A Beginner’s Guide to Welding Fabrication
Have you ever had a dream to make your own mailbox or refurbish your car from home? Welding and fabrication, contrary to popular belief, isn’t rocket science, and anyone with the desire can get started right away. With a little guidance, you can weld and fabricate your own masterpiece.
Welding vs. Fabrication
Although the two terms are used interchangeably, they are not quite one and the same. Fabrication is the process of making a project out of metal, and welding is the joining together of two pieces of metal at similar melting points. Fabrication requires mapping out a layout design, welding the materials, and finishing their design, and welding is just one step of the process that uses fusion to combine glass, metal, and/or thermoplastics together to complete the design.
Fabrication, in other words, is the process of metal creation from start to finish, and welding is one chapter.
Nowadays, welders often know how to fabricate, and fabricators know how to weld. But before you get started, here are a few tips you’ll need to get your feet on the right track.
Purchase the Right Tools
A good list of fabrication tools should include cleco fasteners, angle grinder discs, and much more. However, many metal fab tools cannot be used to weld, simply because welding requires a whole other set of different instruments. Common welding instruments, for example, include abrasives, benders, electrode holders, soapstone, vice and vice grips, Tungsten inert gas (or TIG – considered the cleanest form of welding) consumables, chipping hammers, an adjustable wrench, and a hand file.
Both welding and fabrication occupations need the proper cleaning supplies to disinfect metal. Grease build-up, germs, and oils that accumulate on the surface of your metal will need an organic solvent such as acetone, a mild alkaline solution, or degreaser without butoxyethanol.
Your workstation, too, will also need some special ingredients for cleaning. Ordinary cleaning tools like mops and sweepers work well, but professionals will cover the floor with proper coatings, finishes, and protection films. If you plan on re-converting your workspace to deal in welding and fabrication professionally, these items might be worth the investment
When welding or fabricating sheet metal, know that using large machines and burning metal requires that you take every precaution available to prevent injury to yourself and others. You are the one who is responsible to do everything in your power to prevent injury. Wear flame-resistant pants, a leather apron, non-slip boots (or steel toe), fume extraction tools, working gloves, safety goggles, a hearing protection device, respirator or dust mask, and auto-darkening helmet attached to a visor. Yes, all those are necessary, and if the cost is more than you can afford, save until you can afford all the proper equipment. In this environment, you can’t afford not to take safety first.
Types of Welding
Your adventure into sheet metal fabrication will include many steps to completion. These include die cutting, finishing, roll forming, spinning, shrinking, stamping, and stretching. And some of the main ways to weld include oxy acetylene, TIG, and gas metal arc. MIG (Metal Inert Gas) and conventional stick welding are also possible. MIG welding is one of the simplest and easiest to operate, capable of creating beautiful metal art. TIG is relatively splatter-free, a major plus in the welding industry. Stick welding yields extremely strong welds, and is used often on heavy repairs and in construction work.
With the correct safety equipment, proper handling, and the right tools, you could be well on your way to welding and fabrication within a short period of time. The opportunities presented by welding and fabrication are endless, and within your own home studio or workshop you could have that car refurbished with metal you created yourself. Consult Short Iron store – your local experts in welding and fabrication – to assess how to get started in welding and fabrication and how the business can work for you.