welding for dummies pdf

Introduction
Welding has become one of the most important trades in the world,
and that isn’t likely to change anytime in the near future.

So many of
the objects people have and need are created either directly or indirectly by
welding.

If everyone woke up one morning and no one could remember how
to join metals, the world would be a very different place by the afternoon.
But welding isn’t just important — it’s also fun.

The idea of welding as a
hobby is catching on more and more.

It’s an extremely versatile skill that can
be quite rewarding after you get the hang of it. Something is very empowering
about knowing that you can harness some pretty powerful forces — electricity and intense heat — to melt metals and join them together.

Even experienced welders get a kick out of the fact that they can take a machine and a
few pieces of metal and create something new, functional, and even beautiful.
That’s an extremely fulfilling feeling, and I think it’s a product of welding that
people don’t always mention when they talk about the trade.
One quality of welding that people do talk about a lot is its usefulness. You
can use welding skills to accomplish a lot, whether you want to eventually
make a career out of welding or just have the ability to make and fix metal
objects for your personal pursuits.

Over the years I’ve taught and worked
with both kinds of welders, and I know that after they really figured out the
ins and outs of welding, they were able to do things that made their personal
and professional lives a lot easier.

Part I
Understanding
Welding Basics

In this part . . .
Welding isn’t the type of skill that you can jump into
without any background information, or at least a
basic understanding of how it all works.

(That’s why
mother birds push their chicks out of the nest and make
them fly instead of pushing them out and making them
mig weld.)
With that in mind (the part about welding, not the part
about the chicks), in this part I tell you all about metals —
specifically, those you’re likely to work with as a beginning welder.

I also take a full chapter to clue you in on
how to set up your welding shop, which may be trickier
than you think.

(No, you can’t just clear the junk out of
one corner of your garage and start welding there.) This
part also contains the most important chapter in the
book: the safety chapter.

You can jump around all you
want in this book, and read whatever you feel like. But
unless you already know all about welding safety (and
even if you do), I beg you to read Chapter 3 before you try
any sort of welding operation.

Chapter 1

Ever since our early ancestors starting making ornaments out of gold
thousands of years ago, metal has played an important role in the lives
of all people. Just take a second to look around and think about all the various kinds of metal that are nearby.

Dozens (if not hundreds) of metal items
are probably all around you, and the items that aren’t made out of metal
were likely manufactured by using metal equipment.
By and large, metal is tough stuff.

(That’s one of the reasons why it’s so
useful, of course.) Throughout history, humans have needed to come up with
more and better ways to defy the strength of metals, bending, cutting, and
joining it so they can take advantage of its many useful properties.

One of the
biggest and most important advancements on that front has been the advent
and development of welding. Welding allows humans to connect pieces of
metal in remarkably strong, sturdy ways, and it has opened up seemingly
endless possibilities for what people can do with metallic materials.
This chapter introduces you to all things welding, including its importance,
the materials, equipment, and methods you use to accomplish it, and the
need for safety precautions while doing it.

In addition, the chapter gives you
a glimpse into welding’s crystal ball.

Fabricating metal products
In welding, fabricating simply means that you’re taking pieces of metal and
welding them together to create something new. That can be as simple as
welding a few pieces of metal together at a 90-degree angle to make a pair of
bookends in the welding shop you set up in your backyard, or as complex
as using underwater arc welding to help build a section of submerged pipeline off the coast of Angola. (Don’t worry — you can expect a lot more of the
former than the latter in this book!)
Most metals can be joined by one welding process or another, so in theory
you don’t have many limits when it comes to fabricating.

However, for a new
welder the amount of fabricating you do with your newfound welding skills is
often limited to some degree by cost (some metals can be pretty expensive),
time (if you’re welding as a hobby, chances are your fabricating time takes
a backseat to other obligations like your job and your family), and degree of
difficulty.

Because developing your welding skills takes time, some fabrication projects may be out of your reach in the short term.
Repairing metal pieces or products
The difference between fabricating and repairing is simple. When you weld
to fabricate, you’re making something new.

When you weld to repair, you’re
welding on something that already exists but needs fixing or modifying.

Chapter 2
Considering Commonly
Welded Metals

Good chefs know food, good carpenters know wood, and any good
welder really knows metal.

I know that sounds painfully obvious, but
I’m sometimes surprised to learn that many seasoned welders aren’t all that
familiar with the metals they work with on a daily basis.

I think having a nice,
rounded understanding of the metals you weld is important, and that’s what
this chapter is all about.
If I had to pick three metals that most new welders want to begin working on
as soon as possible, I’d have to go with steel, stainless steel, and aluminum.
If you can familiarize yourself with those three metals and understand their
characteristics as they pertain to the various types of welding, you’re well on
your way to figuring out how to work with three of the most common, versatile metals out there. With that in mind, I start this chapter by devoting individual sections to each of those three metals. After that, I close the chapter
with a quick look at some of the other metals that you may want to consider
welding,

Chapter 3
Setting Your Sights
on Welding Safety

What’s the most important aspect of welding? The answer is simple:
safety. What good does a beautiful weld and a job well done do you if
you’ve hurt yourself (or others) in the process?
Many dangerous elements make up any welding operation.

You use massive
amounts of electricity to join metals (which are often sharp and heavy)
through melting. You’re constantly at risk for electric shock, serious eye
injuries, and burns.

It’s not exactly a pillow fight, is it?
You can’t change the basic elements that make welding dangerous, but you
can (and should, without fail) take every precaution to make sure your welding projects are as safe as possible.

Your approach to welding safety should
be complete and relentless; just one careless move or lack of safety preparation can result in serious injury or death.
In this chapter, I cover all the aspects of welding safety that you need to
understand and remember when you get started as a welder.

As I mention
many times throughout this book, this chapter is really the most important
one, and I hope you read it carefully and take its information to heart.
Welding safety is no accident! Be sure to take the precautions necessary to
ensure your safety and the safety of those around you.

You also need to make
sure anyone who comes near your welding projects is aware of proper welding safety practices so that they can help keep themselves safe as well.

Chapter 4
Setting Up Your Welding Shop

If you want to succeed with any welding endeavor, you need to cover two
bases: location and equipment.

You can’t get very far with welding —
particularly good welding — if you don’t have the right kind of setup, from
the building itself to the tools and other gear you need to equip the space
properly.
Some folks who are new to welding think they can simply clear out a space
in their garages, buy a welder from an online retailer at a deep discount, and
start making high-quality welds in no time.

Not so fast! You need to think
through all the requirements necessary for a welding space that allows
you to do good work and do it safely.

And when you’re talking about welding
equipment and tools, you nee