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As all welders know, there are many factors to think about when buying a welding machine. From making sure it provides the right amperage to keeping it within your budget, you have to be very picky with your machine choice if you want to get the best results from your weld. These tips for selecting the right welding machine will help you keep the right factors in mind when perusing the many machines on the market.
First things first, you have to know how you’re going to weld before buying a welding machine. Not all welding machines provide the means for multiple methods. There are multi-process welding machines that allow you to conduct TIG, MIG, and Stick welding. Some machines, on the other hand, will only allow for one or two types of welding. So, to make sure you’ve got the right gear for the task at hand, know which method you’ll be carrying out with it.
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a welding method is the type of metal you’re welding. If you’re welding stainless steel, you have a variety of options as far as welding methods go; MIG, TIG, and Stick welding are all suitable choices. If you’re going to be welding aluminum, then you should avoid using methods like stick welding. The reason for this is due to the various properties of each type of metal you can weld with. Some metals have different levels of durability, corrosiveness, and electrical conductivity than others.
All welding methods have their benefit, but they’re not all so easy for novice welders to learn. If you’re still a novice, we recommend starting off with MIG welding because it’s easy to learn and provides you with a means of completing high-quality welds in ample time. We don’t recommend jumping right into stick welding. That being said, you can certainly work your way up to it once you leave that novice stage. If you try to jump into a complex welding method without the right knowledge or experience, you’ll most likely wind up with injuries and low-quality welds. We recommend avoiding both.
The money you’re willing to pay also plays a key role in buying the right welding machine. This section will show you how to buy the right machine at the right price. Keep in mind that you don’t have to break the bank to get a welding machine, but these aren’t $30 machines. Set a budget but do so realistically so you aren’t buying low-quality machines solely for the cheaper price, which is an issue we’ll dive deeper into later on.
The amperage and voltage you need for your welds play a role in determining your budget. The more amperage (or “current”) you need, the more you’ll have to spend on a machine. If you’re welding thicker metals, you’re going to need a machine that provides you with high amperage levels. Thin metals don’t require quite as much power for completing quality welds.
Sure, now you know they’re important, but what exactly are amperage and voltage? At first, the two terms can seem interchangeable, but they reference two very different functions.
Amperage is a reference to the volume of electricity flowing through the machine to create your arc. Voltage, on the other hand, is a reference to the force that allows that amperage to flow in the first place. Without the proper voltage, you’ll have issues getting the electrons to travel from the electrode to the workpiece. Likewise, if you’re using an excessive amperage level, you can damage the electrode.
Although that is the case, the amount of force you need to allow those electrons to flow isn’t consistent across all types of welding. For instance, you typically need a higher voltage for stick welding as opposed to TIG welding. It all comes down to the materials you’re using to complete the weld. You might at first assume that the more power, the better, but as you can see, it’s not that simple. Like with all factors, you have to make sure they align with the materials you’ll be working on during your welds.
Although you should buy a welding machine within your budgetary constraints, don’t buy lesser brands or machines simply because they’re cheaper. Remember, you have to be realistic with your budget if you want a machine that’s worth your time and money. Finding high-quality multi-process welding machines at affordable prices isn’t hard, so don’t rule out the top brands on the market just because you’re worried about the price. If you buy a low-quality welding machine for the price alone, you run the risk of investing in a machine that ultimately won’t give you the results you’re looking for.
If you’re going to be in one place for all your welds, portability might not be a concern. Some DIY welders like to work at their stations and that’s that. However, if you’re going to be traveling to and from different job sites, you’ll need a machine you can transport with ease. If you want a portable welding machine, look for lightweight units that supply you with the attributes you need.
It should go without saying that you don’t want to weld with the wrong equipment. In order to complete high-quality welds safely and efficiently, you’re going to need all the right gear for the job. With the help of these tips for selecting the right welding machine, you can avoid running into novice mistakes like buying a lesser brand or forgetting about portability. At Welding for Less, we can provide you with the gear you need to complete your weld. Whether it’s welding machines, safety gear, electrodes, or beyond, we can help you find it from reliable brands at the best prices around.