You need two things to succeed in the welding industry. The first is skill and experience. You can improve your ability and become better at welding through continuous practice and training.
The second thing you need is the right set of tools. For a technical industry such as welding, the right equipment and accessories can make a significant difference in your output and quality of production. Welding accessories make your job easier and more precise. They allow you to do more in less time and earn a better income for your efforts.
In this post, we look at 17 welding accessories that can help welders become more productive and efficient.
The welder is central to the profession. It is used to heat up metal to a high temperature to melt it and attach the part to the surrounding metal components. It is shaped like a glue gun and has a nozzle at one end that creates a high electrical flame.
Welders can be used for stick, MIG, or TIG welding. You need to have a higher level of skill to work on better projects.
Think about the projects you will be mostly working on before purchasing a welder. Stick welders don’t cost a lot and generate a reasonable level of heat. They are relatively easy to operate and ideal for beginners.
MIG welders are suitable for new or intermediate users. They are more powerful and provide greater accuracy for welding.
TIG welders are best in terms of power. They offer the most functionality, the highest level of precision for users, and you can use them to work with many materials. They do require a higher skill level and should only be used by experts.
You can buy a multi welder or get more than one type of welder for different projects. This will give you more versatility and ease of working in a variety of projects. Getting multiple welders can be expensive, though, and how many you should buy will depend on how many regular customers you get.
2. Welding Gases
Most advanced welders need a shielding gas that helps protect the electrodes during work. Expert welders understand the need for mixing gases and keeping bottles of these gases at hand to do their best work.
The most common gases used for welding include carbon dioxide and argon. Using carbon dioxide on its own is suitable for penetrating thicker metals, but it creates little splatter during welding. This is why welders use a mix of gases to get better results. For instance, stainless steel is often welded with a mixture of carbon dioxide, helium, and argon. Aluminum welding is carried out with a 100% argon gas shielding.
If you have to work on a lot of projects, make sure that you have adequate storage of welding gases for your needs. It can be time-consuming and costly to run out of the gases halfway through the project and refill the welder. Most new welding machines show the level of gases in the unit and keep a tank of gas with you if you are running low.
3. Filler Materials
Each type of welding – stick, MIG, and TIG – requires a consumable material that helps achieve great welding results. When two pieces of metal are heated to their melting points, they both burn and lose some of the metal. To create a clean and solid piece, you will need to attach more metal to the weld to make up for this loss.
Stick welders consume a type of metal stick that burns and joins the two metal pieces. The quality of the weld depends on several factors such as material size, quality, variety of coating, and amperage applied to the job.
For MIG welding, the consumable is a type of electrode applied in the form of a metal wire. It spools through the gun, burning up and connecting the metal frames. The filler rod is usually made from a mixture of carbon steel, stainless steel, and aluminum. Carefully controlled amperage and shielding gases are applied to the flame to get the best results.
TIG welders use a similar filler rod made from stainless steel, carbon steel, and aluminum. The tungsten electrode that provides the electric current is not consumed in the process, burning the metallic rod instead.
4. Angle Grinder
Angle grinders are one of the most essential tools used by welders. They are used to make the surface of your metal projects smoother and remove paint, slag, and other impurities. You can also use them to cut off metal sheets.
You can put a cut off wheel onto your grinder to cut metal, a wire brush to remove paint or put a flap disk on it for precise grinding.
We recommend buying at least two grinders for your work. One should be used for cutting while the other should be used for grinding only.
5. Welding Cart
Welding carts are handy to have if you work on welding projects regularly. They make it easier to move your equipment and metal sheets around and give you a mobile solution, increasing the projects that you can take on. Welding carts can also store your equipment for odds and ends.
Generally, welding carts consist of a boxed-in stand to keep the welder in. If you are planning to use the cart for mobile welding, check the dimensions of your welder and the space available on the cart before making the purchase.
The location for the welder on a cart is near the center with enough space to allow a medium-sized gas bottle to sit directly behind the welder. Some welding carts also have straps to help keep the gas bottle secured in place.
Several online retailers offer comparable prices on welding carts. The cart you should get depends on your needs, really. If you will be using the cart in rough terrain, then go for a sturdier cart. If you have a bigger welder, then storage space will be your primary concern. If you are looking for a customized solution, then you can even design and build your own cart.
6. Welding Table
The welding table is used to put your metal frames and sheets on for welding. It is just as crucial as the welder and should be selected carefully to meet your needs.
Essential factors for welding tables are height, width, amount of workspace, and sturdiness. It should be level, making it useful for all kinds of welding projects.
Some work tables come with drilled out sections that make it easier to keep different parts in place. This can be a great way to make sure that the final product meets the required quality specifications.
Welding tables come in all shapes and sizes and can be purchased from welding retailer suppliers. If you are looking for a customized solution, you can even make a welding table yourself.
7. Welding Helmet
A welding helmet is one of the most critical pieces of safety gear you will need. Whether you are grinding or welding, you need protection for both your eyes and ears.
