If you work at a factory that needs you to fabricate new safety rails, they may give you raw cold rolled steel tubing with which to work. If you do not have much experience working with the material, you may not know how to properly prepare it. If so, use the following three tips for preparing the steel for rail fabrication.
Thoroughly Degrease The Surface
The first thing you should do when preparing the steel rails is to degrease the surface. Grease is usually applied to the steel to prevent rust while in storage. However, if the grease is left on during the fabrication process, the heat from a plasma cutter or welder could cause excessive smoke or catch the grease on fire.
To clean the surface, use an industrial-strength degreaser that is designed for cleaning metal. You may want to contact the supplier of the rolled steel to find out what they recommend. When using the degreaser, use steel wool to apply it. Then, rinse the metal by dipping it in water, and allow to air dry. Do not use any rags on the steel, since unprepared cold rolled steel has jagged edges that could snag the rag or cut your hands.
Grind The Surface To Remove Sharp Spikes
After you have degreased and dried the steel, the sharp, jagged spikes should be removed by using an electric grinder. While you could use rough-grit sandpaper, the sharp edges could tear the paper. A grinder has pads made with metal grit that can easily cut through the spikes to smooth them out.
While grinding the metal, use the tool for a few seconds, then inspect the surface. Carefully run your finger over the steel to see if it is still rough. If so, grind for a few more seconds, then repeat until the surface is smooth.
Use Compressed Air To Clean Off Dust
To complete your preparation of the cold rolled steel railing, use compressed air to clear away any dust caused by the grinding. Since using any cloth to wipe the surface could leave behind lint that could interfere with welding by causing sparks, using compressed air offers a hands-free way to blow away any dust particles.
Using the above tips should make your safety rail fabrication project go more smoothly. If you have more questions about how to fabricate rails using cold rolled steel, you may want to contact your industrial supplier or speak with a supervisor at the factory you work who may have more experience with working with the metal tubing. You can also contact companies like A & C Metals - Sawing for more information.