Who doesn’t enjoy the whimsical look of yard art made from metal? You may have never considered creating your own fun bugs or flowers by welding them yourself, but it’s entirely possible to do so and can end up being a lifelong hobby. Many people use leftover materials from metal roofing projects and give them a new life.
The website, weldingforfun.com, offers plenty of tips to get started welding. Among them:
- Pay close attention to ventilation as you set up your workspace. With MIG (metal inert gas) welding, you’ll need to choose a spot that is free from wind, because it can displace the shielding gas.
- You can find a basic MIG welder at most home-improvement stores. Before buying one, check the box to see if you’ll need a 220-volt outlet (which is the kind you need for a dryer) or a 110-volt outlet (standard in a house).
- Your welder will come with a power box with wire feed, which is what makes the welder work; a welding gun (or torch); a work cable with a grounding clamp; a gas nozzle, gas regulator, hose and gas cylinder.
- You’ll also need a gas tank; start with a small 20-cubic-foot version.
- Don’t forget the helmet and gloves! These days, welding helmets are often made to be auto-darkening, which means they darken only when you begin welding. As for gloves, any leather ones will do for beginners.
- Clear, protective safety glasses and shields are also required accessories when you’re grinding or drilling metal. Hearing protection is also a must when you’re using an angle grinder.
- Speaking of which: The second most-important tool in your shop will be the angle grinder. This gives you many finishing possibilities and comes with a variety of attachments. For example, the flap disc attachment will transform steel into a lovely brushed silver surface. Remember to always wear both gloves and a full-face shield, along with the aforementioned ear protection.
There are several other tools and equipment you’ll need, such as a welding table and a bench vise, but you can get started with this artistic, fulfilling hobby for less than $1,000.