct procedures to be applied.

Included in this program:

• The main types of Arc Cutting and how they work

• Workshop and Personal Safety

• Equipment Safety

• The procedures for Shielded Metal-Arc Cutting

• Air Carbon-Arc Gouging and Cutting

• Plasma-Arc Cutting

The objective of this program is to highlight the importance of operating Arc


Gouging and Cutting equipment safely as well as to demonstrate the correct
and safe way to perform some of the most common cuts.

4
TRANSCRIPT OF THE VIDEO PROGRAM

Arc Gouging and Cutting

© Copyright Safetycare. All rights reserved

The principles which govern arc welding can be applied for two other
purposes, arc gouging and arc cutting.

There are a number of gouging and cutting processes but they all make use of
the tremendous heat generated by the electric arc.

In these cases the aim is not to fuse two separate pieces together by fusing
molten metal but rather to cut the metal by first melting it and then blowing it
away through the agency of air or a gas mixture under pressure.

As you can imagine this capability has wide application in industry from the
preparation of material for further fabrication to the repair of defective welds.

In this program we will look at a variety of arc gouging and cutting processes
including shielded metal-arc cutting, air carbon-arc cutting and gouging and
plasma arc cutting.

Safety rules

A strict adherence to safety procedures is critical in any work environment but


particularly so when dealing with the tremendous heat and high electric
current involved in electric arc processes.

Make certain your workshop is clean and tidy, well ventilated and free of any
fire hazards.

To ensure your personal safety, protective clothing is essential. Flame proof


and tight fitting overalls, aprons, leggings, spats, insulated boots and leather
gloves are just some of the items at your disposal.

In certain cutting processes noise levels can reach high enough to cause
hearing damage. Therefore the arc cutting operator and those in the area
must wear ear protection.

Because of the intensity of the light emitted by the arc, this sort of work
demands protection for the eyes. The arc itself should never be looked at with
the naked eye or serious eye damage will result.

5
‘Arc’ or ‘Welder’s’ Flash

‘Arc Flash’, also known as ‘Welder’s Flash’ or ‘Arc Eye’ is one of the most
common and serious risks to a welder. It is a painful ocular condition
sometimes experienced by welders who have failed to use adequate eye
protection.

Short term symptoms can include:

• Extreme eye pain – usually described as a feeling of having sand in the


eyes
• Headaches
• Migraines, and
• Nausea

Long term, accumulative effects from Arc Flash can also be very serious.

Always wear a protective helmet fitted with a filter appropriate to the work that
you are about to undertake.

Most arc cutting takes place in a well ventilated area but if you are forced to
work in a confined space, a fume extractor or a respirator should be used for
protection from the noxious fumes produced. To protect your work mates in
the area, set up screens around the area of operation so that they’re not
accidently exposed to the risks of arc flash.

Plasma arc cutting is particularly notorious for creating dangerous vapors,


therefore, local exhaust ventilation must always be provided whether working
in a confined space or not.

The condition and handling of your equipment will have a direct bearing on
your personal safety when arc cutting.

Because the welding machine requires ventilation, it should be positioned to


receive adequate air flow and be free of any draping material such as clothes
or sacks.

Make certain all cables fit tightly into their connections and that they are free
of cuts, burns and abrasions. Defective cables should be replaced
immediately. The cables should also be protected from sparks, hot slag and
passing traffic. If using a cutting procedure involving gas cylinders, they too,
should be kept away from such potential hazards.

When undertaking arc cutting operations it is essential to support the work. A


cutting bench should be constructed so as to allow slag and sparks to drop
harmlessly through the bars.

6
Shielded metal-arc cutting

Shielded metal-arc cutting is not the most efficient of processes because it


depends upon gravity to remove the molten metal.

Standard arc welding equipment is used; the main difference is in the


electrodes, the coatings of which are designed to produce greater heat and
withstand higher currents without rapid deterioration. The ‘flux coating’ also
allows the force of the arc to be focused more accurately, thus facilitating the
cutting or gouging process.

The technique for cutting with this process is fairly simple. Clearly mark the
cut to be made on the plate using a centre punch and mallet. Then strike the
arc as you would when welding. Lengthen the arc to generate more heat. This
also intensifies the arc force which contributes to the illumination of the molten
metal. The electrode should be held close to the vertical depending upon the
thickness of the plate you are cutting. Move the electrode forward in an up
and down sawing motion, the increments of forward movement should be no
greater than halve the diameter of the electrode.

Because such intense heat is being generated, the electrode must be


replaced before it gets shorter than 50mm or damage will occur to the
electrode holder.

Creating a hole

Strike an arc and use as high an amperage as the electrode permits. Allow
the core metal to melt back within the coating.

