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Top Tips for Beginner Welders

Welding is a skill that can prove immensely helpful in the construction and mechanical trades, but it can also be a valuable skill to have for domestic use. Even as a hobbyist, taking up welding means you’ll be able to fix older cars, build fire pits, and even garage storage. At Adams Gas, we pride ourselves in being one of the best online bottle gas suppliers across the UK, providing gas to professional and hobbyist welders alike. So if you’re interested in taking up welding, this blog will help you with the basics and get you started on your journey into the world of metal works.

beginner welder

What is Welding?

Welding is the process of bonding two pieces of metal together by using molten metal. The process can be straightforward, but only with the proper knowledge, safety equipment and tools. There are many different types of welding; however, the three common processes used within the industry are:

  • Stick Welding
  • MIG Welding
  • TIG Welding

There are three essential elements to welding, a heat source, filler metal and your shielding gas or flux. Each of these is used differently depending on the method you choose to use.

What is MIG Welding?

MIG Welding is often the cleanest process for welders. This is because all the components can be set up beforehand, and the method creates minimal mess compared to other welding processes.

This process is suitable for both thick sheet and thin sheet welding. It works by feeding the filler material through a copper contact tube, using it as the heat source and the filler. The heat is protected by MIG Welding Gas (shielding gas) to keep the heat concentrated and prevent contamination on the joint as you move with the welding gun. Many different gases can be used in MIG welding; however, the CO2 argon mix is arguably the most popular.

What is Stick Welding?

Stick welding has the advantage of being the most universal of the processes. It doesn’t pose a risk of contamination and is the easiest to learn.

Stick welding works by using rod-shaped metal electrodes covered with a flux material. An electric current will flow through the rod to create an arc between the electrode and the workpiece, enabling the rod and the metal piece to bond together.

This results in gases being released, which form a protective covering over the joint called slag. It helps to shape the weld whilst protecting it, but must be removed once it is cooled.

While this process is the easiest to learn and one of the quieter welding methods (making it great for those with neighbours), it takes much longer than the other methods and creates a lot of smoke.

welding in factory

What Is TIG Welding?

TIG welding uses a tungsten electrode with a very high melting point. The electrode gets hot but does not melt with this method, making it non-consumable. TIG works by melting the base metals, the two pieces you are looking to bond. With this method, you can work with or without filler metal. If choosing to use a filler, you want to make sure you use a compatible alloy to your base metal, as there are many things to consider when welding dissimilar metals.

Like MIG welding, this process uses TIG welding gas (shielding gas) to protect the weld from contamination like water particles or anything else that could be airborne. Contamination could ruin your work with the potential to make the metal react. The predominant shielding gas for TIG welding is pure argon gas.

What Safety Equipment Would You Need for Welding?

It doesn’t matter which process you decide to use; protecting yourself is of the highest priority when it comes to welding. Working with gases, heat, and molten metal requires the right welding safety equipment to carry out the job safely.

Gloves, glasses and helmets are also a must on your safety equipment list. You can find a large variety of equipment from our online store.

Before using any equipment, you must read the instruction manuals. This will help you use the machinery correctly instruct on maintaining the equipment for future use without posing a danger or risk to yourself or your surroundings.

You will need to ensure you wear long-sleeved fire-resistant clothing. Steel toe-capped boots are also advised as they can protect you from hot and heavy metals if you were to drop a workpiece on your foot accidentally.

Ventilation is also a crucial main concern. There will be fumes from the metal and gases, so making sure your area is well vented is a must. If you are outdoors, you may not need to worry, but you may want to invest in an extraction unit if you are welding indoors.

welding safety equipment

Practice Makes Perfect

Like with most skills, the more you practice, the better you will get. It’s recommended that beginners practise three times a week to hone in on their ability to weld cleanly and with proficiency. Try practising on scrap metal before even attempting to weld your new project. This way, you will get a feel for the machinery and ensure you don’t ruin whatever project you plan to start.

Like most skills, practice makes perfect, and the more welding you do, the cleaner and neater your welds will become with time.

For any advice on buying the correct shielding gas or any safety equipment you may need, please feel free to get in touch and speak to the team at Adams Gas.