Welding is often seen as a specialized skill. Indeed, there are professional welders who have spent years mastering the craft and who are capable of welding the most intricate pieces. However, basic welding is not so difficult to learn that you can't pick it up over the course of a few weekends. You won't be a master welder, but you will be functional. Here are four tips to help you as you begin to weld.
1. Stick with MIG welding
MIG stands for metal inert gas. This type of welding requires you to feed a wire into the weld spot, and the wire melts as you weld. The wire is automatically fed off a spool. This type of welding is a lot easier to learn than other forms, and there is less risk of an injury. If you perfect it, you can move on to other forms of welding later on, but really, MIG is all you need to know for most functional welds you'll do as a beginner/intermediate welder.
2. Buy a quality welding machine
There's no need to buy the most expensive welder on the rack, but don't sell yourself short by buying a discount, low-quality welding machine, either. These cheaper machines are a lot harder to use correctly, and as someone new to welding, you do not need that additional challenge. Look for a mid-range welder from a company that has been around for a while, and you'll be set. Good companies also include better instruction manuals with their welders, which comes in handy when you're new.
3. Take some lessons
While you could probably teach yourself to weld just through books and YouTube videos, this is not the most efficient way to learn. Look for classes at your local adult learning center or community college. Even one or two classes can give you the opportunity to ask questions of a more experienced welder. It's also helpful to let someone observe your welding and offer you tips along the way.
4. Challenge yourself
You might be learning to weld just so you can weld some pieces on your car, but it's important to challenge yourself with more difficult projects along the way. If a friend needs something welded, offer to do it for the experience. If you see a cool project online, give it a try just so you can learn.
Follow the tips above, and you'll be welding proficiently in no time.