Getting Started in Welding: Tools and Gear
You don’t need all of this to get started. Get the basic safety gear first, and the rest as you need it.
Welding Tools & Gear
Whether you’d like to build custom cars or just fix a cracked lawn mower deck, learning to weld gives your DIY game a serious boost. Check out this expert welder’s recommended tools and gear:
- Auto-darkening helmet ($40 to $100). These helmets let you see normally through the face shield until the gun sparks. As soon as the spark is detected, the face shield darkens to protect your eyes.
- Welding jacket ($20 to $80). Made from thick leather, a jacket prevents sparks and molten metal from burning your clothes or skin.
- Square. This tool lets you make square and angled lines on steel.
- Chipping hammer. You’ll use this to remove slag from the weld bead after stick welding.
- Sheet metal gauge. You have to know the thickness of your material. This is the perfect quick reference.
- Metal file. You’ll need a few files for shaping parts that you can’t get at with an angle grinder.
- Framing jig ($50). A framing jig is indispensable for holding parts at a 90-degree angle for tack welding.
- Welding magnets ($10 to $50). Welding magnets are used to hold parts together at precise angles while they’re being tack-welded.
- Safety glasses. Eye protection is a must for all power tool use, but it’s especially critical anytime metal particles are likely to go airborne.
- MIG pliers ($30). A welder’s multi-tool, it’s used for nozzle and tip installation, wire cutting, nozzle cleaning and slag removal.
- Soapstone. Used to mark metal for cutting and welding, soapstone remains visible under extreme heat and has low electrical conductivity.
- Deburring tool. This is used to remove the wire edge left on a piece of steel after it’s been cut.
- Angle grinder ($30 to $100). You’ll use an angle grinder to shape parts before welding, and to grind and refine the bead after welding.
- Metal brush. This is the go-to tool to clean parts before welding.
- Apron ($40). An apron protects your clothes for non-welding tasks, such as grinding or cutting.
- Welding gloves. These thick leather gloves with a long cuff protect your hands and forearms from sparks and molten metal.
- Welding clamps and C-clamps. Welders use all kinds of clamps to hold materials in place for tack welding. You can’t have too many.
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