Whether you’re just starting out with welding as a hobby or the process is a central component of your job, it’s essential that you have the right tools on hand.
Stocking up on welding supplies can be an expensive process if you’re not familiar with the products or are otherwise unsure of what you’re looking for. In this article, we’ll identify some of the most important gear you’ll need to get started with this craft and help you decide which items are right for you.
When it comes to buying new welding gear, it’s always better to invest in a quality product instead of purchasing something based on its low price. The best online welding supply stores can connect you with the top brands in the welding industry, at a fraction of the cost.
From machines and masks to small MIG and TIG consumables, there are a lot of decisions you’ll need to make on what to buy and what to avoid. Let’s take a look at some of the most important items to pick up before you start your first project.
A welding helmet with automatically darkening glass is a must for any new welder. This piece of equipment is what keeps the sparks from touching your skin and the flame of your plasma torch or stick welder from affecting you while you work.
The glass front of your helmet also prevents the light from damaging your eyes. While there are, of course, a handful of welding projects where you may only need a pair of safety glasses, a quality welding helmet is never a bad idea for anyone who’s serious about the craft.
ESAB, Miller, and Lincoln all offer an outstanding range of welding helmets that are set to fit your head and show off neat designs and patterns, including everything from American flags to blue or orange flames.
And while many equipment providers offer fixed shade helmets that are somewhat cheaper, the auto-tinting features are usually something that’s worth paying for, even for hobby welders.
Welding gloves are another essential safety item for anyone who’s planning to operate a welding machine, whether it’s a plasma torch or a multi-process welder. The gloves you select should be insulated, but the thickness of the fabric might vary depending on what metal and type of machine you’re working with.
MIG welding gloves offer the most protection against sparks, scratches, and high temperatures. However, TIG gloves usually have thinner fabrics and are handier for making precise cuts.
If you’re primarily working with a stick welder, you’ll probably want to purchase TIG gloves instead of the alternative.
Workbench clamps keep your work in one place as you continue to work, ensuring that there are no accidents resulting from your hand slipping or jumping.
You might already have this type of equipment for other hardware-related projects. MIG pliers are another item you’ll find in hardware stores and are great for taking the nozzle of your MIG gun, tightening or loosening the contact tip, and removing excess weld spatter.
Handle designs for both of these should feature an ergonomic grip (though this is admittedly more important for your pliers).
To clean up the slag and debris from a fresh welding cut, you’ll want a metal brush. Make sure to let the weld cool before using the brush, or you may melt your equipment!
Chipping hammers fulfill a similar function to the metal brush by assisting you with cleaning up the slag resulting from an arc welding project. Both items are an inexpensive but integral addition to your collection of welding equipment and tools.
Depending on the intensity of your welding projects, you may want to consider investing in more safety equipment beyond your gloves and helmet.
Plasma torch welding can involve temperatures of up to 40,000 degrees Fahrenheit- which is significantly hotter than the surface of the sun.
If you’re working on a larger welding project or handling plasma torch equipment, picking up a pair of welding sleeves and boots is never a bad option- particularly if you’re welding in a professional environment or construction space.
Welding is a precision-focused art, which means you’ll need a handful of reliable tools that can check the length and angle of your cuts.
A speed square is one of the most measurement tools for welding because its triangular shape makes assembling perpendicular, 90-degree welds a more accurate yet simple process.
Once you’ve got this item in your tool kit, you’ll be reaching for it non-stop to ensure the quality of all your welding projects. If you’re working with sheet metal, you should also consider purchasing a sheet metal gauge.
An angle grinder is a handy tool for anyone who welds regularly, regardless of project type. This piece of equipment can both prepare your metal components for welding and help clean up after the job is done.
In addition, your angle grinder should be able to handle cutting most metal types with reliable accuracy and precision. You can also polish up metal with this item after the technical welding process is complete.
With the right welding tools at your disposal, you’ll have everything you need to succeed in all your welding endeavors, whether they be personal or professional ones.
To get started with selecting these products, visit a reliable online welding supplier that specializes in getting you a good deal on all of the industry’s top brands.