Welding is the process of joining together metal pieces or parts by heating them to the point of melting them by using a blow torch, electric arc, and other means. Then the next thing you should do would be to unite them by hammering them together. In other words, it is making a strong bond between two or more parts. Keep in mind that this process of joining together is permanent, as long as you don’t try to purposely tear the bond apart. There are several ways to weld, and there are different materials that welders are using. You will get to work with different types or metals, alloys, and materials. You will be heating, melting, and joining them all together.
So if you are interested in doing that, here are some ways that you should definitely consider doing to get you started.
Of course to begin, you will need to prepare the equipment you will be needing. You will be needing a welding machine, electrode holder with lead, ground clamp with lead, electrodes, and the metal that you will be welding. If you need it, you can also add a chipping hammer to your materials so that you will be able to easily get rid of the slag and a wire brush to clean the welds quickly. If you aren’t aware, getting into welding will put you at a lot of risky situations. You should be prepared to prevent anything bad from happening to you. Before working, always make sure that your safety gear is complete. And what composes this said safety gear?
- A helmet. You can choose between a passive helmet, meaning it has a fixed shade already, or an automatic darkening or automatic shade helmet, which adjusts to the according to the environment. Personally, I’d recommend the automatic one. It’s just easier and it won’t cause you too much neck strain. The safety gear also includes the welding jacket or a cotton sweatshirt, pants, work boots, gloves to protect you hands, and safety glass if you want. I think that the welding helmet would be enough already though.It isn’t really advisable for you to wear tennis shoes in case a stray spark decides to land on your shoe and accidentally ignite it. Frayed clothes are also a no no. Sleeveless shirts are also a bad idea. You want to cover up vulnerable parts of your body in case stray sparks land in them and burn your skin.
The next thing you should turn your attention to would be the area you will be welding in. Since you are using fire and electricity, it is only reasonable that you remove flammable material and find a flat good surface that you can weld on. You have to have a ground connection. If you are working in an open area, be sure to put up welding curtains so you would be able to protect other people from UV rays.
You have to be familiar with the machine that you are going to use. Don’t worry, most welding machines are fairly straight forward. Most likely you will be using an amperage of around 90-120 amps, though this could also be adjust based on the metal thickness and electrode diameter. Speaking of electrode, it is quite important that you are using the correct electrode for the task. DCEP or direct current electrode positive will be the one to set the arc to go from the metal to the electrode, which will then heat the metal core. DCEN or direct current electrode negative will produce the reverse effect. You should be able to select the electrode appropriate for the AC or DC welding, which will depend on the machine that you are using. Also, be sure to check if the electrodes are dry before you use them.
Clean the metal you will be welding before you begin to weld it. You don’t have to wash it; brushing it with a wire brush or a grinder will be just fine. Make sure that you remove rush and paint from the metal as much as you can. I think it’s allows to use acetone to make it easier for you to clean oils off the metal, especially when it comes to aluminum. It is discouraged to use a chlorinated solvent because this will produce a reaction when heated and can kill you immediately. Please do not forget about this.
Do not use a chlorinated solvent.
Now after you have done all of this, you can now begin welding. Of course, I believe that the easiest way to learn how to weld would be to have someone who is an expert already in welding to guide you. I’m not saying that it isn’t possible to learn how to weld by yourself, but that it is much better to have someone experienced with you just in case something happens.
Okay, so you should first strike a welding arc. You can accomplish this by tapping the metal and quickly pulling it up or striking it like a match. By doing this, you are completing the circuit and pulling away, this can cause the electricity to jump from the electrode to the metal.
Your next focus should then be on the building up of a weld pool. After a short while, you should be able to maintain or hold an arc, move your attention away from the electrode and instead focus on the pool of molten metal. A piece of advice, you should stay where you started for a second or two before you move to another position. You have to move slowly across the metal. Be sure to guide the electrode at an angle of 90 degrees. Remember to do this slowly. In doing this, make sure that you will be able to maintain a constant arc length, or simply put, maintain the distance from the tip of the electrode to the metal. For a first timer, this may be a bit hard since you aren’t really used to it yet, but I believe that as time goes by you will be doing just fine. If you are finished, pull the electrode away from the metal and then leave it alone for a few seconds or even minutes to cool down.Be careful not to touch the metal because it will be hot.
After minutes have passed, you can now grab your chipping hammer to get rid of the slags that have formed. What are slags? When someone says slag, they usually refer to the residue that is left on the metal during the welding process. Be sure to put on your safety glass or if you want your helmet, just protect your eyes. You will be breaking the slag with the chipping hammer. You may then use the wire brush to clean the mess up.
Look at your work. Are you satisfied? Welding is not to be rushed. Make sure to allot time for the metal to cool down. You can dip it in water so it can cool down faster. However, cooling in water will somehow cause the metal to be a bit brittle, so it is always advisable to dry it by air.
Hopefully, this article has been helpful to you! Happy welding!