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.

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. Welding jacket ($20 to $80). Made from thick leather, a jacket prevents sparks and molten metal from burning your clothes or skin.
  3. Square. This tool lets you make square and angled lines on steel.
  4. Chipping hammer. You’ll use this to remove slag from the weld bead after stick welding.
  5. Sheet metal gauge. You have to know the thickness of your material. This is the perfect quick reference.
  6. Metal file. You’ll need a few files for shaping parts that you can’t get at with an angle grinder.
  7. Framing jig ($50). A framing jig is indispensable for holding parts at a 90-degree angle for tack welding.
  8. Welding magnets ($10 to $50). Welding magnets are used to hold parts together at precise angles while they’re being tack-welded.
  9. 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.
  10. MIG pliers ($30). A welder’s multi-tool, it’s used for nozzle and tip installation, wire cutting, nozzle cleaning and slag removal.
  11. Soapstone. Used to mark metal for cutting and welding, soapstone remains visible under extreme heat and has low electrical conductivity.
  12. Deburring tool. This is used to remove the wire edge left on a piece of steel after it’s been cut.
  13. 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.
  14. Metal brush. This is the go-to tool to clean parts before welding.
  15. Apron ($40). An apron protects your clothes for non-welding tasks, such as grinding or cutting.
  16. Welding gloves. These thick leather gloves with a long cuff protect your hands and forearms from sparks and molten metal.
  17. 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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