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Welding Team
Kira & Keith
Keith & Marina
Graduates Kira & Marina

Welcome to DEW Robotics Welding Team 2015

The welding team is crucial to Team 1640's success. We primarily build the frame that holds the whole robot together. Our ability to weld robot frames and other parts gives team 1640 a competitive advantage over those teams that can not. Welding the robot frame results in the frame being lighter, stronger and easier to build to precise dimensions. In addition, having competent welders allows us to repair tools or equipment that would otherwise be discarded, saving time and expense

As you might expect, such a valuable skill requires knowledge and regular practice. Therefore, we have developed a program for interested students to get the neccessary training and practice so that the quality of our welding work is as good as it can be when it comes time to build the next robot.

Most of the training and practice is done in the off season by working on welding projects such as building tools, repairing equipment, or making alterations to the robots.

When students are ready, they may take a qualification test that, upon passing it, will qualify them to weld the new robot chassis independently with a minimum of oversight. The document link below describes the complete qualification process and requirements.

Above all we want the welding team to succeed, learn valuable skills, take pride in their work and contribute significantly to the success of the 2014-2015 season

Keith Williams,
Welding Mentor

Welding Team News
Links to Important Documents
Current Projects
Equipment and Capabilities
Welding Pics


File:WELDING SHOP GROUND RULES 1.doc The MIG welder is by far the most powerful machine we have at the shop. It is capable of delivering more than 9,000 watts of welding power. The danger of serious burns, eye injury, fires and electric shock is very real. The welder and spool gun are also expensive pieces of equipment that need to be treated with care. Please be familiar with the Ground Rules, as they are to be followed at all times in the welding area.

File:DEW Robotics - Welding Qualification 2013-14 v1 3.doc This document is a complete description of the DEW 1640 welding qualification process. Included are test descriptions, rules, materials, and more. Please read through it, and feel free to ask any questions about this process. We will also go over the requirements together as a team when qualification time is near.

File:Miller MIG Guidelines.pdf This document, published by Miller, the leading manufacturer of welding equipment and technology, is an excellent general guide to MIG welding.


Fall 2015 - Sine Plate - In the past few years, many robot parts have demanded precise angles. On our milling machine, it is easy to cut, slot, and face parts at 90 degrees, but not so easy to cut a 45, a 60 or an odd degree angle. And a compound angle? Forget it! Although we've been making do with a plastic protractor and our eyeballs, the proper tool to cut angles on a mill is a sine plate. Sine plates can be purchased at any tooling outlet, however they are not very complicated, so we will fabricate our own. It will be both a good exercise for our team to learn more about lathe and millwork, and the finished sine plate will allow us to precisely cut whatever angled parts we may need from now on.
February 2015 - New Robot Cart - Dewbot XI, being 78" tall can't sit on the existing cart and still fit through normal doors. So we need a new cart. Not just any cart, but how about a slick, shiny, welded, low-profile aluminum cart? Let's see what we can come up with.
Fall 2014 Fixtures and Clamps - Clamping and holding the pieces that are to be welded is a crucial part of building the robot frame and any other assembly we might need to put together. As practice this fall for the welding tests, we've made a right-angle and some clamping fixtures to help.
September 2014 - Rebuilt the spoolgun. Replaced worn parts, missing screws, and upgraded it from the ST-23 (obsolete) to the ST-23A (still sold today by ESAB). The newer version uses commonly available contact tips and gas nozzles. Resleeved the control cable and gave it a coat of paint.
Summer 2014 Mill Shelf & Worktable - Built a set of steel shelves to store all the tooling for the mill above the worktable.
2013 Robot - Jan to Feb 2013 - Currently building two robot frames for the 2013 season.
2013 Game Pyramid - Jan 2013 - Built one of the game pyramids to do robot prototyping and testing on.
Welding Screen - (Dec/12) Built a screen frame to protect the eyes of our colleagues working in the machine shop area.
Welding Table - 2012's summer's project was to build a substantial steel welding table. Various students worked on this project which was a much needed addition to our welding shop.
Tool Cart Modification - We heavily modified a cart to accept two toolboxes, and have a work table on top. Doug and I did the welding with steel fluxcore wire.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015:
We machined off the welds, backer plates and torch marks from the upper and lower plates. They are ready to machine to final dimensions and surface finish. CAD drawings for the hinge were produced. We need to do some analysis on the hinge groove to determine the best design. A description of the problem is here:

Thursday, October 21, 2015:
Welded one of the FTC chassis elements with CJ, Josh and Trevor assisting. Welded the 2nd sine plate halves with the MIG last week, so we have both plates finished ready for machining. Yesterday, we finish cut one of the sides. CAD drawings for the hinge assembly are a priority.

