A welding rotator is a tool for making it much easier to weld pipes and other rounded objects. They can handle small or large sizes and save time by creating two moving pieces of metal to join together, leaving both hands free to do welding.
Adjustable pipe welding rotators are useful helpers
A rotator is a novel way to make the job of welding two parts together much easier. But the worker must choose one that will safely support the weight of the project. For the welder who needs to join two pipes, using a rotator that can not handle the weight of the pipes could be a dangerous proposition. For this reason, check the specifications of the rotator machine before trying to mount large jobs on it. The rating for the rotator should be higher than the weight of the pipe or other item being welded.
How does a welding rotator work?
When fabricating the same items repeatedly it pays to be able to do it at speed. Being able to automatically rotate a welded item is, therefore, a remarkably good idea. Machinery design engineers have already thought about this. They have created rotators for many different applications that work by rotating the stock. For example, two huge pieces of metal tubing that will make up a pipeline oftentimes need to be welded together. To do this safely and quickly, the two huge pipes are mounted on the wheels of the welding positioner. The wheels allow the job to be rotated while he is welding. With this setup, it may be that the pipes can be welded completely with only one pass.
How complex are these tools?
Since the idea is to automate a welding job, a rotator is scaled to do it for a particular job. If a job is to make small pieces over and over again, the rotator will likely be simple. If there is a job that requires complicated welds, this tool will go up in complexity as well. Some rotators have gotten complicated enough that they need to be controlled by computers. You have probably heard of the “CNC” machine. This is a computer numerically controlled tool. Welding rotators have already entered this level of sophistication.
Looking at the design of a pipe rotator
Larger tools of this kind are equipped with rubber or plastic rollers to hold the stock in place. They themselves are welded, but for rotators in the one-ton category and up, the welds are massive. Thick metal plate is used to create the foundation of the tool. Bearing inside the rollers are rated to withstand the extra pressures involved with larger stock. Some models will come with an electric motor to turn the stock at a set speed. This helps to increase work output and ease of use. Smaller rotators look like a drill chuck, but larger. If a pipe is smaller than the width of a hand, this is going to be the likely design.
How to use a rotator
For smaller examples, a TIG welder joining a threaded flange to a plate will be our example. First, make a few welds in strategic places to hold the material in position. Then, position the welding gun and the filler wire in place to finish the rest of the job. To do this, start the rotator, position the gun, and when the right arc and temperature is found for the job, feed the filler wire into the rotating job. Going all the way around will complete the process. It may be necessary to keep the gun on the material longer without the filler wire to make a strong weld.
Getting to know welding rotators is like getting to know a full line of automotive parts. There are many and they are varied. Because of this, a modern journeyman will do good getting to know them. The good news is that a rotator can be a friend on the production line when business demands a lot of parts.