Welding is a trade skill that has been around for many years but not everyone has the knowledge to go out and learn how to do it themselves at home without having to fork over big bucks for expensive training courses.
If you are interested in learning this valuable skill of joining two pieces of metal together permanently into one piece, then follow the steps below.
- Step 1 – Preparing the Welding Torch
- Step 2 – Setting Up Your Work Area
- Step 3 – Connecting the Torch to a Power Source
- Step 4 – Starting Your Welding Torch
- Step 5 – Connecting Wires
- Step 6 – Adjusting Your Work Space
- Step 7 – Holding Your Torch
- Step 8 – Testing The Weld
- Step 9 – Finishing Touches
Step 1 – Preparing the Welding Torch
Before you begin to weld, you’ll need to prep your MIG torch by attaching the proper nozzles and shielding gas nozzle. If you don’t have your MIG torch yet, be sure to read our guide on the best MIG welders for beginners.
You may want to wear rubber gloves as well if you are working with particularly large pieces of metal or other materials that might cause splashing when you start up your welding operation.
If you are using multiple metal types in one project, make sure to use appropriate nozzles so that each type gets an electrical charge that matches its own properties for optimal protection through your work.
Start by unscrewing the existing nozzle on the wire feeder attachment of your welding torch. You will need to screw in various sizes of nozzles based on what you are working with, so make sure you know which size is needed for a good fit.
Attach shielding gas and argon nozzles as well if you plan to use them, making sure they go on last or near the middle of the process before you begin welding.
Step 2 – Setting Up Your Work Area
Even if you’ve done MIG welding many times before, it’s still important to set up your work area properly before you start your project. Make sure that there aren’t any flammable chemicals close by in case they get splashed during your welding process.
Clear away any areas where electrical wires might be exposed and label such cables so they do not accidentally fall into the area that you are working on.
You should also have a fire extinguisher on hand in case something does catch fire, though this is unlikely if you don’t splash harmful chemicals or wear flammable clothing while you work.
Step 3 – Connecting the Torch to a Power Source
Next, attach the proper power source to your torch by either screwing it into a power strip or plugging it directly into an electrical outlet with an appropriate adapter. If you plan to use both shielded metal arc welding and MIG processes in one project, make sure that separate cords are used for each process.
If you want to add gas shielding or extra amperage to your welding, attach the appropriate nozzles and choose a suitable power source for each one.
If you do not have a separate MIG power source, such as with a power supply that you can connect directly into an electrical outlet and switch on when needed, make sure to use the appropriate extension cords so that you will be able to plug in your torch without being too far from the outlet or needing special adapters.
Step 4 – Starting Your Welding Torch
You will need to know how much voltage is necessary for optimal results for whatever metal type you are working with. You should always start out at low voltages before working up until higher levels for the best results.
However, if you are using an especially large piece of metal or are working with a particularly thick substrate, it may be necessary to work at higher levels from the beginning.
If you have multiple pieces of metal that will require unique settings, make sure to switch between them after each component is finished and before starting another set of welds so that each segment gets the appropriate amount of voltage for its own properties. For example, copper-based metals often need less power than steel while stainless usually requires more power.
Step 5 – Connecting Wires
You will also need to attach your welding wires to your nearly operational torch in order to begin the process. If you are working with a specific type of metal, you will need to make sure that the wires are connected properly to whatever extra equipment or power source you have chosen.
If you are working with a specific type of welding wire made especially for your project, such as stainless steel MIG wire for use on metal surfaces that contain chromium, make sure it is connected securely so it does not accidentally detach during your work.
You also want to keep an eye out for any sparks that might be produced during this process in case they ignite flammable materials in your work area and cause unwanted conflagration.
In general, the end of the wires should go into a spool attached to a clamp on the side of your torch while keeping any excess wire out of the way by coiling it and securing it with a rubber band.
Step 6 – Adjusting Your Work Space
Before you begin to weld, make sure that your work area is set up properly so that neither you nor any materials are at risk of getting burned from sparks or hot metal. This includes ensuring that the ground is clear of any debris or flammable liquids in case there are rogue flames caused by too much voltage in your torch.
