Shot welding

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Stainess steel card with two examples of shot welding given as souvenirs from the Budd Company circa 1934.

Shot welding is a specific type of spot welding used to join two pieces of metal together. This is accomplished by clamping the two pieces together and then passing a large electric current through them for a short period of time. Assuming the right amount of current for the right time, this will weld the two pieces of metal together. Shot welding was invented by Earl J. Ragsdale, a mechanical engineer at the Budd Company, in 1932 for the purposes of welding stainless steel. This welding method was used to construct the Pioneer Zephyr.

The method[edit]

The E. G. Budd Company of Philadelphia recognized the important metallurgical characteristics of 18/8 stainless steel and developed a spot welding machine to take advantage of the oxidized layer of stainless steel. Heat treating the 18-8 stainless steel leaves a metal with non-magnetic and ductile properties. Reheating the metal to 1000–1100 °C repeatedly impairs the characteristics of the metal. The metal becomes susceptible to corrosion and carbide migration, and loses fatigue resistance. The important factor in controlling the metal's properties is the dwell time at those temperatures. Using a controlled time element and recorder, a power supply with smooth current, and very brief high currents, a satisfactory spot weld may be produced.

The corona of the shot weld should not exist on the metal, and the equipment used produces satisfactory welds with a smaller than normal diameter. Sufficient pressure is applied to hold the two sheets of metal together and the peak current rapidly melts the interface, producing a small nugget of weld metal, which when cooled results in a shear resistant metal interface. Good shotwelds have twice the shear strength of a rivet of similar diameter and can be placed 50 percent closer together to each other. Distortion is eliminated, a problem in gas welding processes.

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