What is Welding?

Welding is the process of joining two metals together by heating them to their melting point. The welding process requires highly skilled people to do this job accurately. Different critical parameters control the quality of weld for joining of two metal pieces. The angle of the welding gun containing the filling material is the most critical parameter. There are safety concerns that should be kept in mind by a person who is a beginner in welding. Avery high welding temperature releases high-intensity light due to the ionization of gas near the welding area. This high-intensity light is hazardous to the eyes. So, precautionary measures have to be taken by a welder to do a welding job properly.

8 Best Welding Tips and Tricks for Beginners

A welder’s job is not a joke. A welder has to work in hot places and cramped up spaces. So, there are following some welding SOPs which a beginner welder should consider as the best welding tips.

1.    Selection of Preferred Welding Method

There are different techniques for welding. The selection of welding techniques depends on the material of workpieces to be weld, thickness, and geometry of workpieces and their applications. One welding method cannot be suitable for all applications. The most commonly applied welding technique is electric arc welding. Arc welding is an excellent place for a beginner welder to have a hands-on experience. There are different types of arc welding. In an arc welding, an electrode is made of a filler metal that melts and fills the gap between workpieces. There are different arc welding types, including MIG (Metal Inert Gas) welding and TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welding. TIG welding is suitable for welding brass, copper, titanium, and magnesium. MIG welding is ideal for welding of steel, aluminum, and cast iron. In MIG, a wire is used as a filler metal which is supplied continuously from a spool. This type of arc welding works for thinner workpieces.  TIG welding can be used to weld at very high temperatures up to 3000 degrees Celsius. In TIG welding, the electrode is not consumed as it is made of tungsten. For thick metals with thicknesses up to ¼” to 5/16”, the TIG welding technique is applied.

There is another type of welding called shielded metal arc welding (SMAW). It is also called stick welding.  In stick welding, a gas cylinder and wire feeder are not needed because it is not affected by wind. Stick welding can be used for outdoor applications. In stick welding, there is a flux on the welding electrode, which protects the weld pool from reacting with the atmosphere, and prevents corrosion. You can also get more details in my post here: Types Of Welding Machines That You Didn’t Know About.

2.    Buying a Welding Equipment

For beginner welders, the most significant expense is going to be the purchasing of actual welding equipment. Cheap welding equipment makes it difficult to learn new skills. As a beginner, take the MIG welding technique. Purchase a MIG welding equipment that has a motor-driven wire spool. You can get MIG welding equipment with those specifications for $300-$800.  The lower cost Millermatic, is nice welding equipment that can be used to weld thin aluminum and steel between 24-gauge and 3-16 inch. The selection of the right welding electrode is essential. For welding of mild steel, an E70 or E60 welding electrode can be used. As a beginner, 6013 is an excellent option. The first two digits of the electrode code show the tensile strength of the electrode material. The third digit indicates the position for which an electrode should be used, and the fourth digit indicates the amperage and electrode coating.

3.    Keeping of Welding Accessories

For beginning welders, they should have a good supply of welding wire. If you are not confirmed that which welding diameter is needed, consult the welding equipment technical manual to make sure you are purchasing the correct equipment. Shielding gas is also needed during arc welding as it does not allow the metal to react with the atmospheric air during the welding process. Reusable welding tanks are available in the market. The pressure of a gas varies depending on the type of welding. The pressure of shielding gas is generally between 15-25 psi. For a cleaner weld, a shielding gas of 75% CO2 and 25% argon is used. Electric cable is also necessary as it is used to complete the circuit required to perform welding by attaching one end to the workpiece.

4.    Cleaning of Welding Area

This is the first step taken by the welder before laying down metal pieces for welding. Any impurity such as chemical or dust on the welding table can react with the metal piece during welding and can damage the weld quality. Therefore, it is vital to keep the welding area free of debris and oils. This will make welding simpler and more grounded. You can use a wire brush and acetone to remove dust and oils.

5.    Adopt Necessary Safety Measures

8 Best Welding Tips and Tricks for Beginners - Safety first! - WeldingMachineReview.com
8 Best Welding Tips and Tricks for Beginners – Safety first! – WeldingMachineReview.com

Safety is the primary concern due to a very high temperature in the welding process. During welding, sparks are produced, and plasma is also formed in the welding area due to high welding temperatures. Welding fumes are also produced, which are not suitable for health if inhaled. Therefore, a welder should arrange a welding helmet (see here: Features To Consider In Auto-darkening Welding Helmets), gloves, and a particular face cover for their safety. Special welding boots are also essential to protect feet during a welding operation. It is also necessary to have unique welding jackets that protect your clothing from welding sparks.

6.    Getting Started with Welding – Best welding tips and tricks for beginners

After knowing the principle of welding and getting all the welding accessories, you should first practice handling the welding gun before you even start welding. Hold the barrel of a firearm in on hand, and support that hand on the table. Use the other hand to operate the trigger of the gun. It is a good attempt to dry run your welding gun to make sure that you are handling it correctly. The adjoining edges of pieces of materials to be joined can have a chamfer of 45 degrees so that they can be appropriately fused. While performing actual welding operation, the gun should be held such that the angle of wire normal to the workpiece is between 15 and 30 degrees, and the welding is moved in the reverse direction of the dominant hand. During welding, you should spend at least two seconds while laying down each bead and maintain a constant arc length. Sticking the welding rod at one place for a long time can burn a hole through the workpiece, or welding wire can also stick with the base metal. If a welding gun is traveled too fast, then filler material would not be appropriately filled in the gap, resulting in weak welding.

Like speed and angle of welding gun, the voltage is also an essential parameter. A very large voltage would cause a wide and flatter weld bead that is porous and excessive spatter. Moreover, the large voltage would also produce undercuts, and grooves melted into the workpiece. A very low voltage would create a very narrow weld bead that would lack proper penetration and fusion.

7.    Grinding of Weld

It is necessary to grind the weld after joining the metal pieces. During the welding operation, a slag is formed on the weld surface due to the reaction of flux with the air. This slag can damage the quality of the weld. Therefore, after cooling of the weld, the surface of the weld is ground to polish it.  A 36-grit right angle grinder can be used for this purpose.

The color of sparks can tell you whether you are grinding the weld properly or not. Orange sparks of the grinding show that you are pressing the grinder with the correct force. Blue sparks indicate that you are pushing too hard, and white sparks show that more heat is being generated during the grinding, which can damage the weld’s structure.

8.    Manipulation of Welding Gun

There are different types of welding joints. In butt joint, metal pieces are joined end to end. In lap welds, metal pieces overlap. The motion path of the welding gun depends on the type of welding joint. For lap welds, a welding gun is moved to create a series of ovals that provide excellent welding coverage. For butt joints, the welding electrode is traveled in a zig-zag pattern along with the workpiece. This pattern is the most effective as it evenly spreads out the molten weld across the joint.

Conclusion

Welding seems a complicated skill to learn and excel. However, it can be reasonably easy to self-teach many of the necessary skills required for a good, clean bead. As shown here with these 8 best welding tips and tricks for beginners, you can be an expert in welding in no time with the use of right welding equipment and protective items as shown here for you on WeldingMachineReview.com – Weld it stronger, make it better!