Nowadays, in times of increasing demand for technical and construction services, a certified professional is worth its weight in gold. However, even the best specialist can do little if he does not have the necessary tools for the job.  

 

MMA WELDING MACHINES 

WelderParticularly appreciated by amateurs and workshops not specialised in welding. They consist of the ground cable with clamp, the cable with electrode holder and the power source. In addition, two further sub-categories can be distinguished within this group: 

  • Transformer welders - cheap and simple (both in construction and operation), but unfortunately clumsy, imprecise and energy consuming, even for a welding machine. Just right for a home workshop of a do-it-yourselfer. 
  • Inverter welders - lighter, more efficient and energy saving. Price proportionate to quality. 

 

MIG/MAG WELDING MACHINES 

Used for welding metals, possibly thicker aluminium parts. Handy (providing a wide range of possible welding positions) and technologically advanced. Adjustment of wire feeding speed, spot welding switches, gas or wire tests are only examples of available facilities. Most commonly found on production halls and construction sites.  

 

TIG WELDING MACHINES 

The highest cleanliness and quality of the weld, complete absence of liquid metal spatter ("sparks"), perfect choice especially for thin sheets - from about 0.5 mm. Unfortunately, this finesse is achieved at the expense of working time, which is relatively long for TIG welding machines. In addition, an inexperienced welder will not experience the full potential of this welder. The final result is strongly related to the operator's manual skills. 

 

As you can see, there is no such thing as a perfect welder. The trick is to choose the one that best suits your needs and whose drawbacks you will find easiest to accept.  

So how do you choose a welding machine for yourself? Here is a list of the most important criteria you should consider. 

  • Amperage - the thicker the material the higher the amperage, the more current it consumes and the more stable the electrical installation requires. Welding machines up to 250A are used in amateur or manufacturing workshops. Above this value, on construction sites and in industry.  
  • Efficiency/operation cycle. The percentage of time the appliance operates per 10 minutes. For example, if the manufacturer reports an efficiency of 80% he means 8 minutes continuous operation and 2 minutes off.  

NOTE! Under no circumstances should you buy a welding machine that does not have the duty cycle listed in its specifications!!! 

  • Mobility. An individual issue and unlikely to require detailed explanation.  
  • Power supply. There is a choice between three options. 230V (for single phase networks), 400V (for three phase networks), and alternating phase. Everything depends on the type of installation to which the welder will be connected.  
  • Electrode. Depending on the application it can be either fusible or non-fusible. When choosing an electrode we are first of all interested in information about its thickness. It must always be proportional to the thickness of the materials to be welded. Experienced welders prefer basic electrodes, i.e. electrodes designed for direct current operation. As an alternative, rutile electrodes are used as training electrodes for beginners.  

 

WELDING WIRES 

When buying welding wire the main factor we pay attention to is its thickness. It must be adapted to the thickness of the materials being welded in relation: 

  • 0.8 mm thick wire - maximum 1 mm thick sheet metal, 
  • 1.2 mm thick wire - 2 mm to 8 mm thick sheet metal, 
  • 1.6 mm thick wire - 8 mm to 16 mm thick sheet metal, 
  • 2 mm thick wire - 16 mm and over sheet metal. 

When you go to the hardware shop looking for welding wire you will come across the markings SG3 (G4SI1) and SG4 (G3SI1). These indicate the grade of wire. If you have the opportunity try to aim for the former. It has a higher bond strength and is less susceptible to contamination. 

In addition to homogeneous wires, there are also cored wires (so-called powder wires) designated as FCAW (Flux-Cored Arc Welding). It is characterised by an internal filling with flux (e.g. chlorine and nickel for alloy steels) or substances which give off neutral gases after combustion. This wire is more expensive than commonly used and requires special welding machines to function. Most commonly used in the shipbuilding industry. 

 

PROTECTIVE CLOTHING 

Man in full welder's protective suitApron, gloves and most importantly - mask! Regardless of the quality of the equipment and the craftsmanship of the professional qualifications... without the right clothing, using a welding machine is pure foolishness. That is why it is so important to choose health and safety articles carefully. 

EN ISO 11611 - this is the official designation of the standard which certified welding clothes must comply with. It is worth remembering that it should be made of materials of natural origin. They are harder to set on fire, and in case of an incident they do not melt and do not stick to the skin. 

Regarding visors, there are two basic types available on the market. Passive and automatic. The difference is that an automatic visor, as opposed to a passive one, has adjustable darkness thanks to liquid crystal technology. Darkness is measured in DIN units. The higher the tint, the safer our eyesight is, but it is also more difficult to check the results of our work. This is why it is better to aim for slightly more expensive, but safer and more efficient automatic visors.