If you are new to the world of arc welding, this guide is for you. While there is a lot of information about welding in general, I've distilled down what's really important and put it all into an easy-to-digest format.
The basics of arc welding are really pretty simple. To begin with, you have to have an electrode, a wire and a transformer (to get the electricity). When you connect these three together and touch the electrode to the metal, it melts. This is because there is a special welding rod called filler metal that is made up of some metals that are easy to melt and others that are hard to melt. The wire itself doesn't do anything other than transport electrical current from your transformer (the power source) to the tip of the electrode.
Basics of arc welding
Arc welding is a very unique type of welding because it uses an electric arc in order to heat up a forge or rod. This is different from other types of welding, such as stick or TIG, where you are actually heating the metal up with an electrode. The suitability of arc welding will depend on the thickness and toughness of the material that you want to weld together.
An arc welding process involves using an electric arc in order to melt both two placed pieces of metal together. This is different from TIG welding, where you are actually heating the metal with an electrode. The difference between the two is that you will be using a thinner wire for arc welding, which allows you to more easily weld thicker materials than would be possible with TIG welding.
The process of arc welding is fairly simple. First, you will run a current across the two pieces of metal you want to weld together. Then, a small rod will protrude from the electrode, with the top of the rod hitting both pieces of metal. As they connect together, they will start to melt together and eventually become a single piece of material.
The interesting part about arc welding is that it can be done in two different ways: shielded and stick welding. Stick welding is the most common form of arc welding, because it is the easiest to perform. In stick welding, you will take a piece of metal with a rod attached to it and drag it along both pieces of metal that you want to weld together.
The other form of arc welding is called shielded, which differs from stick welding in that instead of using an electrode with your welder, you will use a shield around the two pieces of material you want to weld together. This will effectively protect those pieces of metal and cause the electric arc to heat up the material around it while not causing the rest of the metal to melt together.
Arc welding can be used to weld various types of metals including steel, nickel, titanium, and other similar metals. The thickness of material that you can use arc welding on will depend entirely on what your welder is capable of handling. This will be different for every welder.
If you are working with a carbon steel, then you will want to use a carbon steel rod. This can be done in arc welding and AC welding, but it is important to note that using a carbon steel rod in DC welding can cause an explosion in the welder.
While arc welding can be performed in a wide variety of ways, one thing that is important to remember is that you will always want to make sure that your welder is grounded. Without grounding, the welder could experience an explosion or electric shock if it comes into contact with high voltage.
If you are working with a DC welder, then you should connect your work area to the ground as well. This will ensure that any sparks from your work area will zap into the ground and not cause an explosion or shock.
Basic Tips – Do’s and Don’ts
Dont: Use a torch. A torch isn't particularly handy for welding, because it requires an open flame, which makes it more dangerous than arc welding. Also, it's possible that the torch you have will be the same one your father used and you won't want to use that one.
Do: Connect the two electrodes together. This is the only way you can use an arc welder. Simply attach one electrode to the other, don't touch them together and start welding.
Don't: Weld on or near the ground or any motor vehicle. You may think that you are safe on your driveway, but you're not. If there are metal parts nearby, it's possible for them to get hot enough to melt and this would cause a spark that could set off a fire. This is why you should always weld on a table that's at least 8 feet off the ground if possible.
Do: Use the right electrode. Arc welding requires a filler metal rod, which makes it work. Unfortunately, most filler metals aren't very high quality so you'll have to buy your own. The best welding rods are made of E6013 or E6012 and these are your best options for general welding.
Dont: Be impatient and think that you'll learn how to arc weld in 2 hours. While there are some things that you can learn quickly and get used to pretty easily, welding takes time and practice.
Do: Be prepared to invest in some safety gear. You will need a helmet, gloves and safety glasses at the very least.
Do: Have all of the necessary tools before you begin to weld. This includes your welder, electrode, filler rod and anything else that you may want to use for your project.
Do: Use the right equipment for the job. If you're going to be welding galvanized metal, then use a metal welder. If you are going to be welding sheet metal, then you'll need a gas welder. No matter what kind of welder you have, make sure that it is set at the right settings for the job. More about that later though.
Do: Use a wide belt and good technique when welding. The wider the belt is and the better your technique, the less likely it will be that anything will start a fire.
Do: Learn your lungs. Welding requires a lot of breathing, so make sure that you're used to it before you start welding.
Do: Weld on an approved surface. You should always weld on a flat, sloping table or workbench so that if there are any sparks they won't travel into something flammable.
Do: Get a tab with your name and phone number on it. You never know when you might have an accident or something will happen to your welder, so it's good to know who you are and who to contact.
Do: Use gloves when welding. Your hands will be close to the metal while you weld, so even if you don't get burned on the metal itself, there is a good chance that you'll get burned by the metal that sticks to your hand or glove.
