Beginning something new is always tricky. It’s one of the fundamental laws of nature. However, just because starting something new is difficult doesn’t mean it’s impossible. And the human mind is so insanely powerful that it can learn almost anything. So, nothing’s impossible.
Let’s say you’ve decided to learn to weld. Just so you know, this intricately awesome craft has been molding the shape of our civilization for thousands of years. And with the flow of time, it has also changed from its tools to how it works.
So, where should you begin, and what are the tools for welding? After all, there are hundreds of options. But don’t worry, mate…you don’t need a world of tools to begin your journey in this area. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. In the beginning, you’ll only need a handful of tools to get going.
Also, there is a misconception that one needs to spend a lot of money to weld. Truth be told, there are only a few tools that a welder uses frequently. Therefore, don’t fret so much at the beginning. This article lets you know exactly what tools you’ll need to start your welding journey.
What’s about to come
Rather than presenting you with a long and boring list of tools, we’ve decided to break it into several categories. In the first one, we’ve included the toys that every welder needs. These are the basic ones.
After that, you’ll see 4 main tools that are essential for welding. And finally, in the last part, some tools and gadgets will ensure you stay safe and secure while welding. So, let’s get on with the first category without further ado.
Basic Welding Tools Every Beginner Should Have
Here, we’ll go over roughly 5 to 8 tools that a welder should always have in his toolbox. Frankly speaking, you know most of them already. In that case, maybe the following list will help you determine if you’re missing any.
And if you’re a beginner, it’ll help you stock your toolbox with the tools you’ll need to have before you start welding.
The welding world, known as the chipping hammer, is used after the welding process. Primarily used in arc welding, this hammer has a pointed edge to dislodge weld slag from welds and weld spatter. As you begin to learn more, you’ll have your preference when it comes to this tool.
Speaking of preference, a chipping hammer comes in various shapes and sizes, mainly handles. The reason is that you’ll always wear heavy welding gloves while working. So, you must be extra mindful of the little things, such as the grip and friction of the handle.
Now, you can either trust a wooden handle or a spiral, steel-wire handle. But if I were you, I would go with the latter. You won’t lose any grip, and it works fine when dressing excessively hot welds. So for a beginner, this one is perfect.
2. Chisel and Tongs
The most basic function of a chisel is to cut hard materials, whether perfectly flat, round or angled. Besides, they chip away the unnecessary bits from the material that’s been worked on. So how can a welder benefit from this tool?
Well, a hot chisel can be used after you’ve welded something. With this tool, you can clean up the job perfectly. A decent hot chisel can remove any extra slag, spatter, or unnecessary metal after welding.
And as for the tongs, you can use them to manipulate any objects you’re welding. They are suitable for any kind of welding job. So, having one will make moving around the materials much more straightforward.
They are mostly made from heavy steel and will offer you more strength and grip than any pliers. And if you’re a beginner, you’d want maximum comfort while moving a hot object around.
You may think, why would someone need a spanner for welding? You’re right. There’s no need. However, having a robust double-ended spanner with you while you’re on the job has perks. For example, it’ll help you adjust your welding equipment on the go and whatever it is that you’re working on.
4. Pliers and Cylinder Key
The good-old ordinary pliers can take care of many things. Whether a mechanic, construction worker, technician, or welder, you can’t go a single day without a proper plier.
Especially for welders, a plier can make your job so much easier. A decent MIG welder plier comes with a needle nose at the top. With this, you can easily maneuver the hot metal you’re working on.
It has a square jaw gives you an extra bit of grip while manipulating the object without inflicting any damage on you.
Most of them have an excellent rubberized grip and spring-loaded jaws. This is very useful for a beginner welder. The jaws, one at the top and one at the bottom. The latter is for adjusting the torch’s nozzle, and the smaller one is used to replace the contact tip.
There’s more…you can use the square jaws at the top to remove any splatter that may have found its way into the nozzle. This is very important for beginners, for the splatter or dust could disturb the gas flow and cause overheating.
