Don’t Forget These If You Want To Start Your MIG Welding Projects Off Right.
The cost of MIG welding units is coming down, making it possible for every homeowner and hobbyist to build or fix almost anything made of metal. The quality is going up, too, making it easier for even inexperienced welders to achieve good results with MIG welding projects right away. While many MIG welding units come with everything you need to begin your MIG welding projects right out of the box, that only covers the machine itself. There’s a lot more gear you’ll need to weld safely and efficiently. Here’s a handy list of Must-Have MIG Welder Accessories to get you off on the right foot:
The super-bright flash from welding has both immediate and long-term effects on your vision, ranging from irritation to total blindness. Never attempt any welding operations without a full-face welding helmet with an auto-darkening lens. While it’s possible to perform MIG welding projects while wearing just a pair of welding goggles, welding is close work and exposes your face to spatters, and the severe sunburn effect that welding flash can have on the skin isn’t worth the risk. Auto-darkening helmets allow you to look at your work as you strike your spark, and you’ll have both hands free instead of using one hand to constantly lift and lower your faceguard.
After your welding helmet, proper welding gloves are the most important accessories you’ll need to work safely and efficiently on your MIG welding projects. Welding gloves, sometimes called welding gauntlets, are specifically designed for the very high temperatures and rough metal surfaces you’ll be dealing with when welding. There are different types of welding gloves for different types of welding, but for your MIG welding projects, you’ll want heavy-lined leather gloves with substantial cuffs. The cuffs not only protect you from sparks and heat, but they also cover your wrists and lower arms from the damaging UV rays that welding flash generates.
MIG welding projects generate a lot of heat and sparks. If you have a portable welder that you move from place to place, it’s essential that you keep a dedicated fire extinguisher handy at all times when you’re welding. Many times a fire that could easily be taken care of while it’s smoldering gets out of control while you fumble around trying to find a fire extinguisher. If you have a welding cart for your MIG welder, mount a fire extinguisher directly on it, and you’ll always be ready for trouble in time.
Until you get a few MIG welding projects under your belt, you never know how much you want a dedicated welding table. Once you’ve set your wooden workbench on fire, you learn that an adjustable all-metal table made expressly for welding is a necessity, not a luxury. Setting up your MIG welding projects on a welding table is easy, offering lots of ways to mount clamps and fixtures and their metal. You can use the whole table as a ground if you clamp the workpieces directly to it. You can easily chip welding slag off the surface without damaging it, too.
Also known as welding screens, welding curtains protect anyone working near you that isn’t wearing a welding helmet. They’re little more than a sturdy tarp stretched on a frame, but if you’re welding around others, they’re an essential piece of safety gear. If you’re using gas with your MIG welder, welding curtains help you to shield your MIG welding projects from wind that can disrupt the halo of gas at the gun tip and ruin your weld.
Remember, welding safety begins with proper clothing. Wear long-sleeved shirts, heavy-duty work pants, and sturdy, steel-toed shoes when welding.