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A lot of people can be overwhelmed with the number of tools available to them when they are looking at getting started with welding. Here we have a focus on keeping things simple and we have put together what we consider to be the top 5 welding tools to get started.
The first thing that it is important to focus on is safety. Welding can a very dangerous job or hobby and it is important that you start your welding tool collection with the appropriate safety gear. That is why the first 5 welding tools are to ensure that you are adequately protected.
Safety Glasses for Welding
Safety glasses are predominately worn whilst you are angle grinding and other similar tasks. This prevents any debris or flying sparks form hitting your eyes which can be extremely painful and damaging. We recommend that the glasses have a non-tinted clear lens for the best visibility. You can also use a grinding face shield but this does tend to be a bit more expensive.
Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet
There are a few options when it comes to welding helmets. The 2 main options are a fixed shade helmet or the auto-darkening option. We strongly recommend that you pay a bit more money on this one and get the Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet. These helmets allow you to easily see your work-piece before and during a weld which makes for more accuracy.
As a welding helmet is one of the most important pieces of equipment that you can have for getting started you may want to read up on the benefits of both fixed shade helmets and auto-darkening helmets (1,2).
There are two main options when it comes to protecting your hands, these are;
– Gauntlet cuff gloves. The gauntlet gloves are for MIG welding and provide free wrist movement and have very firm finger pockets.
– TIG welding gloves. These gloves are thinner but are made of a more flexible fabric that are made of a heat resistant material.
If you are just getting started, we recommend that you get gloves that as thick as possible to make sure that you have some extra protection.
Welding Jackets and Shirts
Welding jackets and shirts are designed to offer welders adequate protection on their upper bodies. Welding shirts are usually built with flame-resistant or heat-resistant features. These welding shirts aim to make it as comfortable as possible to work in with some even feature air vents for increased airflow. There is a wide range of options available to you here. We think a mid-range option will do the job for getting started.
Welding can be a very loud process. Long term exposure can cause hearing difficulty and can lead to problems such as industrial deafness. A good pair of ear plugs or ear muffs can not only protect you from long term damage it also helps to drown out external noise which will help you to maintain focus while you work.
Personally, I believe that ear plugs are often overlooked and perhaps not taken seriously enough. I have an Uncle that was an industrial welder and now suffers from Industrial deafness which is why I take it so seriously and believe that you should to (3).
Now that we have had a look at the essential safety equipment we will explore a bonus 5 most useful tools of the trade when it comes to performing welds. A lot of these tools are inexpensive but choosing a mid to high range tool can often ensure the longevity of the tool and make the job faster and easier.
As the name suggests a chipping hammer is used to chip away any welder spatter from welds. When you are stick welding or using flux core wire you will need the hammer to chip away at the ‘slag’ coating so that you can reveal the weld that is underneath.
Metal Wire Brush
A metal wire brush is used for cleaning off the debris before, after and between each pass to avoid contamination of the weld. It is also used for when you are you are stick welding or using flux core wire, this process will create slag. You can use your metal wire brush in conjunction with your chipping hammer to clean the slag coating and show the weld underneath.
Pliers and particularly MIG pliers are a very essential component of every welder’s tool kit. They are extremely easy to use and have a wide range of functions. Some of the many there uses include;
Removal of the hot nozzle
Cutting off burned wire before starting a new bead
Clipping and trimming your wire
Cleaning spatters out of the gun nozzle
Removing the gun gas diffuser
Propping up a piece to hold it in place for welding
Although there are other markers that can be used to mark your workpiece, we recommend using soapstone. This acts like a chalk that is perfect for marking metal. It stands out on all metals surfaces and will withstand the high heat of welding and cutting torches.
C clamps are a tool that are often overlooked. Having your work tightly fastened will help you to work safely as well as to help you to create a perfectly finished and straight project.
We recommend that you have a variety of different sized C clamps which we think make the best welding clamps.
Although Getting started out with welding can be a daunting task it is important to focus on safety first. We believe that you should invest in some reasonable quality protective gear as your health and safety is priceless. There is no need to spend a fortune when you are getting started. Once you have the basics you can build up your welding tool collection over time. As you gain more experience you will also have a better idea of what tools are important for the type of work-pieces that you are creating.
Click here for more information on the best MIG welder for home use.