At each stage of the welding process there are specialized tools required to ensure that the welding process will have a structurally strong end result. Welding tools fall into two categories, hand and power, and each category is vital in allowing a welder to work.
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Multipurpose Welding Tools
Two tools that no welder can live without are a grinder and hammer. The grinder is a tool that changes functions depending on the type of grinding wheel being used. During the prep stage, hard wheels and flapper wheels are used to make beveled ends on thicker metal and remove galvanizing from galvanized metals. Grinding pads are used to grind welds flush with the base metal for a smooth, seamless finish. During the cleaning stage of a weld, a wire wheel is attached to remove slag, spatter and discoloration from the weld. Hammers are used to align the seams of metals before they are welded, de-stress welds after they have cooled, chip slag from stick welds and remove spatter from surfaces around the weld.
The Welding Machine
A welding machine is the most important welding tool; without it you would not need any other welding tools. There are different types of welding machine; some are able to perform MIG, TIG and stick welding. The front of a welding machine will have dials to set voltage and amperage. MIG welders have a wire speed dial that takes the place of an arc welder's amperage dial.
Solvents and Tools Used During the Welding Process
Anti-spatter creates a film on metal that does not allow spatter to stick to the metal’s surface. Spatter is a natural part of welding and is unavoidable with the exception of TIG welding. Anti-spatter or nozzle dip can be used to coat the cup of MIG torches to allow the easy removal of spatter build-up.
MIG wire can fuse to the copper tip inside the torch or overextend from the cup if the torch trigger is accidentally depressed. Side cutters, linemen’s pliers or a multipurpose MIG tool is needed to cut the MIG wire and clean the inside of the cup.
A grinder is needed while welding to widen weld gaps, grind down tack welds and clean the tip of the MIG gun if the wire welds to the tip.
Tools Used to Clean Up the Weld
Cleaning up after the weld requires a hammer, chisel, grinder with a wire wheel and a chipping hammer. Spatter and slag are a fact of life for a welder. Wire wheeling the weld with the grinder will remove the majority of the spatter and slag.
Sliding the chisel across the metal’s surface will remove additional spatter. If a particular piece of spatter is difficult to remove, hit the chisel with the hammer and the spatter will pop off the metal.
Chipping hammers are a specialty hammer meant to remove heavy slag from stick welds. A chipping hammer has a dual-edged head and a handle that is surrounded by a heavy spring.
Welder Safety Tools and Equipment
Welding tools go beyond the standard hand tools. A great deal of heat and sparks are generated during the welding process and you need to include safety equipment as part of your welding tools. Welding safety requires the use of a proper welding hood, fire resistant welder’s clothing, gloves, fire extinguisher and leather boots. The combination of proper safety welding equipment and welding tools will allow you to perform professional welds and not suffer burns and injuries in the process.