Wednesday, October 15, 2015:
Last week we got all 4 plate halves beveled and 2 tacked together. I took the other two home and finish welded them. Tonight we need students Paul and Madi to get some practice welding aluminum with the MIG machine. If we get time we can start the final machining of the lower plate, and maybe weld the upper plate.

Wednesday, October 8, 2015:
The sine plate halves need to be beveled on the mill in preparation for welding. if we get done, we might be able to start welding too. CJ and Josh got some practice welding aluminum with the MIG, and did well. I believe the machine is welding hotter on the same settings because the switch is now fixed and making proper contact.

Wednesday, October 1, 2015:
The Sine Plate project starts! Tonight we will rough cut the steel for the upper and lower sine plate halves, using an oxy-fuel cutting torch.

September 2015:
We discovered why the main current control switch on the MIG Welder has always felt a little 'loose'. Apparently it has been broken internally since we got it, and now it has finally given up. Removed the switch and disassembled it. The center hub is broken in half, all the contacts are burned and eroded from years of minimal electrical contact, and the pointer is long gone. As is the case with older equipment, you can't buy a new one, so we will have to fix it. TIG brazed the contacts to resurface them. Mildly lapped the contacts to each other. Epoxied and pinned the center hub back together, and added a steel sleeve to further strengthen it. Made a new pointer. Found a new contact spring since the old one was overheated and lost its temper. Reassembled switch and it seems to be ok.

Saturday, February 21, 2015:
Next project to do is a new cart to transport the robot. The robot being so tall, can't sit on the existing cart and still go through doors. So a new cart is in order. I will be at the warehouse today from 12 to 4. There will be measurements to make, designs to think up, parts to cut, and maybe get to some welding.

Thursday, February 12, 2015:
Now that the last of the welding is probably done, we need to think about the issues we had and do some problem solving. Think about what tools or fixtures might make welding the chassis parts easier and more accurate. I feel we need some kind of substantial corner clamp to prevent right angle frame corners from pulling in when we do the fillet weld. So, when build season dies down, we can sketch up and build some of these things.

Wedesday, February 11, 2015:
There's still a bit of welding that needs to be done, including the last stacker fork and the tote grabber arms. We hope to have the parts cut and be able to do it tonight. I also have a couple of steel welding tasks we can start.

Monday, February 2, 2015:
Marina and Laura over the past few days have finished the chassis for both prime and deux and did an excellent job despite the challenges of keeping such a large assembly straight and square. Laura also played a big part in the automated pivot tube welding, always a fun job. The only parts left to weld are are the stacker arms, inner and outer. Hope to have these done by the end of Thursday.

Friday, January 30, 2015:
After a bit of head scratching last night, we figured out how to get the warped chassis back to acceptable shape. Tonight we will weld it back together and add the sub assemblies that we fabricated last night as well.

Thursday, January 29, 2015:
Last night we learned just how difficult it can be to weld such a large chassis straight and square. So tonight, we need to step up our clamping and fixturing before we weld. This will require some out of the box thinking. We also need to load a new spool of MIG wire as soon as we start tonight. See you then.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015:
Last night we welded the pivot drive rails together. Tonight lets try to get the pivot drive rails welded to he rear sub assembly.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015:
Tonight I will be at the warehouse. Next to be welded is the pivot drive rails to the rear sub assembly. Lets see if we can get this done tonight. And maybe get a good start on the same for robot #2. See you tonight.

