You have decided to learn more about welding. Whether you’ve just picked up one of the top rated beginners' welders or have moved on to more advanced methods with one of these quality MIG welders, you aren’t content to stay where you are. It’s time to pick up some welding tips and tricks so you can move forward with new knowledge!
This article offers a lot of great tips and tricks for welders of all skill levels, so you are guaranteed to learn something that will help you as you grow and gain more welding experience. Whether you need MIG welding tips or TIG welding tips, arc welding tips or pipe welding tips, this article can help you! In fact, we even have some overhead welding tips for those tricky jobs!
Welding Tips and Tricks You Must Learn
There are some very basic welding tricks and tips you need to learn to be a master at your craft.
A lot of people skip the basics, and end up with sloppy welding jobs because they didn’t take time to master the fundamentals.
Here are some basic things to make sure you master before racing ahead with your weld.
Before You Start
Work with your gun before you begin your weld. Learn how to handle it. Check its weight in your hands and learn how to support that hand while it is steadying your welder. Let your other hand get familiar with the trigger on the gun.
Make sure you stand in a comfortable position. Practice angling your welding gun in different directions. Learn how to move the gun over your work surface while applying steady force. Learn how to work with the gun movement and find a natural feeling posture.
Next, add your lead to the work piece. Hold your gun so that the weld surface and wire meet at a 30-degree angle. Lightly touch the surface with the wire and squeeze your trigger. Pull the gun gently towards you for the initial weld. Your wire should be perfectly melting into a weld puddle at an even and steady rate of speed, and you should hear a nice little crackling noise. Adjust your welder settings as needed.
Prepare the Metal
Your welds will also work better when you properly prepare your metal ahead of time.
A lot of people want to get right to the welding, but taking the time to do things slowly and steadily when you’re learning will help you master the basics and create far more solid welds.
Make a line with your woodworker’s awl or carbide scribe and then cut the line with a metal cutting chop saw or a hacksaw. For stronger welds, use a degreaser to clean your metal. Making sure your metal is free of impurities and particles will help create a stronger weld.
Grind your metal or file it to a slight bevel along your weld edges. This will make sure that your weld can fully penetrate for a deep countersink. This lets you grind your weld flush at the end. If you overdo it you will burn through the metal, so be gentle.
Position the Pieces
When you are building a lot of welds, you need to ensure a perfect angle. Whether your weld is 90 degrees, 45 degrees, or 180 degrees it is important to be precise.
Clamp your surfaces to each other, but leave enough space for your tack weld job. Your pieces should lie flat and neatly fit without any burr interfering. Use a square or carpenter’s triangle to check your angles. Make sure your assembly position is precise.
For your tack weld, your goal is to tack the pieces together along the joints. Make sure your corners are squared because if anything shifts you will have to grind the tack weld away and reposition your parts then start all over from the beginning.
When you have tacked your joints into the right positions, you are ready to lay down your weld beads and complete your project.
While nice, smooth welds are ideals and the rhythm is enjoyable, avoid the temptation to keep tracing over your weld until you achieve the perfect, smooth weld. Remember that you will have to grind off any excess metal that you deposit, so the satisfaction will be very short lived, and in the long run it will create more work and waste material.
Post Weld Cleanup
When you are done with the weld, you need to take a welding hammer and slowly chip away at the slag. Next, use a grinding wheel (36 grit is great for welding) to knock the beads so that they match the surrounding metal’s level. For a flat and flush surface, you will need to move your grinder along the weld rather than across it. Remove any marks that remain using a 60 grit zirconia flap disc.
To have a great finish, you should prime the steel and paint it, then buff it with some clear wax or spray a finishing coat of clear acrylic over it as soon as you finish to prevent a rust layer from forming.
What’s the Secret to Great Welds?
When it comes to the best welds, you might be surprised at the answer to this question. Of course, a lot of practice and skill is involved but the best welds always start with a firm foundation and absolute mastery of the basics. A lot of times, experienced welders hold themselves back because they’re so used to the process that they forget some essential steps in the welding process that seem intuitive or unnecessary.
Tip 1. Safety, Safety, Safety!
Safety is critical when you’re starting a great weld. Always wear a proper face shield, closed toe shoes, on-flammable materials on your clothing, long sleeves and pants, welding gloves, ear protection (like earplugs or muffs), and goggles to protect your eyes from sparks.
