Hi, my name is Adam Mason and I’m an attested welder for 6G Welder for TIG and SMAW. I’ve been a welder for many years. I know exactly how to set up a home welding shop. I set it all out below.
Every welder knows the importance of a well-equipped workspace. Organizing your working are is essential for good results. You have to pack it with all the essential tools but also have to think about safety as well.
If you are planning to set a home welding garage for various welding projects, there are a number of things to consider. From the machines and tools that you need to safety protocols and setups, everything is important.
Let’s discuss the essentials about how to properly set your garage for welding.
Requirements of the Garage Itself
Starting with the basics! In order for a welder to function properly, you have to pack your working area with basic tools and equipment. A good machine does go a long way but we are not still there yet.
Let’s view your working area first.
Area & Dimensions
When it comes to space, there are no uniform dimensions. The best way to start would be by working with what you got and packing it with all the essentials pieces you need for the jobs you plan to do.
The idea is not to feel cramped. You cannot pack your garage with a lot of stuff as it will only be a burden to you when working. Before starting everything, think good and hard about the work you plan to do. Then think about the volume of work you are able to take on. Then it is time to fit your garage with the absolutely necessary pieces of equipment.
If you are working by yourself, a small, standard garage will do for starters. But if you plan to take on more work and hire more workers, think about renting a storage area or something similar.
This one is pretty obvious. No juice, no power, no work. So inspect your garage and see that the power supply is properly set.
This part also depends on how many pieces of equipment will you be running at the same time and which types. Meaning that you will also have to check the grounding. Electrical grounding needs to be perfect for all appliances to run smoothly. Make sure to add quality breakers as well. Obviously the light source will need to be turned on at all times. So you have to think carefully about which machines are you going to use at which time.
Smaller units will run on home outlets. But if you are going to do some harder jobs that require using machines of higher amperages, then you should install an outlet that can support 220v welders.
It is also good to have a backup generator, just in case. It is also a good source of electricity for more powerful welders if you are unable to modify your electrical outlets.
Welding Fumes & Fire Protection
Safety is something that you constantly have to have in the back of your mind when welding in your garage. That is why you need to, first and foremost, think about properly securing your area when setting it up.
First thing’s first, a well-ventilated area will ensure that extra gasses and fumes are cleared away. Think about adding installing an added vent system to clear the hazardous fumes away. If that is not possible, a welding helmet with a respirator is a secondary solution. This is particularly useful during winter, while during summer months you can simply keep the garage door open. But make sure to put a clear screen over the opening so passersby are not flashed by UV rays.
Secondly, you need to think about fire protection. The best protection is being careful and not causing it at all. You should keep two separate areas for work – a metalwork space and a woodwork space. Always clear away sawdust or pieces of wood as sparks can easily ignite it. Use a blower to clear away the area after you finish working.
Additionally, you can use flame-resistant blankets to protect the area and the equipment around you. Sparks can ignite flammable parts of your workshop while spatter may ruin some parts of it.
Finally, always keep at least two fire extinguishers close by. Do not keep them somewhere tucked away. They need to be close at hand so you can act quickly if need be.
A good light source is good to have. Besides the regular light source in your garage, you can add some more lamps as a backup. They might serve you well during certain jobs.
One doesn’t have to spend a lot of money here. A regular simple lamp is quite okay. But it is always better to have a spare.
The Essential Tools & Equipment for Welding
Now we come to the more fun part for welders – Equipping your garage with the necessary tools and machines. It is the tools that make the worker and it this case it definitely can show. But in some cases, you can devise a workshop on a budget if you play it smart.
For starters, you need a good welding machine that is going to be the backbone of your business. Then some safety equipment (a welding helmet, safety glasses, and gloves). Finally, a surface to work on like a good welding table and some added amenities that go with it.
The Welding Machine Itself
The most important piece of equipment for every welder is of course the welding machine. Choosing the most appropriate one will depend on various factors. It generally starts with the type of work you will be planning to do with it and also the volume of usage.
So the first step would be choosing between a MIG, TIG, Stick, or a multi-process welding machine. A MIG welder is good for clean and fast jobs. It is also fairly easy to learn how to use one. However, picking one of the best TIG welders will allow you to work on such materials as aluminum and stainless steel. It also makes the most aesthetically pleasing welds but it is at the same time the highest paid type of job. If you do play to do some aluminum TIG welding, make sure to pick a machine with an AC option. Nevertheless, the benefits are overwhelming when mastering it.
Finally, a stick welder offers versatility as it can help with numerous types of jobs. Stick welding is the oldest welding process but also the most difficult one to learn. However, you can weld pretty much anything using it.
Acquiring a multi-process welder that can do all three could be a great solution. But finding a really good one also means spending more money. You can decide and get a really quality one or go for individual welders. This will depend on your budget and the way you are used to working. You can either concentrate on using one type of machine with one singular process or be versatile and use all of them.
Also, when choosing a machine, think about the type of materials you will be working on. Stick welding is the most versatile type of process and it allows you to cover most metals. It also makes the most high-strength welds. Although MIG welding is usually connected with beautiful welds, an experienced Stick welder can produce equally good results. But if you need to work on some ornaments and would rather focus on precession, use a TIG welder. MIG welding also requires working with a gas cylinder which can either use CO2, Argon gas, or the combination of the two. But when it comes to TIG welding, only Argon gas is used which is also a bit more expensive.
