If you are an avid welder, or plan to be, then you will need to designate a room for all your welding tools you will eventually have. One of your bigger worries when you cross equipment for other hobbies like woodworking, will be to contain the hot sparks, slag, and other flammable elements that are naturally associated with welding.
It is also imperative that all welding fumes be properly exhausted and that enough ventilation is provided for safety purposes. Although welding can take place outside, many projects do not work well in an outdoor area. MIG (GMAW) and TIG welding (GTAW) require a shielding gas, so wind can be a nuisance and can lead to unsatisfactory projects. All of the arc welding processes should be done in a dry area to prevent shock.
In many areas, a cold climate can have a bad impact on the weld, since cold metals are irresponsive/stubborn when struck with electric arc. Essentially A heated garage is perfect for welding, whereas a basement is a poor choice due to the possibility of fire and explosion, and where there may be a lack of ventilation in or near any space.
If you have an HOA or landlord, check with their policies, as welding may be forbidden policy or lease. Remember that very small sparks and fragments of slag can scatter or be projected from a grinder or welder up to 40 feet from the source. If they land on a flammable or combustible material they may smolder, and under the right conditions they can ignite.
Always prepare for cutting, welding, and grinding operations with the proper protective welding curtains and remove all combustible material from the immediate area. Make sure to do a safety walk-check before and after welding to make sure the area is clear and that no material is smoldering. Make sure to never weld on wooden structures or even wooden structures covered with metal, as the heat may transfer from the metal through the wood, which can smolder for a long period of time before igniting.
SETTING UP THE WELDING SHOP
SHOP TOOLS & PLANS
Shop space with a concrete floor and cement block walls is ideal for welding. Good ventilation is also important.
Selecting tools for the welding shop can be a daunting task. The wish to buy cheap while expecting quality sometimes frustrates new welders. Invest as much as you can comfortably spend, and buy industrial grade equipment from a welding supplier. If this means spreading your purchases out over a long period of time, that is okay—you will be more successful and less frustrated in the end. Beware of buying used welding equipment online.
Some older machines may work great, and the price is usually right. But as newer models come out, finding consumable items such as electrode holders, GMAW liners, and repair parts can be challenging. Do your homework and research the availability of parts, consumables, and accessories for the machine before buying. Remember this is one of the largest investments you will make in your welding career. Now that you have a welder you can purchase power
An angle grinder, portable bandsaw, and a chop saw are very useful for cutting and preparing parts for
welding. A drill press and band saw can also be useful. As your welding skills and fabrication knowledge improve, Rec you can add specific metalworking equipment, including metal brakes and benders, tubing benders, and scroll benders for ornamental work. These pieces of equipment can range in price depending upon the name brand, size, and whether they are manually or hydraulically operated.
Recommended standard tools for a welding shop include:
(C) Ball peen hammer
(D) Framing square
(F) Center punches
(H) Measuring tape
(I) Magnetic square
(J) Cold chisel
(K) Circular saw
(M) Air compressor
(N) Angle grinder
(O) Angle pointer
(Q) Metal file
(S) Plasma cutter
(T) TIG stick welder
(V) MIG welder
Fume mitigation or extraction needs to be utilized throughout the workshop and if you have cubbies built make sure you get into each individual partition for added safety. An adjustable and malleable hood will help position right above the workpiece to extract the fumes. Gases such as carbon dioxide and argon should be extracted near the ground floor since they weigh more than air. Another area of extraction would be right the ceiling to remove those gases lighter than air. Vapor fumes would be extracted via downdraft tables during a plasma cutting session.
Take Your Time With Your Plans
Make sure to thoroughly navigate the plans(with an architect if needed) and custom design the shop to placate to your needs –you want to focus on logistics, functionality and efficiency. If you already have an established weld shop, always try and look to make improvements to it by piecemealing here and there until you are completely satisfied with the layout. When it is time to replace old equipment, make sure you are smart about it since this can significantly reduce energy costs, up the space and make it a more ergonomic and aesthetically pleasing since you will be spending a lot of your time in it.
Once you begin welding, you will encounter numerous opportunities to repair items. When your friends and neighbors discover you can do repairs, even more challenges will come your way. Performing weld repairs can be very tricky, even dangerous, if you are not sure of the type of material and what the part was used for.
When in doubt, bow out, especially on a vessel or drum where you are unsure of its previous contents. It is important to assess your welding skills, the difficulty of the repair, and the intended use of the repaired item. Any structural or vehicle
repairs, such as stairways, ladders, trailers, or chassis, need to meet the same safety standards as they did in the
Steps to Take
1. When considering a repair, first determine why the item broke or failed. If the failure was due to a poorly executed weld, the repair might be as simple as grinding out the welded area, tacking the area back together, and performing a satisfactory weld. But if a piece has broken due to metal fatigue, simply welding over the cracked area may only cause more cracks in different areas. Investigate and ask questions, and reach out to mentors with suggestions of how to properly repair the failed item.
