You often need to do small jobs around the house, but you don’t know how to weld (yet). This is how you can equip yourself to start welding and become self-sufficient, rather than waiting for a professional to come.
How a welding machine looks like
There are different types of welds and therefore different types of welding machines. However, the basic elements of this device remain common to all:
- power supply ;
- control system ;
- electrode holder connected to a 3 meter cable;
- ground cable with clamp;
- cooling system.
There are three main types of welding machines
You have the choice between three types of welding machines.
1. The MMA welding machine
MMA welding uses a coated electrode. This method is most recommended for beginners. The unwinding speed of the thread is quite slow, which allows you to train and acquire a smooth and constant rhythm.
With an MMA welding machine, you can weld a variety of things including some fairly technical assemblies. The machine does not require as much precision, so if you make a few beginner mistakes, you can still achieve strong welds.
2. The MIG welding machine/MAG
The principle of the MIG/MAG welding machine is to use a wire electrode that is in fusion – so consumable – protected by inert or active gases. This type of machine is also suitable for beginners, even if it requires a little more precision than the MMA welding machine.
The shielding gas prevents oxidation of the melting bath and allows for quality and robust welds.
MIG welding (Metal Inert Gas) uses inert gases such as argon or helium. This tool is used for working with aluminum, copper, magnesium and other non-ferrous metals.
The MAG welding (Metal Active Gas) uses active shielding gases, such as carbon dioxide. You can work on non-alloyed, low-alloyed and high-alloyed steel assemblies.
The advantage of MIG/MAG welding, especially for a beginner, is to use a consumable electrode that does not need to be fed from the outside. On the other hand, these are versatile devices that can be used for all your jobs around the house, including relatively thick metal assemblies.
3. TIG welding
For TIG welding, the electrode is protected by inert gases, so it is not consumable. This involves the use of an additional rod-shaped flux. The TIG welding machine is particularly recommended if you have to join very thin elements and you want aesthetic, almost imperceptible welds.
The TIG welding turns out to be strong, but it remains reserved for welders who already have some experience. This is the method that requires the most dexterity and no mistakes are forgiven.
A few precautions before buying your welding machine
Before acquiring your welding machine, you should check its compatibility with your home electrical system. The devices require either a monophase 230 V installation, or a triphase 400 V installation. However, some welding machines are designed to switch between the two types of installations.
The advantage of a 230 V welder is that it can be plugged into any socket in the house. On the other hand, its amperage is limited. It is generally understood to be between 150 and 250 A. The more powerful the amperage, the thicker the elements you can weld.
However, with a welding machine up to 200 A, you already have a great margin of maneuver for your do-it-yourself projects.