This is especially important when it comes to the ear protection because if you puncture your eardrum with a spark, the heat will instantly cauterize it and you will never be able to heal.
Do not weld galvanized steel. This material has a coating made of zinc, which produces poisonous gasses when it is burned. Exposing yourself to that gas will result in metal poisoning that can cause permanent damage to your body.
Weld in a ventilated area. When you weld, you are going to produce some pretty hazardous fumes, so working in a well ventilated area will reduce the likelihood that you breathe in too many of these fumes. That’s also why a mask will be essential. Masks, glasses, and helmets protect both your eyes from the light and sparks AND your lungs from the gasses, especially if you also have a respirator.
Tip 2. Equipment Matters
The equipment you use matters. Different forms of welding require different welders and not all jobs are created equally. Make sure that you’re making the right purchasing decision for your style.
Whether you want highly rated TIG welders or one of the best arc welders, reviews matter. Make sure that you are buying the right welder for your job and welding style, but also make sure that you are buying the right welder for your skill level. Read the reviews to learn the best welding machines on the market and how they handle, and try them on for size in store to see how they feel before making any purchasing decisions, even if you want to buy it cheaper online later.
You also need other tools. Obviously, your safety equipment matters. Skipping the mask and earmuffs can result in permanent damage to your body and health.
You also need to have some good tools for grinding and beveling. Make sure you have some c clamps, wire cutters, and a grinder that can handle angles. These tools will equip you to create professional welds, with flush lines and tacked joints to create smooth, penetrating finishes.
Tip 3. Get Your Set Up Right
You want to have enough space for your welding project. This space needs to be well ventilated and unlikely to catch on fire. If you’re just getting started, consider working in your garage.
Make sure you also have your gas set right. For TIG welding, pure Argon will work as your only shielding gas. For MIG welding, you’ll want to blend it with C25.
The settings on your welder are also important. Decide whether you need positive or negative electrons and figure out how to set your welder for the job and gas you have to work with. Along with this, you will want to have great wire loaded into your machine. There are different materials and sizes, so be sure your welder can handle the metal wire you buy and that it is the right type for your weld.
Tip 4. Cleanliness Is Everything
It is very important to clean your work. Obviously, working with a welder can be very dangerous. The potential for sparks and fires, and the poisonous gasses that it gives off, can combine for a very hazardous environment.
A clean workspace will really help reduce a lot of the risks of welding. Make sure you have only your necessary tools and safety equipment nearby. Keep hazardous chemicals and anything that could go up in flames or cause a reaction well away from your workspace.
Cleaning your metal is also an important part of the welding process. When you clean your metal before you begin welding, it will strip away some of the imperfections that can get trapped in your weld pool and prevent solid and strong weld connections. The cleaner your surface is, the more likely it is that your weld will penetrate deeply and come out with a clean, strong finish.
Tip 5. Stagger Your Welding
A lot of people forget about staggering their welds, but it makes a huge difference in the integrity of your project.
Staggering your weld is about what you might imagine when you hear the word. It is an intermittent weld where you move from one side of the joint to the other with your beads.
This means your welds do not line up evenly with each other across the sides of the joint.
Allow your offset to determine which side begins with the weld. The side of your reference line that has the weld symbol closest to the arrow is the side you will begin your weld bead with, and the other side receives the gap.
Tip 6. Keep Learning About Welding
Remember to constantly practice your welding. The industry has several different techniques, each with their own set of rules and strengths. If you really want to become a master at welding, then work and practice in your chosen form of welding until you master it…
Then pick a new form. If you’ve gotten the hang of MIG welding, why not start to learn TIG welding and pipe welding? There are tons of different angles of joints, too. Work on harder and harder types of welding as you begin to master your technique.
You can also work your way down the different positions, and learn how to weld from overhead or flat surfaces, how to weld at every different angle, and how to weld difficult projects. Working with different metals also changes the welding experience. Give some new metals a shot!
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Tip 7. Read Your Welder’s User Manual
Reading your welder’s user manual is a critical first step. Even expert welders need to familiarize themselves with new equipment.
Failing to learn how your machine functions can cause major problems with your welds and even break your machine, or worse cause you to injure or burn yourself.
Reading the manual will let you know what sort of projects your welder is made for. You will learn the right settings for your machine and better understand how to adjust your levels. It will also help you understand what wires you need to buy and how quickly you can feed it through your machine.