Does the idea of welding intrigue you, just like it intrigued me a couple of years back? Are you all excited and curious to know the dos and don’ts of the art? Well, then you are in the right place. As we bring to you’re the ultimate cookbook for the welding art, covering everything you will need to get started with this skill!
Welding– What is this?
Many of you might have a vague idea of this specific word and most of you do know that welding generally refers to the joining of two materials together. While this description is not wrong, it is rather somewhat incomplete. The process joins any two metals to be specific, by means of a joint and this can be brought about using several different techniques and tools.
You don’t really need to confuse this skill with that of soldering or brazing, these two are entirely different from welding, as welding requires you to make use of extreme heat, gases, and different metals to make a bond. And the cool thing about this is that you can accomplish this task, using a variety of processes and techniques available. You get to choose depending on the use and ease of access. In fact, you can also do welding in underwater! How cool is that!
Now that you do have a hang of what the art actually is, lets us delve into the dictionary of a few specific terms that you will see being used as the welding jargon.
The welding joint
If you happen to drop by a workshop or some market place selling welders, you will hear the term weld joint being tossed a lot by the people. Well, what is this weld joint and why is it important? Continue reading to get an idea!
Simply put, the weld joint determines the load your bond made will have to bear through its life. So basically, when making the weld joint, you will have to consider what amount of load and wear and tear the joint will go through. This will help you determine the strength and the design of the joint to be made. In some cases, especially when it comes to heavy-duty projects, you will require the joint to be strong enough to bear extreme loads, whereas sometimes, they will be designed in a way to bear torsional loads. This is basically defined by the nature of your work that which joint will suit best to your required task.
Given this, you get to choose from a long list of joints to decide depending on the use and function. Edge joint, butt joint, corner joint and lap joints are some of the commonly used joints you will come across.
The types of Processes
Now that you know what a welding joint is, it’s time to get you introduced to the types of processes that are used to make the joint possible.
If you are thinking that it’s only a single method through which the weld joint can be made, well you will be surprised to know that there are at least two broad categories of the processes which allow you to do so. And these broad categories are then further split into tons of different techniques that allow you to make the Almighty Weld Joint!
The type of joint and the welding materials you need to complete your project, usually determine the main type of process you will make use of. Based on this you can opt for the following two welding processes:
As the name suggests, a lot of pressure is required to bring about this type of welding. The pressure is either applied at low temperatures or at high temperatures. If you like to keep it low, then the technique you will make use of is solid-state welding. This makes use of the pressure at a temperature below the melting point. However, if you are looking for some more heat, then fusion state welding will do your job. It makes use of high pressure at temperatures way above the melting point of the material.
Pressure welding saves you from a lot of hassle. If you are a fan of cleaning, then this welding process will make you clean a lot more. As the process diminishes the intermolecular distance of the atoms greater than their equilibrium distance, the metals you will weld need to be swiped clean. And by clean here we mean, totally free of any layers of oxides or non-metallic films at the surface. Once you ensure that, you will definitely get the strongest joint possible.
Usually, pressure welding opted for highly ductile metals. There, I threw in a fancy science term! Well, by ductile I mean here is the ability of the metals to be turned into wires. So if you happen to work with metals of high ductility, pressure welding will help you get the best joints in these metals.
In industry you will come across pressure welding in the following forms:
Cold pressure–If you happen to work with sheets and wires or have the need to weld electrical components, then cold pressure welding is the process you can opt for.
Explosive Welding – Using a variety of metals in your project? Weld different metals together using the explosive welding technique.
Induction Welding – If your work revolves around sanitation or sanitary pipes, you can weld them using induction welding.
Inertial Welding – Working with alloys is always one. For starters, you get to experiment and mix different metals to form a completely new metal. It is even more fun if you have the ability to join two different alloys. Inertial welding gives you that ability.
This brings us to the wrap up of Pressure welding. Let’s move on to the fusion welding process to further enhance your welder’s knowledge!
Used along with pressure welding, fusion welding is another common technique used in the profession. However, unlike pressure welding, this makes use of filler metal to make the joint without the use of external pressure. Since there is no aid of the external pressure you get to work on the temperatures above the melting points to form the joints using this technique.
