In welding projects, simple mistakes can be catastrophic. Some can impede the quality of your weld, whereas others could mean exposure to injuries for yourself and others. Luckily, here are five all-too-common mistakes you should watch out for when welding.
1. Welding Without Proper PPE On
Welding without proper protection can cause serious injuries for both you and those around you. Safety should be your biggest priority, so make sure to gear up and wear the right personal protective equipment every time you weld.
At the very least, you will want to have an apron, eye protection (face shield), ear protection, your welding helmet, gloves, and safety boots. These help keep you safe from a host of dangers associated with welding, including burns, electrical shocks, sparks, and exposure to harmful chemicals and fumes. Proper PPE can also keep you feeling safe and confident, so you can efficiently produce superior-quality welds.
2. Failing to Use the Right Type of Welding Rod
Welders are divided into two groups—those that use air-bladed rods, and those that use electric-bladed rods. Both types can be very safe, but using the wrong kind of rod can have several negative repercussions.
For instance, it can cause the metal to melt and warp, which can ruin the entire piece. Using the wrong welding rod can also lead to the release of potentially dangerous fumes and toxic gasses into the air, thus putting your health at risk. Electric-bladed rods can be especially dangerous because they can sometimes spark.
So always remember to use the correct type of welding rod, especially when welding smaller components.
3. Not Using the Right Welding Current
The current employed in a weld also separates a good welding job from a sub-par one. In arc welding processes such as MMA or SMAW, an inadequate current can cause significant distortion in the weld. It can break the connection and crack the weld, damaging the weld material.
So, it’s important to always make sure you are using the correct type and amount of current based on the electrode type and the type of metal you are working with. In many cases, this information can be found in your welder’s manual or guidelines.
A common rule of thumb on the current is to never go below 750 amps. If you can comfortably hold 775 amps, then you can safely go under 750 amps. It is also important to use the correct current with the right setup.
4. Not Using the Proper Shielding Gas
In gas welding shielding gas is used to protect the welder from heat and radiation, and the welding pool from contamination by fumes. Contamination can weaken the weld and even cause porosity. Shielding gas is available in two major categories: inert gasses like argon or helium, and reactive gasses like carbon dioxide or acetylene.
The type of shielding gas used will depend on what kind of metal you are working with, as well as what type of weld you are performing (such as an arc or submerged arc). It’s essential to always use the proper shielding gas type for your needs.
5. Using the Wrong Weld Backing for Your Job
Weld backing is a material used on the root side of a weld to support the molten weld pool and prevent weld metal from flowing into the joint. It is typically made from a material like low-carbon steel, copper, or ceramic, which will not affect the chemistry of the weld.
Using the wrong back for your weld can lead to several problems. It can cause the weld to be too shallow, thus weakening the overall joint. The wrong weld backing can also cause the weld to be misaligned, which can again weaken the joint.
Whether you’re a fresh beginner in welding or you’ve been around for a while, avoiding the above mistakes can help ensure better welds and increase your safety.