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A Beginners Guide to Arc Welding

Thursday, December 22, 2011
Arc welding is used by many people from DIY enthusiasts to skilled engineers to repair ships and containers. It is well-known for being a practical and affordable type of welding that may be employed outdoors as well as indoors. The equipment for arc welding is also reasonably straightforward and all you need is an AC power supply. Machines are low-cost and may be purchased in most hardware shops.

You ought to spend particular attention to the safety procedures before you start any welding. Arc welding produces bright light and UV radiation so it is important you wear the right clothes. Your kit should comprise of a welding helmet, gloves, jacket, apron and rubber soled working boots.

Initially you should take some time preparing the surfaces to be welded. You can use an angle grinder to clean up the edges and get rid of any rust, old weld or paint. Using the angle grinder, make a 45 degree chamfer along the edges you intend to weld. This will help to give strength to your weld.

Set-up your machine by attaching the grounding clamp to your work surface - make sure you make a good connection by removing any paint for rust beforehand. Clamp your metal down too so nothing moves as you start you weld. Time spent on preparation is important to create a durable weld.

Together with your welding machine switched on and whilst wearing all your safety equipment, bring your welding electrode close to where you want to start welding. Scratch the surface of your metal with your electrode, just like you strike a match. The arc that it produces will melt the electrode and outer flux to form your weld. Move your electrode along your welding edge holding it a constant distance away from the surface. The distance should be equal to the diameter of the electrode. The molten electrode will produce what's called a weld pool; you should try to help keep a third of your weld pool ahead of your electrode.

Once you've reached the end of your weld take away your electrode, turn your machine off and allow everything to cool. You will see the slag form on leading of the weld bead; use a chipping hammer to remove this slag to reveal your weld. A nice clean weld should be totally free from any pin-holes that could weaken the bond. Pin holes occur when the flux mixes with the weld and will weaken your join.

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