Hands-on experience is absolutely essential to learn welding. Getting the handle on welding skills takes time and practice before anyone can put it to use. Here are some tips to keep in mind, especially for beginners, to help them adjust better and more quickly to welding training.
Play with the puddle
The key to welding is creating a puddle in which to melt the filler material. Practice leading the puddle (without trying to join metals). Waiting too long in one place can start to burn a hole through your base metal or get your welder stuck. The speed you travel and the distance you maintain between the rod and the base are crucial. Too close and the rod will stick, but too far and it will splatter or disconnect the arc. Likewise, traveling too fast or too slow will fail to consume the filler material at the appropriate rate, resulting in an inconsistent, weak weld.
Store filler rods in a humidity-controlled environment
Take care of your tools and they will take care of you. TIG welding in particular relies on the purity of the rod and cleanliness of the surface material for creating a strong weld. Many people store their filler rods in capped PVC pipes. For storing different filler rods, some even use different colored caps so that they can always tell which pipe contains which type rod, even if the pipes are moved.
Find the right travel speed
The correct travel speed will keep the arc in the leading third of the puddle. Traveling too fast or too slow have different consequences. Welding too slowly will deposit too much material into the puddle, creating a convex weld bead that often lacks proper penetration and appears to be sitting on the surface of the base metal. It also tends to focus the heat into the puddle instead of the base metal, further weakening the weld. Welding too fast creates a thin bead that may undercut the surrounding metal, giving it a concave or recessed shape. It may also create an inconsistent bead as the puddle tries to keep up with the weld.
Calibrate amperage and electrode size before welding
Amperage is generally determined by the size and type of electrode you use. Too low of an amperage means more sticking. The arc may also go out or stutter, even when held at the appropriate distance. Too high of an amperage could lead to burn-through and excessive noise. The electrode may char, affecting the effectiveness of the flux, and the puddle could be excessively fluid, making it harder to control and more likely to spatter.
Use ergonomic welding solutions
Welding is a physically demanding job, and it’s important to use your body correctly to avoid long-term injury. Some ways to increase your comfort are to find stable and comfortable working positions that you can remain in for a while, use lifts and tables to bring low work to your level, store tools so you can access them easily without having to reach, and lower the shield of your welding helmet by hand instead of with a head jerk. Tensing up can easily lead to muscle strain so it’s important to stay relaxed and take breaks to stretch.
Tulsa Welding School teaches students, including beginners, the skills they need to start a welding career. For more information about welding training in Tulsa, OK or Jacksonville, FL, contact a TWS Admissions Representative.