Before striking your first spark for a home welding project, there are quite a few safety concerns to consider, especially when working in your garage. Here are some tips for a safe and functional garage set up for welding.
Welder Set Up for Garage Welding Projects
The best option for welding at home is to store welders on a cart that can be wheeled into the middle of the garage. This is safer, easier to clean up, and much more versatile for a variety of projects. A welding table and cart with wheels and a lower shelf is an ideal work space solution. Be sure to choose heavy duty metal and wheels for both, as welding sometimes involves heavy materials.
Power Set Up for Garage Welding Projects
While regular power outlets are enough for some smaller welders, the larger welding machines will need a higher electrical output. One welder asked an electrician friend to install a 50 amp 220v circuit. While he was at it, he added some light fixtures, which is a great way to improve the functionality of a work area.
Proper Storage for Garage Welding Projects
Cardboard boxes, cloth, and paper are just a few of the flammable materials that can be set aflame with the sparks from welding or grinding. Most welders suggest metal cabinets or storage containers that aren’t flammable.
Safety for Garage Welding Projects
Safety is the most important aspect of welding at home since a tiny spark can lead to a lot of damage, especially if the garage is connected to the house. Remove flammable materials such as rugs out of the vicinity of the welder as well as any other fuels or gases that aren’t in use. Be sure that other gas and fuel canisters are securely fastened in place and are stored properly in an upright position.
Keep fire extinguishers handy, not tucked away in a back corner. If possible, only do metal-working in one space and wood working in another. The accumulated saw dust in cracks and gaps in the walls only need one spark to begin smoldering. Welders with mixed use spaces use air blowers to clean their work spaces and frequently check for any smoke or smoldering after completing their projects.
In the case of attached garages, take into consideration your ventilation needs, especially for the winter. Usually an open window with a box fan will be enough to ventilate a welding area, but check with a welding professional before starting a project.
Typical welding safety includes being sure your welder is appropriately grounded and that your work area is free from clutter such as unnecessary hoses and power cords. In addition, check the hoses routinely for leaks and kinks. The best welding set up is one that minimizes distractions and hazards that can get in the way while working on a project.
While a mobile welding table or welding cart needs locks that will keep it in place, some welders put pins into the concrete of their garage so that they can maximize the stability of their carts.
For added safety, create a welding “shield” with hooks in the ceiling, hanging specially designed flame-resistant blankets. This will protect the garage from sparks and also contain the mess. For welders who want to work with the garage door open but fear exposing passersby with UV rays, there are clear screens that can be put up across the garage opening that allow in light but block the rays.
Seasonal Considerations for Garage Welding Projects
Most building codes require a separate HVAC system for a garage, and therefore welders living in colder climates will want to explore safe and simple ways to ventilate their workspaces while generating heat for winter projects, as well as the possibility of insulating the garage. For welders in a hot climate, a window AC unit is most likely the best option.