Deciding on the correct welding machine for your needs is just the beginning. While there are only a handful of welding supplies that are necessary to get started, there are dozens of pieces of support equipment and supplies that will make your life much easier once your skills improve. The more complex your projects become, the more items you will find that will help reduce the possibility of mistakes. In return, the quality of your projects will improve.
Consumables are the things that get eaten up during the welding process. Like electrodes (if STICK welding), wire and shielding gas (if MIG welding), and filler rods and gases (if TIG or oxy/acetylene gas welding). The life of consumables is directly proportional to the time spent welding. A busy welder will get to know his supplier well. Most supplies can be purchased through the internet thus saving sales taxes on many occasions. However, gas bottles will need to be either rented or bought and refilled at a local welding supply store.
Depending on your method(s) of welding, having an assortment of filler rods, electrodes or welding wire might save you from the need to go shopping in the middle of a job should your needs change. For instance, if you are welding MIG and the job necessarily takes you outdoors where the wind may be blowing, having a roll of flux core wire on hand will come in very handy.
TIG Welding different metals require different filler rods. Some examples are Carbon Steel, Stainless Steel, and Aluminum. Electrode welding can be performed with AC or DC voltage. There are a few rods that can weld either. While other rods are to be used for one or the other specifically. And don’t forget, different thicknesses of steel require different diameters of electrodes to weld efficiently.
Soapstone, which is sometimes called chalk, is a necessary consumable to keep on hand. The soapstone sticks are typically used to mark metal. Marking the metal along a line that needs to be followed when cutting is probably the task most frequently performed with soapstone. It’s relatively cheap so keeping plenty on hand is easy.
WELDING & CUTTING CONSUMABLES
- THUNDER-ARC E6011 Welding Electrodes: 1/8"(3.2mm), 11Lb Box Versatile, All-Position Electrodes$29.99
- ALLOY-ARC ER4043 Welding Wire: 0.035"(0.9mm), 1Lb Spool Excellent Versatility and Plasticity$20.99