How Welding Mistakes Can Happen For Beginners
Welding is a complex skill that can take time to practice and get right so it’s with no real surprises that mistakes can and will always happen when you are in the learning phase of welding. Whether its Stick, TIG or MIG mistakes will always help you learn and improve so don’t be embarrassed, just take note of what you did wrong and then move on from there.
If you are a beginner then we are going to highlight some of the more common welding mistakes that people make so next time you pick up a welder you will think twice, and hopefully relate back to this article.
Mistake 1: Not Cleaning Your Materials
The first mistake we are going to come to is an obvious one but one that many beginners fail to do. Now, there are certain exceptions to this one being if you are using a Stick weld which can power through dirt, rust and grease with ease but even then you want to really clean down your materials before you begin welding because you will get a much cleaner weld and the two pieces of metal will join together much better.
This really is aimed at TIG welders because it’s a precision weld and any impurities on the metals will give an imperfect join. However make sure that you use the correct solvents when cleaning metals if you are going to use a TIG welder. You certainly don’t want to be using paint thinner as this will cause lots of problems so stick to something such as acetone.
Mistake 2: Your Electrodes are Badly Damaged
The second mistake for beginners that we wanted to draw your attention to was damaged electrodes. These are often caused due to some residue or moisture collected on the electrode, resulting in a build-up of rust. Rust or oil that is contained on the electrode can then cause serious problems when you come to welding two pieces of metal together so it’s important when MIG or Stick welding to keep your electrodes in tip-top condition and if they are rusty to replace them.
It may seem like an unnecessary expense but believe us, in the long run you will be thankful that you dumped the rusty ones and replaced them with brand new ones.
7018 electrodes as an example which are used in Stick welding need to be kept warm at all times and stored in a dry place. That is why electrode ovens have been created in order to keep them as dry as possible so that when you use them they are at their most optimal condition.
Mistake 3: Choosing the Wrong Current
Another popular mistake that people make, mainly beginners, is that they use the wrong current for the metal they wish to weld with. Remember that the type of metal and electrode you are using will determine whether you should be using an AC or DC current, and how much to use of that particular current.
It’s always best to refer back to the welders guidelines but if you want to test it out then just cut off some scraps and then use them as practice pieces until you are happy with the current and how much of that current you are using. As they say practice makes perfect.
Mistake 4: Problems Striking the Arc
Perhaps the most common frustration for beginners is learning how to strike the arc, as this takes a lot of practice to perfect. Beginners will either lift the arc too far from the surface of the metal, hit the metal too hard, or just not get the hang of what they need to do in order to start the arc off. Too many beginners have tried and tried again only to damage the metal that they are meant to be welding together, ruining the complete project.
The best way to practice starting the arc is to do it on scrap metal and to turn the welder off. Now you can hear sounds of when the rod hits the metal and you can practice on how high you should be lifting it off the metal on order for the arc to start (usually about 1/8 of an inch).
Even when the arc is in full swing beginners will forget and pull the arc away from the metal, which can cause serious problems. The further away from the metal means the wider the arc will become which in-turn will increase the temperature, which will finally result in the metal being melted right the way through.
These are mistakes we have all made at one time in our welding careers and with every mistake comes an opportunity to learn more and progress in the industry.