• Kristin Thompson

5 Questions To Ask Before Buying Your First Welding Machine


So you want to purchase your first welding machine. But with the myriad of equipment out there, what is best suited for you? Whether you are looking to just tinker around in your garage, or build a 12 foot steel sculpture, there is a welding machine suited for you.

1. What type of welding process will I be using?

Lets break down the capabilities and advantages of each welding process to get a better idea of what fits your needs.

Mig

  • Easy to learn

  • High weld speeds

  • Better control with thin metals

  • Cleaner welds

  • Great for general maintenance and repair at home and garage

Stick

  • Better suited for outdoor conditions

  • Forgiving when welding rusty/dirty metal

  • Better for thicker metals

  • Used for general construction and repair

Flux Cored

  • Great for out of position welding

  • Deep weld penetration for thick sections

  • Increased metal deposit rates

  • Forgiving when welding rusty/ dirty metal

Tig

  • High quality precision welds

  • Aesthetically pleasing weld beads

  • Heat input adjustable with foot control

  • Suited for finer more exotic type metal work

2. What type of metal will I be welding?

Each welding process is designed for use on certain metals. If you know what type of materials you plan to weld before purchasing your welder, it can make your decision much easier.

Below is a chart laying out which weld process is used for different types of materials.


3. Where will I be working?

A commonly overlooked detail, your work environment can factor in greatly when it comes to the type of welding machine you choose. For example, if you plan to be working outdoors or in drafty areas, a MIG welder may not be your best choice as air drafts can blow the shielding gas from the weld puddle, causing the weld to be porous. However, stick welding is much more adaptable for outdoor conditions.

4. What will I plug into?

Before you run out and purchase the biggest baddest welding machine you can find, consider the power source you will be using. Will you be plugging into a 110 outlet in your garage? Though this can limit your machine choices, there are still plenty of smaller hobby machines on the market that work fantastic on a 110 power supply.

5. What accessories do I need?

Though there are tons of different accessories available for you and your welding machine, there are a few that are absolutely necessary. Welding arc and flame emit intense visible, ultraviolet, and infrared radiation. UV radiation in a welding arc will burn unprotected skin and inflame the outer membranes of the eyes.

Welding Mask/Helmet – There are many universal welding masks and helmets available for $10 or less. However, we recommend an auto-darkening helmet for extra safety. The lens will remain transparent until the welder starts arcing, making positioning much easier and safer.

Welding Gloves – Whether you choose to purchase generic welding gloves or those made specifically for your welding process, hand protection is a must.

Now that you have asked yourself these 5 questions, you are in much better position to choose a welding machine of your own.