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Welding after cleaning with brakeclean

Jwest7788

Well-Known Member
Administrator
Premium Member
#1
Just learned something new and terrifying about brakeclean:

http://www.brewracingframes.com/safety-alert-brake-cleaner--phosgene-gas.html

Essentially, Something about the fumes from brakeclean, argon, and act of welding has the potential to produce phosgene gas (lethal at 3 parts per million)

Quick Google search and I've found a few different guys mourning colleagues over this reaction.

Is this common knowledge? Was news to me.

JW
 

John Conroy

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
#2
That reaction only applies to chlorinated bake cleaner. It is the burning of the chlorine that causes phosgene gas. Most high quality brake cleaner today is non chlorinated.

John
 

Alexander

Super User
Administrator
#3
Most! And "high quality!" This is terrifying. I only buy the cheapest stuff! Im going to start researching this tomorrow. ill post my findings. Not brake clean! I use that stuff on everything.
 

Dabbler

Well-Known Member
#4
Many other compounds that contain chlorine, burnt at high temperatures, will produce highly toxic gasses. In the days of freon refrigerant, this happened too often...

In addition to avoiding these compounds, ventilation in your welding area is a must... Besides who wants welding fumes in our lungs?
 

John Conroy

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
#5
Many years ago some dry chemical fire extinguishers contained carbon tettrachloride which produced phosgene when used to extinguish a fire. Phosgene was used as a chemical warfare agent in WW1 and more recently in the Middle East. Stay away from any brake cleaner that is chlorinated. you can still buy both chlorinated and non-chlorinated. Chlorinated brake cleaner has been banned in some US states but you can still get it here. The CRC brand stuff is available in either composition.
 

Jwest7788

Well-Known Member
Administrator
Premium Member
#6
Most! And "high quality!" This is terrifying. I only buy the cheapest stuff! Im going to start researching this tomorrow. ill post my findings. Not brake clean! I use that stuff on everything.
Right? I use that stuff for Soo much more than cleaning brakes. Haha.

It was pretty alarming to find out as I know for a fact I have done exactly what they warned not to. Brake clean before welding.

I have to check the back of the can to see what I was risking, but I will definitely always check in future before purchase.


JW
 

Tom O

Active Member
#7
My dad use to tell us about putting carbon tet down the carb of the race car to clean it of carbon.
I never use brake cleaner for that reason but I think it all comes down to ventilation / confined areas.
Sort of like putting a warning on hammers " CAUTION MAY HIT FINGERS "
 

Janger

(John)
Administrator
Premium Member
#8
A few of you who have been by my shop may have seen my exhaust fan setup. I took a fairly high capacity "quiet" bathroom fan and hung it above my welding area. I then connected some 8" flexible conduit to the fan to suck welding fumes outside. The switch top left turns it on and off. It's just plugged in to a powerbar. It is pretty effective if I position the conduit above and a bit behind the area I'm welding. For Flux core it makes a big difference but even with TIG and gas MIG welding I have it on. The exhaust pipe goes through the garage wall and outside I have a grilled dryer vent to keep it looking nice and keep out the critters.
 

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Dabbler

Well-Known Member
#9
So for extreme cleaning, I still use Varsol in my wash tank as a first clean, then follow up with denatured alcohol. DnA lasts a long time and can be found for about 26$ @ Home Hardware as heating fuel...

Nice thing is that DnA leaves no residue, and burns into CO2 even if there are a few drips in a screw hole, etc.
 

Janger

(John)
Administrator
Premium Member
#10
A few of you who have been by my shop may have seen my exhaust fan setup. I took a fairly high capacity "quiet" bathroom fan and hung it above my welding area. I then connected some 8" flexible conduit to the fan to suck welding fumes outside. The switch top left turns it on and off. It's just plugged in to a powerbar. It is pretty effective if I position the conduit above and a bit behind the area I'm welding. For Flux core it makes a big difference but even with TIG and gas MIG welding I have it on. The exhaust pipe goes through the garage wall and outside I have a grilled dryer vent to keep it looking nice and keep out the critters.
Here is a shot of the fan in operation, you can see almost the entire weld plume going up the vent.
 

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PeterT

Ultra Member
Premium Member
#11
John I was looking at a fan like that once upon a time, more for vacating airbrushing overspray. What is the metal salad bowl looking thing on top of the box?
 

PeterT

Ultra Member
Premium Member
#13
Ha! You should have gone with: parabolic diffusion manifold for the cyclonic ion exchange chamber!
Are the impeller fan blades metal or plastic do you happen to know?