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What Do You Need to Get Started with Welding?

What Do You Need to Get Started with Welding?

It’s hard to know how exactly to answer questions about “what a new welder” needs in order to start welding because every person has a slightly different setup at home, different tools on hand, and very different assumptions about welding. While we can’t guarantee that we’ll cover everything YOU need in order to start welding, we’ll at least offer a great place to get started with your home welding shop. As with all of the advice on this blog, ask a local welding expert about your specific welding set up. Don’t just take our word for it!

Backyard weld setup

Welding Shop Supplies

A basic welding shop should have good ventilation and protect any passersby from getting flashed. While most welders offer multiple power options, an ideal welding shop will have a 240V plug option for higher powered welding and cutting machines. In addition, most welding brands offer welding carts that make it easier to keep your machine out of the dust and to move it into the optimal position to start welding.

A handy broom is also an essential tool for your shop since sparks can sometimes sit in piles of dust and slowly ignite, finally becoming a flame AFTER you’ve left your shop. Just check out the number of stories involving garages that burned down due to welding! Don’t forget to keep a fire extinguisher handy as well.

Since welding can put out a lot of heat, a metal table designed just for welding can offer a safe and sturdy work surface. Obviously depending on the kind of work you do, that will determine whether you need a small or large table for projects.

Find welding supplies here


Welding Safety Supplies

Provided that you’ve figured out a good ventilation system and have a reliable table and cart for your welding projects, you’ll need a combination of safety products.

For instance, a grounding cable isn’t just for safety. It will also give you a smoother weld with less spatter. Clamps of varying sizes are also essential for holding your metal workpieces in place and creating a safe welding surface.  

The type of glove you pick will depend on the process. Stick welding gloves tend to be thicker and have longer cuffs in order to protect your wrists from sparks. TIG gloves are more flexible and don’t have the same cuffs.

An auto-darkening welding helmet has become standard for many welders, and depending on your welding positions and the amount of time you’re spending on the job, you may want to spend more for a lighter, comfortable, adaptable helmet. Lincoln’s Viking offers a lot of features for a relatively low price, Miller may offer the safest helmet for welding out of position, while Speedglas tends to have the largest viewing area.

While welding, wear cotton clothing or clothing that is flame-proof, but many welders prefer to wear a bib, jacket, or heavy duty jacket depending on their project and climate.

Find welding safety gear today at Baker’s Gas and Welding


Welding Tools and Preparation

While your budget and project will determine what you need in order to prepare your welding project, most welders will need some kind of saw, grinder, cutting torch, or plasma cutter. A grinder is a highly versatile tool that can slice through thin metal and clean metal before welding.

A torch is an affordable option for making clean cuts on thick metal, but if you make a lot of cuts in your welding shop, you may want to look into a plasma cutter. With a plasma cutter you’ll get a cleaner cut through thicker metal, and you’ll also save yourself from having to buy new gas canisters each time you run out.

Sandpaper, wire brushes, and cleaning cloths are all essential prep tools for a welding shop. The cleaner you can make your metal, the stronger your welds will be.

Check out the cutting tools on sale at Baker’s 

Choosing Your Welding Process

Your choice of welder will be determined by factors that include your location, materials, and quality of the weld. For instance, a TIG welder is often used for precise welds on thinner metal, but there are many jobs that you can knock out with thinner wire on a MIG welding machine.

MIG welders are also significantly easier to learn when compared to TIG welding, since MIG wire is self-feeding and you just need to point and weld. TIG requires filler wire and an electrode that is chosen to match the metal you’re welding. MIG and TIG welding typically require a shielding gas in order to keep the metal from contaminants.

For outside welding projects, either a flux-cored MIG machine or a stick welder will be ideal. Stick welders can put out a lot of heat and make large welds, and they can handle outside projects since the flux in the welding stick protects it from contamination.

If you can’t make up your mind, there are many multi-process welders to choose from that are portable and effective, such as Miller’s Multimatic and ESAB’s Rebel.

Each welding process will also require additional expenses that include shielding gas, welding wire, electrodes, and torch tips. Some welders come with all of the basic supplies you need, but check the product page for that details before making a purchase.

Ed Cyzewski


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