Setting Up A Welding Shop
Sooner or later if you run an auto shop you will need to weld something. At first, you may just find a place on the concrete safely away from flammable materials and other people. Once outside you can set up your arc welder choose one of your favorite welding helmets and start welding. But eventually, it may become necessary to set up a dedicated area as a welding shop. There are many advantages to having a dedicated welding shop. Some welding processes are simply not suited to outside work. For example, gas metal and gas tungsten require surrounding air to be still. This is because the shielding gas can be blown away. Arc welding should only be done in dry areas and away from the rain due to the electric shock hazard. Another reason is the outside temperature. Cold metals do not weld as well as metal at 70 degrees F. Welding is a dangerous activity and your surroundings should be as controlled as possible. Use a welding machine in the outdoors leaves too many variables and welding right in the middle of your auto shop is just too dangerous.
During the welding process sparks and bits of slag can scatter up to 40 feet from the area of welding. This can cause damage to people and create a fire hazard. In your welding shop you build a metal table to do your welding on and stay away from wood or other materials that can catch fire. The welding shop should be in an area that is well ventilated. Welding can generate dangerous gases that need to be removed from the room and smoke as well. Also, bright overhead light needs to be set up and aimed over your welding table. If your auto shop has an extra room with cinder block walls and a concrete floor, you are in luck. This will make an ideal place for your welding shop. You want to avoid any surface that can be damaged or set on fire by sparks and hot slag.
Once you have your room set up correctly, various power tools will be needed as well as your welding accessories. Power tools such as a reciprocating saw, angle grinder, portable band saw, and a chop saw will come in handy during your welding projects. An angle grinder is ideal for removing excess slag and cleaning up rough edges on metal. Specific tools for working on metal will be needed as well. These include metal brakes and metal benders that are available for all sizes of metal. Other suggested tools are magnetic clamp, center punch, metal file, C-clamp, corner clamp, cold chisel, ball peen hammer and a hacksaw. This not a complete list but is generally a good place to start. The list of tools you can use in welding is almost endless and you will constantly discover new tools that you will need as you become more advanced in the art of welding.
Setting up a welding shop is really about common sense more than technical know how. Neophytes to welding are quick to forget about the extreme temperatures needed in the welding process and therefore do not realize the fire hazard of a welding area. If you are more experienced, it is fairly obvious that carpet in your welding shop is not a good idea. A good welding shop not only protects the welder and aids in good welding but it protects the other people in your auto shop by not exposing them to hot sparks and blinding light.
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