2. In a repair is determining the base metal. A magnet will be attracted to metals with a fairly high concentration of iron, but stainless steel (which is sometimes nonmagnetic), mild steel, and cast iron each require very different welding techniques. Aluminum is nonmagnetic and is discernable from stainless steel by its light weight—but which alloy is included with the aluminum? Some aluminum alloys are not weldable. Unfortunately, many manufactured metal items arealloyed and may have been heat-treated. Without access to the manufacturer’s specifications, it is sometimesimpossible to determine the composition of the base metal. It is important to understand the effects of weldingon these materials before attempting a repair.
3. After determining the feasibility of a repair is to properly clean and prepare the area to be welded, removing all dirt, oil, and paint or finishes. If one of the arc welding processes is selected, you must also clean an area down to bare metal so the work clamp may beproperly secured. If the break is at a welded joint, you must also remove areas of the old weld bead to ensurecomplete penetration into the base metal. All parts need to be carefully prepared before attemptinga repair. Paint needs to be ground or sanded off and grease and oil need to be cleaned away. This cast ironpart is being beveled to allow greater weld penetration.
Mild steel is the easiest material to repair. Simply prepare the metal as we discussed in the metal cleaning and
preparation article and the weld may then be completed with any of the arc welding processes. Cast iron and cast aluminum both need to be preheated before welding to help prevent cracking due to temperature fluctuations. If the piece is small enough, it can be placed in an oven at 400 to 500 degreesFahrenheit. Otherwise, use an oxyacetylene or oxypropane rosebud or heating tip. Temperature crayons that melt at specific temperatures are available for
marking metals for preheating.
Post-weld heating and penning may also be required to dissipate stress while the part returns to ambient temperature at a controlled rate—this will further reduce the chance of cracking. Some aluminum is not weldable, but if an aluminum part has been welded before, it is typically safe to perform a repair weld. If the composition of the base metal can be determined, match the filler metal makeup to the base metal.
Some filler metals are multipurpose and can be used on more than one alloy. Consult themanufacturer’s recommendations or ask a professional at a welding supplier. Stainless steel also comes in numerous alloys, and it isimportant to match the filler metal with the base metal. Do not clean stainless steel with a wire brush, as the mild steel wires may contaminate the base metal. Instead, use a flap wheel, emery cloth, or an abrasive pad.
For some projects, cutting the metal is the most difficult part. A variety of tools exist for cutting metal, but as the
thickness and size increases, the choices become limited. A simple hacksaw can be used for cutting tubing, solid
rod, or solid bar stock, but larger material with thicker walls will have you looking for power cutting equipment.
Cutting thin-gauge sheet metal can be accomplished with hand sheetmetal snips, but plate steel will require a
mechanical or hydraulic-powered shear or a cutting torch.
You can spend as little as $100 or as much as several thousand dollars on metal cutting equipment, so carefully consider the options. When choosing to cut with a blade, look for bimetal saw blades, whether in a hacksaw or bandsaw.
To prolong the life of your blades, do not apply excess force or downward pressure, but rather allow the blade to cut while applying slow, steady pressure. Forcing the blades into the material simply wears the blade out prematurely. A horizontal metal-cutting bandsaw is a bench-mounted saw with clamps to hold work pieces, and an automatic shut-off feature turns off the saw when the cut is completed.
The most general cutting capacity is 4 × 6 inches, which can cut through a rectangular piece of that dimension or a 41⁄2-inch round. A portable metal-cutting band saw is slightly less expensive than the bench version and obviously more portable. The most common size cuts 4-inch stock. It is more difficult to create accurate cuts with a portable bandsaw, but the portability makes the machine more versatile in a do-it-yourself shop. A very distinct advantage of a b andsaw is the very small kerf, usually less than 1⁄8 inch. Metal-cutting chop saws and angle grinders use abrasive wheels for cutting.
Most of these produce a great deal of heat, dust, and sparks, and the cut pieces typically have burred edges that require more prep work before welding. Metal-cutting chop saws with carbide-tipped blades produce cleaner cuts with less heat. They also cut faster than most abrasive chop saws. Both types of saws produce a larger kerf than the bandsaw—5
⁄32 inch or more. These saws operate like a circular saw or chop saw used to cut wood, but can cut 1⁄4-inch steel and all types of tubing and solid bar.
Manual metal shears in little sizes are suited for home shops and are relatively inexpensive. They are typically limited to use with thin-gauge sheet metal, usually less than 16 gauge. Hydraulic shears capable of cutting metal 3⁄16 of an inch or thicker are typically more expensive. Manual or hydraulic metal shears and punches in small sizes suitable for home shops are relatively inexpensive. They are limited to thin-gauge materials, usually less than 16 gauge. And the heavier the material capacity is, the more expensive the machine. Manual snips are sufficient for cutting curves in sheet metal thinner than 18 gauge. Power nibblers make quick work of curves but are commonly available for 18-gauge or thicker.