Having a welder is the start of any project whether it is a DIY project or a welding project in the workshop. All the same without welding equipment you won’t get far as there is plenty of welding gear needed to assist in the welding process and the big one, welding safety.
In this article, we will cover the welding equipment required as a must-have plus the welding gear that can assist us. The goal is to make working on a project easier, and safer and to keep the job neat and tidy without excessive cleanup.
Without a Welding Hood or mask you won’t get far welding and you will cause serious damage to your eyes. Welding hoods come in various shapes and forms. Most common these days would be auto-darkening welding hoods. These enable the user to view the project being welded through the mask. Once an arc is struck the hood lens automatically darkens to the desired welding shade.
Auto tint welding hoods are the standard today and can be found in many different styles, paint finishes, and materials. Look for those with quality auto-darkening lenses.
Pancake welding hoods
These are different styles of welding hoods. These are small and light hoods that can prevent any reflection that may occur if a welder is close to a reflective wall. Reflection can be a problem of unwanted arc light coming back inside a hood. There is also danger from reflective rays from the back and without the protection of the neck head area you can get seriously arc burnt.
Pancake hoods have a shield on one side only, left or right, with the headgear made from balsa wood so they are extremely light. Popular with pipe and pipeline welders as the welder is normally exposed to the weld area on one side only. The reason being is that the pipe welding procedure is started from the bottom of the pipe and worked up to the top. Hence the welder’s head is tilted to the welder’s preferred side, either left or right.
Hard hat welding hoods
Hard hat welding hoods are just that, welding hoods that have a hard hat head protector. These can be bought as a specific welding hood and a hard hat or you can buy just the headgear attachment for your original welding hood. For me, these are essential if you are welding on-site or out in a construction zone.
Welding Exhaust Hoods
Welding and engineering workshops are smoky and full of grinding dust. For environments such as this really is where exhaust hoods come into their own. Welding fume hoods are sealed similarly to the way that sandblasting headgear operates. In this sealed environment, fresh air is pumped through into the helmet giving the welding operator clean fresh air.
The welding fume hood gets the fresh air from an air filtering unit that attaches to the welder’s belt, generally around the waist. The air is then pumped up into the sealed welding hood.
Welding Wire and Electrodes
Welding wire comes in various forms. The most popular used would be with Mig Welding machines that use welding wire on a spool. This type of welding wire comes in a spool of various sizes that suit the welder being used. Mig welding wire is available in steel, stainless steel, and aluminum.
Next, we have Tig welding wire that is produced in a set length that is used as a filler wire in the MIG welding process. Other welding wires include steel wire and bronze braising wire for oxy-acetylene welding and braizing.
Mig welding wire. Used in wire feed welders, and can be either plain steel wire, flux core welding wire, aluminum welding wire or stainless steel welding wire. Welding wire types include plain wires, mostly steel, aluminum, and stainless steel, which require a shielding gas to protect the weld from air contamination.
The flux-cored wires, only available for steel, contain a flux core that shields the weld in a way that flux-coated electrodes would. Each method has advantages and disadvantages. Flux-cored wires are excellent for welding galvanized steel and welding in windy conditions where breezes may remove gas from the weld area. Requires wire brushing or grinding to remove flux residue. Gas shielded welding wires often give a better weld appearance and require little or no cleanup.
Types of Stick Welding Electrodes
While mostly replaced by MIG welding in production work welding electrodes or stick welding is still commonplace. Arc welders or stick welders use individual flux-coated electrodes. Common with field maintenance but also specialized welding, specifically in industry.
This includes hard facing of heavy machine components, cutting blades, grader blades and buckets, and much more. Also used in pipe welding. This is a very specialized process that may require two or more specialized electrodes in just one weld.
Protective Clothing and Glasses
Welding Hood Lenses
There is a different shade of welding hood lenses required for various types of welding. Tig welding, for example, requires a darker shade lens as the welding arc is much brighter than a Mig or Arc welder. Most better quality automatic welding shades are fully adjustable so that the operator is always protected from the arc being too bright. Use the following table is a guide to which welding hood lens is suited to what type of welding.
|Suggested Lens Shade
|Torch Brazing / Soldering
|3 & 2
have ever been welding with inadequate footwear, you probably know what it’s like to get hot slag or a molten spark down the side of your boot. I can tell you now it’s not fun. You simply have to let it burn through your sock as you can’t get your boot off quickly enough!
Get some proper welding boots. I find the best welder boots are high-cut boots so your welding pants cover the top. This will prevent hot stuff from entering your boot.
Next, I would recommend a metatarsal guard, this is added protection in a lot of ways including falling hot sparks and other things that can cause damage to your foot. Obviously having steel-toed boots is a must as is having them made from quality leather. You can buy just the guard on its own as an accessory so you can use them when needed.
Welding Pants and Jackets
Depending on the work environment welding pants usually only require heavy-duty denim. However, in areas where there are a lot of sparks and hot metal flying about leather welding pants are a must. Another option for welding pants is to use a leather apron. I find these are particularly good in a general workshop environment.
Welding jackets again depends on the type of welding being done. They can be hot to wear in a temperate climate but if the welding produces lots of sparks they sure are worth it. These are a must-have for pipe welding and those doing overhead welds.
Welding Caps and Hood Liners
the hair on your head if you have some, the sizzle of burning hair ain’t what you need to experience. A welding cap or helmet liner worn under your welding mask is a must as far as I am concerned.
There are mainly two types of welding gloves, heavy-duty long cuff, and light-duty Tig welders gloves. Long cuff heavy-duty gloves are mostly for day-to-day welding and the handling of hot metals. Generally made from heavy leather.
Tig welders gloves, on the other hand, are much lighter and short gloves similar to a riggers glove. Tig welding is a more precise process and requires the operator to have better control and use of the fingers.