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Even during difficult economic times, there will always be a need for welding. Large welding operations, however, may not be agile enough and offer a low enough price point to handle smaller welding jobs. This opens up the door for smaller welding and cutting projects for hobbyists or for minor household or commercial projects and custom metal fabrication.
Small welding shops, however, welders need to know the right equipment they need to build a legitimate welding shop. This blog will explore what you need to properly get welding. Please note that this list is for information purposes only. When you are looking to outfit a new welding area, consult a professional at CK Supply to make sure you have the right tools and the personal protective equipment (PPE) you need.
Part 1: The Workshop
Some welding processes are not suited for outside work, and all the fumes and heat generated by the simple act of welding means the safest way to weld is in a contained welding workshop. Sparks and spatter can travel up to 40 feet from the work area, so the immediate needs to be safe, as well as the entire workshop. Here is what makes a great welding workshop:
- Safe surroundings – The shop should have a solid cement or dirt floor. Remember that the space needs to be clean and dry since water and dust are the enemies of safe welding. Further, welding creates heat and sparks, so ideally, the area has no books or paper that can ignite.
- Adequate electricity – Most welding machines take 220 or 240 volts, which is well beyond the 120 volts provided by a typical residential wall outlet. Know your equipment and make sure your work area is wired safely.
- Adequate ventilation – Welding creates fumes, and the gasses you will use can be dangerous in confined areas. Closed shops will need point ventilation, which is a vacuum that can be directed on the workpiece, but many shops use exhaust fans or open doorways to allow airflow through the work area.
- Adequate space – Great workshops have plenty of space for equipment storage and plenty of headroom, so you aren’t working in a cramped area.
- Proper lighting – You will need to see what you are doing, especially when you are wearing a heavy welding helmet. Therefore, you also need strong LED overhead lighting to illuminate the work area.
- Light protection – Be mindful of who might walk by the work area during active welding as it produces arc flashes that can damage eyesight, even from a long distance away. Either shield the area using a welding curtain or have a supply of safety glasses nearby with shade 2 lenses.
- Gas storage – Gas is important to welding, and a proper shop has a dedicated area to keep gas cylinders stored upright and labelled so there is no question about the contents.
Part 2: Welding Equipment
The list of helpful tools for welding is almost endless, but here are some examples of what you will need:
- Welding machine – Match your welder to what you will be welding. A great MIG welder is a welding shop staple and will serve most hobby and small shop needs. Certain applications require a TIG machine. Your choice of a welding machine should be based on research as there are many brands and variations.
- Welding table – A sturdy steel or aluminum welding table provides an immovable grounded base. The table also puts the work at a height that makes welding less cumbersome and easier to access.
- Grinders, lathes, band saws, chop saws, vises, pliers, clamps, gun holders, pry bars, hammer sets, etc. – There is a galaxy of helpful tools and accessories available to welders.
Part 3: Personal Protective Equipment
PPE is essential for safe welding, but what does a typical welder need?
- Welding helmet – With or without the awesome custom flame paint job, the welding helmet will protect a welder’s face and eyes from excessive heat, flying slag, and blinding arc light. Protective eyewear with shields must be worn even when wearing a helmet.
- Clothing – Protective clothing for any welding operation will vary with the nature of the work, but the very base purpose of protective clothing is to prevent burns from sparks, spatter, and heat. All parts of the body should be covered with leather aprons or another approved material to protect against flash burns.
- Gloves – A welder’s hands are the closest to molten metal, so strong, flameproof, and heat proof welding gloves are essential to safe welding.
- Respirators – Ventilation is important. Personal respirators are critical. A welder’s face is close to a violent chemical reaction that produces fumes, and metal dust, so proper protection is essential to safe operations.
Contact CK Supply for More Welding Shop Tips
Outfitting the perfect welding shop is more about logic and safety than it is about technical know-how. Since welding is a dangerous and violent activity, both the welder and the work area need to be protected. So, with the proper set-up and common sense, you can build a welding shop that is safe, clean, and efficient.
Check out the products we offer or stop by one of our stores. We’ll make sure you have everything you need for a legitimate welding operation.