Welding, to most people, sounds like a very tough job to master, something limited to industrial workers or builders. But there are so many types of welding, some designed specifically for ease of use that made it no worry at all anymore.
If you are just starting with this process, or want to do some simple, lightweight work, automotive welding is just right for you. You don’t want to delve into more complex techniques until you have tried your hand at this more straightforward, more natural method.
This is the type of welding you can do right at home, especially if you are just looking to repair some parts of your car, gate, or any metal object. Rusted metal can be welded to give a fresh, new look. Plus, you can even make some small metallic objects as a hobby.
Normally, for this kind of work, sheet metal is used, which is very thin and light. Not all types of welding are right for sheet metal, as it calls for milder work. MIG welding is the best bet for you in this case, and it just happens to be the easiest type of automotive welding out there.
Why Weld at Home?
You may be thinking that welding is too much of a hassle and you’re better off paying someone else to do the hard work. Yes, of course, that is an option. If, say, your car parts are rusted or worn out, you can take it over to a mechanic, and they would either change it or repair the damage.
But would it not be better if you could do the same work at home, spending lessf money and saving time? Maybe, if you can weld, you won’t even have to change the parts of your metal objects.
Plus, best of all, you will have the guarantee that the work being done is quite precise because of course, you will take better care of your possessions than anyone else.
Now, welding will require you to buy a few tools, set up a suitable place to work and learn some technical details. But if you count these as investments, which they are, you’ll see that it is the better option.
If you have the equipment, you can use them for other jobs as well, not just repair work. And you won’t have to keep running to a mechanic!
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Types of Welding You Can Try
There are a few different types of automotive welding that can be suitable for a beginner. You will, of course, want something that is user-friendly but produces a reasonably good finish.
So, here are three types of welding you can try out:
1. Shielded Metal Arc Welding
Known informally as Stick Welding, this process is one of the most popular among welders. However, you may not always get such a precise result with this. For one, it does spatter quite a bit, which is not too ideal, because the clean-up afterward is a hassle.
This is used mainly for construction work and in industries, so if you are interested in that, stick welding could be just your thing. However, it is a bit complex of a process, as you will have to add in an extra filler metal.
The complexity comes in because this method calls for the use of two hands, one for the welder, the other for holding and adding the filler rod. This will require more precision; plus, doing two different things with either hand may be a bit of a challenge for a beginner.
2. MIG Welding
This is measured as the easiest welding process of the three. It is also the most suitable for sheet metal work if that is all you want to stick to. I’ll be honest, there are few types of welding you will find, which are as user-friendly as this one. It is the perfect method to try at home.
MIG or Metal Inert Gas Welding uses inert gases, namely, carbon dioxide and argon to create a protected, optimum environment for the weld to occur. For this reason and many more, the resulting weld is quite precise and perfect. There is also minimal spatter, and it’s a process suitable for a variety of metals.
While the other two types of welding use handheld filler metals, MIG has a better setup for it. The filler metal comes in the form of metal wires, which you can feed into the base material using welding guns. So, you will only need to use one hand for the whole technique.
You also get a variety of wires in different diameters, which you may choose from depending on the work you do. This option, of course, helps with the precision of your work. You can go for MIG welding machines, which comes with an array of different settings and options so that you can customize it perfectly to your needs.
Given everything this particular type of welding has to offer, it is safe to say, MIG welding is the easiest to learn and work with. As it is perfect for repair and light work, as a beginner, you could go far with this method. And since it is very versatile, you can even stick to it for a lot of your work.
3. TIG Welding
TIG stands for Tungsten Inert Gas Welding, which is a process loved by many welders. As the name suggests, it uses a tungsten metal electrode for its welding work. This process also requires a filler metal.
Unlike MIG welding, though, it does call for the use of two hands, one for the actual welder and the other for the filler rod. However, if you want a very precise weld, TIG is perfect for you! It produces the least amount of spatter, and yields beautifully made products.
This process uses shielding gases as well, which is quite common in welding. Every type of welding has to have some substances that are only introduced to maintain that optimal environment for the reactive metal you will work with.
A-List of Tools
One of the main worries for beginner welders is finding the right tools to work with. The fact that there are so many different types of welding means there will be various welding tools for different specifications. This is, of course, a daunting thought for many who don’t have all the necessary knowledge.
It is vital for a welder to pick out the perfect welding tools, as their quality and suitability determine the quality of the weld. Many welders will only work with some metals. There are different electrodes, filler rods and wires you can get according to the base metal. It is an area that needs much thought.
- A Welder
Let’s say you have gone for MIG welding since it is the perfect sort for any beginner welder. You will need a very good MIG welding machine, a variety of which are produced by many companies. With a little understanding of what you want, you can get the welder that agrees with you.
These machines come with various parts, and many of them are present, so you don’t have to worry about the voltage, temperature, and such things. You will find that these welders last you a long time and are smart investments.
- Filler Rods
Now, for stick and TIG welding, you will need to buy your filler rods according to the metal you are working on. It must be of a metal that is complementary to the base material. Especially, you will have to keep an eye on the melting points, as a big difference in them will create a bad weld.
As for MIG welding, you will be using wire fillers, and many MIG welders come with a stock of these wires. But you will have to get wires for further use, more specific ones that go with your needs.
As mentioned above, these wire electrodes come in an array of diameters, and even a 0.1mm difference can have the biggest effect. So it is important to know which wires are best for the metals you are working on.
- Shielding Gas
This is less of a tool and more of a necessary ingredient. Shielding gases are inert or nonreactive gases, which protect the air around the weld area and keep the metals from getting oxidized.
Argon is an inert gas while carbon dioxide is semi-inert. Together, they are used in varying ratios for welding projects. The usual ratio is 25% carbon dioxide and 75% argon gas. But, according to the weld materials, this can vary.
You must be thinking, this process uses so much heat, gases, metals, and equipment, it cannot be the safest out there. And you are right. Welding is quite a risky technique to go for, so as a beginner, you are advised to proceed with some welding safety precautions.
However, for the comfort and safety of the user, there are protective welding gears you must go for. These include lightweight leather gloves for protecting the hands from heat and spatter burns. Welders also wear protective jackets, which have high necks and long sleeves.
There is also a variety of masks and welding helmets out there, made specifically for welders. These have darkened glasses to see through, which prevent the bright UV light of the weld from causing “arc eye.”
As a welder, you should also know that it is vital you practice all your welding work in an airy, open space. The gases used and produced during this process can be very harmful to the human lungs if present for a long time in a concentrated form.
For many people, as easy as MIG welding is, going to the mechanic will be the better option. And that’s okay!
However, if you are interested in welding, you don’t have to just stick to boring old repair work. You can use this skill to create things! You can even make products enough to start a small business. Plus, it is always cool to be able to work with metal.
Welding may sound like a complex technique to perfect and master but believe me, if you put your mind to it and practice, you can go far. Just remember to collect enough data, so you know what you are doing since this is quite a vast field of work. But with time, anyone can become a good welder.