Do: Let it cool down. Welding is dangerous and your hands are going to get hot pretty soon after you stop welding. Let the filler rod cool for about 5-10 minutes before you touch it to the metal.
Do: If your welder has a cutting tip, be careful with it. It looks like a small drill bit and can slice though most materials, which is why you should not use it on any metal that is thinner than 1/8".
Do: Know what you're getting into. While it may seem like arc welding is simple, there are several things to know that will make the job easier for you. More about that later though.
Welding Tips for Beginners
In order to set yourself up for success in arc welding, there are a few tips that any beginner should follow. These tips include:
Be prepared and keep everything handy. You may forget your helmet, but if you aren't prepared who's fault is that? In addition to this, you'll want to have everything ready to go so that you don't have to waste time setting up your welder and other tools.
Clean it up. You'll be working with metal, which means that there will be a lot of sparks in the air. These sparks will land on the work area and, if they do, it's easier for something to start a fire than you might think.
Take your time when learning to weld. I know, you're eager to start welding, but there isn't much benefit to starting off with a beginner's welder. If you want to learn arc welding, get yourself a good gas or metal welder and spend some time reading the instructions before you start working with it.
Let your hands cool down after welding. You might think that you can hold the electrode in place while it cools, but this isn't always the case and can damage your work area more than necessary.
Make sure that you're not in an area that could catch on fire. Welding isn't really dangerous, but it's important to know where you are and what the risks are. The last thing you want is for nearby flammable objects to catch on fire because you were trying to weld in a place near them.
Get a good surface to weld on. If you're going to be welding in a car, you're not going to want a table on top of the ground that could be burn by sparks from your welder. Instead, find a flat surface or workbench that isn't so close to something flammable that it could catch on fire.
Use the right type of welders for the job. If you are working with sheet metal, then a stick welder is the best option for you. If you are welding metal, then you'll want to get a thin-film or gas flux welder.
Learn your lungs. When you're working with arc welding, it's important to make sure that you know how to breathe properly so that you don't wear yourself out and cause yourself any trouble.
If your welder has a foot pedal, use it. The more comfortable you are with arc welding, the better job that you can do because it will be less physically demanding than when you're first starting out.
Welding Tips for Experienced Welders
In addition to the general safety tips that you should always follow, you should have a few tips that are specific to your welding tasks. These tips include:
Use a metal welder. If you're going to be welding metal, then you'll need to use a metal welder. If it's not metal and it doesn't say "weld", chances are it's not a good choice for this job.
Use a good cleaning agent on your welder. When you clean a metal welder, you will likely get some residue left behind by the solder that can dirty it up and make it less efficient. In order to fix this issue, you should use something like acetone to clean your welder.
Be sure that you're using the right kind of welding or filler material. If you are welding galvanized steel, then use ER70s-2 filler rod made by Lincoln Electric. This material is recommended for this kind of metal.
Do: Use a glass shade to protect your eyes. It's impossible to get close enough to a flame without having some sort of accident, which is why you need to protect yourself with a glass shade.
Do: Use eye protection when welding. The last thing you want is to step back and hit your welder, so use protection whenever possible. In addition to wearing eye protection, be sure that you are wearing clothing that will protect your skin and keep you safe while welding.
Do: Make sure that you aren't working in a draft. If you are in a draft, then your flame might flicker, which will cause your work to become inconsistent. If possible, find a safe and comfortable place to do the welding that won't cause any problems with drafts flicking the flame.
Do: Keep an eye on your flux. Flux is important because it helps stabilize the heat of the fire so that you can weld more effectively without causing blow-throughs, under-runs, or other problems.
Do: Use a ground clamp. Before you start welding, put your work on a ground clamp so that you can protect your work area from the heat of the fire.
Do: Wear protective clothing and wear welding shoes. If you're going to be working with metal, then it's highly recommended that you wear a welder jacket or shirt as well as metal welding boots or shoes. This will protect you from your welder and grant you more protection against any accidents that can cause burns.
Do: Keep your welder in a safe place. You don't want to store your welder where it's going to get knocked over or damaged because you won't be able to use it when that happens. In addition to this, you should keep your welder away from children, pets, and any other thing that could hurt yourself or others.
Hopefully, you're sold on the idea of welding as a hobby. Whether you decide to pursue it seriously or just dabble in it, there's no doubt that it's an incredibly useful and fascinating process to know. It is certainly the most practical way of joining metal together, and while there are other ways of creating sturdy joints between metal bars and sheets, welding is by far the simplest.
Welding is a classic trade that has been around for centuries now. It has also undergone many developments over this time, with the gases that we use in our welding processes being one of the most important changes. Admittedly, the methods of welding have remained relatively the same for centuries now, with the only real difference being in what materials we are welding. However, this hasn't stopped people from coming up with ingenious new methods of making welds and joining different types of metal together with electrical currents.