Choosing welding equipment requires an understanding of the welding process and options available. Welding is the joining of metal using heat and electricity; therefore, many variables are involved in creating acceptable welds. The type of material, its thickness, its use and other specifications all contribute to the decision on the choice of which welding equipment to use. Welding on thick metals requires more amperage than on thin sheet metal, and welding machines with higher amperage cost more. Consumables like nozzles, tips, gas, cable and wire are also required for many types of welding and increase your equipment cost.
Make a list of the types of metal you will need to weld. This may be a variety of metals, from carbon steel to stainless, sheet metal or aluminum. Your list may even include other metals like copper, bronze or titanium.
List the thickness of the metals you need to weld. This determines the power requirements of the welding machine. Remember that the more power the machine has the higher the cost, so don’t overestimate your needs.
Research the types of welding equipment currently available. Consult with sales people at your local welding supply store.
Research the electrical requirements. Some welders run on 115 house current, others require 230 or higher voltage. You may need to have an electrician add additional power to run the welding equipment.
Choose welding equipment that has the greatness diversity if you will be performing different types of welding.
For simple steel welds that do not need a refined appearance, a simple stick welder will suffice. Stick welding can be done outdoors, in windy conditions, and on dirty, rusty metal, according to NorthernTool.
A MIG welder provides better control for thinner metals and allows more refined welds for a clean appearance.
TIG welding equipment gives the greatest control for highly-refined work and very thin metals with less distortion, according to Millwelds.
Spot welding equipment uses current alone to join metals only at small, specific points. It is generally used for tacking together thin pieces of sheet metal.
Search through used equipment ads for welding equipment. This is a good way to get the equipment you need at a good price.
For welding work where there is no electrical hook-up available, a gas-powered, engine-driven welding generator can supply the power.
Single-phase welding equipment can be used in homes and garages. Three-phase welding equipment is used for industrial applications.
Factor in protective welding equipment for your costs. Helmet, gloves, sleeves, goggles and fume extractors are required for safe welding practice.