Essential Tools You Need to Start Welding
Welding plays a vital role in a huge number of industries, including the construction industry, aviation industry, automotive industry, etc. Welders are essential workers for an incredible number of things around us, without which we couldn’t imagine our lives – vehicles, buildings, houses, bridges, space crafts, smaller things like white goods or even homeware items, and many more things. In other words, welding is in fact essential to our lives and the world as we know it, and its importance is only growing with time. And that’s why it’s such a great choice for a career.
If you are studying to become a welder, or you are starting your welding career, you’ll need to buy a set of essential welding supplies. This set will include not only the tools that you need to perform your tasks, but also the ones that are vital to keeping you safe from all the potential dangers and hazards. Buying new tools for welding is always daunting, even for experienced welders. This is why when you are choosing the first tools for your welding gear set, you need to make sure that you know exactly what you need and what you are looking for.
The Welding Torch
The most expensive piece of equipment you need to purchase for welding is the welder, also known as the welding torch. There are different types of welders, and in order to choose one, you need to choose your method of welding. The most common welding processes are gas tungsten arc welding, also known as TIG, gas metal arc welding, also known as MIG, flux-cored arc welding, and shielded metal arc welding, also known as stick welding.
The biggest difference between MIG and TIG welders is that MIG welders use a wire welding electrode, whereas TIG welders use a non-consumable tungsten electrode. Flux-cored welding is similar to MIG welding but does not require a shielding gas. Stick welding is one of the older forms of welding, and it uses an electrode coated in a protectant flux. Stick welders are less expensive and are the most popular option for hobby welders.
Welding Wire and Shielding Gas
Alongside the welder, it’s vital to buy the right welding wire and shielding gas. In general, when it comes to the wire, welders should purchase at least two different diameters. A thin welding wire is used on thin sheet materials and a thicker welding wire on thicker material. Furthermore, before buying the shielding gas, you should make sure you know all about your project as well, so that you can make the right choice.
While they may not be on the list of essential welding supplies, welding magnets are very versatile and useful. You can use them to hold the pieces in place while welding. If you want to use them, it’s also a good idea to buy more of them in different sizes for smaller and bigger projects.
The Safety Supplies
Even though there isn’t one welding supply that can be considered as the most important one, when it comes to welding, eye protection equipment comes pretty close. The reason for this is that eyes are the most prone to damage and injuries from welding. There are many different things you can purchase to protect your eyes from harmful radiation, intense lights, sparks, flying particles, debris, etc. The most common occupational injury from welding is caused by exposure to bright ultraviolet lights, and it’s called a flash burn, or sometimes ‘welder’s flash’ or ‘arc eye’. This flash burn can cause an inflammation of the cornea.
Eye and face protection includes welding helmets, side shields, safety glasses or goggles, hand-held shields and so on. Furthermore, you also have to protect your ears from flying particles and sparkles, but also protect your hearing from loud noises. Ear protection equipment consists of earplugs and earmuffs. You can also purchase additional welding gear for extra protection from debris for your neck.
During welding, there are many harmful fumes and gases, such as metallic oxides, silicates, fluorides, solvents, rust inhibitors, and paint, which can lead to health issues and that you should protect your lungs from. For this, you need an air-purifying respirator. You can also purchase an advanced welding helmet that features a respirator.
Nevertheless, don’t forget that the biggest and most serious hazard posed by jobs like welding are electric shocks. An electric shock can cause very serious injuries or even death, which is why it’s vital to be protected against it. This is why welders need to wear insulated, flame-resistant gloves and shoes with rubber soles. It’s also why they always have to be sure that their clothes are always dry.
Furthermore, you need to protect your entire body from heat, sparks, debris, falling objects, etc., to avoid burns and other injuries. This is why you need welding workwear, such as gloves, welding sleeves, safety clothes, safety rubber-soled shoes with steel toes, and you may get even additional protective workwear such as an apron and a cape.