Welders are everywhere, and they do fantastic stuff. A few holes jumped out at sea in a steel ship from diving a few hundred feet underwater to repair a few holes in the cold vacuum of space, welding on a spacecraft that needs repair… or even (and just as practical) you might only find an old block that wants to weld a lovely new steel table together for his workshop.
Whatever the case, if you want to take up welding yourself, the best way to learn is to enroll in specialized training to suit your goals. This article can help you understand some of the necessary processes and rules for beginner welding techniques if you are a DIY type of person and enjoy a little trial and mistake. If you have a passion for learning how to weld before getting started, here are some things that you might find helpful.
1- Know The Basics Of Welding
The welding process is simple. It consists of heating to the point at which they melt two pieces of metal. In the welding pool, the molten liquids then combine and become one when the molten metals solidify.
A third metal source, also known as a filler, is usually introduced and melted together with the two base metals to add to the weld’s total mass.
Depending on the welding process chosen, these filler metals will either be electrodes, filler rods, or continuously fed wire.
Correctly done, a weld will have no imperfections such as pinholes and will tie in nicely on its outer edges with the base metals. Also, a good weld will have penetrated through the base metals to the bottom and fused them entirely together.
2- Decide Which Method Of Welding To Learn First
It’s a personal preference, but I think an excellent place to start is learning to arc weld with an electrode. However, one thing that you need to consider is what kind of projects you are planning to work on
Keep in mind, for all applications, there is no single best welding method.
There is some crossover between them, considering the top three methods, but there are also particular things that each one does better than the other two.
TIG welding, for example, is the choice for Chromoly, brass, copper, magnesium, and titanium welding. Either the MIG or TIG method is required to weld aluminum. But, for welding cast iron, you’ll need a stick welder. If you choose to weld steel or stainless steel, you can pick from all three methods. Just bear in mind that welding steel with a TIG welder will take you significantly longer than with a MIG or stick welder.
And, unless you switch over to a flux-core wire first, you will not want to MIG weld steel if you are welding outside or in drafty areas.
Do not be intimidated by the choices, as hobby welders almost exclusively work with steel. Therefore, reduce your choice of welding methods to the methods of the Electrode or MIG.
If you plan to weld thick metals up to 1/4″ to 5/16″ outside or in the barn with the doors open at the farm or ranch, you’re likely to be happier with stick welding. To select a welding unit for farm or your ranch, follow the linked publication.
If you work with thinner steel and you’re going to be indoors with almost no breeze to talk about, then you’ll probably want to learn MIG welding first.
3- When Welding Or Observing, Protect Your Eyes
Never look at the welding arc directly, without a welding helmet, even for a split second. Indirect exposure to the welding arc can also damage your eyes, even as a bystander.
A quality helmet for welding is a must. It’s a good idea to have your welding helmet, no matter if you plan on seeing a welding instructor, friend, or mentor. Don’t get discouraged by the available assortment and price ranges. Start with a good helmet for auto-darkening with an adjustable shade function. Without breaking the bank, a good one can be had. That said, one of the most precious pieces of equipment you own is your eyes.
4- Find A Mentor For Welding
Plan to take welding courses, if available. A good mentor could prove invaluable if that is not an option for you. That could be a friend or acquaintance with the type of welding expertise you want to learn first.
5-Practice, Exercise, Practice
Spend some time just laying beads on top of a single piece of thicker steel at the start. Concentrate on the pool at the base of the arc, a small molten pool of metal. The bank should, generally speaking, be reasonably round. Welding is all about the collection and how the welder forms and maintains it. Stacking dimes is a term coined for a good weld to be described. With the trailing edge slightly elevated, imagine a dime laid on its side at a very slight angle.
6.Protection With Welding
Since the welding helmet has already been discussed, let’s discuss some of the other items designed to protect you when welding. Nearby, UV rays thrown away from the arc will burn all the exposed skin.
Make sure there is no exposure to your neckline and upper arms. A nasty sunburn is much like the resulting burn. In addition to your leather welding gloves, wear long-sleeved, heavy cotton, button-down shirts, and blue jeans at least. Glowing red hot sparks and molten metal falling from the welding area will do a number on your skin and clothes not intended to handle it.
7- Configure Yourself For Success
You may find yourself welding out of position at least some of the time, depending on your project’s size and scope. However, set up a small welding area at the beginning, preferably a metal table or something similar
Sit in front of your metal base and lay it flat on the table. Get good at creating good beads consistently, from a comfortable position.
Once you have improved the weld’s quality and feel ready, together with two pieces of a metal edge to edge, leaving a slight gap between them and welding them together, next, get a tee joint set up. With the other sitting perpendicular to it, you have one piece of metal laying flat on the table so that you have formed an upside-down T. Weld together the two base metals where they meet.
The lap joint is another typical joint. By laying two pieces of steel on top of each other and sliding the top part slightly to one side, you can practice this. When the edge of the full piece runs along with the bottom portion, weld them together. When you get these three kinds of joints well welded, you are on your way to becoming a welder.