Most of the time, you can make all kinds of adjustments to your welding equipment with a plier. However, you should always keep a cylinder key in your toolbox. If your plier doesn’t work, you can use this to open and tighten the spindle valve of your gas cylinder.
5. Welding Clamps
In simple words, welding clamps are for holding two different pieces of metal tightly. They ensure that while welding, the workpiece doesn’t move an inch. For precise welding results, a beginner welder must have one of these.
Now, they do come in different shapes and sizes. So, if you’re gathering resources to build your welding journey, choosing one out of so many can be difficult. In that case, our website might help you. You’ll find some top-rated welding clamps and a decent buyer’s guide in one of our articles.
6. Angle Grinder
You got to have this one. An angle grinder is a capable power tool with consumable stone discs or blades. They are one of the most common tools you’ll encounter in the welding world. Everybody has them. These handheld tools rotate their blades/ discs at high speed to grind or cut metals.
Now choosing a great angle grinder could be a hassle because you need to consider many things. So, it’s better to do some homework before buying one. If you feel lost, check this link to find some of the best angle grinders for welding.
7. Wire Brush and Tip Cleaner
These two are mainly used for clearing things up. The wire brush is used for cleaning the surface. Use this to keep the welding surface nice and clean before and after you weld. For better outcomes, you should use brushes that have stainless steel bristles.
Moving on to the tip cleaner, it is used to keep the nozzle clean. You may have already noticed that the nozzle’s hole is much more delicate. While you’re working, this nozzle will get dirty over time. Keep the nozzle tidy and clean to prevent any accidents or avoid a lousy welding experience.
8. Tools for Measuring
A beginner welder should always have with him gadgets for measuring things. For this, you have to have at least these three things. They are a try square, a steel tape, and a scale and weld gauge.
The first one is used by almost everyone to either mark or take an accurate measurement of any material surface. As for the steel tape, it is useful for taking measurements of a larger workpiece. It also has a spring mechanism that rolls in the tape automatically. We all had a fun time with this when we were young.
The last one has two purposes as its name suggests. You can use the scale to measure the size of the welding job. On the other hand, if you want to measure the depth of your job, you have to use the weld gauge.
I want to mention one other tool here and that’s called the punch tool. It is every welder’s friend. These pen-looking tools are used to mark spots that you’ll weld later on. Learning how to use this tool properly makes welding so much easier.
From the very beginning of learning this craft, you should be careful about your measurements. If your work is accurate then automatically, it’ll boost your morale and inspire you more. So, it may seem unnecessary at the beginning but having the proper measuring tools will help your welding jobs go all the way.
Tools to Weld
So far, you’ve met tools that don’t involve welding directly. You could address them as additional tools if you like. This segment focuses on the 4 main tools you’ll need to start welding. These four tools are a gas cylinder, gas regulator, welding torch, and hose pipe.
1. Gas Cylinder
We’ll discuss this point in detail since this is the heart and soul of the entire welding operation. Okay…so, naturally, a gas cylinder used in welding is like any other. They have the heavy-duty construction of thick steel sheets to safely store the high gas pressure.
Since oxygen and acetylene gases are used for most welding jobs, we’ll discuss them below. Mind you, they come in separate cylinders. So, yes…you’ll have to get two to get started.
When it comes to welding, pure oxygen is used. However, there is some basic information that every newbie welder should know. For instance, every gas, including oxygen, is measured in cubic feet. These cylinders are available in 3 different sizes such as 80, 122, and 244). They are kept at 70-degree Fahrenheit while the pressure remains at 2,220 psi.
Universally, oxygen cylinders are colored black to be easily identified. If you’re getting a bit worried about this stuff…don’t worry, mate, for the pure oxygen, doesn’t burn or explode. It simply works as an accelerator that helps other gases to burn hotter, faster, and even at a lower temperature.
One more thing about the oxygen cylinder is that their fittings are right-handed/ clockwise. Remember, these things might seem like a drag, but slowly, they’ll become like second nature to you.
The first important thing about acetylene gas is that they are dissolved in a solvent. So, if they were to be stored as compressed gas in cylinders…well, let’s just say the outcome would be a little close to Armageddon.
