Hobby Welder Guide for Beginners
Assuming you have decided on the type of welding that you are about to undertake, you will then be able to search for the welding equipment that is right for you.
To be sure that you are familiar with welding and what it involves a breakdown of the different types of welding follows:
Arc or stick welding is possibly the form of welding that is most widespread. All welders whether they are MIG, TIG or general Arc welders will be familiar with this method. In fact, many welders will have been introduced to welding using this method. This does not mean that it is the kindergarten of welding, but it seems that even when it comes to training this is where educators are most likely to start.
This method is possibly the most popular overall because it can weld together exceptionally thick and heavy materials. The Arc can work around rust, dirt and other obstructive elements to ensure a secure weld. Because it is the only form of welding that is suitable for cast iron, its popularity becomes clear.
The method may have many pros, but it also has cons especially for beginners. It is quite hard to learn because it becomes necessary to change rods frequently. Maintaining the arc and preventing injury also requires practice. All of this while the sparks are quite literally flying. Additionally, it is also used mostly for heavy duty welding operations which requires substantial focus.
Campbell Hausfeld Arc Stick Welder
This durable metal welder comes with a comfortable fit handle to offer additional convenience. It is capable of welding 18ga up to ⅛” material. We would recommend using 1/16 inch and 5/64 inch welding rods.
This sturdy welder is great for different types of small repairs as well as being handy for hobby welding. It has a dual heat setting to ensure it works well across different tasks.
Another great thing about the Campbell Hausfeld Arc Stick Welder is that it won’t overheat due to the integrated thermal overload protection. The transformer works well to create a smooth arc.
For beginners MIG welding is the ideal place to start. MIG is the quickest form of welding and forms the strongest type of joint. It is clean, looks good and very easy to learn. The fact that it can be applied to much thinner metals also means that it is provides quite a versatile approach to welding.
In the same way that Arc welding has Pros and Cons, so does MIG welding. MIG welding cannot be used for cast iron.
MIG Welding works by creating a neat bead along the seam where two metals are joined together using a wire feed. The bead along the seam is created using the melted wire to create the join. The welder is fuelled by a gas that produces high levels of heat to melt down the wire. By moving the wire across the join as it melts it fuses the point of joining the two pieces of metal. This is similar in concept to soldering which of course is on a much smaller scale.
MIG welding will require you to know about and understand how gases are mixed to obtain the ideal flame for the materials and the project that you are working with. Gases are blended in order to achieve the best possible outcome.
Decisions will also need to be made in relation to the type of wire that you choose for your project. Some wires are better when you will need to reduce the heat. Familiarising yourself with the different wire densities and how they affect the outcome you are seeking will make a significant difference to both the appearance and success of your work.
LONGEVITY Migweld 140
With its standard 110v outlet power, the LONGEVITY Migweld 140 comes with a power plug installed. It is a welder with a powerful capability and can weld mild steel up to ⅜”.
Another great thing about this product is that it is simple to learn and easy to operate. It comes with a wire and can be operated either on gas or using a flux-core gasless welding.
If you’re looking for a welder that you can use on the go, this would be a great choice. It’s portable so you can easily plug it in and use anywhere.
Ansen Portable IGBT Inverter Welder
Suitable for welding alloy steel, copper, stainless steel and other non-ferrous metal, the Ansen Portable IGBT Inverter Welder is able to perform at an advanced level. It helps to improve the welding machine performance with its input frequency of 60Hz and duty cycle of 60%.
The device offers portability as it comes with handles making it simple to operate. The lightweight size also makes it easy to carry. Not only that, it is an energy saving product. This welder has various welding methods and controllable functions, so it is a great choice for multi-use.
With automatic dual voltage and dual frequency, this handy aluminium welder comes together with a pedal and mask. The LOTOS TIG200 welder also comes with a square-wave inverter which contributes greatly to the accuracy of the welding. There is added accuracy with the hand torch control, and the foot pedal allows for precise and heat-controlled welding. A switch is unnecessary as this sturdy aluminium welder also includes auto detection.
