With a median wage of $41,380 per year and no expensive university degree required, welding is a great career choice for creative individuals with a steady hand. Talented welders who want to exceed that median wage often consider becoming entrepreneurs by starting their own welding service. Whether you’ve just earned your welding certificate or you’re looking to branch out of working for someone else, these four essential pieces of equipment can help you get started.
Welding involves working with hot materials and sharp tools, which means safety always comes first. A welder’s most important piece of safety equipment is a helmet, and you can’t start welding without one. Consider choosing an auto-dimming helmet so you can get a clear view of your work pieces before you start up your torch. Gloves and safety glasses are also important. Make sure you purchase welding gloves and not regular safety gloves, which can’t stand up to the heat from your torch.
While many welders start out with a MIG welder, a TIG welder produces cleaner, more precise welds. Also called gas tungsten arc welding, TIG is the way to go if you’re planning to start your own welding service. This process can be used for a wider variety of metals than any other type of welding and also provides greater control and dexterity for projects that require a detailed design. However, it demands more skill because the surface area between the base metal and the flame arc is small.
Precise measurement makes the difference between a great welding job and a total disaster. High-quality, well-calibrated measuring devices are vital for getting it right down to the millimeter. Stock your toolbox with measuring tapes, framing squares, metal rulers and digital calipers so you can measure twice and weld once.
Most projects aren’t over yet when the welding is done. Grinding is necessary to smooth out rough edges and cut away excess metal, and an angle grinder is versatile enough to put the finishing touches on the vast majority of your welds. You can also use an angle grinder to clean and prepare base metals for welding.
Are you worried about fitting all the essentials into your budget? While it’s always a good idea to invest in the best quality equipment you can afford, there are plenty of options available if you’re starting your business on a shoestring. Consider shopping going-out-of-business sales or second-hand stores for quality used equipment.
Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.