Learning to weld can be difficult for even the most skilled worker. Welders who are starting need to understand basic and necessary welding equipment. The selection can be overwhelming. Keep reading for 4 types of welding equipment to get familiar with as a beginner.
- Different Welders
The most important piece of welding equipment is the actual welder. When choosing a welder, consider the voltage power, duty cycle, and AC/DC settings. Welders need enough power and time to operate to finish a project.
Welders come in stick, MIG, and TIG welder options. Choosing which kind to use will depend on budget, the skill needed to use, portability, and the type of project being completed. MIG welding is easy to use but expensive. It also is not as portable as simple stick welding. TIG welding makes high-quality, clean welds but is harder to learn.
- Electrodes to Match
Each of the three welding processes has an electrode to match. Stick welding uses a consumable electrode that gets melted to weld the joint. A few popular electrodes are the E6010, E6011, E6013, and E7018.
TIG welding uses five kinds of non-consumable electrodes. Lanthanated and ceriated electrodes are good options for most projects. Do not use thoriated electrodes because they give off radiation and require a respirator when welding.
MIG welding uses electrode wire fed through the welding torch. The most popular range of thicknesses is .023, .030, .035, and .045. However, some larger projects may need thicker wire.
- Clamps and Angle Grinders
Clamps seem like small, insignificant parts of welding, but they are essential to lining up joints correctly. Welding can be crooked if the items shift during the welding process, and this could require grinding down and welding again. Welders need as many clamps as possible to keep projects secure.
Angle grinders prepare metal before welding, especially TIG and MIG welding. An angle grinder has an arbor at 90 degrees and can vary in size from 500 to 2500 watts. Choose an angle grinder with sufficient power to clean the metal before welding.
- Safety Equipment
Welding can be a dangerous task. Welders need to have proper safety equipment before attempting to learn to weld. Welders should wear a helmet with a dark faceplate as this helps prevent exposure to ultraviolet light rays from the electric arc. Without a helmet, the brightness can cause inflamed corneas and burned retinas. Helmets also protect the welder’s face from sparks.
Gloves are another essential piece of safety equipment. These should be made of leather and provide flexibility and heat protection for the welder. Goatskin leather gloves are great for TIG and MIG welding. Pigskin and cowhide are among the best for stick welding.
Grounding clamps help protect welders from electric shock. The best type is copper and should maintain contact with the metal the entire welding time. Sometimes, welders add a copper cable to their clamps to increase contact with the surface.
Welders need to wear proper clothing when welding. They should wear a long-sleeved shirt made from a thick material, often leather. If leather is too hot, welders often choose a cotton shirt because it isn’t as flammable as synthetic materials.
Becoming familiar with these four kinds of welding equipment will help new welders be successful in their new venture. Safety is paramount, so be sure to secure the safety items before beginning.