Professional welding takes a lot of practice and skill, but it also helps to use top of the line tools and materials that will make your work all that much easier and precise. Professional welding is all about efficiently creating top notch welds, and if you don’t have the right set up in your shop, you’re going to lose time or struggle to create high quality welds.
While the basics of any welding shop are things that can be discussed in another post, I want to dig into some of the stuff that a full time, professional welder needs to have handy on a daily basis. And if you’re a serious hobby welder, some of these items will be worth keeping around your welding shop as well.
Practice Runs on Scrap Metal
Professional welders know that they need to keep scrap metal around in order to practice welding and to test out new machines and materials. With enough metal around they can also quickly add to their projects or make adaptations without having to run out for additional materials.
One of the really nice things about welding on scrap metal is that you can get to know your machine and test out the features. Oftentimes you’ll hit a rough patch while welding and it will help to know the options available on your machine. If you know how much power to add or when to let up on the amperage, you’ll make better welds on the first pass without having to stop and grind things down.
A perfectly square welding table with separate metal slats will make it easier to line up your clamps and make straight welds. While you should always use an angle square to make sure your welds are lined up right, a perfectly square table will save you a lot of time and make it much easier to line up your materials when working.
A good ground is essential for any welding project since it will keep your arc running smooth and stable. There’s a good chance that you already have a grounding cable of some sort on hand, but it probably doesn’t have a large enough copper contact point to really make much of a difference. Consider picking up a higher quality clamp that will handle your welding current.
Just like grounding clamps, most welders already have clamps, but professional welders need a larger number of ground clamps of various sizes. Keeping your metal stable and secure while welding will make all of the difference for your finished weld. A heavy duty grounding clamp will keep your metal work pieces stable while you make tack welds and double check your measurements and angles.
An angle grinder is a must have for a welding shop since it can cut through thin metal, help score thick metal, smooth off a finished weld, or clean metal before you strike your arc. They are far more efficient than sand paper or a wire brush and will leave the metal far more clean. Just make sure you don’t cut away too much metal once you get the disc going!
Cleaning metal and then clearing your weld of dross and impurities is an important part of both prepping and finishing welds. Whether that means having acetone and clean cloths on hand for TIG welding or keeping a chipping hammer, wire brush, and sand paper handy, you’ll need a wide variety of welding supplies in your shop if you want to create a professional weld.
Additional Tools for a Welding Shop
You never know what kinds of challenges will come up while working on a welding project, and to that end you can never have too many wrenches, pliers, or vise grips around your shop. Sometimes you need a little extra leverage when bending metal and other times you need to sneak needle nose pliers into a tight spot. Having the right tools on hand will make it much easier to get your work done quickly and properly. Just knowing where your hammer and screw driver are can make all the difference for a long day at work.