Starter welding, or the process of learning how to use the tools and techniques of the craft of welding by watching a professional do it, can be difficult. It takes practice, patience and determination in order to succeed at welding. However, once you know the basics of welding and have the proper equipment, it’s not all too difficult to learn how to weld.
This guide will cover what gear you’ll need for welding as well as helpful tips on how to start welding so that you can get started with your own projects.
You’ll need to know what gear you’ll need to be safe while welding because you’ll need both safety equipment as well as the proper material that is compatible with your welder.
Here’s a list of essential welding gear:
- Welding helmet – essential for protecting your eyes from the intense light produced when welding. Gas and arc helmets are available on the market and they each have their own pros and cons. It’s important that you choose what’s right for you depending on the type of welding you’ll be doing.- Earplugs or earmuffs – to protect your hearing from the intense heat and noise produced when welding.
- Welding jacket – to protect your arms from the heat that is produced when welding. Most jackets are made with Kevlar or leather and they often come in vented types.- Long welding sleeves – to protect your arms from the heat of the welder. These sleeves are often made with Kevlar and they’re also available in vented types.- Welders gloves – to protect your hands from intense heat and burns.
- Welding boots – to protect your feet from getting burned from the intense heat produced when welding.- Welding helmet cap – to protect the back of your head when welding.- Safety goggles – if you haven’t purchased a helmet then you should invest in a pair of safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying sparks or metal shavings.
Any good welder should also have a fire extinguisher in their welding area, as well as a water source, like a hose or bucket, to put out any fires.
For the actual welding material you’ll need to purchase either pure tungsten rods or tungsten electrode wire that is compatible with your welder. The rod can be used for scrap metal as well as repaired parts and thin gauged metal, while the electrode wire can be used for thicker gauged metals and components.
Some welding processes may require you to use consumable rods, which work as a backup to the electrode wire.
How do you start welding?
The first step in learning how to weld is to begin with the basics like learning what type of welder will fit your needs and budget, proper safety gear and even how to wind a wire on your welding machine. Once you’ve mastered the basics, then try out some simple projects and move on from there.
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How to start welding – Basic tips
- Always wear welding shoes and clothes with a tight weave to prevent sparks from going up your legs or back.- Wear eyewear that is appropriate for your welding process. Make sure that the welding you’re doing is safe, so you can wear appropriate safety and eye protection.
- Always have a fire extinguisher on hand.- Create an area to work in that is free from clutter, with a fire suppression system in place. You should have a water source that’s easily accessible, such as a hose or bucket, to put out any fires that may occur.- Use your welding helmet when welding with arc equipment. This will protect your eyes from flying sparks and metal shavings.
- Learn the correct process for your welding. You’ll need to learn what the correct settings are for your machine, good practices to use and when you should change the material that you’re using.- Use the proper arc currents for your specific type of machine. For example, you should not be using both 80 and 120 volts in a gas welding machine, you should only be using one or the other.
- Always wear a face shield when welding electrical equipment.- Always wire up your machine before starting welding with it. It’s important that you do a test run before you begin working with the material to ensure that your machine will work properly and weld properly.- Always keep safety in mind.
- Always keep your welder and plasma cutter turned off when not in use.
- Never leave a piece of equipment on without ground fault protection.- Connect your welder properly. Use the proper plug for your welder, just like you would connect a television to a TV stand, depending on which country the plug fits into.
- Never weld with wet or dirty clothing.
- Use ventilation with your welder to prevent breathing harmful fumes.
- Use the correct tools for the job. Don’t use a welding gun that’s meant for metal on wood, etc.- Always be aware of your surroundings when you are welding outside. If you have pets or children, keep them away from the area since they can be harmed by flying sparks.- Always keep a fire extinguisher in your workspace and make sure it’s easy to get to.
- Always use your welder in a well-ventilated area to prevent you from breathing harmful fumes.
Once you’ve got the basics down, you’ll be able to expand on your skills and start building things like metal furniture, steel chairs or metal art.- Getting used to wearing your welding gear properly and making sure it’s well fitted.- Learning the correct arc currents for your machine.- Wearing a face shield when welding electrical equipment. – Using proper ventilation while welding.
- Learning how to use the correct tools for the job. For example, using the correct welding gun for the material you’re welding with.- Correctly connecting your welder to a ground clamp.- Learning how to properly ventilate your workspace by keeping a window open, or by using proper ventilation when you’re outside.
- Keeping your welder and plasma cutter turned off when not in use.
- Never leave a piece of equipment on without ground fault protection.- Using the correct materials for the job. A metal gun should not be used on wood, etc.
- Using the proper arc currents for your specific machine. This includes how many amps you should use, when your should change your voltage and so on.- Really learning the basics of welding should take about three months to complete.
- You can start suing welding as a career once you have a job that needs welded parts.
- You may want to make a resume of your work history, as well as a portfolio for potential future employers.
- You’ll have to take a welding test to get a certification that you’ve mastered welding.
- Many of the jobs that you’ll be working with will require you to pass a drug test and have a clean criminal record.
- You should make sure that your employer has liability insurance, in case something goes wrong while you’re working on their site.
- After mastering welding, you can use it as a career in different industries like aerospace, automotive or any manufacturing sector.
Learning how to weld can take anywhere from a few months to a few years. Some people will be able to pick up welding and be able to weld quickly, while others may spend years learning and perfecting their techniques.
It’s important to learn how to weld properly, because if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can severely injure yourself or someone else. If you’re looking for a fun way to pass the time and get a good feeling of accomplishment for creating something with your hands, then welding is the perfect hobby for you!
Thank you for reading our guide on the basics of welding. We hope that it’s helped teach you all about how to start welding and has inspired you to take your passion further.
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Walton M. Edwards was born in 1994 in a coal mining town, he has worked as a welder, a hardware salesman, and as a pipe fitter and has been employed as a laborer for about fifty years. Walton is a native of Wabash County in Indiana, but he now resides in Bloomington, Indiana.