Then, gently press the head of the electrode against the spot to be pierced.
Continue with steady pressure until the electrode moves all the way through
the plate.

At this point, cutting from the edge of the hole can commence, thus allowing
you to create a hole of any shape in the middle of a plate.

Air carbon-arc cutting and gouging

Air carbon-arc cutting and gouging can use a standard DC generated power
source. In practice this means that the direct current electrode is negative
polarity for most applications.

The demands on an electrode in this process are stringent, of primary


importance is the electrodes capacity to resist erosion, for these reasons a
compound composed of carbon and graphite and sheathed in copper is ideal.

The primary characteristics of the electrode holder are a swivel head which
allows angled alignment of the electrode, jet streams of compressed air from
these holes directed at the arc end of the electrode and an air control valve.

7
It is best to extend the minimum length of electrode necessary to complete the
cut; this reduces overheating and extends the life of the electrode.

Maintaining a clean and dry supply of air at the correct pressure at all times is
very important in this process. Therefore compressed air machinery with
capacities appropriate to the work is essential. This assures a clean slag free
surface will result from cutting and gouging. The air hose must be free of any
contaminants and should have an unrestricted bore of at least 6mm.

When cutting, strike the arc at the bottom edge of the plate, hold the electrode
at a 45° angle and maintain the arc at the bottom of the plate. The
compressed air will blow the molten metal away as the electrode travels
forward.

When gouging, strike the arc at the top edge of the plate. The angle of attack
should be at approximately 20° above the plate surface. Slowly move the
electrode forward as the metal melts and is blasted away.

The final shape of the gouge depends on three factors, the angle of the
electrode, the rate of travel and the current used. Obviously a steeper angle
with the electrode means a deeper gouge. A faster rate of travel means a
shallower groove and more current will melt more metal with predictable
results.

Should you want to cut through a particularly thick piece of metal, the best
technique is to begin with a series of gouging passes. This will reduce the
thickness of the plate to the point where you can make a final cut through. At
this point you increase the angle of the electrode, strike the arc at the bottom
edge and if necessary manipulate the electrode with a slight sawing motion to
assure a thorough result.

Likewise, when making a particularly large gouge in thick plate, a number of


passes will be necessary. First, mark out the edges of the intended gouge,
make two gouges next to each other, then increase the current and air
pressure, now begin another pass on the edge of the plate between the two
gouges. Take this down to the depth required.

The results of air carbon-arc cutting and gouging are generally very smooth,
certainly adequate for further welding applications.

This work can be done both mechanically and manually.

8
Plasma arc cutting

Plasma arc cutting uses gas streams in conjunction with an arc to generate
very high temperatures at the surface of the metal to be cut. Now the primary
components in this system are the power source with an amperage control,
gas supply, cooling water and a specially manufactured torch which contains
the electrode.

The sequence begins when the power is switched on, current runs from the
power source to a tungsten electrode which is contained in a specially
manufactured electrode holder. These come in two types either mechanical
such as this one, or manual.

Both are equipped with water circulating units to keep the equipment cool
during operation.

When the current reaches the end of the electrode an arc is established
between it and the nozzle of the torch which encases it, this is the pilot arc. An
electrical arc is established between the central tungsten electrode and the
torch nozzle.

Plasma forming gas is passed through the torch and is constricted by a small
orifice in the nozzle. The gas is thereby accelerated and more highly ionized
resulting in extremely high temperatures of ten thousand to fifteen thousand
degrees Celsius, this is known as a plasma jet.

The plasma jet strikes the surface of the work metal and melts it. The
momentum of the gas stream blasts away the molten metal resulting in a
clean sharp cut. There are many combinations of gases which can be used,
such as argon and hydrogen.

One of the many advantages of the plasma arc cutting process is that it
leaves a very smooth finish on the edge of the metal.

You have now seen the three primary arc cutting and gouging processes. This
basic understanding combined with a conscious commitment to safe work
habits and a desire to learn, will put you well on the road to proficiency in this
vital trade.

9
PART ONE
WORKSHOP AND PERSONAL SAFETY

A strict adherence to safety procedures is critical in any work environment but


particularly so when dealing with the tremendous heat and high electric
current involved in electric arc processes.

Make certain your workshop is clean and tidy, well ventilated and free of any
fire hazards.

To ensure your personal safety, protective clothing is essential; flame proof


and tight fitting overalls, aprons, leggings, spats, insulated boots and leather
gloves are just some of the items at your disposal.

In certain cutting processes, noise levels can become high enough to cause
hearing damage. Therefore the arc cutting operator and those in the area
must wear ear protection.

Because of the intensity of the light emitted by the arc, this sort of work
demands protection for the eyes. The arc itself should never be looked at with
the naked eye or serious eye damage will result.

