In a previous post, we covered the selection of a welder (Selecting a welding machine), however what would you do if you really wanted to start welding? There are a series of tools that you need, and in this post I will cover the basics – tools that you need to start welding. Even if you have a low budget, you should really get some of the basic safety gear if you dont want to suffer from long term effects – I will cover this in another post.
Like I like to say, Welding is not a joke.
Basic Tools to Start Welding
A decent welding helmet
Considering a large portion of my posts are on welding masks and hoods, then the first and foremost choice to start with would be the purchase of a the welding mask.If you are bootstrapping, then you cant afford the best welding helmet out there, but I have made it easier by highlighting the best auto darkening hoods under $100. In fact my top starters choice is under $50!
So how do you go about buying an affordable, but useful welding helmet for a starter?
Most people underestimate the size of the view port. To really be able to see the weld properly and to give you full vision, you want to go as big as you can go. The problem is passive welding helmets can come as big as 4 x4′, however auto darkening helmets, tend to be under that unless you go for the high priced giant view ports.
If you are planning on welding aluminum, then you should make sure your helmet has enough room to get a filter mask in. Aluminum welding can get nauseous and if you dont have a well ventilated workshop, you would definitely suffer f you arent using a filter mask.
Angle grinders and welding go hand in hand. They are primarily used for grinding the weld beads down after you weld, so although they aren’t used for the welding process itself, if you want neat and smart welds, an angle grinder is the way to go.
Quick tips on buying an angle grinder: Get a cheap one if you are just starting out, the smaller angle grinders are fairly well priced and light enough for you to get used to using them.
If you are working in a fabrication shop, then you should be aware that a good steel wire brush is pretty much a staple in welding. They can be used for a range of uses, but for a beginner, the key areas are for surface preparation and surface finishing. Again, if you want clean welds, you need a good steel wire brush.
Vise Grip Welding Clamp
Unless you plan on holding on to your weld pieces, which is a bad idea in any case unless you want to burn your hands, then a vise grip for welding will make your life much much easier. They are cheap, but do come in a range of varieties. So make sure you get a general purpose one if you are just starting out.
Metal Chop Saw
The most expensive thing you can buy for your shop is a god chop saw. However this is one tool I would recommend you buy if you can afford it, especially if you are welding steel. A good chop saw will cut angles effortlessly and give you a good finish. Obviously, the better the angle cuts, the easier to weld them.
Quick List: Basic Welding tools you need
So although there are range of tools you need, this quick guide should get you at least prepared for basic welding without compromising your finished welds.
- Welding Hood or Mask
- Angle grinder
- Steel Wire brush
- Vise grip clamps
- Metal Chop Saw