Before we get to the actual tips regarding welding, you might want to know a bit more about welding itself and whether it is something you’d want to consider as a career path or an added skill set for your CV.
Types of welding
Yes, there are different types of welding and yes, you do need to know about them as some types require more skill and expertise than others.
- Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW): Or MIG welding is the most common type of welding there is and will be the best way to perfect the skill. With GMAW you can weld mild steel, stainless steel and aluminium.
- Tungsten Inert Gas (GTAW): Or TIG welding requires more expertise as it is used to achieve high-quality and detailed finishes without needing a sanding clean-up.
- Arc welding (SMAW): Or stick welding is likely how you will begin building your welding skills around the house with wider and heavier metals.
- Oxy-Acetylene Welding And Cutting: This is an acetylene gas and oxygen flame generally used for maintenance and gas metal cutting.
It’s not surprising that you’ll find most welders in the industries of construction, manufacturing and wholesale trade. But let’s take a closer look at the work welders do and where they can build careers.
And there’s no rule that says welders have to stay in the same cities (or countries for that matter) for their entire career. Most of the welding opportunities include travelling and, let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want to travel? Some of the travelling career opportunities for welders are:
- Industrial shutdowns at manufacturing plants
- Shipbuilding, repair and maintenance
- Military infrastructure and equipment
- Pipeline installation
- Underwater welding
Finally, we get to the welding tips. By now you should have an idea of whether or not you can see yourself making use of this skill. You don’t have to go so far as to know your career path just yet, sometimes having a certain skill can prove handy in non-career situations, such as helping around the house for example.
Some welding tips for beginner welders:
- Welding gear: Leather gloves, cotton shirt sleeves (unless you would like a sunburn), a welding helmet and glasses underneath your helmet (rather safe than sorry).
- Welding equipment: Make sure you have the equipment you need and that there are no holes, balls on the end of the wire, or frayed wires from overuse. If that is the case, find a place that has a supply of an extensive range of welding equipment where you can upgrade and get the job done right.
- Think about comfort: You’re going to be focused on the fine art that is welding and it usually leads to tense and uncomfortable positions to work from. You want to spare your body the tax of a long-time welder by making sure you’re in a comfortable enough position and have your project elevated to your level if possible. Another good habit to adopt with regards to ergonomics is the way you lower your welding helmet. This isn’t a movie where the scene is only shot a couple times, this is possibly your career, which means there will be many times to lower the helmet. With that said, don’t whiplash your helmet down, just use your hand and consider your neck muscles.
- Think about your environment: Your working environment should be dry and well-ventilated. You should also assess your surroundings before you begin welding, to make sure there are no other safety hazards or extra precautions you need to take.
- Prepare the metal before you weld: You do this by cleaning the metal you’re about to work on with a wire brush and a metal-cleaner. Then you’re going to want to put a welding primer on top of the cleaned area to prevent rusting.
- Prepare for possibilities before you weld: Wire speed and voltage need to have the right balance in order for your welding efforts to be successful. But there are times when things don’t go as planned, just be prepared for these possibilities by being knowledgeable of your equipment and knowing whether it’s the voltage or speed that needs to be adjusted to rectify the problem.