The LOTOS TIG200 also has a CE, CCC, CSA and ISO-9001 certification and is ETL approved. The Housing Protection Grade is IP21.
The Forney Easy Weld 299 is a machine which would suit any beginning welder. It has proper levels of power for completing basic welding tasks and can weld 1/8'' steel at maximum capability.
Some people refer to this model as a MIG welder. However, this is not entirely accurate. What you will come to notice about this particular welder is that it does not need shielding gas to function effectively.
When you begin welding, you will need to set this particular welder to a thin plate with a higher wire speed for more lightweight materials, and the inverse process for thick ones, although the correct setting is known as the steel plate.
Comes with a ground clamp for safety
Does not require shielding gas
As a tool, this would be more than sufficient for an entry-level welder. The many features of this welder make it a good choice for people who want to explore welding at their discretion. It's designed to tackle both lightweight and heavy metal. This welder will be able to handle all tasks put to it which are not advanced. However, you will find that the people who use this don't need an advanced task anyway.
Hobart 500559 Handler 140 MIG Welder 115V
The Hobart model is one which has been built to last. The design is robust, simple and effective. One of the first things that you will notice about this device is that it performs well. As an entry-level welder, it can handle any tasks put to it.
MIG Ready - No extra technology is required
Backed up by an industrial warranty for peace of mind
Capable of welding up to 1/4 inch steel
As a device, this has more than enough power to complete tasks. The welder has been designed to be versatile, and this shows when you find it useful for household and outside projects.
The ergonomic design is functional as well as easy to carry and will plug into a standard household outlet without issue. The work clamp is heavy duty - an apt reflection of the way this machine functions and performs.
Designed with practicality in mind, you can set up the device and have it ready to be used in just a few moments. The welder comes with a guide as well, so you can read through it and learn how to operate the welder safely. An excellent choice of welder for anyone.
ESAB 0558101694 MiniArc 161LTS Stick Package
In contrast to some of the other models available, the MiniArc welder is good for more advanced tasks and users. As a TIG welder, this can perform functions which a MIG welder could not.
Weighs 18lbs for easy transport
160 amps available for DC welding
Can operate in both a house and an industrial setting
This welder is very versatile and functions in a variety of different ways. There are two different current options so that you can use this in both a domestic and industrial setting. Furthermore, this can handle many more tasks than a basic welder, so you should use it for more advanced duties.
The machine is capable of a high quality of welding even when working against slag, rust and old paint. The price is much more preferable to a branded welder, so it is an excellent choice for people who do not want to spend a lot. As a welder, it is quick and efficient, and will not fail even in the more stringent conditions. Concerning quality, this will comfortably compete with more advanced models and also models which are owned by a major brand, so you have assurance this will not let you down.
200 Amp TIG Torch/Arc/Stick DC Inverter Welder Dual Voltage IGBT Welding
The TIG DC Inverter Welder is a model well suited to difficult tasks. There are many functions on this welder which give it an edge over basic models. The machine has been designed to deliver a flawless weld from start to finish.
200 amps of power available for tasks
Multiple welding options available
LCD to provide you with information at all times
As a machine, this is designed to be flexible. To that end, users will note the multiple options including an arc and stick choice. It is capable of welding copper, mild steel, stainless steel and cast iron to name a few options.
The dual voltage design allows you to plug it into almost any common output and not experience problems. Concerning performance, the welder is capable of producing a weld on materials that are 1/2'' thick. This prowess, as you can imagine, gives it an advantage over the majority of other models available within the budget range. Despite all of the different features available, this is a lightweight machine that can go wherever it is needed. While it is said that new welders avoid TIG models, this machine performs well for all.
ARKSEN MIG-130 Welding Machine
The ARKSEN machine is one which is built to function in a household environment. The features, which are impressive, have all been optimised for use around the home. Consequently, this is smaller than some other models, although this does not result in a lack of power.