Fri-Sun, January 23-25, 2015:
The first sub-assembly of both robots has been welded. Great job by Trevor, Laura and Marina. The next task is to position and clamp the pivot drive rails together with the first sub-assembly in preparation to weld them. Good clamping and positioning is critical to a quality welded assembly and it is time consuming. This is the welding team's time in the spotlight, this is what you've practiced for, so please make yourselves available when you're at the warehouse. If possible we'd like to have the chassis mostly welded by the end of this week.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015:
This week, Malia helped flatten the welding table by performing some challenging overhead welds on the underside of the table top. Trevor and I finished fabricating the shield for the lathe ways. We also did a strength test on a mock-up of the typical welded chassis beam, with good results. Chassis parts are nearly ready to be cut, so welding them up is not far away.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015:
The power switch on the MIG welder has been replaced, so the machine is back in operation.

Saturday, January 3, 2015:
The power switch on the MIG welder broke several weeks ago. I have removed it and ordered a replacement switch. You will notice that the cover is off the machine. Please do not touch.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014:
Contratulations to Laura for passing the welding test. Laura now joins the welding team with Malia, Trevor and Marina. We have quite a strong team this year. I'm looking forward to seeing the quality of work we can deliver.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013:
It's that time again. Time for the welders to start practicing to be ready for build season. With a little luck, we can start tomorrow. Please read through the documents attached above. The 'MIG Guidelines' document from Miller is excellent beginning reading. We will go over the testing document together at some point so have a look at this document too.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 SUMMER PROGRAM:
As you may know, team 1640 does quite a bit of welding, both to build the robot and other items such as the 2013 game pyramid. For those interested in doing the welding on the robot for next season, summer is the time to get started. We would like to have about 5 students join the welding team, and be well practiced and qualified by the fall. Please feel free to stop by, introduce yourself and find out how the welding program works.

I need some help tonight straightening up the welding area. Then either the veteran welders can practice, or any new prospective team members can give it a try. We will have projects to work on during the summer, so recruitment begins now.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013:
Finishing up the frame. The main frame and caterpilar drive rails for both Prime and Deux are finished. Bumper mounts have been added to Prime. Tonight we will finish up a horizontal model of the pyramid corner, for robot testing. As before, we've been stick-welding the pyramid components. if you want to give stick weldign a try, stop by.

Tuesday, February 4, 2013:
Caterpilar tracks were welded, 8 of them total. Excellent job by Kira. Next step is the top rail and cross pieces for both 'bots when they are ready.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013:
Prime and Deux frames are both equal in their state of completion. All the pivot tops have been welded. Next step is the top rails plus cross pieces on both. Also caterpilar tracks when they are cut and ready. Good job to Brad, Kira and Marina for their work on some challenging pieces.

Friday, January 25, 2013:
Congratulations to Brad for passing the welding test. The major frame elements of the "Prime" chassis have been welded. The next step is adding gussets to the frame.

Thursday, January 24, 2013:
The major frame elements of the "Prime" chassis are on the table and aligned. Tonight we should be able to weld it into a solid moveable assembly. Depending on what parts are cut, we can either start on the "Deux" chassis, or continue to add parts to "Prime".

Wednesday, January 23, 2013:
Tonight we start welding of 2 robot chassis'. Marina, Kira, Brad, this is what all that practice was for. This is your time to shine. Please let me know if you will be able to make the meeting. There will be plenty of work to do.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013:
Four days of working on the pyramid, and it's finally nearing completion. Tonight we should be able to finish the top cap. Need to weld the top rung together, and set it on top of four vertical posts at the corners of the third rung. Post length should be 10.5 inches. Top cap rungs should be 7 inches apart. Posts should protrude 2 inches out of the top gusset.

Thursday, January 10, 2013:
Congratulations to Marina and Kira for passing the welding test. Both are now certified to weld on the robot. We cut all the pipe for the pyramid, and welded three of the corner pieces. Tomorrow we will have gussets to weld into the corners, and should be able to have one corner finished.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013:
The welder is wired and ready. Welders (Brad, Kira, Marina and Patrick) need to get practice and certify on aluminum. We also need to do some test welds on the EMT pipe we will probably be using to build the 2013 pyramid. Please remember to bring baseball hats.

Monday, January 7, 2013:
The move to the Eagle warehouse is complete. Tuesday we will have the welder wired and ready. The 2013 season is shaping up to be busy for the welding team, as we will need to build one of the major elements of the game, the pyramid. On WEDNESDAY the 9th, we will have a few things on our plate. We need to get the welding area set up. Welders need to get practice and certify on aluminum. We also need to start reviewing the plans for the pyramid, and do some test welds on the EMT pipe we will probably be using to build it. Please remember to bring baseball hats.

