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Want to Learn to Weld?

You might want to reconsider. It’s dirty and dangerous! But if you still want to do it, I’ll show you how!

Equipment You Need for Welding

First, there’s some things you’ll need to pick up at the store. On the shopping list are a welder (of course), welding gloves, a welding helmet, flux cord wire, a metal-cutting saw, an angle grinder, discs for the grinder, and a set of good aviation snips. You may also want a sheet metal bending tool.

Materials to Weld

You’re also going to need some metal to be the object of your welding. You can get that in the same store as your other supplies. Consider things like rebar, which is good to learn with because it’s cheap. Some big, plain steel nails are good, too. When you’re ready to move to better materials, check for stuff labeled weldable steel.

Sometimes, Size Matters

Back in the shop, we’re going to get set up to weld. But first I want to show you some differences between small-scale welding gear and some of the bigger stuff I regularly use.

Setting Up to Weld

It’s not too complicated, but there are some things you definitely want to know and a few little tricks to get your gear set up. I’m going to take you through all of that.

Let’s Get Welding!

Now is when we really get down to it. But remember, you need to be use, plain, normal steel. Nothing plated or treated. Just bare steel. And no aluminum! A good way to be sure is to see if a magnet will stick to it. We’re going to set the current to match the thickness of the materials, and also set the speed of your wire feed.

It’s Like a Giant Battery

You’re going to be bringing together two things to complete a highly charged circuit. That completion is where the the welding happens. You REALLY don’t want to get in the middle of that.

The Welding Table

It’s not pretty, but it’s very functional. My welding table has a post for the ground clamp which makes the entire surface a welding area.

Your First Weld

After you put on all your safety gear (gloves, helmet, jacket, etc.) there are some things you want to remember. You want to always pull the gun toward you, not push it away. You want to keep it as steady as possible, and you can use your gloved hand to help with that. You need your area to be as wind-free as possible so your shielding gas doesn’t blow away from where you’re welding. Don’t hold the gun too close to the surface, or it will stick. If you get too far away, your wire will get too long. If you go too slow, you’ll leave too much welding metal behind, if you go too fast you won’t leave enough. Make sure you can make a good long weld line on a single piece of metal. Do this over and over until you KNOW you can do it correctly.

Joining Two Pieces of Metal

Now we’re ready to move on to connecting two pieces of metal. Position them together and make a couple of little tack welds to hold the join where you want it. For a strong join, you want to mix melted metal from both pieces, plus have the addition of the wire as filler material.

Now Go Practice!

You’ve got the information you need to get started, now you need to practice. A LOT!

And make sure to check out Part 2!

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About The Author

Avatar of John P.
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John P. is CEO of Livid Lobster and co-host of Geek Beat TV. You can also find him on Twitter and Google+.

9 Responses

  1. Beth & Rich

    Just wanted to thank you for the two episodes on welding. My hubby and I enjoyed the show and learned a lot! It seems much less daunting now.
    This should definitely be kept online as I imagine a lot of others will find this it helpful – along with us looking it up again! :-)
    Thanks!
    Beth & Rich

  2. Anthony Addison

    John
    That has to be my favorite video I have ever seen here. Well done! I have a friend who wants to get into welding and I will have him watch. You say all the things I would tell him AND I don’t have to drag him to the hardware store to go over the gear.

    One thing I would add to you comments on not using galvanized steel is that when heated it gives off very toxic fumes. That is something I was taught very early when I trained as a blacksmith. The fumes cause flu like symptoms and in high exposure settings will be fatal.

    Thank you very much for taking the time to make a detailed video.

    PS If you find your way toward the Houston area stop by and I will let you have a go at blacksmithing.

    • Avatar of John P.
      John P.

      Glad you liked it Anthony, thanks for chiming in! ;-)

      I happen to actually be a blacksmith / bladesmith also! Maybe one day we can heat n’ beat some iron together.

      John P.

      • Beth & Rich

        Oh! and just for the reference – watched the show via Roku on Revision 3.

  3. Mitch J

    A very manly episode, John, thank you. Next time get Cali involved too, somehow. She’s the one thing missing from this video.

    • Avatar of John P.
      John P.

      Totally agreed. Assuming all of this is interesting to everyone, we’ll get Cali working on making some projects too. But before I forced her to learn to do it, I wanted to gauge what the interest level was.

  4. Mike Kobrick

    Well done John. One of the best videos I’ve seen, can’t wait for the next!

    • Avatar of John P.
      John P.

      Thanks Mike! I think next week’s episode is cooler. Because I actually make something reasonably cool in the vid while teaching everyone how to do it. But we had to get all these basics out of the way first! ;-)