The whole welding process is very useful to create new items by molding two metals together. Admittedly, you would need some skill in order to properly execute it, particularly with a set of electrical tools and equipment.
Thankfully, you could hone your skill (no matter how little it is) in order to do some welding. So, without further ado, here are the basics you would need to know:
There are many kinds of welding machines that you can get. The most common of which is Metal Inert Gas or Gas Metal Arc Welding (aka wire-feed welder). But the best tip in picking a welder is to figure out what material you will be welding.
From there, you can decide what kind of welder you would need. As a guideline, any good welding machine will be able to run a flux core wire or run a solid wire with a shield gas. For the former, it has a shield gas in the flux that can be found in the center wire. The solid wire with a shield gas, on the other hand, is much cleaner because it uses a solid welding wire along with a shield gas that is inside a tank. This, in turn, gets hooked up to the welder with a regulator.
When it comes to dealing with power tools, eye protection is always a must.
Welders use what is called a welding helmet or hood. This is basically a mask with a visor that will help you see through it. It will provide you protection from both the sparks and the brightness of the act of welding. There are versions that have basic dark lenses that are inexpensive and there are versions that have auto-darkening lenses, which are obviously more costly. While the basic one will be able to protect you for sure, you may want to consider the more expensive models if you’re going to be doing a lot of welding.
Aside from the welder, you will need certain tools and equipment. These are the following:
While steel may come in different sizes and shapes, the best shape to use for beginners is a flat bar. Be sure that it is no thicker than 3/8 of an inch; most basic welding machines can weld on this. You can find these in home improvement and hardware stores, steel suppliers, and metal scrap yards.
Successful welding is all about preparing the material. To do so, your piece of metal – no matter what shape and/or size – has to be clean and dry before welding. The most particular factor in this rule is paint. As much as possible, there should be no paint in the welding surface. This is because paint will melt and burn if you weld over it and it could create a cavity in your metal. Another factor is oil coating; even freshly bought metal will have this. This can be wiped off with paint thinner on a rag.
More importantly, a clean surface will make a really strong weld. The best way to achieve this is to scrap off any rust, paint, oil, etc. with an angle grinder. This is one of the best electrical tools and equipment you can buy because of its versatility. For welding, you can use this to grind off any unwanted material. You can also use sandpaper, but that will take more work.
Another important preparation step is to bevel your material. A 60 degree bevel is recommended, but 45 is a good start for beginners.
*From here on, you will want to always use the welder’s helmet and leather gloves*
Now that you have the material ready, you just need to practice the act of welding, itself. So before you weld on your project material, weld on a piece of scrap metal first – it must be similar to the thickness and material as your project’s metal.
For the act of welding itself, you must always have lineman’s cutters with you so that you could immediately cut off any wire and stop the weld. Then, keep welding until you get the correct settings; you must have the correct heat, wire-feed, and gas flow settings. You’ll know you have a good setting if your weld appears straight and not wobbly in any way.
Once you get the settings, you’re almost ready to weld your first joint. But before that, you must make sure your two joints fit together. To do this, use your square to make sure the fit is snug and true. Once you get this snug fit you can tack it. In welding, a tack refers to a small weld that is made to hold the materials in place for the final welding. To do this properly, just hold the welder half an inch away from the joint and squeeze the trigger for about 1-2 seconds.
With the joint tacked together and the welder at the right settings, you’re ready to make your final weld. Just like the tack, hold the welder half an inch away from the joint; you can go as close as ¾ inches. For 90-degree joints, you will want to weld it from a 45-degree angle to get an even weld. Pull the trigger and build up your weld pool. Once you get it to the desired size, move the welder along the joint. But this movement is based on the size of the weld. Smaller welds will need slower movements so that the wiring won’t get cut off. This will also ensure that you are achieving the right size and heat for penetration.
If you make a mistake, don’t worry. Just take your power tool – the angle grinder – and grind off the weld so you can start over.
This may have been a lot to take in, but take your time and you’ll get it. You may even want to visit your local welder for tips and lessons. After all, he does have all the equipment and expertise to give you great advice. But the steps stated above are also good to get you started. Once you have your first weld done, you will be obsessed with all the things you can create. It will make you want to hit the store and invest in the best electrical tools and equipment on the market.