Welding Safety

When it comes to equipment for working with metals, there's a lot more required than just a means of cutting metal and fusion-joining it. Many motoring enthusiasts are "tool addicts" to begin with and welding just adds another dimension to the want list. Other than your welding/cutting equipment itself, the two main requirements for a good environment are the proper safety gear, particularly the goggles or helmet, and a clean, safe, well-designed welding work area or table. As you'll see, there's a wide variety of helmets available. Choose one that you are comfortable with and that meets your budget.

Welding Safety and general metalworking good practice and personal equipment. Brought to you by MetConnect Ltd Oldham
You may have gotten a basic welding helmet with your welding machine, and you can use that until you save up for one of the more advanced models. Other welding safety equipment would include steel-toed industrial safety shoes (available at most shoe stores), good leather gloves, fire-resistant long-sleeve shirts or, if you are arc-welding, a leather welding jacket and/or apron. A clean, safe welding table setup is of paramount importance. While you are learning, there will be a lot more sparks and slag generated than when you are advanced, and your welding table should be heavy steel, positioned well away from all stored flammables and with a clear area underneath for any sparks or molten slag to be safely contained without having them scooting across the shop or lodging on top of your shoes. For metal cutting, you need a good "grate" setup. You will also need some firebricks, which are helpful to practice welds on because the work won't stick to them. DO NOT just cover your old wooden work bench with a piece of sheet metal and call it a welding table. Invest in a piece of plate from a scrap yard. When you put a lot of heat into welding projects on a tin-covered wooden surface, enough heat can go through the metal to start the wood smoldering, perhaps even starting a fire after you have left the shop. Also, you must have proper fire extinguishers on hand, preferably an ABC type or halon, that can put out all kinds of fires. Much of the work of sizing and joining metals for home/shop projects will involve tools you already have, such as a drill press, grinders and sanders, clamps, measuring equipment, squares and levels. A common hacksaw can be used to sever lengths of material but can be tedious on heavier-wall stock. Sheet metal can be cut with aircraft tin-snips, manual or electric nibblers, or a plasma cutter. Many of the tools shown here on the Welding Shop Site are special-purpose tools that you may not have already, and which perform special functions that relate to improving welding work or holding materials to be welded. All of them are useful when the time comes. We all wish we could just put one of each in our home garage, but you may have to collect them over the years as your projects get more involved. We also show here some tools and equipment that were made by fabricators and car mechanics for their own use. These are typical of projects you can do once you have practiced your welding skills, and some represent considerable involvement, though on the part of someone who has already "been there."
Welding and Safety Equipment and general metalworking best practice and personal equipment. Brought to you by MetConnect Ltd Oldham