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How to Clean Up Welds in Tight Places

A viewer, Mike, is MIG welding a gate and wants to know how to clean up his welds in areas that are hard to get to. He doesn't have a lot of fancy tools, so he is using a Dremel to do the job.

Dremels usually only have an 1/8" shank on whatever tool you want to spin in them. You usually get some stone heads, and those don't last very long.

Fortunately, you can buy solid carbide burrs - Kevin bought his at . You can find different shapes and lengths with 1/8" shanks, including single cut and double cut burrs. Double cut burrs cut more quickly. Single cut burrs only have flutes going in one direction.

If you have a decent air compressor - one with a 30 gallon tank should be fine - there's also a great little tool called a pencil grinder. It's basically an air-powered Dremel - very similar to what your dentist uses. It'll handle the 1/8" shank burrs.

You can also find grinding tools in a more "industrial" size. Kevin shows a die grinder. It's similar to a Dremel, but it runs 1/4" shank burrs. The heads are bigger, too, providing more cutting surface so you can get work done more quickly. They're air-powered (pneumatic) so they don't get hot - you can use them all day as long as you have a compressor that can keep up with them.

Kevin then shows some of the bigger burrs with 1/4" shanks. Two are for steel and two are for aluminum. The aluminum burrs have bigger flutes and are more aggressive. They work well with softer metal - if you try to cut aluminum with the steel burrs, they just get gummed up.

If you don't have an air compressor, Kevin recommends a real handy tool he uses the heck out of: a Makita 9082 detail belt sander. It's only 3/8" wide and is great for reaching down into tight joints. You can come in from the side to grind flat surfaces to remove MIG welding or stick welding spatter, for example.

You can also reach all the way down into the joint with the rounded end. If you can't reach the fillet in the bottom of the joint, just add one more pass to raise that surface. Then you can work the detail sander's end roller back and forth to give you a nice, smooth look.

Kevin hopes that helps Mike and anyone who wants to get a good look on joints after welding in tight places.

Now you can stick around for a moment just to see Kevin Caron Studios' Video Division's incredible professionalism ....

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