Sunday, December 23, 2012:
Two new welding masks were purchased (Clem). By-the-way, the world didn't end.

Friday, December 21, 2012
Welders, assuming the world does not end today, the shop will continue to be operational until next week for practice and qualification. If you will be helping pack up tonight, please carve out at least an hour to do the welding test. If you will be at the warehouse any other days, please email me and I will come in to get you certified. Let's see how many of you can get certified before the welding equipment is moved next week.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 Session
Welding screen frame needs to be cleaned up (maybe painted?) and put into use. Anyone needing something to work on could take care of this. Welders, we will be welding aluminum, and passing qualification tests. All the experience you've gained with flux-core on steel will serve you well. Please remember to bring a baseball-type hat.

Monday, December 17, 2012
Made a spooler to load small 1 lb spools from the big 13 lb spool of Al MIG wire. Cut some Aluminum practice pieces, also suitable for test pieces.

Wednesday, December 11, 2012 Session
We will finish the welding screen and start practicing on Aluminum. Welders please remember to bring baseball hats. Other things on our to do list include:

  • Load some 4 inch spools with .035 Aluminum MIG wire.
  • Cut up the scrap robot frames underneath the table into flats, angles and channel pieces to use for practice.
  • Students also need to cut their test pieces. Might as well kill two birds...
  • The welding table needs have the weld beads, lumps & bumps ground down flat.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 Session
Marina, Kira and Patrick finished some of the filet welds (including vertical-up and overhead welds!) on the legs of the welding screen. We ran out of flux core wire, so Patrick helped set the welder up to MIG weld aluminum and got to try out MIG'ing aluminum. Each student needs to cut their test pieces for when they are ready to take the test. There is an appendix in the back of the qualification document above which lists the number and sizes of all pieces you will need.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Replaced 2 missing screws on the spoolgun. Cut some contact tips in preparation for Al welding with .035 wire.

Monday, December 3, 2012
Brad had a good question about the testing process. To paraphrase, Brad asked, "Can we weld multiple test pieces and submit the best one?". My thoughts are these. The test is meant to simulate a real world situation. On the real robot, you can practice as much as you want, but you only get one chance to do a weld on the robot. So the answer is 'No'. The student must identify the piece which will be evaluated (the 'final' one) before any welding begins. The testing process document (above link) has been updated accordingly. Any questions, feel free to ask.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 Session:
Made excellent progress on the welding screen. The frame is tacked together, ready to finish weld. Good work by Brad, Marina and Kira.


MIG Welder

Our machine is a Linde L-Tec 225 circa 1986. It's old, worn and dirty, but it's an excellent machine and still welds as good as when it was new. The regular MIG torch, we keep set up with .030" ER70S-6 steel welding wire, and use the common 75/25% Argon/Co2 mix. This setup will handle any steel welding from thin sheet metal and tube up to material more than 1/4" thick. Plus, we've modified the machine to be able to use flux-cored wire.

But our bread and butter setup on this machine is the ST-23A spool gun that we use for all of our aluminum welding. Fed with 100% argon gas and .035" 4043 aluminum wire, this torch will lay down beautiful spray welds in the hands our students.

Stick Welder

Last year we were fortunate to have a Lincoln 225 AC Arc/Stick welder donated to the team. It's old, and we hear jabs such as "obsolete", "dinosaur" and "museum piece". But the truth is there's no more versatile welding process for the cost than stick welding. Steel, stainless steel, cast iron and hardfacing all can be done with this machine, giving students some valuable exposure to the process.


The Sine Plate Project

The plate halves beveled at 30 degrees with a 1/8" land.

The finished upper plate. Welded with a 5/32 root opening. 5/32 E6010 root pass. 5/32 E7016 fill and cap passes.
IMG 4509.JPG

Cutting the steel plate halves.

Main current switch on the welder failed, can't buy one, so we rebuilt it and brought it back from the dead.
SwitchParts.JPG 0830150948.jpg

Facing one side of a sine plate.