If you’ve ever dealt with a welding project in the past, you’ll be well aware of the frustration when a substantial amount of spatter has, well, splatted all over your work. This frustration only multiplies when factoring in the time needed to remove the issue. The good news is there’s a solution, but what is anti-spatter spray exactly?
Your Answer To Excessive Spatter
You’ve seen those classic welding photos. You know the ones, where visually stunning, rainbow-colored sparks fly through the air like a firework that has just concluded its journey into the sky.
Well, those sparks – aka spatter or “bbs” – are made up of minuscule pieces of molten metal. These inevitably fly off in all directions during the welding process, which causes your welding table, floor, clothes, welding torch head, and welding project all to be covered in spatter.
How Does It Work?
Admittedly, it doesn’t take a genius to work out how anti-spatter spray functions – the answer is in its name.
However, the spray doesn’t actually cancel out spatter altogether. You’re still going to produce that photo-worthy spray of rainbow-colored sparks. What it does, however, is stop the spatter from sticking to whatever surface is sprayed. This means you can spray your welding table, floor, welding project, etc. and this will minimize the issue of spatter – and save you hours of laborious cleaning as a result.
Benefits Of Anti-Spatter Spray
As a useful product that is frequently used by welding shops, it’s fair to say anti-spatter spray has many major advantages. These include:
- Big time saver: As spotlighted above, the anti-spatter spray helps you save considerable time working on a project. You don’t have to worry about scraping off that excess spatter for hours on end. The spray will keep all required areas nice and clean.
- Prevents welding failures: Not only can spatter deface your work, but it can also cause your torch head to be blocked up – and this can lead to short-circuiting. If your shielding gas is blocked or wire is prevented from feeding out, this could result in your weld failing.
- Projects become easier: Due to the extra time and limiting of potential errors, you have the resources needed to make welding projects that much easier.
The Negatives Of Anti-Spatter Spray
Sadly, it’s not all positive points in anti-spatter spray’s favor. While potential problems can be due to the brand of spray used, here are some other issues and dangers:
- Difficult to remove: If a greasy residue is left behind by the anti-spatter spray, this can be tough to remove – particularly if you don’t use chemicals fully.
- Stains: Select anti-spatter sprays that can cause metals to become stained or darken in color.
- Environmental hazard: Certain sprays are not beneficial for the environment.
- Rust: If the spray is water-based, there’s the possibility it can cause parts to rust. This is more problematic in more humid areas of the US.
- Fumes: Certain sprays can give off more harmful fumes.
- Porosity: Specific types of solutions, along with applying too much solution can cause porosity in your welds.
- Hydrogen Embrittlement or Micro-Cracking: Some solutions, such as water-based ones can lead to something called Micro-Cracking. This is due to the hydrogen being absorbed into the weld and surrounding based metal.
- Painting Issues: Silicon-based sprays should be avoided if you plan on painting your finishing job afterward.
You may notice there seem to be more negative points with anti-spatter sprays. This shouldn’t worry you too much, however, due to most of these issues being user errors.
What Is Anti-Spatter Spray Made Of?
Anti-spatter spray typically features active ingredients like silicone, a solvent, or even petroleum-based – although the spray can also be water-based. You can also purchase anti-spatter gels or dips as an alternative. These are often specifically designed for preventing spatter from sticking around on your welding tool’s nozzle and contact tip.
What’s The Best Anti-Spatter Spray?
Picking the best anti-spatter spray can be a tedious and confusing task. Most welders tend to bicker over which type is best. Some will prefer a water-based spray, while others argue that a solvent-based is better.
However, in most cases, the spray you choose will depend on what you’re welding. This is why instead of giving you one recommendation, we’ve listed a variety of choices.
Anti-Spatter Spray Alternatives
If you’re in a rush or just don’t want to use a “store-bought” spray, you’re in luck. There are actually a handful of popular alternatives for you to choose from. This includes some DIY or homemade sprays as well. Keep in mind, these alternatives may not be as effective as a name brand spray.
Cooking or Vegetable Oil is one of the more popular choices I see all the time, especially in small shops. A lot of welders will mix these oils with some water or just simply put it in a spray bottle, making their own homemade anti-spatter spray.
Vaseline is one I don’t see as often anymore, but it is one that I’ve personally tried and it worked well enough.
WD40 is one I see a lot of people using, but I highly advise against it. This is due it greatly increasing the chances of your welds suffering hydrocarbons and porosity.
How To Use Anti-Spatter Spray?
Using the Anti-Spatter Spray should be pretty self-explanatory. Also, you can typically find instructions right on the container. However, it isn’t uncommon to make some mistakes when applying the anti-spatter spray.
To avoid these mistakes, we’ve listed some key things to keep in mind when using an anti-spatter spray.
- Before using an anti-spatter spray, make sure to wipe off the areas you’ll be applying the solution.
- Apply only to the surrounding weld area. Spraying the weld area directly can increase the chance of lowering the finished weld’s quality and strength.
- Don’t apply heavy amounts of anti-spatter spray, or this could also lower the weld’s quality.
- Lastly please don’t forget to only use the anti-spatter spray if you’re in a well-ventilated area. Welding over or near the solution can produce toxic fumes.
How To Remove Anti-Spatter Spray?
Instructions for how to remove anti-spatter spray can also be typically found in the container. However, cleaning the solution off is pretty easy. All you should need to do is simply wipe it off and if that doesn’t work try to rub it with a wire brush. If all else fails, water and a good cleaning solution should get the job done.