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Thread: Is it OK to have the work clamp from two machines on the same part ?

  1. #1

    Question Is it OK to have the work clamp from two machines on the same part ?

    Is it safe to have the work clamp from a plasma cutter on a piece being welded and vice versa without problems ? Leaving both work clamps on but only having one machine at a time powered on.
    2013 250EX : SSC Pedal : I-MIG 250P 20' Profax gun : Power Plasma 60 p80 torch : 3M Speedglas 9100XX : Evolution Rage 3 DB cold saw

  2. #2

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    Yes, it's fine. If you think about it, structural welders all ground to the same structure and weld at the same time, no problem. It's better not to think of the work clamp as a "ground". It's actually just the other end of the electrical circuit from the stinger. The work piece is not a shared "ground" in the same way that you would think of the ground in an electronic device.

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    My Table (5'X7') always has ALL my machines ground clamps on it and often the Only connection the piece has to ground.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by joshuab View Post
    The work piece is not a shared "ground" in the same way that you would think of the ground in an electronic device.
    Yeah, I think out of necessity welding leads are isolated, meaning there is only voltage potential between two leads from the same machine (and the clamp is really "return path" and not really "ground"). Witness the example here a few weeks back where the torch's lead got shorted to the case's ground (i.e., building ground) and created an unexpected current path through a nearby grinder. ;-)
    210EXT (2013 USA)

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardH View Post
    Yeah, I think out of necessity welding leads are isolated, meaning there is only voltage potential between two leads from the same machine (and the clamp is really "return path" and not really "ground"). Witness the example here a few weeks back where the torch's lead got shorted to the case's ground (i.e., building ground) and created an unexpected current path through a nearby grinder. ;-)
    My understanding is that this is exactly right. Although people who really know about electricity cringe when I say it, it is kind of like each welder is sucking up only its own electricity, and one welder's ground clamp can't complete the circuit from another welder's stinger. It gets confusing because people are thinking about earth ground, and in that case, ground is ground, for many purposes. That's why I think we should all practice saying, "work clamp" instead of "ground".

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by joshuab View Post
    My understanding is that this is exactly right. Although people who really know about electricity cringe when I say it, it is kind of like each welder is sucking up only its own electricity, and one welder's ground clamp can't complete the circuit from another welder's stinger. It gets confusing because people are thinking about earth ground, and in that case, ground is ground, for many purposes. That's why I think we should all practice saying, "work clamp" instead of "ground".
    I mainly wondered if the HF from one machine could harm the other through it's work clamp on inverters.
    2013 250EX : SSC Pedal : I-MIG 250P 20' Profax gun : Power Plasma 60 p80 torch : 3M Speedglas 9100XX : Evolution Rage 3 DB cold saw

  7. #7
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    About the only conceivable way you could blow something up is if two machines get into a loop. There are only a few ways I could see that happening. The first that comes to mind is that when stick welding you set the stinger down on the bench and accidentally knock the end of the stick into the MIG gun, TIG torch, etc. Not a likely scenario but possible. Because of diodes in the outputs I'm not even sure that would hurt anything, with DC, depending on polarity, not that I would try it. The other thing would be as you mentioned with TIG HF. If you left the TIG work clamp off, you could form some bizarre loopback if the TIG work clamp was grounding out on a cart and another machine's work clamp was on the table. HF always seems to find a way to get through to something, but it usually doesn't carry enough current to hurt things.
    Long arc, short arc, heliarc and in-the-dark!

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