If you're about to undertake the challenge of learning to weld so that you can pursue welding as a career or an additional service offered by your business, then one of the first things you'll need to do is accumulate the right equipment. Here's a look at the basics that you should have on hand as you begin to learn the skill of welding.
The most important tool of the trade is the actual welder. The type of welder you need depends on what you plan to do with it.
Talk to your instructor to determine which type of welder is best for you. He or she probably uses a specific type of welder and may prefer that you use the same type for ease of teaching.
The electrode is the apparatus through which the current travels in order to fuse together the two pieces of metal. There are many different types of electrodes, each of which is suited to a different type of welder. When you purchase your welder, ask the salesperson to recommend the electrode that works best with it.
You will need a collection of clamps to hold your two pieces of metal together as you weld them. A lot of beginner welders do not buy nearly enough clamps, and then they find themselves having to run out to buy extras the first time they land a larger project. Save yourself some time and buy a complete set of clamps right now. Having about 10 - 15 clamps of various sizes is sufficient.
Never, ever attempt to weld in gloves that are not made specifically for welding. They may look the same on the outside, but they might not be made from the most heat-resistant leather, which may cause injuries. Deerskin gloves are often considered to be top-of-the-line in terms of welding gloves. Since your safety is at hand here, it's wise to go with deerskin for the extra protection it offers when compared to standard, full-grain leather.
The helmet does not just protect your face from sparks. It also protects your eyes from the light of the arc. Look for an auto-darkening helmet, which will allow you to see clearly when you're preparing to weld, but will then immediately darken when exposed to the UV light in the welding arc, protecting your eyes. If you purchase a helmet with a flip-down darkening visor, you'll have to remember to flip down the visor before you start welding -- and this can be a challenge for beginners who don't yet have a welding routine.
Leather Protective Clothing
A full set of leather protective clothing will prevent the sparks from damaging your skin. Some leather over-pants and a long-sleeve leather shirt or jacket are sufficient. Some welders prefer to wear bib overalls instead; this is just a matter of style preference.
When you have the items above in your arsenal, you're ready to begin welding safely. Talk with your instructor before your first lesson to see if there are any other items he or she recommends. You can find the welding supplies you need at a company like Northland Fastening Systems.
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