Welding Accessories You Need to Be a Successful Welder
Welding accessories are crucial for being a productive and efficient welder. Essential tools for welding like marking tools, an angle grinder, vice grips, clamps, and a steel wire brush help produce welds to be proud of. But some welding accessories are vital for safety. For example, a welding helmet, gloves, ear protection, and a fire extinguisher will protect you from accidents.
Welding is a dangerous job. Welders create a high electricity output, temperatures up to 6,500°F (3,593°C), and powerful ultraviolet and infrared rays. Then there are things to consider like sparks flying around, shielding gas cylinders, and fumes from the welding process. Therefore, the risk of electrocution, severe burns, and even asphyxiation is always present.
What are the essential welding accessories to keep you safe while joining pieces of metal together? What tools do you need to ensure the final weld is strong and looks professional?
The 18 Must-Have Tools for Successful Welding
Having the right welding equipment is vital for producing clean, robust, and good-looking welds. First, it’s essential to buy the correct type of welder for the job. However, you also need many other tools and welding products to get the job done right.
Here is a list of welding accessories that every hobbyist and professional welder needs.
1. Welding Helmet with Auto-Darkening Lens
A welding helmet is a critical piece of safety equipment every welder needs. The best type of helmet for welding has a lens that automatically adjusts the shade depending on the welding process and brightness of the arc. This feature saves you from removing the helmet to inspect your work.
It’s crucial always to wear a helmet when welding. This protects your eyes, face, and neck from flash burns and sparks. Additionally, the darkened lens protects your eyesight from damage that powerful infrared and ultraviolet rays can cause.
2. Safety Work Boots
A welder should wear heavy-duty, non-conductive boots with a steel toe and good support. The electrical hazard boots are necessary to protect you from electrocution. In addition, the boots should prevent slipping and protect your feet in case heavy metal objects fall. Also, the safety boots must prevent slag and sparks from getting into them.
3. Protective Welding Gloves
Protective gloves are critical for welding to protect your hands from burns. Extreme heat from the arc, hot metal, and sparks are a few of the burn risks that welding causes. However, the welding gloves should also provide a good grip and protect your skin from sharp, jagged metal edges.
4. Protective Gear — Clothes
Protective clothing and heat-resistant work clothes are necessary when operating a welding machine. The jacket and pants should be fire-resistant and protect you from spatter and intense heat. When choosing the appropriate welding jacket, pick one bigger than you usually wear. This enables you to wear the heat-resistant jacket over loose clothing.
5. Safety Glasses
Safety glasses are another essential welding accessory. Some types of welding that don’t generate severe sparking don’t require wearing a welding hood. In these cases, you need appropriate safety eye wear to protect your eyes from heat and eyesight from optical radiation.
6. Ear Protection
Earmuffs should be one of the welding accessories to have in your kit. Ear protection for welding is specially designed to fit snuggly under the helmet. The earmuffs should be large enough to prevent moisture and heat buildup. Additionally, they must protect your hearing from the constant noises created by welding.
Welding Table and Clamps
7. Grinding Visor
A grinding visor is vital to protect your eyes from flying shards of metal. Metal grinding is necessary to prepare metal for welding and finish off a weld. There are various types of visors suitable for welding.
You can choose from a simple flip-up Perspex visor to a 2-in-1, top-of-the-range welding helmet that incorporates a welding lens and grinding visor.
8. Welding Table or Cart
A robust welding table or moveable cart is typically necessary for a home workshop or garage. The work table should be big enough for your DIY welding projects and support metal and heavy equipment. Some of the best tables have drilled-out sections to accommodate various welding jobs. But the most crucial consideration is that you have enough room to work.
9. Fire Extinguisher
Having a fire extinguisher on hand is crucial when working with high-intensity heat, sparks, and gasses. Sparks can quickly fly off and ignite flammable materials or liquids. The fire extinguisher will mean you can keep yourself, your property and equipment safe.
However, not just any fire extinguisher will do. It is best to have a combination extinguisher rated as Class A, B, and C. If you are using magnesium, you should have a Class D extinguisher.
10. Marking Tools Used When Welding
Welding is a precision skill, and every welder must have the correct marking tools. After all, fusing two pieces of metal creates a robust and unbreakable bond. Therefore, you must get the weld right the first time.
Here is a list of the essential marking tools for your toolbox:
- Welder’s chalk
- Metal marking pen and silver streak welder’s pencil
- Single center punch-mark
- Felt-tip pen
- Steel measuring tape
- Precision steel rules
- Compass and dividers
- Torpedo and builder’s levels
11. Angle Grinder
It’s almost impossible to create welds without having an angle grinder in your welding arsenal. The grinder is necessary to remove rust and dirt from metal before welding. Then post-weld, the angle grinder is used to remove excess slag and create a smooth surface.
12. Vice Grips and Pliers
One of the welding tools that a welder can’t do without is vice grips — also called locking pliers or a mole wrench. These adjustable pliers are necessary to hold metal pieces in place to perform a precise weld. Locking pliers can be clamps, wrenches, and needle-nose pliers to fix metal parts for welding.
13. Welding Magnets
Welding magnets are valuable tools to hold metal of any shape or thickness in place for welding. The powerful magnets hold ferromagnetic metal to allow for hands-free welding. Magnets for welding are also easy to set up and simple to use. Depending on your project, there are several types of heavy-duty welding magnets to choose from.
These are the following:
- Welding magnets you can switch on and off
- Arrow welding magnets
- Multi-angle magnet
- Magnetic welding clamps
- Adjustable welding magnets
- Snake magnets
- Sheet metal magnets
14. Welding Clamps
In addition to using magnets and lockable pliers, you will also need welding clamps in your collection of accessories. Welding clamps hold two pieces of material tightly together, making it easier for you to run the arc. Using welding clamps means you don’t have to worry about the metal sheets moving.
15. Squaring Tools
Do you need to weld two pieces of metal at a 90-degree angle? If so, then squaring tools are an essential welding accessory. However, it’s not just for welding at right angles. Welding squares come in various angles to help you make the perfect weld the first time, every time.
16. Chipping Hammer
A chipping hammer is a helpful welding accessory to remove slag and spatter from a weld. The hammer has a pointed end and a flat end, and the best chipping hammers have a spring handle. All you need to do is carefully chip away at the spatter along side a weld to clean it up.
17. Steel Wire Brush
A clean weld requires removing all debris, grime, dirt, paint, and rust from the base metal. That is why a steel wire brush is a helpful welding accessory. This ensures better conductivity when passing the electrical arc over the metal joins.
Top Welding Tip:
When cleaning stainless steel for welding, always use a stainless-steel brush. Otherwise, a standard carbon steel brush can contaminate the weld and cause rust spots.
18. Hand File
Having a selection of hand files is necessary to smooth the edges of cut metal and finish a weld. Typically, an angle grinder and chipping hammer can remove the rougher patches after finishing a weld. You can then finish and polish the metal with a suitable hand file.
Welding Accessories — A Takeaway
The correct welding accessories help you work more effectively and to a higher standard. If you are just getting started in welding, ensure you have the basic accessories to begin with. Then, you can buy more advanced tools and accessories as you take on more complex welding projects.