‘Arc’ or ‘Welder’s’ Flash

‘Arc Flash’, also known as ‘Welder’s Flash’ or ‘Arc Eye’ is one of the most
common and serious risk to a welder. It is a painful ocular condition
sometimes experienced by welders who have failed to use adequate eye
protection.

Short term symptoms can include:

• Extreme eye pain – usually described as a feeling of having sand in the


eyes
• Headaches
• Migraines, and
• Nausea

Long term, accumulative effects from Arc Flash can also be very serious.

Always wear a protective helmet fitted with a filter appropriate to the work
which you are about to undertake.

Most arc cutting takes place in a well ventilated area but if you are forced to
work in a confined space a fume extractor or a respirator should be used for
protection from the noxious fumes produced. To protect your fellow workers in
the area, set up screens around the area of operation so that they’re not
accidently exposed to the risks of arc flash.

10
Plasma arc cutting is particularly notorious for creating dangerous vapors,
therefore, local exhaust ventilation must always be provided whether working
in a confined space or not.

DISCUSSION

Discuss the following question with participants.

1. Has anyone in the group experienced ‘Arc’ or ‘Welders’ Flash?

2. What PPE should be worn when welding in your workplace?

11
PART TWO
EQUIPMENT SAFETY

The condition and handling of your equipment will have a direct bearing on
your personal safety when arc cutting.

Because the welding machine requires ventilation, it should be positioned to


receive adequate air flow and be free of any draping material such as clothes
or sacks.

Make certain all cables fit tightly into their connections and that they are free
of cuts, burns and abrasions. Defective cables should be replaced
immediately. The cables should also be protected from sparks, hot slag and
passing traffic. If using a cutting procedure involving gas cylinders, they too,
should be kept away from such potential hazards.

When undertaking arc cutting operations it is essential to support the work. A


cutting bench should be constructed so as to allow slag and sparks to drop
harmlessly through the bars.

DISCUSSION

Discuss the following questions with participants.

1. Are all welding machines in your workplace adequately ventilated?

2. How do we all ensure Arc Welding equipment remains in good


condition?

12
PART THREE
SHIELDED METAL-ARC CUTTING

Shielded Metal-Arc Cutting is not the most efficient of processes because it


depends upon gravity to remove the molten metal.

Standard arc welding equipment is used. The main difference is in the


electrodes. The coatings of which are designed to produce greater heat and
withstand higher currents without rapid deterioration. The ‘flux coating’ also
allows the force of the arc to be focused more accurately thus facilitating the
cutting or gouging process.

The technique for cutting with this process is fairly simple. Clearly mark the
cut to be made on the plate using a centre punch and a mallet. Then strike the
arc as you would when welding. Lengthen the arc to generate more heat this
also intensifies the arc force which contributes to the illumination of the molten
metal. The electrode should be held close to the vertical depending upon the
thickness of the plate you are cutting. Move the electrode forward in an up
and down sawing motion, the increments of forward movement should be no
greater than halve the diameter of the electrode.

Because such intense heat is being generated the electrode must be replaced
before it gets shorter than 50mm or damage will occur to the electrode holder.

Creating a hole

Strike an arc and use as high amperage as the electrode permits. Allow the
core metal to melt back within the coating.

Then gently press the head of the electrode against the spot to be pierced.
Continue with steady pressure until the electrode moves all the way through
the plate.

At this point cutting from the edge of the hole can commence thus allowing
you to create a hole of any shape in the middle of a plate.

13
DISCUSSION

Discuss the following question with participants.

1. What applications can Shielded Metal-Arc Cutting be used for?

14
PART FOUR
AIR CARBON-ARC GOUGING AND CUTTING

Air carbon-arc cutting and gouging can use a standard DC generated


power source. In practice this means that the direct current electrode is
negative polarity for most applications.

The demands on an electrode in this process are stringent, of primary


importance is the electrodes capacity to resist erosion, for these reasons a
compound composed of carbon and graphite and sheathed in copper is ideal.

The primary characteristics of the electrode holder are a swivel head which
allows angled alignment of the electrode, jet streams of compressed air from
these holes directed at the arc end of the electrode and an air control valve.

It is best to extend the minimum length of electrode necessary to complete the


cut; this reduces overheating and extends the life of the electrode.

Maintaining a clean and dry supply of air at the correct pressure at all times is
very important in this process. Therefore compressed air machinery with
capacities appropriate to the work is essential. This assures a clean slag free
surface will result from cutting and gouging. The air hose must be free of any
contaminants and should have an unrestricted bore of at least 6mm.