Built-in air vents to prevent the buildup of heat
Compact design for ease of use
Plenty of power to complete a variety of tasks
This welder is a MIG variant. This design means that it can perform a wide selection of everyday tasks without any issues. It is not an advanced welding machine, so it will fall to you to gauge where it is applicable.
Thin steel and iron are two of the materials which this device can weld without problems. There are ten different wire feeding speeds available, which allows you to work at a comfortable pace.
The safety of the user is an integral part of this device, as there is a vent system to prevent overheating. You will also note that there is a full safety control on the welding gun itself, to prevent accidents. Regarding design, this is built to be practical and easy to work alongside.
Choosing A Welder As A Beginner
When you are new to the world of welders, it is imperative that you select your first model with care. It will make all the difference for your welding experience if you choose a welder that does not perform well. Consequently, the first welder you pick must be carefully selected and chosen from a list of many other models.
However, this process is complicated when you do not possess sufficient knowledge about welders. You need to know what you are searching for in a model, and which characteristics are essential. To provide you with the experience required to select your first welder, we have put together a guide.
Entry Level Welders - The Features You Need
To begin with, we are going to be taking a look at what features you should look for in a welder. It is worth noting that this is a general set of characteristics and not necessarily a specific recommendation.
Generally speaking, an entry-level welder should have dial-in settings included in its layout. This feature allows you to do things like informing the welder of what kinds of metals you work with, or how thick the metal is. With the help of this feature, you have a much higher chance of correctly guessing the right kind of bead for your materials.
An entry-level welder which is going from one place to the next as part of your duties will also need to be lightweight. Another characteristic to look for is portability, and also whether it can accept both AC and DC currents. These qualities will allow you to gain the maximum level of flexibility when you are trying to complete work.
A welder for beginners should also allow you the option of changing the output, to match the input. This feature will prevent damage to the metal, the welder and your person. As a precaution, you should ensure that your welder is designed to notify you when you are exceeding the accepted range for the device.
Related: Best Welding Respirator
How To Find The Optimal Welder
It is often the case that finding the optimal welder requires you to consider certain things. These are factors which will influence your purchase, so keep them in mind.
Brand name welders are often a safe choice for beginners. These welders will belong to companies who have a solid reputation among the welding industry, so there is an increased chance for successful welding. Hobart and Lincoln are good choices in this regard, as they offer a broad selection of welders.
You also need to understand your skills and capabilities. An average welder would be wise to consider a MIG welder because it can weld steel, aluminium and thick materials with no issue. TIG welding is another type of welder, but it is best for more experienced users.
Your choice of welder also depends on your circuits. Different levels of voltage will be better suited to various outlets. A less powerful welder with a lower amperage is best suited to a household plug, whereas the more mighty welders will be best suited to those industrial outlets.
Beginner Welders and Shielding Gas - What You Need To Know
As a beginner, you will most likely be using a MIG Welder. This fact means that you will need to make decisions regarding your shielding gas. Shielding gas will vary according to the metals and processes with which you work. For hobby welders, you will find that 100% carbon dioxide variants are best. This composition allows for the best possible penetration on metals and creates more splatter.
If you are welding with short circuits, then you need to adjust your shielding gas to a ratio of 75:25 or 3:1, of argon and carbon dioxide. Do not create a rate which is the other way around. This composition will prevent splatter and heat, which is ideal for this type of welding.
For projects which involve aluminium, you need a shielding gas of 100% argon; this concentration produces the best results. As an additional note, stainless steel gets the best results with a shielding gas comprised of 90:7.5:2.5 mix of helium, argon and carbon dioxide.
Understanding The Price of A Beginning Welder
Your welder is not an advanced model at this stage, and you would be unwise to look for one. At this point, the best possible welder for you is a basic one, which does allow for a more basic budget. On average, you will find a beginning welder from £50, and the maximum budget being around £90 to £100. However, this only applies to a basic portable welder, with only a small amperage.
