Welding is a hot and dangerous job that requires a lot of safety equipment and accessories. For both the welding hobbyist interested in a few side projects and the full-time welder, the following tools are vital to have on hand during any welding project.
A Welding Helmet
Welding is a dangerous job, and the intense heat produced during a weld can cause serious injury to unprotected skin, including flash burns and sparks.
In rare cases, due to arc instability, the liquified metal in the molten pool can spatter, causing severe burns if it touches the skin. Welders are also exposed to direct ultraviolet radiation produced by the electric arc on the welding gun.
UV radiation can bounce off different surfaces and damage unprotected skin, causing a painful inflammation of the cornea referred to as ‘welder’s flash.’ Cataracts, melanoma, and skin burns are also common
With these risks present for welders, one of the most fundamental pieces of gear is also one of the most important. A welding helmet is a piece of equipment designed to protect the neck, face, and eyes from these dangerous elements while working with hot metal.
Another essential accessory for any welder, a welding jacket serves the same purpose as the helmet for the rest of the body, namely protecting the user from the high heat produced during welding, as well as metal splatter that may occur.
In addition, welding jackets are often made from fire-resistant materials, which is crucial for preventing flash burns.
Welding gloves protect the user’s body from harm during welding. These accessories are designed with heat-resistant linings to reduce the risk of damage to the skin.
Compared to other heat-resistant gloves, welding gloves usually reach several inches up the forearm to protect the wearer should they accidentally lean on the hot metal being welded.
Different types of gloves are used for TIG and MIG welding.
Because TIG welding is generally more precise and requires more operator skill, TIG gloves tend to be thinner and lighter than MIG welding gloves, prioritizing dexterity over protection.
By contrast, MIG welding gloves tend to have a looser fit on the hand and slide on more like a gauntlet, serving the primary role of protecting the non-dominant hand from injury while near the joining pieces.
Welding is extremely loud—so loud that prolonged exposure to the noise can be downright dangerous, causing damage to the eardrums and ear canal.
Earplugs work on the simple concept of blocking as much sound from traveling into the ear canal, usually by means of expanding foam or headphones that create a cushion around the ear.
Either way, minimizing the bombardment of sound waves on the eardrums is essential to protecting the ears.
Another important accessory to wear while welding is protective footwear. Generally, the best option for welding is a sturdy pair of close-toed leather boots.
Proper welding shoes are compliant with the American Society for Testing and Materials ASTM standards for Impact and Compression Resistance. This certification ensures that the boots are capable of protecting the user’s feet from falling objects that could easily crush toes.
These shoes are often paired with leather welding spats, which provide extra protection against sparks and splatter.
For both the beginner and expert, a fire extinguisher is a necessary accessory in the workshop for safety purposes. Accidents happen, and whether the issue was caused by operator error, arc instability, or even just a wayward splattering of metal, there are a number of unexpected ways a fire can start.
A good old fashioned fire extinguisher is the best tool to prevent other flammable objects from starting a blaze that could endanger the operator or the workshop.
A welding cart is necessary to carry around the welding gun and all the essential tools of the trade. It makes it possible to transfer equipment from one place to the other much easier than trying to move everything around individually. It is not only safer but saves a lot of time.
Vice grips, as well as pliers, are necessary for handling metal that is too hot to touch. Welding gloves are not designed to hold superheated metal—just to protect the user from it momentarily.
As such, the vice grip is used both to clamp small pieces of metal together and transport hot metal where necessary.
Designed to hold the metal in place while it’s being welded, welding magnets are essential to any welding project. Welding magnets can secure ferrous objects of all shapes and sizes at different angles to make the welding process simpler, safer, and more efficient for the welder.
A lot of welding requires that objects be constructed at a 90-degree angle, which is where the square has merit. Used in woodworking, construction, and technical drawings as well, the square lets welders measure and position items at a 90-degree angle.
One of the primary tools of the trade, soapstone is useful in metalworking because it is heat-resistant, allowing the welder to mark where cuts need to be done and welds put in directly on the metal piece that is being joined.
As such, soapstone often sees use in welding to mark locations for joins, welds, and cuts that need to be made on the project piece.
An angle grinder is a common tool used by welders to cut or polish the excess metal to smooth it out, much the same as a sander used on wood. The abrasive grinding discs are effective on a range of materials, but welders will often use an angle grinder to polish off their work after finishing a weld or to cut off excess material.
The Bottom Line
There are lots of essential tools used by welders to make their work environment safer, more efficient, and cleaner. Welding Supplies From IOC has all the equipment and protection needed for welders.
Many accessories like a helmet, gloves, and flame-resistant jackets are essential pieces of gear that every welder needs to be safe, while others are used to clamp down on the workpiece, measure welds, and polish to create a finished product.