Grinding machines create a lot of noise that can damage your hearing. Similarly, the bright flame produced during welding can affect your eyesight. If you directly look at the arc for too long, it can damage your eyes severely. In extreme cases, you can even become partially blind.
Welding helmets have improved a lot in the past couple of decades. Today, they are more adjustable and come with a hood flip that can be flicked up or down as you weld.
8. Welding Gloves
It is necessary to cover your hands while working on a welding project. Your hands are usually close to the action and can get burned if you touch the hot metal by mistake.
Welding gloves are critical for personal safety. They not only help you protect your skin from the heat radiated by the arc, but they also prevent any slag that might come off from the metal onto your skin.
Welding gloves are made from a variety of materials. They generally have an extra thick padding of light, insulating material that keeps heat from getting inside.
When buying welding gloves, try different ones to get the right size for you. You do not want gloves too big and thick because they will reduce your gripping power and crafting precision.
Generally, metallic parts that require welding are not very smooth, so your gloves must provide a good grip. Test the gloves with the welder without turning the power on to see how they work.
If you weld a lot, find a good brand you like and buy at least two or three pairs. Welding gloves get damaged with usage, and you do not want to be working with gloves that have holes in them, exposing your skin to the high flame.
Remember, you can replace your gloves and buy new ones at any time, but you cannot replace your own skin and hands.
9. Welding Jacket
You will need a welding jacket to protect your body. It comes in handy for all type of projects, welding or grinding. Welding jackets are made from sturdy, flame-resistant materials. They help protect against hot metals or tools that might land on the welder while they are working. A welding jacket is the first line of defense for users against painful burns.
When buying a welding jacket, go with something bigger in size. Bigger jackets will help cover any loose clothing you might be wearing. Also make sure that the jacket covers the base of your neck, the full length of your arms and extends down a few inches below your waist.
You can go with any color. However, if you have to work outdoors, especially near traffic-heavy streets, then a bright yellow or orange color may be more suitable.
10. Welding Supports
Welding supports are like paperweights. They help hold metal pieces in place securely so you can weld them together, taking nothing in your hands. Welding supports generally work in opposite directions, keeping the pieces up firmly together so you can weld in and around the seams.
There are two options you have here. You can either buy fancy supports from an online store, or you can build your own supports from scratch.
11. Welding Magnets
Welding magnets have become a necessary welding tool because of their versatility. Using them, you can hold pieces of metal in place and create many angles for your projects. Many welders prefer them over supports, especially when looking to do light and delicate work. These magnets can be used for building welding frames for fire pit grates, tables, and much more.
Magnets come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They can be used for everything from a small welding project to large complex projects. Just buy multiple magnets that can be set up across your work table with ease.
For instance, if you are looking to build a square frame, you can place 1 magnet at every corner of the metal bars and hold them in place.
12. Welding Clamps
Clamps are an absolute must-have for welders. They are used to secure the metal in place and keep it from moving during a bigger project.
Clamps can withstand the high temperature created during the welding process. They are made of metal, but make sure that you have your gloves on and invest in a variety of clamp sizes and shapes if you want to take up welding seriously.
You will probably need at least 10 welding clamps if you work on projects professionally. Without clamps, it is challenging to hold pieces together, and your whole project can be thrown out of shape.
13. Welding Framing Jig
A framing jig is a necessary tool for beginners because it makes welding so much easier. It mainly helps you create square frames and get better at welding. You use it by putting the ends of your metal bars into the jig then tightening it down and make your welds. It is a great accessory, especially when starting out to help you make perfect 90-degree angles.
You can also make a framing jig yourself by getting creative with some C clamps. This will save you money AND make it easier for you to complete projects on time.
14. Metal Brush
When working with metal, it creates a slag deposit on the surface that must be removed to keep it nice and clean. A metal brush can be handy in keeping the surface clean from any such residue.
The slag coating is generally created during the welding process. It can be useful during welding because it acts as a shielding agent and keeps the metal underneath protected. The melted weld puddle needs to be protected from dust particles and atmospheric contamination.
After you finish working with a stick or MIG welder, you will often have to scrape off the slag coating to see the final weld. You can use chipping hammers and metal brushes to remove it to give a beautiful, polished finish.
15. Sheet Metal Gauge
A sheet metal gauge is an excellent tool because it helps you measure different metals for thickness. You could try to gauge the thickness with your eyes, but measurements made this way aren’t always perfect.
The metal gauge comes in handy for projects that require precision. You have only to slide the opening over your workpiece, and the gauge will give you an accurate reading.
16. Fire Extinguisher
A fire extinguisher is necessary to ensure safety at your workshop. A fire extinguisher is always handy to have and should be placed somewhere close to your working area so you can access and use it easily whenever you need to.
17. First Aid Kit
Welding is a relatively dangerous field. The flame you create with the welder can reach high temperatures, and you are susceptible to accidental burns and injuries. Keep a first aid kit and medical box at hand.
The best way to prepare your first aid kit is to think of all the things that can go wrong and then prepare medical supplies for the worst-case scenarios.