There is nothing more empowering than having the ability to make your tools instead of relying on store-bought ones. Welding is a skill that helps you create tools and objects using metal, so you can easily customize the end product to your unique needs. By definition, welding involves a heating process of two metals, creating a bond between them that mends them together. However, welding can be not only dangerous if done incorrectly but also daunting for beginners. Here are the five most important things to know before you start welding, a beginner’s guide to welding if you will.
Before you start welding, you must first decide what you expect. This will help you narrow down the type of welding you need to learn. There are four basic welding types: MIG, TIG, flux-cored, and stick. These differ according to their application, the types of metal you want to weld, and the skill level of the welding person. You can see what metals and types of welding Welding Maniac recommends before you begin your first project. You do need a guide to welding as it is a difficult process.
MIG welding, short for metal inert gas welding, or gas metal arc welding, is electric arc welding, whereby an electrical circuit is passed through a welding wire and the objects you want to weld. This acts as an electrode, so the circuit is completed when the wire touches the objects. Then you cause an electric arc by slightly pulling the wire back, which heats up, causing the wire and the connecting parts of the object to melt and combine.
Tungsten inert gas welding is a welding technique that takes longer than MIG and requires greater skill, as well. However, this technique also results in greater precision and can be used with materials other than metal, such as aluminum and alloy. The difference between MIG and TIG is that TIG uses a welding gun with a tungsten metal rod instead of a consumable wire as the electrode. The process is also more complex and requires other tools like a pedal.
This technique uses an electrode tube that is continuously fed. The tube contains a flux agent, which melts to form a liquid, which protects the metal from contaminants. Flux-cored welding, therefore, results in better results than MIG. However, it also creates more mess, requiring cleanup after finishing the job.
This is a two-handed method, which is similar to TIG. It uses a stick that is coated with flux, which melts to create gas and liquid slag. This slag protects the weld from oxidation; however, the overall process leaves slag residue at the end that requires cleaning up.
Just like there are different welding techniques, there are also different welding materials that complement each different type of welding procedure. Depending on the type of material to be welded, you will have to choose the best welding technique for your materials. This is because materials like aluminum, stainless steel, and steel have different traits that respond to different techniques better.
3. Guide to Welding – Safety Precautions
Welding can be quite dangerous because it involves handling very high temperatures. To avoid any hazards or safety concerns, it is important for welders to wear the correct protective gear and have the right safety equipment. This includes safety glasses to protect the eyes from high heat exposure. You also need welding gloves, so that the skin of your hands is secure against the hot metal particles you are welding. Moreover, an auto-darkening helmet protects both your eyes and face from the flash that results during the welding process. Lastly, a fire-resistant jacket is necessary to protect your body and clothes from damage.
Apart from safety equipment, you are required to be mindful of other precautions, such as proper ventilation to avoid the harmful welding fumes from entering your lungs, which can cause serious and permanent damage. You also need to be careful not to conduct your welding activities around flammable substances, as the welding sparks can ignite those materials and result in a fatal inferno.
Another technical feature of welding is the input voltage. There are two types of input voltages that you will have to consider. Luckily, these two voltages are also easily available in most houses. The voltage input you will use depends on the thickness of the material you aim to weld. For thin metals, 110 volts is good enough to successfully melt the material. However, you will need a voltage input of 230 volts for thicker materials.
5. Guide to Welding – A Mentor
The best way to start any new activity or hobby, or before you start learning a new skill, is always useful to have an expert who can be your mentor and guide you along the process. You can consider taking a few classes or a short welding course, which will ensure that you have all the necessary knowledge that you need before you start welding. You can also find a good mentor, who can bestow the welding wisdom that they have collected over the years, to help you get started.