You should also remove anything flammable such as rags and wooden items from the immediate vicinity of where you will be working. If possible, cover your eyes with special welding goggles designed specifically for this purpose before starting as well.
While in use, the electrode tip on your torch can become extremely hot so make sure that it is not in danger of falling or coming into contact with flammable materials, especially while you are working and unable to monitor the torch.
When you have finished welding, take extra care when removing your torch from its power source as well. The tip will still be hot so keep all hands away from it until it cools down significantly before trying to pick it up.
You also do not want to use any type of sharp instruments such as pliers or screwdrivers on the hot metal because they could easily become superheated and cause an accidental burn on whatever body part happens to touch them during this process.
Step 7 – Holding Your Torch
Once you have everything set up correctly, you can begin to actually weld the metal. The most basic way of holding your torch is simply by placing a hand over each grip and bringing them together, which produces sparks from the electrode at the bottom.
However, you can also increase or decrease voltage to produce larger amounts of sparks for ultimate control over your work. A light touch with lower voltage will produce small beams while increasing the amount of power can create large showers of sparks that flow all around your workspace like a fountain.
It should be noted that many welders prefer to use welding gloves made from Kevlar or other strong fibers as well instead of just their bare hands.
When holding it this way, aim directly at whatever part of the metal you are working on either by eye or using a dot on the surface as a guide. Your goal is to hit a specific part that will fuse the two pieces together but not so close that it causes an unwanted hole or dent in your work area.
Step 8 – Testing The Weld
After you have welded the metal, test to make sure it has been properly joined where there is no visible separation.
To do this, you can use any type of blunt instrument such as a ball-peen hammer to tap around the area where you have worked to see if there are any weak spots or loose ends where material might be able to shear off from the main body of your work when pressure is applied in that area.
You also want to pay special attention to corners and joints as these are the most likely areas to become weak from the welder’s heat.
If you happen to notice weakness, try to fix it by using your torch to add more material as well as trying a different approach where you make welds in combination with each other rather than just making one solid connection. If it still does not work, then you might have done something wrong and need to start over again from scratch.
The main point is that any type of welding requires practice and experience if you want better results so do not get frustrated or give up too easily if things do not work perfectly at first. Just take your time and learn from your mistakes as you go along until everything starts to flow freely and smoothly without any problems whatsoever.
A good way to test out your work and find any weak spots is by using a dental pick or similar tool on the surface of your metal.
This will let you know if there are any areas that require more welding, less material, or have become completely hollow as a result of the energy being applied here during this process.
Step 9 – Finishing Touches
When you are absolutely sure that your weld has been successful in joining two pieces together, then cool down the area with a wet rag or towel before removing it from the object so make sure that no one gets burned or injured in doing so.
You should also keep plenty of water on hand just to be safe as well for when accidents do happen because they always seem to find a way of happening when you least expect it.
Next, use some type of grinding tool to remove any excess slag from around your work area as well as smooth out the surface. This will make it look much better and is also necessary to ensure that the weld does not crack or fall apart later down the road due to uneven surfaces.
After this, you can either leave it in this raw state or polish your metal all the way until it shines like new again using any form of sandpaper on your basic home mechanic’s bench grinder setup. At this point, you should be ready for anything after successfully completing your first project with a welding torch instead of having to fork over lots more cash for professional bodywork.
If you are doing this for fun, there is no shame in trying out different projects as long as they do not involve something that can result in damage to any person. For example, it might be entertaining to try and weld together two pieces of metal into the shape of a heart or other object but avoid ever welding your fingers together at all costs!
Welding has been around since ancient times when primitive man discovered the main benefits that a good piece of steel offers around the home such as being able to create sturdy weapons when combined with some type of hard stone-like flint or obsidian.
The concept behind welding is basically always going to remain much the same even thousands of years from now so those who are interested in learning the art of welding will always have a job to contribute to society.
This type of trade is not only going to provide for you but also your family and others who will be relying on you so it is a great skill to master if you can. It takes patience, practice, time, attention to detail as well as knowledge about what materials are best used with specific types of metals such as stainless steel or aluminum when using a torch of any kind.
Keep these things in mind before trying out your newfound skills and see how many different projects you can try without getting too frustrated along the way!