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To get started with your welding, you must have a set of at least basic equipment and safety gear. However, before getting to welding, we’d also recommend completing training, so you can learn how to properly weld and would know all the safety requirements. But here’s a list of the basic welding tools and their uses.
Table of Contents
Personal Safety Equipment
Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet
An auto-darkening welding helmet is the most important part of the welding safety gear. The purpose of the helmet, first of all, is to protect your eyes from the flash of the arc. However, when the arc of the torch is not active, the helmet’s lens maintains a light shade, so you can still see your work. This eliminates the need to take the helmet on and off each time before welds. Another purpose of the welding helmet is to protect your face and neck from welding radiation and sparks.
Jacket Or a Welding Apron With a Long Sleeve Shirt
Welding usually involves sparks and molten metal shooting in all different directions. So it’s important to protect from them not only your face but also the rest of the body. So you should wear either a heat-resistant leather jacket or if you find wearing one of them, you can opt for a welding apron and a long sleeve cotton shirt. It’s important to remember, that the protective clothing should be made from natural fiber and not synthetic materials. You don’t want it to burn and damage your skin.
You’ll also need a good pair of work shoes to protect your feet during the welding process. Again, make sure that they are not made from synthetic materials, which can burn. The leather is the best choice.
While welding, your hands will be in the closest proximity of the arc. So it’s important to protect them as well. For example, you can get MIG gloves, which will comfortably sit on your hands.
You can also wear safety glasses under the helmet for extra protection. Make sure to wear them also when grinding metal. Choose glasses that will also give you some UV protection.
The welding process produces a lot of noise. If you’ll be working long hours, this exposure can cause pain. so protect your ears by wearing earmuffs or earplugs.
A Mask Or a Respirator
As welding produces a lot of fumes that can have dangerous outcomes if you breathe them in, also get a mask or a respirator.
The success of a project greatly depends on making proper prior measurements, so invest in measuring and marking devices. You will need a tape measure, calipers, metal T-squares and some sort of marking tool.
This is an absolute must have welding tool. Welding clamps allow you to firmly set up your work piece, so the welding will produce a tight joint. Clamps come in many different sizes. It’s best to have at least 10 clamps, so you’ll always have one ready for the project at hand. Without metal clamps, the metal warpage produced by welding will throw your project out of square and create welding defects.
Another essential for welding projects is the magnet. Using them, you can set up your metal pieces to hold at a variety of angles, such as 45, 90 and other. They also come in different sizes, so you can get a few of them to always be available for different project needs.
Sheet Metal Gauge
This tool is very useful for those times when you’re not sure of your metal thickness. You can’t eyeball the thickness, so that’s where this gauge comes in. It’s not an absolute necessary welding tool, but it will definitely come in handy around the workshop.
An electrode is a tip that is installed on the end of the tool and through which the electric current is passed from the welder to the material. For different applications, you’ll need a certain type of electrode. Also, electrodes used for MIG and stick welding differ from those used for TIG welding. The electrodes for TIG welding are made from non-consumable tungsten. This means that unlike with MIG and stick welding, TIG electrodes don’t need regular replacement.
Wire And Electrode Feed
Depending on the type of welding you’ll be doing, you’ll be using either a wire or electrode feed. TIG welding uses the wire feed since the electrode is non-consumable. MIG welding, even though it uses a consumable electrode, also uses the wire feed. Stick welding, however, uses the electrode.
An angle grinder is a useful tool to have for prepping and finishing welds. Before you start welding, you can use the angle grinder to remove rust, paint or dirt from the work piece. You can also use the welding tool after you finish welding to remove the slag that has built up. You can even cut metal with an angle grinder as it can easily chop through thin metal.
If your welding process creates a lot of slag, you’ll also need a metal brush. For example, if you’re stick or flux-cored welding, there’ll be a lot of slag left behind after the weld is completed. To reveal the final weld, you’ll need to use the metal brush to scrape off that slag coating.