Additionally, you can enhance the quality of the fusion weld by making use of inert gases. However, one thing that you will need to ensure before using this technique is that the metals you are welding possess a certain degree of solubility in the solid-state. Those metals which are completely soluble in the solid-state are the best to be used with this type of welding.
Therefore, if you want to save yourself time and effort, you should only use metals with a higher degree of mutual solubility with this technique. For the metals that are not soluble, you will have to use another intermediate metal to complete the weld.
Types of Welding Techniques
Having an idea about the two fundamental processes of welding; Pressure and Fusion welding, let us now shed some light on the techniques that make use of these processes.
While you will not find pressure welding as widely spread as Fusion, this welding process is sophisticated and a bit complicated hence it is usually restricted to the industrial units. Whereas Fusion welding is greatly used by homeowners and hobbyists who tend to do DIY projects at home. Arc and gas welding are the two techniques widely deployed when it comes to fusion welding.
However, if you happen to run across a welding store, you might see several welders, each offering its own unique welding process and apparatus. In order to get a hang of those processes and techniques, continue reading!
Watch Video: Check out the video to know more techniques
The first process on the list is MIG welding (Read about the MIG Welders here). If you happen to be a beginner, then this is by far the simplest technique to learn. You can grasp this welding in two forms. One way is to either make use of fine wire to join the pieces and the other method involves making use of flux core weld to bond the metals. The wire welding can be used to bind metal of low thickness. Whereas the flux core method allows you to fix and bond several metals. Plus it’s perfect for beginners and hobbyists who don’t want to spend too much and yet want to weld to their heart’s content.
Another form of welding which you will see being widely used is Stick Welding. A bit from the olden ways, this method is a bit tricky to master but once there, it will make your welding tasks easy peasy lemon squeezy! Additionally, this welder that, is stick welder and its components are widely available in the market making it easy for you to set up your work station.
One of the handiest welding techniques you will come across is TIG welding. You can perform and accomplish several different projects using this technique. However, it is a bit difficult to master and requires years of experience before you get the hang of it. Plus you will be required to use both of your hands to perform this welding. Rod feeding and torch holding will be done using the two hands to fulfill the operation. You will get to experiment with a lot of materials using this technique.
How to Weld; The guide
The real deal is here! Finally, you can get on your journey to become a charming welder! And we will guide you through each and every step so that you can get that smooth joint in no time.
Handle the Gun
Before you begin with welding the first and foremost thing you need to do is to practice holding the welding gun. This is an exercise we recommend so that you can easily handle the gun without causing an accident. You need to first set the angle of the barrel by supporting the hand on the table. Use your other hand to pull the trigger. This exercise will help you adjust your angle and make you comfortable with your position. Soon you will feel natural carrying the gun.
1. The Test Weld
Now that you are comfortable with the position and the posture of holding the gun, it’s time for your first test weld! Keep a 30-degree angle between the gun and the metal to be welded. You need to make gentle contact with the wire and the welding surface and pull the trigger. Start dragging the gun towards yourself to get your first fine weld! You will see the wire meltdown and form a puddle to join the metal. You might need to adjust the settings of the welder to achieve an even weld.
To make a precise weld, you might need to mark up a line and cut using a saw to make a clear indication of the work. Furthermore, to ensure a powerful weld do decrease your metal before welding.
2. Filing the Edges
The next step you need to follow is to file your metal edges. This will help you achieve deeper penetration. Make sure you grind off the edges to be bonded, just right. A little to more might heat up the metal quickly and a little too less might affect the penetration. So get started on some filing to achieve your desired finish in no time.
3. Assembling the parts
The part assembly may seem like a menial task, but trust me; it determines the quality of your weld greatly. When going for welding specific angles you need to take utmost care of the position and the dimensions. Fit the angles well using the set square kits you might get at a carpenter’s shop. What this ensures is that you might not mess up the angle of your design when you get the weld joint cool down.
Check for the corner placement and level up the pieces by setting them down. Before welding virtually forms the assembly of the parts to get an idea of what the end product should look like.