That’s why in a cylinder, acetylene is stored in liquid form. Not only is this safe, but also, in this way, it becomes possible to store it in greater quantities at a lower pressure. On the other hand, the temperature is the same as the oxygen gas; however, it is kept at about 250 psi.
Remember the color of the oxygen gas cylinder? It was black, right? Well, this one comes in a maroon-colored robust steel cylinder. And the valve rotates counter clock-wise for tightening.
Since this gas is lighter than air, you have to use it in areas that have sound ventilation systems. Also, you should be able to detect it in a flash. Speaking of which, acetylene has a distinct, garlic-like smell. So, seeing it is pretty straightforward.
There’s one more thing that you should be extra careful of. That is, check if the cylinder is transported to you horizontally. Usually, they are not. But just in case, do check it.
If the answer is positive, place it vertically for at least 12 hours before use. After that, you must let the acetone to re-settle within the cylinder.
It could be hard to estimate how much gas you need for your work as a beginner welder. Here’s a helpful chart from weldguru.com that’ll ensure you don’t run out of gas while welding.
|Flow rate||Tank size (40 cf)||Tank size (80 cf)||Tank size (125 cf)|
|10 cfh||4.0 hrs||5.3 hrs||12.5 hrs|
|15 cfh||2.7 hrs||4.0 hrs||8.3 hrs|
|20 cfh||2.0 hrs||4.0 hrs||6.3 hrs|
|30 cfh||1.3 hrs||2.7 hrs||4.2 hrs|
|40 cfh||1.0 hrs||2.0 hrs||3.1 hrs|
2. Gas Regulator
Both oxygen and Acetylene gases must go through the gas regulator to the welding torch. So, yes…it’s a big deal. Basically, a gas regulator has twofold functions. One is to maintain a stable low-pressure when you’re welding. And the Second one is to supply the gases at that low pressure.
Now, as a beginner, you’ll only need to get acquainted with two kinds of gas regulators. They are known as single-stage and double-stage regulators. What are they? Let’s find out.
Single stage regulator
Simply put, a single-stage regulator lowers the cylinder pressure to an adjustable pressure output. Compared with double-stage or multi-stage regulators, this is relatively cheap and can be used in high-output jobs.
A single-stage regulator has several parts. It has a diaphragm, control valve, the main body, spring, pressure gauge, and a pressure-adjusting screw. Here’s a video explaining its mechanisms perfectly.
Just imagine having two single-stage regulators in one, and you’ll have what is known as a double-stage regulator. So, naturally, it has two different gas chambers, two springs, and two diaphragms.
In short, the first stage of this regulator simply lowers the cylinder pressure to just about 10 bar. Then the second stage helps the welder decide what output pressure he/she wants.
More about regulators
Let’s just assume you’re curious to know more. Well, in that case, let me introduce to you three more welding regulators. They are flowmeter regulator, Dual-flowmeter regulator, and flow-gauge regulator.
They all have different bells and whistles of their own. But in principle, they all give the welders more control over gas outlet pressure and flow.
3. Welding Torch
Oxy-fuel welding fuses an open flame with gas fuel and oxygen to weld metals. It has a slightly long metal body that bends at the end. This bend is necessary to aim your torch correctly at the correct position.
This metal body has two different compartments or pipes. One carries gas fuel and the other oxygen. The main metal stem is connected to the cylinder by hoses. And you can adjust it by manipulating the knobs of the regulators.
The most common type of welding torch is the MIG. You know already that it uses oxygen, gas, and fire created from any kind of spark-lighter. The TIG torch is also used quite as often as the MIG torch.
The most apparent difference is that the TIG torches use tungsten electrodes to weld metals. As a result, using these types of torches significantly minimizes the splatter created from hot metals.
It carries the gas from the regulator to the torch safely. However, this simple yet one of the most essential welding tools is not appreciated that much. Rather than using and handling it safely, people tend to drag it through almost anything.
A beginner welder should concentrate on two primary grades of welding hose for acetylene. One is called Grade R Hose, and the other is Grade RM Hose. These are both for acetylene only.
