5 Common Beginner Welding Mistakes

5 Common Beginner Welding Mistakes

Lots of mistakes can be made when learning how to weld such as using too an arc that’s too long (stick welding), to welding with too much current, your welding quality depends on how to avoid common mistakes. These essential welding tips will help you before striking your arc.

Welding with the Wrong Current

Choosing whether to use AC or DC current (and how much to use) will depend on the type of metal and electrode you’re using. Check your welder’s handbook for guidelines to determine how much current to use. If you’re going to weld a new or different metal for the first time, it’s best to cut some scraps of the new material and test your settings and skill on those first to ensure you have the right current setting so that your weld is strong and doesn’t burn through the metal.

Brad Hemmert at the Fabricator suggests the following guidelines for stick welding: “Electrode positive provides about 10 per cent more penetration at a given amperage than AC, while DC straight polarity, electrode negative, welds thinner metals better.”

Striking the Arc Away from the Weld Joint

Striking an arc can be hard for novice welders, they will often tap the metal with too much force. Another common mistake is striking the arc on metal too far from the weld joint. Strike an arc right where you plan to weld so you can get started quickly rather than risk damage to other parts of the welding project.

Losing Your Place on the Weld

Flip-down old-fashioned face shields, can make it easy to lose your spot on your weld joint. Place your welding hand piece where it needs to strike your arc when starting to weld then flip your face shield down by nodding your head (make sure the tension screws on the shield are loose enough to do this), and then strike your arc right on the weld joint.

Using an auto-darkening helmet, with at least four sensors to pick up the sparks and flashes while welding. The advantage of an auto-darkening helmet is that you can get your handpick into position and strike your arc without having to flip with your helmet and lose your spot.

Using Damaged or Damp Electrodes

A damp electrode stick or a MIG wire that is rusty or oily can cause problems when welding. The 7018 electrodes for stick welding are best kept warm, dry and moisture free in an electrode oven for the best performance. If you don’t have an oven for storage, heat up your 7018 electrodes before you start welding with them.

Prepare and Clean Your Metal Correctly

Grinding dirt or rust out of the weld joint and cleaning it well will help with the welding process and product strength Stick welding will often handle grease and other impurities, but the weld will be much stronger if you prep it properly.

If you’re TIG welding, make sure you use the right solvent (acetone). Thinners or other solvents can cause issues and weld imperfections.