Arc Welding Requirements, needs and basics for starters

Welding metals is a process requiring a huge amount of power. Welding requires a good power supply with good voltage and current. The voltage helps to create and maintain arc while current is required to create heat and melt the metal. It means both base metal and electrode or filler metal. Here we have compiled some information from our experience on arc welding requirements. This is to help the starters and interested people.

We want to educate our readers on the parts mainly. Our aim to give information about all the parts that are active in the process. It is good to know about what we are working with. Basically, the main parts are a power source, converter, cables, and holder. Everything needs to be in perfect condition to get the best result. Most of all safety is the primary concern before working with any of these things.

Good Power Supply

Arc Welding requires a constant voltage and current which is provided by sources like traditional transformers or new inverter circuit. Latest models have DC supply mode in them. It is very good because some rods require DC in specific polarity like Aluminum. DC power is recommended for Aluminium welding. But aluminum welding with arc welder is not recommended by experts. We only suggest to weld all iron except galvanized iron. The zinc fumes are carcinogenic and really harmful. So weld them in open ventilated areas wearing a good gas mask.

Always try to get the best power supply for yourself. If you are planning to do some light fabrication, then a small portable one might be sufficient. However, for heavy fabrication work including thick metals, a bigger and powerful one is required. Small supplies can’t supply good voltage and current which can cause weaker welds, less penetration, and bad work. Duty cycle is another aspect to look while purchasing a new welder.

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Rating and Source

While building an arc welder we learned new things. We got new knowledge after making mistakes and looking in some forums and consulting with welders. Always try to weld with enough voltage. Mostly minimum of 30 volts is required to get a smooth arc. About 100 amps of current is also required for this job. It is because if we use less current than that we will be running too cold and the penetration is not going to be well.

Read More: Welding Guide for Basic Beginners

A good welder can definitely go about 3000 watts and more. While using such higher wattage systems make sure your breaker is able to handle it. Household and workspace mains should be well enough to handle such power demand. Some people might have small 15 Amps breaker for 220V supply which usually trips with a heavy load. In order to ensure safety and good supply from source, use safer and bigger breakers.

Safer and Thick Cables

We should have seen the use of very thick cables during welding. The input or feeding cables are medium size but the output cables are massive. Mainly they are very thick in order to carry the massive current. Carrying high voltage doesn’t require thick wires though. The thickness order is mostly like this, Jumper Cable>Secondary Cable>Primary Wire. The voltage is always inversely proportional to length. If the length increases the volt decreases.

Booster cables
Booster cables

As the wire gets away from the source like the transformer the voltage starts to drop in relation to distance. Therefore thick cables should be used to prevent voltage drop and to handle the huge current. AC current actually makes the electrons vibrate in the wire whereas in DC the electrons flow smoothly. In the first test, we used 12 gauge wire instead of jumper cable so they started to heat up quickly and starting arc was also hard. Then with 25 mm jumper wires, the work became very smooth. Those thick wires handle current and heat very well.

Protection Gear and Safety

Safety should always be our first priority. Always use good protection while working. Make sure all electrical equipments are well grounded. Make sure you are in a safe place far away from explosives and flammable materials. Work in a dry place as far as possible and take all the preventive measure while working in wet places.

Do not touch hot metal immediately after welding. The filler rod, base metal all become extremely hot after work. Never touch both leads at the same time and don’t touch any wiring with bare hands. We recommend using protective thick gloves, welding mask with air filters. Turn off the supply from mains and disconnect everything before trying to make a repair attempt.

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