As a budding metal fabricator, you need to appreciate that welding is at the core of all your metal fabrication operations. With the intense heat and bright light involved, it is easy to see why most metal fabrication apprentices find welding an intimidating activity. However, it does not have to be the case because all you require is the right preparation. This article highlights welding tips for newbie metal fabricators to get started on the right footing.
Prepare the Weld
There are a few things you must get right when preparing to weld pieces of metal. One is preparing the metal surface adequately. Some beginner metal fabricators start welding straight away once they have the welding gun in hand. However, such haste often hurts the quality of the weld. Most importantly, preparing the metal is the first thing you must do. First, clean the surface to the bare metal, and a wire brush or sandpaper can help you in this regard. Once done, wipe the surface clean with a primer to protect the exposed surface from the elements.
Choose Welding Wire Carefully
For MIG welding, it is vital to use the right wire electrode, or else you will not achieve the desired weld. Some apprentice metal fabricators, however, mistakenly believe that one can use any wire electrode for welding operations. Nothing could be further from the truth because the thickness of the metal you are welding determines the type of wire electrode to use. For example, if you are working with thick steel, you need wire electrodes with a thick diameter. It is because dense metal needs a strong bond, and only thick wire electrodes can guarantee this. If, on the other hand, you are welding thin pieces of metal, then you should use thin wire electrodes. Additionally, make sure you match the wire electrode to the type of metal you are welding. Use aluminium wire electrodes on aluminium metals and steel wire electrodes on steel metals.
Avoid Welding in a Straight Line
One way to learn how to weld correctly is by watching experienced welders in action. However, you must be careful because while an experienced welder might seem to be welding in a straight line, that is not the case. What they do is make small connecting loops with the weld gun. It can be easily achieved if you push the puddle along the joint you are welding in round sweeping motions. The advantage of this action over moving in a straight line is that you end up with no gaps and, therefore, achieve a stronger joint.