Before you learn how to weld make sure you have all the equipment your going to need to protect yourself.
Welding produces a bright arc that’s equivalent to the sun’s brightness, so cover your entire body with non flammable clothing, 100% cotton or wool is best. Welding safety is important, don’t think you can get away with putting on some spf 90 sun screen just because it’s hot outside and you don’t want to wear long sleeves.
If you choose not to heed my warning you do so at your own risk! I just hope you’ve stocked up on some aloe vera. Here’s a short list to get you started.
- Welding helmet – Your not a welder with out a welding helmet, so go get one.(shade 10 or higher)
- Welding gloves – just because you have gloves on doesn’t mean you should be touching your weld.
- Leather jacket – A long sleeve cotton shirt is just as good if your out in hot weather, just as long as you don’t mind sparks burning holes in your shirt and turning it into swiss cheese.
- Welding cap – The welding helmet only protects your face not your hair.
- Leather steel toe boots – Any time your working with steel or any kind of construction work, its always a good idea to protect your toes. Welders even have some bad ass looking boots that have a met-guard that protects the entire top of the foot. You might consider getting a pair if you choose to do this as full time work or if you just want to look bad ass, if you do decide to buy it just to look cool and I see you in public, I’m gonna laugh at you.
I can’t stress enough the importance of welding safety, it’s a big part in learning how to weld, make sure your always wearing the appropriate welding gear!
Alright so now you’ve got your gear on and your ready for some welding basics. Take your ground clamp and attach it to your work piece. Since your probably new at this your gonna want to practice laying down beads on a steel plate (assuming that your set up to weld steel). Now strike your arc and start welding!
Your first few beads probably aren’t gonna be pretty, but that’s okay, your first few beads let you know what you need to do to make a pretty weld. Basically there’s two main things you have to think about when you learn how to weld, Travel speed and Amps.
Here are a few welding tips. If you travel too slow your weld is going to build up and probably look like a long giant blob (depending on your amps), too fast and it might come out too thin or you might get some undercut (once again depending on your amps).
If your amps are too high your probably going to have a lot of spatter and you might get some undercut (depending on your travel speed), amps too low and your not gonna get any penetration and your weld will probably look like rat turds (Depending on your travel speed… okay maybe not so much on your travel speed, but do you see how these to factors interplay with each other?)
Now it is possible to have your amps a little too high and still lay down a nice bead, actually I’d rather you have it a little too high then too low, You just have to travel a bit faster, make sure you watch that puddle whatever your puddle looks like is what your weld’s gonna look like, make sure that puddle is nice and even. It all comes with time and practice so for now just play around with the heat and your speed and see how many different ways you can make a weld look.
Ideally you want your weld to have good penetration, with a slight convex and uniform look. No porosity, undercut, or cold lap. Oh… one more thing, it also has to be straight. If you can’t weld straight try welding near the edge of the plate and use the edge as a guide then lay down another bead just below that one and so on.
I hope you’ve found my welding tips useful, just continue to practice welding basics until your confident. Learning how to weld is easy and fun, so what are you waiting for? Go out there and burn some rod!