Guide written by:
Michael, Professional and passionate welder, Sheffield
There's lots to get your head round with arc welding: chipping hammers, wire brushes, welding masks, magnets, leather aprons and protective gloves. Welding rods, or electrodes, depends on the type and thickness of metal you're working with. From earthing clamps to electrode holders, here's the lowdown.
- Soldering iron
- Wire brush
- Welder's hammer
- Welding magnets
- Leather apron
- Protective gloves
- Soldering mask
Leather apron and protective gloves
With a decent welding torch, rods, a protective mask, nice weather and a tee-shirt, you're all good to get welding... Wait! Not so fast! You're still missing some of the essentials: protective gear and additional tools.
First off, an apron and welding gloves are absolutely crucial! If you want to weld safely without doing yourself a mischief, that is...
To avoid burns, you should wear specialized welding gloves - with leather or lambskin cuffs and a cotton lining - for any kind of MMA or MIG / MAG welding.
For TIG welding, you'll need more supple, full-grain lambskin gloves.
An apron, in tanned leather or leather croute, will shield you and your clothing from heat and sparks!
Safe welding: the importance of the welder's mask
Wearing a welding mask or goggles is essential to protect yourself from the heat produced by the welding process and to avoid suffering from welder's conjunctivitis.
Always choose a mask over goggles - it'll completely protect your face from the electric arc and from the risk of getting burned by flying droplets of molten metal.
Optoelectronic masks offer superior protection because their glass changes tint according to welding intensity. The most sophisticated welding masks even provide respiratory protection to protect the user from fumes produced by welding.
Three essential tools...
Before you start welding, make sure you have ready access to the three secret weapons of successful welding!
- Welding hammer: looks like a traditional hammer but with a tapered point on one side of the head and a sharp edge on the other. The handle can be wooden any type of metal;
- Welding magnets: usually triangular in shape, these keep your pieces in place ready for welding;
- Wire brush: a weld isn't finished until it's brushed nice and smooth. Pay attention to wire material: you wouldn't want to brush a stainless steel weld with an iron brush (unless you want the dubious pleasure of seeing stainless steel actually rust!) With a wooden or resin handle, and a choice of three or five sets of bristles, it's always good to stock up and put some aside as they do wear out pretty quickly. Alternatively you could always get a rotating brush attachment for your power drill.
What's a welding rod?
Going back to basics a little, a welding rod is the essential consumable component in MMA welding that lets you assemble two separate pieces.
The electrode (an equivalent term for rod) attaches to a clamp on your welding setup.
It melts when current passes through it to the earthing clamp, generating theelectric arc necessary to produce a weld.
Since you might want to weld with a range of different types and thicknesses of metal, you can get a variety of electrodes suited to every application.
Learn more about welding equipment...
To find out more about welding equipment, follow our editors' advice and check out their other guides:
How to choose your flame welding torch and equipment?
How to choose your flame welding accessories?
How to choose your flame welder?
How to choose your gas cylinders for flame welding?
How to choose your arc welding electrodes?
How to choose your electrode holder and earthing clamp?
How to choose your welding mask?
How to choose your TIG welding torch and filler metal?
How to choose your spot welding machine?
How to choose your plasma cutter?
Must be stripped ... yes but with what?
Before any welding, it must be stripped! And depending on the type of brazing:
- The liquid stripper to be coated on the parts to be welded;
- The powder flow , the solder rod is heated slightly and soaked in the powder pot before starting the weld;
- The solder paste is to be placed on the welding fittings and on the rod.
There is a range of flows suited to the soldering mode and soldering metals.
The welding screen, for what?
If the job to be carried out is near a painted wall, a semi-rigid heat shield is required which allows the shape of the place to be protected from the torch flame. It will not include asbestos or ceramics, let it be said!
What is a torch?
A burner allows by the combustion of a gas to produce a flame that is used to weld. Depending on the chosen gas or gases, a higher or lower temperature is obtained which allows the melting of a filler metal .
The single-gas torch is used in plumbing to braze, tin and bend . It is also called soldering lamp .
Dual-gas torches allow autogenous welding . Due to their higher temperatures, they allow the welding on different metals.
What is a reamer?
A reamer is used to clean the nozzles of a torch. There are different sizes because there are nozzles of different diameters.
What is a Plasma Cutter?
The plasma cutter makes it possible to cut sheets with thicknesses of 2 mm and 40 mm thanks to the high temperature that it creates. Like the MMA or the TIG, this tool needs an inverter (a device that transforms alternating current into direct current) to produce the electric arc that allows this ionization to generate heat of about 18,000 ° C . For the production of air, an additional or integrated compressor is required. A sophisticated torch completes the cutting equipment as well as a ground clamp to attach to the part or sheet to be cut!
Yes ! Do not hesitate to consult the advice sheets dedicated to the most specific tools! You will find them on the front page of the families produced!
Guide written by:
Michael, Professional and passionate welder, Sheffield, 70 guides
I was trained as a pipe worker and a pipe-welder and after having traveled for 35 years working around the UK, I became the head a metal shop and then a designer and in the end the head engineer. I have designed and built a workshop where I make metal sculptures: I managed to find a piece of paradise where I can to let my imagination run wild. Auctions and garage sales are no secret to me. I find unusual objects and old tools there that I collect or transform into works of art. I also like decoration, painting on canvas, and gardening. I am developing new technologies concerning tools. To share my passion and humbly advise you in your choice of materials is a real pleasure.