How many films have you seen over the years that flash to a scene where a worker is welding and you see sparks flying and the welder has this odd contraption on his head that looks like something out of a sci-fi movie? Actually, what they don’t show you in the movies is all that goes into welding in terms of proper techniques and safety precautions. If you are contemplating a DIY welding process, here are five things you need to know before you start.
1. Safety Is an Absolute MUST – It Is Not Negotiable!
You might think getting burned is the worst calamity that can befall you whilst welding and of course it might be, but there is an even greater danger to you and anyone in near proximity and that is the damage the bright light and sparks could do to your eyes. A welding flash can quickly cause arc eye which can be extremely painful, so protect yourself with the appropriate welding helmet/safety clothing and provide a barrier from innocent onlookers by setting up welding curtains. Check out exactly what welding gear you will need to ensure safety before you do anything else, including buying the tools and materials you will need for the project.
2. Welding Processes Specific to the Job at Hand
One thing you should keep in mind is that all welding was not created equal. There are different processes based on the type of materials you will be welding together as well as the type of material used in the weld itself. For example, when welding there are three main techniques you can use which are MIG, TIG & stick welding. Each process requires a different technique and different materials so make sure you completely understand both before deciding on which to use for your DIY project. Preparation is everything. Are you going to be joining two or more metal tubes for instance? That requires an altogether different technique than if you were going to be joining sheet metal made from different materials. You need to read up on the job in hand and prepare the material long before you attempt any actual welding.
3. User-friendly Intuitive Interface
This is where technology has really progressed in recent years. Now you can literally plug in values and the interface will work out the rest. From plugging in the type of material you will be welding, i.e. wires or tubes, to the thickness of your materials and even the type of consumable used as well as the actual metal it is made from, your intuitive interface will program the settings for you. It’s amazing how far technology has come in recent years.
4. How to Match Consumables to the Process You Will Use
Consumable is an industry term that simply refers to the type of material you will be using. Is it wire, electrode or filler? This is important because not all consumables serve the same purpose and they are typically not interchangeable based on the process (and materials) you will be joining.
5. Welding Equipment
When it comes to welding, you need to match the type of welder you will be using to the type of weld you need to employ. There are MIG welders, TIG welders, Arc Welders and this is just the tip of the iceberg because each main category also has various sub types you could use if you were so inclined. The point is, before going out and spending your hard earned money on a welder you can’t use, do your research first.
Welding is more than a science as it is also an art form that often takes years of practice to perfect. Even so, if you have a simple weld you need to complete, you can rent welders and buy the consumables and safety gear you’ll need to complete your project online. Above all else, remember safety is non-negotiable so see to that first. If you can’t meet at least minimum requirements, don’t start until you can. That’s the number one rule so learn it well. Safety above all else.