However, the main difference between these two is that the first cover and tube aren’t flame/oil resistant while the second one’s cover is. And as for the tube, it’s as same as the Grade R hose.
Now, there’s another type of hose known as Grade T. You should use it if your fuel gas isn’t acetylene. Both grade T’s tube and the covers are flame and oil-resistant. On top of that, the grade T hose comes with a self-extinguishing tube and a high-quality cover that keeps it secure in harsh working conditions.
Tools that Ensure Your Safety
Okay, we are almost at the end. So far, we’ve discussed the tools you’ll need to weld. Now, it’s time to turn our attention to you and your safety. You’ll at least need 7 things that’ll keep you safe and sound while welding.
1. A Good Pair of Welding Gloves
Here’s an idea: don’t be macho when welding. A lot of beginners make the mistake of working barehanded. Instead, get a decent pair of gloves for a safer welding experience. Get one that is insulated and heat resistant. Make sure it covers your hands and wrists and offers an excellent grip.
There is a wide variety of gloves, especially for welders. You can check this website if you don’t have enough time to browse through them. Here you’ll see some decent welding gloves that’ll keep your hands safe from all the humdrum of welding.
2. Helmet that Protects the Eye as well
I don’t think I need to waste that many words to describe how important it is to protect your face, right? Now, I’ve seen people going about their welding with a pair of safety goggles. But, honestly, I don’t think it’s safe enough.
Welding is a challenging and risky job if you aren’t prepared well. Anything can go sideways while you’re welding. A good helmet will protect your face from all kinds of hot slag, sparks, bright light, flying debris, and even radiation.
3. Jacket to Shield you from Heat
You could get away with a decent apron. Still, I recommend a heat-resistant jacket, whether a pro or a beginner. A jacket will offer you more comfort, knowing you’re absolutely safe from all the debris since you’d be working close.
Especially as a beginner, you’d want to feel safe around such extreme work conditions. That way, you’ll be able to concentrate solely on your welding rather than worrying about your safety. So, what are the things you should look for in a jacket?
First, make sure the fabric is flame-retardant and covers the entirety of your torso and hands. It shouldn’t be too large, for it could get in the way when you have to bend over or sit. Next, you want to use tape to close the pockets. Trust me, you don’t want anything to make its way into your pockets.
4. Pants for the Protection of the Legs
While welding, you don’t want any hot metal debris caught in your pants. To solve this problem, call the ones that have no cuffs.
It might be challenging to find them since all pants have cuffs. Don’t worry…you can take care of that in minutes by simply unhemming them. One more thing is the size. Make sure your pants cover even the shoe ankles.
5. Welding Respirator
They are not for looking cool only. I’ve seen a lot of indifference towards this thing. If you’re looking to prolong your career in the welding sector, get one straightaway in the beginning.
A lot of gases used in welding can easily penetrate your lungs. So, don’t take any chances here, mate, and get yourself a decent respirator to avoid any long-term damage.
6. Welding Boots
Trust me, trust me, a proper pair of welding boots will save you from many accidents. This profession often requires one to work with an open flame or sometimes even live current. Welding shoes will ground you and keep you safe from any accidental burns.
Okay… so your welding boots should have some criteria to fulfill. For starters, the leather has to be fire-retardant. As for the soul, make sure it’s made of rubber and has a steel plate above it. And finally, make sure it has nice grips as well.
So, these are things you need to keep yourself safe and sound while you’re welding. But don’t underestimate the chances of going things sideways while you’re meddling with flames and hot metals. Therefore, get the proper gadget to be fully prepared to take on welding.
The most proper way to learn a craft is by having all the right tools. Knowing everything about the tools is part of learning the whole craft, right? So, don’t be intimidated by the seemingly long list of devices, mate. The first category of tools can be stored in a hand-carry toolbox!
They are the ones that’ll help you with the whole process of welding other than welding itself. You’ll need essential tools like gas cylinders, welding torches, regulators, and a hose pipe. I would recommend studying them a bit more to get a clearer idea.
Since welding requires a lot of precision and perseverance, the right tools will help you master it quickly. I hope this article helps you in your future endeavors and wish you all the best.