4 Basic Welding Tools & Equipment Pieces
With all the types of welding, figuring out which tools you need can feel overwhelming. Below, we’ve explained some of the basic welding gear beginners may encounter. Find out what each of them does, along with some factors to consider when learning how to use them.
One of the most essential and basic welding tools are welding machines, which provide most of the power and equipment you need to weld. You will need different welding machines depending on what types of welding you plan to do:
- Flux-Cored and MIG welders
- TIG Welders
- Stick Welders
Each type of welding machine is best for different uses and features, including speed, material welded, precision, strength, and welding environment. For example, MIG welding tools allow you to work with steel, stainless steel, and aluminum alloys, while only stick welding gear can handle cast iron.
Shielding Gas & Gas Cylinder
MIG and TIG (or GMAW and GTAW) welding requires a shielding gas to protect the weld from atmospheric gasses. Welders choose their shielding gas based on cost, distributor, and use. The most popular shielding gases include pure or careful mixtures of helium, argon, CO2, oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen. The welding gas or mixture of gases you use affects the quality and capability of your weld.
Shielding gas must be stored in properly designed and functioning gas cylinders to prevent leaks and allow for optimal use during welds. Many welders purchase used cylinders they can have refilled by their supplier on a regular basis. The size of the cylinder depends on how much gas the welder plans to use, and how portable the cylinder needs it to be.
Consumable Welding Wire
Certain types of welding require a consumable metal wire to create an electric arc between your welding tool and what you’re welding. This ultimately melts the two metals together, creating the weld. Welding wires of varying sizes can be made of the following metals, depending on what and how you’re welding:
For welding that requires consumable wire to create the electrode (explained above), a spool gun is used to feed the consumable wire into the welding gun. According to Weld My World, spools can prevent your consumable wire from bunching up in the wire feeder. When shopping for a welding machine, torch, or gun, check for this capability, especially if you’ll be working with aluminum wire.
Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.