Metal has been at the forefront of building things for quite some time now. Although some would say plastic is slowly replacing metal components, that is not the case for big structures such as bridges and cargo ships. Metal is still king there, and to fabricate this material into something functional you need welding.
But why weld pieces together though? Welding metal pieces, be it steel or aluminium makes the end product stable. Welding also makes it easier to build since all you need is to apply the molten filler material between the two surfaces that need to be joined and you’re good. Welding offers a lot of options career-wise and it can be both a great source of income and a fun time if you like building stuff. But anyone who wants to start welding needs to have the essential welding tools and equipment.
What Are the Welding Tools and Equipment?
The thing that enables you to actually join two metal pieces together is a welding machine. No matter what other welding tools and equipment you have, without a welding machine you are no welder. Unlike other popular welding supplies online recommendations will tell you to choose your welding machine according to the welding styles you want to master. There are different types of welding processes, so make sure you know which one will suit you best before getting a welding machine.
The helmet is the first line of defence when welding. But welding helmets are nothing like your regular protective helmet. They fully cover your face to protect it, alongside your vision, from all the flying sparks and light that is created when welding. Nowadays, it’s best that you go for auto-darkening helmets which automatically darken the piece of glass in front of your eyes once you start welding. This makes the entire welding process more efficient and convenient.
While a welding machine allows you to weld, it doesn’t provide the necessary support when welding bigger pieces. But no matter how big or small the workpieces are, you need a workbench, or what people call a welding table. Welding on the ground can be impractical at times, while welding on a workbench can be a breeze. Even if you go for a traditional workbench, you’ll be far better off than welding the ground.
Another piece of welding equipment that is crucial for your safety are gloves. Not just any gloves though. Welding gloves are the ones you need to look for in this case, as they are heavy-duty gloves that help protect you from burns. Since temperatures can reach up to 5000°C, you need something thick.
Sometimes sparks can fly everywhere and they can even get under your helmet. This is why welding experts recommend that you wear safety glasses whilst welding. The protection a helmet and safety glasses offer will ensure that no sparks damage your vision no matter the angle they’re coming from.
Boots & Jacket
The heavy-duty boots you see construction workers wearing are very similar to the ones you need to wear when welding. They need to have a thick sole made of rubber, as well as a piece of metal at the front so anything heavy and hot won’t hurt your toes. A welding jacket is a must-have too, as you don’t want sparks burning your skin, nor do you want meal shavings sticking to you. Both can hurt a lot.
You might think that clamps are something you won’t need when welding, but when it comes to welding two large pieces together you will see how much they’re needed. To hold one piece down you’ll need to use clamps and then get the other piece, bring it close to the workpiece being held down by the clamps and start welding.
Something that every welding machine needs is an electrode, which is the filler material that binds pieces together. The filler material as people also call it, is one of those welding supplies online that comes in a wide range of types, as there are different kinds of electrodes for different welding processes.
While not a must-have when you’re doing your first couple of welds, an angle grinder can be mandatory welding equipment if you want to make fine welds. Welding can produce a lot of splatter, and the weld can seem bad when it comes to aesthetics. To make for a smooth surface, you should use an angle grinder to make the weld look as clean as possible. The better you are at using an angle grinder, the more professional the weld will appear.
While pliers may not come across as welding tools and equipment, they can help you immensely when it comes to removing the hot nozzle from the welding gun. Pliers can come in handy when removing the contact tip where the wires come out of the gun and for clipping the wire at the correct stick-out measurement too.