4. Final weld Beads
One thing you need to be wary of is that don’t delve too much into the welding. The art may seem pleasing but it’s hard to resist the temptation to overdo it. Placing the final weld beads is something you might want to do again and again. But beware it is a trap set by the devil! For, in the end, you will only create more mess for yourself to clean off.
Depositing more beads than necessary will only result in you spending a lot of time later to grind off the extra deposit, something not very exciting.
5. The Grind off
Finally, once you are done with the joint formation, it’s time to do the dirty chore; scraping off the extra slag. The slag can be scraped down using a hammer, but you will require a grinder to get rid of the excessive beads on the metal. Moving the grinder across the weld will only worsen your task. You will get a flat, even joint only if you run the grinder along the joint.
Once done with all the scrapping, finish off the piece, by coating it with some acrylic or paint so that the assembly doesn’t rust. Congratulations! You have completed your first weld successfully!
The toolkit needed for welding
You might be done with your first weld, but to continue this exercise, you will have to equip yourself and your workstation with the necessary tools! Your tools are your saviors and of course the guarantee that you make amazing welds. So bear a bit more to know what to equip with when forming the joints!
You may find these toolkits available on a number of online platforms and retailers, but it is essential to know what equipment forms this toolkit.
So pack your training bags with the following tools to get started:
No compromise on the safety – Welder’s googles
The sparks created during the weld might seem like amazing fireworks, but trust me they will do more harm to you than provide pleasure. A welder must keep his/her eyes protected from these sparks. And for this very purpose, you need to keep your safety glasses in your toolkit.
These goggles should have a clear lens and should not be tinted. It will prevent your eyes from the glaring spark and flying fragments.
The Welding Helmet
If you are not a fan of googles and are more into the cool helmets, then an Auto-darkening helmet is your top pick. Not only does it protect your eyes from any fly-aways but also protects your face from the heat generated in the sparks.
Chip it with that Hammer
Keep your joints clean and smooth with a chipping hammer. You will get some slag and spatter at the end of the weld. You can easily scrape it off using the chipping hammer to get a smooth finish.
Cleaning with the Wire Brush
Another essential component of your toolkit is the wire brush. You will need it to clean off fragments and debris at each pass. This prevents the weld from getting contaminated.
Welding Gloves for MIG and TIG
If you happen to do perform the MIG welding, then in addition to the things mentioned earlier you also need the gauntlet gloves in your toolkit. This gives you greater freedom in moving the wrist and the grip at the fingers is firm enough to have a sturdy weld.
However, if you are you are doing a TIG weld, then the gloves you need slightly differ from the MIG gloves. These are skinnier and made from an elastic material to give greater flexibility. Additionally, the material is fire resistant to avoid any accident.
A Welding Jacket
This is something we recommend for those who are into intensive welding and spend most of their time fixing and making joints. While your face is protected from the sparks and the heat, your body needs protection from the heat too. For that purpose, you need to carry a welding jacket that is thick and resistant to fire to cover your body well.
Protecting your ears
Welding can get noisy in addition to be sparkly. So you need to ensure that your eardrums remain protected from the intense sounds. Welding can be a loud operation and requires an intense level of concentration. Earplugs can help maintain focus by drowning out external noise and also prevent damage to the welder’s ears.
When welding, you might need pliers to cut off something of possibly many other tasks you can think of. The pliers hence form an important part of your toolkit for welding.
You can use the pliers to cut off the welding wire, for clearing the spatters, cutting of the contact tip, and probably opening a lid open. You may use these nifty pliers for a number of functions you can’t even fathom.
This brings us to an end to the basic essential toolkit for a welder. You might add new tools to the kit depending on your work requirement and your moving options. However, the tools mentioned above are essential and need to present in every toolkit of a welder.
This brings us to the end of our welding starter kit. You may now have a rough idea of what the art is and what will you need to embark on the journey to weld. Stay tuned for more updates on our welder series and tips and tricks you will need to know to get that fine weld you need.
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Sean Coby is a welder par excellence and well respected among the welding community in Woodbridge, VA. He prides himself to be the fabricator and mechanic in the automotive/ diesel industry for the past more than eight years now. As the chief editor of his https://weldinginfocenter.com, he shares his experience to be safe during welding and to take proactive steps for becoming a successful welder like him.