Nozzle Dip, Aerosol Cans, Spray Bottles, Buckets, 55 gallon drums, Red, Blue, Green…. the options are endless in trying to determine what sort of anti-spatter to use.
Technically, having good weld parameters (which might take some time to fine tune) and a good torch angle can alone reduce the amount of spatter in a weld setting. However, when you need to get the piece done and move on to the next one, you might need to employ the uses of an anti-spatter.
The question then, which anti-spatter is right for you?
The main thing to think about when choosing an anti-spatter is ask yourself:
- What will the finished product be like?
- Will the piece be painted?
- Will the piece be covered up by another piece?
- Is grinding necessary?
All these questions help decide the kind of anti-spatter you should use.
Painting a Welded Piece
If you are working on a material that will be painted, water based anti-spatter is your best bet. Make sure it’s water soluble and does not contain silicones. Silicones prevent the paint from adhering on the metal, and you’ll end up scrapping parts. Most anti-spatters today don’t contain silicones for exactly this reason. It doesn’t really matter if you are using nozzle dip, aerosol, or spray - as long as it is based in water. It usually is wipes off easily with a cloth or atomizes during the arc transfer. If you are using oil based anti-spatter on parts that will be painted, you’ll probably end up using a solvent to clean up any oil residue. That tends to take more time and cause greater strain on the environment.
Welding a Component Part
If the part you are fabricating is a component to another part and no paint is in its foreseeable future, you might try an oil based anti-spatter. The biggest complaint regarding oil based is messiness and clean up. The best rule of thumb for oil based anti-spatter is: “less is more.” Lightly mist the work piece. No need to get heavy with it. It will also wipe off with a cloth if you use it sparingly. You can use oil based anti-spatter on parts that will be painted, but again, remember the rule of thumb: “less is more.”
Using Anti-Spatter for Grinded Parts
There is no proper use for anti-spatter on a part that’s to be grinded, but there are some joints a grinder can’t reach.
Those places are prime spots for a mist of anti-spatter and a quick wipe down when finished.
To keep spatter from building up on your torch consumables, use a nozzle dip. Dip the end of your warm MIG gun into a tub of nozzle dip. Don’t drown it, though! Just a quick dip will keep most of the spatter balls from adhering to your equipment. Another helpful tool to keep spatter off of your consumables is simply using nickel or chrome plated nozzles. That’s for another article.
Aerosol Spray Can
Manufacturers will sometimes put the same anti-spatter compound in an aerosol form as they will in spray bottle form. The aerosol will produce a finer mist, but sometimes the delivery agent can be flammable and not desirable in some shops. Automotive tier suppliers and OEM’s are more safety and climate-conscious than ever today and water based, non-aerosol sprays seem to be most widely used.
Does Anti-Spatter Color Matter?
As far as the color of the anti-spatter or what size container should your company purchase? It really depends on what makes sense for you. The color makes no difference in the properties of the anti-spatter agent. Manufacturers add it in to differentiate their product from their competition.
What Size Anti-Spatter is Right?
If a 55 gallon drum is most economical for your company, it certainly makes the most sense to go that route and transfer it to smaller quart bottles for the welders. Sometimes space becomes an issue and you have to buy in smaller quantities. Do what’s best for you and most comfortable for your welders.