People who are looking for a more heavy duty welder can expect to pay more, even though it is an entry-level device. The cost can be anywhere from £130 to £190, but this does give you access to a welder that will handle nearly all beginning tasks without any issues. In time, you will come to upgrade your welder, but a basic model will suffice for now.
To summarize, many different processes and factors go into choosing a welder. As a beginning welder, you won't need to look for anything advanced. It is unwise to seek out an advanced model either because it is best to familiarize yourself with the basic features first. The beginning welders are for entry-level tasks and hobbyists, and they will perform all functions without issue. You should choose something which will work for you when selecting a welder. A tool which is suitable for a colleague or rival may not be best for you. This first choice will influence your experiences of welding, so pick carefully. We are well aware that a welding tool is one of the most helpful parts of an arsenal, but it must be the best choice. There is a lot of satisfaction to gain from a good welding job, but without the correct tools, you will struggle. Choosing the best welder for your needs and requirements is essential for this reason, among many others.
OTHER TYPES OF WELDING
There are also other types of welding and they only enjoy a mention in this instance so that you can research them further if you so wish. Arc, MIG and TIG are the three that will interest you as a beginner welder . All in all there are about thirty different types of welding, although some of these are subtypes of major techniques. Flux cored welders use a sub technique of arc welding and it is different only because flux rather than a wired is fed during the process.
To become a competent welder, you will need to get to know your way around the equipment that is used. Safety equipment will be similar regardless of the type of welding you are performing. There will be some variations and once you have chosen the format that you will use most, you will be able to investigate and invest he correct safety equipment.
Ensure that you have strong leather boots or work shoes. Your trousers should have no cuffs and upper body clothing should include flame resistant garments with sleeves. These garments should preferably be worn as a jacket. Furthermore, heat and flame-resistant gloves should be added to your work clothing collection.
Obviously, safety headwear should be included before you can start on your first welding experience. A helmet as well as the correct welding safety glasses should be worn. Remember that this not just the sparks and spatter that you will be protecting your eyes and face from. Certain gas flames can burn the corneas of your eyes in the same way that the sun burns your skins. Ignoring safety precautions for your eyes is a recipe for disaster.
It is always a good idea to have a fire extinguisher close by and use a welder extension cord when working on a welding project.
Welding machines come in all shapes and sizes. The most common are unsurprisingly the portable variety. You will be able to decide whether the machine is for occasional use, like weekend welding projects or whether you need a machine that will become your trustworthy workhouse.
SINGLE TECHNIQUE WELDING MACHINES
Welding machines are often marketed as a single use machine. This may be because the machine comes as part of a comprehensive kit specifically designed for specific methods.
If you are likely to only use a single approach to welding such as MIG or TIG welding, then sourcing a reputable brand with a specified machine will be a good idea.
It is also important to remember that not all MIG welders will be suitable for all MIG welding jobs. This is where good tuition comes in handy. A good instructor will provide good guidelines for choosing which machine will be right for you.
MULTI USE MACHINES
Some Welding machines are suitable only for Arc, MIG or TIG welding and others can be used for all three and are called multi process welders. Although you may have to spend a little more money if you are likely to be welding regularly for different purposes such as farming or boat building these are probably the better machines to invest in.
When investing in a multi-use machine, you may find that although the machine can tackle all three of the major techniques you use, there may be limitations within those techniques. If you are new to welding, investigate the limitations of any machine to be sure that it will meet your needs.
You will need to get your head around gas supplies, gas safety and how to mix gases to develop your welding skills. Most gas supplies are delivered so finding a good supplier is paramount to the success of your venture. Straight C02 will come in a single gas bottle. However, if you are using other gases such as Aron you will need to order them separately. Remember to have the correct tubing and regulators, not only to meet legal requirements, but also for your own safety.
When choosing a machine consider things such as how you will be holding the cutting torch. Some welding appliances are specifically designed for beginners. Others are designed for comfort. A pistol grip cutting torch can the difference when it comes to the make or break for the ongoing interest you have in welding.