Whoever said that learning how to weld will be fun and easy wasn’t in the right mind. There is a lot of techniques involved that you have to demonstrate correctly or else the metal you are welding may have defects on it. You will also be exposing yourself to heat, ultraviolet rays and radiation, and you will also most probably be staying still on a single position for extended periods of time. This could cause back sores, neck sores, and a lot more. That’s why before you get into welding, you should first make sure that you are comfortable. This includes the safety gears that you will be using. The helmet you choose, whether it’s a passive or an automatic darkening helmet depending on your choice, should not be too heavy. You see, if it’s too heavy, you will feel that it’s weight will double because your muscles are already a bit worn out trying to support the weight. As time passes by, your neck and upper back muscles will start to sore and ache. This could affect the quality of your work. Also the gloves that you will be choosing – the process of choosing should be based on what time of metal you will be welding – should be the perfect fit. It shouldn’t be too tight or too lost that it keeps sliding off your hand, and would most likely get in the way of your welding. Next on the safety gear, is the sleeves. When buying a sleeve, remember this:
- Fits correctly
- Not flammable
- Has some kind of cooling effect
I believe using a clean pair of jeans is fine. The shoes that you will be using is equally important too, even if it’s your lower extremity. There may be instances that something heavy will fall directly on top of your foot and can cause injury. Having the perfect steel toe boots will insure that no matter what accidentally drops on top of your feet will not cause any serious or mild injuries. In safety gears, the word PROTECTION and COMFORT should be able to perfectly blend well together. You should remember these two if you are shopping for new equipment.
It also wouldn’t hurt anybody if you take time to check the metal you are about to weld. If you see any dust clinging to it, or rust, take time to remove them before you begin to weld them. These may seem harmless, but in reality, these two could have some effects on the quality of the finished product. Next thing you should do is to check the wiring and tubes. Make sure that nothing is leaking and that there is enough ventilation in the room. After this, I can say that it’s safe to begin welding.
Don’t rush when welding, okay? Keep a constant speed that is not too slow and not too fast at the same time. If you notice that there are now gaps on your weld. Of course, you can not just abandon these gaps and just go on ignoring them. You have to do something that will fill them in, and make them disappear. The gaps may be large or small, but whatever the size is, you will fill them in. So what do you do? There may be times where you will have to break between two sections of metal. However, if you can’t find a suitable piece of metal to use to use as a patch, you may have to fill the gap with a weld.
Don’t get discouraged though! It is actually much easier to fill in gaps with a weld than when you compare it to trying to look for a suitable piece of metal. You will be using the logic you have acquired during your welding experience. If for example the gap is about six inches long. So in your hands, you hold two pieces of similar metal. What you will want to do is to fill this gap with the use of the material you want to burn in on each piece of metal as you lay in the filler. You will do some kind of stitching to it with the use of a small puddle that will form. You can choose between using the horse shoe motion or a circular motion type. Most experienced welders recommend the horseshoe motion though since it is able to build up more metal along the side walls, which can effectively close the gap with each new pass of your “horseshoe” weld.
You have to cover up the gap in a way that it doesn’t look like it’s obviously just covered. It should also be able to blend in with what the original looks like. If the piece of metal you are hold is a bit thicker, and you have a feeling that it will bulge out, you can start the weld at a upper portion, let the heat build up first, and watch as a puddle forms. The puddle will flow down to the gap, then if it seems okay, quickly move away. You don’t want to expose the metal to too much heat and create another gap or hole that you have to cover again. You have to take breaks between filling the gaps. The longer break the better, since that also means a longer cooling time for the material.
I admit that the end product of this filling in the gap may not be pretty to look at, since there’s not a blemish but you can choose to use a hand-held grinder that can shape your weld and clean-up the metal nicely. You should expect that your finished product will be smooth and seamless.
Don’t worry if you can’t get it right on the first few tries! No one is an expert at anything at the beginning! You will just have to keep on practicing and studying about welding. There’s so much to learn about welding so you will never run out of pages to read. If this article has helped you, don’t hesitate to tell your family, workmates, and friends all about it.