When cutting, strike the arc at the bottom edge of the plate, hold the electrode
at a 45° angle and maintain the arc at the bottom of the plate. The
compressed air will blow the molten metal away as the electrode travels
forward.

When gouging, strike the arc at the top edge of the plate. The angle of attack
should be at approximately 20° above the plate surface. Slowly move the
electrode forward as the metal melts and is blasted away.

The final shape of the gouge depends on three factors, the angle of the
electrode, the rate of travel and the current used. Obviously a steeper angle
with the electrode means a deeper gouge. A faster rate of travel means a
shallower groove and more current will melt more metal with predictable
results.

Should you want to cut through a particularly thick piece of metal, the best
technique is to begin with a series of gouging passes. This will reduce the
thickness of the plate to the point where you can make a final cut through. At
this point you increase the angle of the electrode, strike the arc at the bottom
edge and if necessary manipulate the electrode with a slight sawing motion to
assure a thorough result.

15
Likewise when making a particularly large gouge in thick plate, a number of
passes will be necessary. First mark out the edges of the intended gouge,
make two gouges next to each other, then increase the current and air
pressure, now begin another pass on the edge of the plate between the two
gouges. Take this down to the depth required.

The results of air carbon-arc cutting and gouging are generally very smooth,
certainly adequate for further welding applications.

This work can be done both mechanically and manually.

DISCUSSION

Discuss the following with participants.

1. Discuss the composition of the electrode used in Air Carbon-Arc


Gouging and Cutting?

2. How does this electrode differ from electrodes used in Arc Welding?

16
PART FIVE
PLASMA-ARC CUTTING

Plasma arc cutting uses gas streams in conjunction with an arc to generate
very high temperatures at the surface of the metal to be cut. Now the primary
components in this system are the power source with an amperage control,
gas supply, cooling water and a specially manufactured torch which contains
the electrode.

The sequence begins when the power is switched on, current runs from the
power source to a tungsten electrode which is contained in a specially
manufactured electrode holder.

When the current reaches the end of the electrode an arc is established
between it and the nozzle of the torch which encases it, this is the pilot arc. An
electrical arc is established between the central tungsten electrode and the
torch nozzle.

Plasma forming gas is passed through the torch and is constricted by a small
orifice in the nozzle. The gas is thereby accelerated and more highly ionized
resulting in extremely high temperatures of ten thousand to fifteen thousand
degrees Celsius. This is known as a plasma jet.

The plasma jet strikes the surface of the work metal and melts it. The
momentum of the gas stream blasts away the molten metal resulting in a
clean sharp cut. There are many combinations of gases which can be used
such as argon and hydrogen.

DISCUSSION

Discuss the following with participants.

1. What are some of the advantages of Plasma-Arc Cutting?

17
QUESTIONNAIRE – ARC GOUGING AND CUTTING

Name: ……………………………………………

Date: …………………………………………….

I.D. (if applicable): …………………………………

Score

1. In Air-Carbon Arc Cutting and Gouging, what is the electrode


commonly sheathed in?
(circle correct answer)

- Aluminium

- Copper

- Flux

- Paint

2. Which of these is an important piece of Arc welding personal


protective equipment?
(circle correct answer/s)

- Welding shield/helmet

- Leather gloves

- Apron

- All of the above

18
3. When Air-Carbon Arc Gouging, what are the 3 factors that influence
the final shape of the gouge?
(circle correct answers)

- The ambient temperature

- The angle of the electrode

- The current used

- The rate of travel

4. What is the name of the flux residue that coats the metal weld while
cooling in Arc Welding?
(complete word below)

S _ _ G

5. What is one of the most common and serious risks to the eyes of a
welder?
(circle correct answer)

- There are no risks to the eyes

- ‘Arc Flash’ or ‘Arc Eye’

- Tiredness

6. When is it acceptable to strike the Arc without a shield or welding


helmet?
(write down your answer)

________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________

19
7. Which of these are acceptable ways of cleaning metal prior to
welding?
(circle correct answers)

- Wire Brushing

- Soaking the metal with water

- Sand Blasting

- Disc Grinding

8. What are some of the advantages of Plasma Arc Cutting?


(write down your answer)

________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________

9. Does an arc welding machine require ventilation?


(circle correct answer)

- Yes

- No

10. What should you use if you’re not welding in a well ventilated
area?
(write down your answer)

________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________

20
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONNAIRE

1. Copper

2. All of the above

3. The angle of the electrode


The current used
The rate of travel

4. Slag

5. ‘Arc Flash’ or ‘Arc Eye’

6. Never

7. Wire Brushing
Sand Blasting
Disc Grinding

8. It leaves a very smooth finish on the edge of the metal


Faster
Cleaner

9. Yes

10. A fume extractor and/or a respirator

21