Finally, think about the shielding gas and the filler metal needed for each process. Stick welding has an advantage as opposed to TIG and MIG as it does not require any shielding gas. TIG welding also requires you to choose between the necessary rods as filler material.
All in all, think long and hard about the type of work you will be providing to your customers. Determine your budget and the space you are able to store it in your garage and then choose the machine.
The Welding Helmet & Safety Glasses
Protecting your eyes is the first part of welding safety that you have to think of. You don’t want to get welding blindness nor a piece of spatter in your eye. So the first step towards welding safety is getting a good welding helmet.
We recommend obtaining an auto-darkening welding helmet first. First, it is great for novice welders and perfect for anyone who does their work from a garage. The main advantage is that it allows you to see the workpiece through the lens, which you can’t with a solid shade helmet.
Additionally, safety glasses are absolutely paramount when using angle grinders. There is a lot of spatter ricocheting everywhere and small pieces can severely damage your eye. Always wear safety glasses when doing that type of work or at least a grinding face shield.
The Welding Gloves
There are a few ways you can go with welding gloves. Picking a pair also depends on the type of work you will be doing. Beginners should go for a thick pair, as it allows them to do various types of work and even allows you to hold hot metal for a few seconds without getting burned.
For precision work, a thin, leather pair is good enough. TIG welders usually use these types of gloves.
It would be best to have both types just in case.
A welding table is most likely going to be the place where you spend your time the most. Make sure you place it in a well-lit part of the garage and have everything that you need when working close by. A good option is getting a table made out of a solid piece of metal that can endure more damage. Also, an energy source close by is a very good idea. Ensuring electrical grounding on the table is an even better one.
Some professionals like making their own DIY table as it improves their work. Starters can get a smaller one in accordance with the amount of work they will be doing. But as your scope extends you might consider getting a bigger and a better one.
For starters, make sure that it fits in your workshop and satisfies your current welding needs.
Welding magnets are very useful pieces of equipment. They are actually really helpful when holding pieces in place, particularly at a 90-degree angle. They can be of a lot of help when making fire pit grates or frames for the table.
Make sure to have a few of them in your workshop. Both smaller and bigger ones. They will be of use with any type of welding project you happen to be working on. However, they do have some down sides. If used improperly the magnetic properties can destabilize the welding arc. In that case, it would be wise to remove the magnets.
A speed square can significantly reduce your time when cutting. It also allows for more precession in certain situations. It is perfect to use when working on pieces of square tubing.
You can easily set it at a 90-degree, or a 45-degree angle and complete your work in no time.
Welding Clamps & C Clamps
Welding clamps may be a basic piece of equipment but are a very necessary one to have. It helps when holing pieces of metal together while you are working on them. So you basically don’t need to tack weld them as you can just hold them with a clamp.
Be sure to have at least 10 of them in your workshop.
The same thing goes with C clamps. With them, you can hold the piece of metal you are working on firmly to the table. You will avoid warping and get better results.
Get 5 or 10 of them.
A ground clamp will also be a valuable piece of equipment for your garage welding shop. You can use some basic ones or magnetic ground clamps. Usually, you will get some when buying a welding machine but these are not the best ones. They tend to overheat and are not great conductors.
Get some stronger, more massive ground clamps instead. The most quality ones are copper clamps. Magnetic weld clamp is another choice, It’s good veritable and can be mounted everywhere but can also hamper the welding processes. The metal slags can get caught in them and either short-circuit the Magnetic weld clamp and damage it or cause problems during welding buy swaying the welding arc away from the welding joint especially MIG and TIG welding.
If you are going to do MIG welding with flux core or stick welding, you will also need a chipping hammer. Slag coating will form during those processes and you have to chip it away to reveal the weld beneath it. So have a chipping hammer close by to remove the slag.
Construction workers use a piece of chalk or a pencil to make marks on the work they are doing. But a welder uses soapstone because it can withstand the heat of cutting torches.
So soapstone is a perfect marking tool with welding work. It might sound old-fashioned but it is a really valuable tool.
Having a metal brush is necessary with any welding process that creates slag. As mentioned with the chipping hammer, flux core welding and stick welding will create slag that has to be removed to reveal the weld. Sometimes you can’t use a hammer but you can use a metal brush.
Simply scrape all the slag off and take a look at your beautiful end product weld. The difference between using a chipping hammer and a metal brush is that the brush can do some finer work when getting rid of slag.
Sheet Metal Gauge
A sheet metal gauge is helpful to determine the thickness of metal you are working on. The eyeball test is not a precise one and sometimes you really need to have exact numbers of the thickness of the material you are working on.
This is important when picking your welder or when setting the amperage. Before starting your work, gauge the metal and choose the appropriate tool for the job. Then adjust the necessary settings and keep welding. It will ensure positive results.
So after reading all of the given instructions you will feel much more comfortable in forming your own welding garage. Following these instructions will ensure that you get started and also expand with time.
Having the mentioned pieces of equipment and the given tools is a must. It is essentially the basics of what a regular welding garage needs to consist of. If this is the type of job you plan on doing, make sure to go through this list one by one. You will get your welding garage up and running in no time and with impeccable results.
My name is Adam Mason and I am an attested 6G welder for TIG and SMAW and have a few years of MIG welding experience on large oil tanks precisely Flux Core welding with Lincoln inner-shield wire in all positions except of course 6G because You can’t weld pipes with it, at least to my knowledge. I have my Welding Diploma from Midwest Technician institute but most of the welding skills I have were acquired on the job.