Welding for Beginners

Want to start welding at home?

Welding has a lot of capabilities. If you’re ever working with metal, it’s a skill that’s 100% worth learning.

Welding is mostly characterised by bright lights and intense heat, factors that scare most people away. 

Although it might seem like an intimidating task, there isn’t much to be afraid of once you get used to it. Whether you’re new to welding or want to try out a welding job, all you need is the courage to take the first step. This trade has been around for years and is an easy one to learn too. 

Here Are a Few Tips to Help You Out 

1. Have The Right Gear

The right safety gear is required in welding.  Without the right gear, you would be exposing your hands, eyes, and other parts of the body to various risks.  

First, you need to ensure your hands are well protected from the intense heat of the materials you are working on. Leather gloves are your best pick for this. You should also put on cotton sleeves or a cotton shirt to help protect your arms from the UV rays emitted by the welding gun.

A welding helmet is also a must, go for welding helmets equipped with adjustable lenses so you can protect your eyes from the glare. 

Safety glasses should also be considered when taking on this job. These provide extra protection to your eyes especially when you have to take off your helmet to inspect the pieces. 

The concreters at K.J. Concreting highlight the importance of having the right equipment, noting that “it’s all too easy to be lazy about your equipment. But once you’ve been close to messing up for life, you never forget it. We make sure to drill this into the heads of every new hire. Your safety is more important than the job”.

2. Prepare Your Workplace Before Starting

Proper preparation is required before starting your welding project. 

First, you need to clean the metal surface, a wire brush or sandpaper is recommended for cleaning the bare metal. After scraping the surface off, you can then use a metal cleaning product. 

Don’t leave the cleaned surface exposed for too long. Use a primer to create a protective barrier. The primer primarily protects the welded area from corroding or rusting. 

Look out for ball ends on your wire. Cut it off using a wire cutter if you find one. Welding with a ball end on the wire could derail your work. It is by preparing well that you will run into fewer issues as you weld.  

According to the cleaners at Walkers FC, preparing the workspace is half the task, saying that “cutting corners in preparation might save a few hours in the short term but when you mess up — which you eventually will — you’ll be punished. If you want to save time in the long run, make sure you invest the time preparing properly”.

3. Always Use the Right Wire for Each Project

The right wire will be required to produce flawless results. 

One important factor in choosing the correct wire thickness for the metal you will be welding. Thinner metals call for smaller wires while thick ones will require a larger wire. You ought to use matching wire and metal for the best results too. For example, an aluminium wire should only be used on aluminium metals.

4. Practice Proper Welding Techniques

Welding isn’t about making a straight line, but instead about ensuring your weld is strong.

The only way you can do this is by assessing the area you wish to weld, and then making tiny interconnecting loops on the metal using the welding gun. 

Small circular motions are required when welding. Follow this technique to produce stronger bonds on the welded parts. It’s also vital that you do not leave gaps in the weld, as this will weaken the metal/bond. 

The photographers at Strong Images emphasise the importance of understanding your equipment, noting that “half the time you’re on the job, you could be finicking with your equipment. This makes you look unprofessional, wastes everyone’s time, and makes the job a chore. But when you know your equipment inside and out, you can navigate through any problems that arise. This is when things actually start feeling fun and you look forward to doing it”.

5. Learn To Troubleshoot Problems With A Weld

There are times when problems will occur while welding. 

Sometimes the weld will not feel right, or the metal might be too weak for the weld. In such instances, you should be able to troubleshoot the problem and come up with appropriate measures to remedy the situation. 

Some of the issues you might come across when welding includes:

  • Holes from the weld

This happens if your wire speed is too slow, too high a voltage, or if the weld gets too hot for the metal-eating it away. 

  • Weld building up or puddling on the tip of the gun

This can happen due to a very high voltage or if your wire speed is low. This is a mistake you ought to avoid by all means. 

  • The welding gun kicking while you weld

This is one of the most common issues you will face while welding. This could happen if your wire speed is too high, set too low a voltage for the gun, or if the weld is resting on another metal. This is also a sign that the weld might not hold. You don’t want a weak weld on your metal. 

It’s also a good idea to know what your final product should look like. You can look at welding galleries to get a better idea for yourself.

6. Pay Attention To The Sound Produced By Your Weld

A properly functioning weld will always produce the sound of frying bacon. The noise will be constant and won’t waver a lot.  

However, you should be wary of firecracker/popcorn, loud gas sounds or varied buzzing sounds from your weld. These sounds are a sign that the weld will be problematic or weak. 

Listening to your weld should help you know what is normal and what isn’t.  As mentioned above, learn to troubleshoot your weld to identify and fix the problem before continuing with the project.

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