The success or failure of many welding projects may be directly connected to the contents of the welder’s toolbox.
Welding is a difficult task that requires precision, focus, and skill. In a professional setting, it can be dangerous and may necessitate working in compromising locations or positions. For this reason, it is important to have the proper tools on hand for safety and efficiency.
With seemingly endless choices, knowing which tools are most useful for your particular needs can sometimes be overwhelming. To shed some light on the topic, we have compiled a list of the most essential tools we believe every welder should have in their toolbox.
15 Essential Tools For Your Welding Tool Box
1. Welding Helmet
Welding helmets are the most important safety tool for all welders. A standard component of any welder’s uniform, welding helmets protect a welder’s face and head from sparks and heat.
OSHA protocol requires all welders to wear an auto-darkening welding helmet when welding. In addition to heat and spark protection, the auto-darkening aspect of a welding helmet protects the welder’s eyes from bright lights.
2. Welding Gloves
A welder’s job often indicates working with sharp, rusty, and hot objects. Hand safety is vitally important, for if a welder damages their hand while working, it may be career ending.
To protect the hands from burns or other injury, is necessary to wear proper welding gloves.
Welding gloves should be:
- quality material
- proper size
- heat resistant
- electrically resistant
- moisture resistant
- tear resistant
3. Safety Glasses
A good alternative to helmets, safety glasses or goggles protect eyes from sparks and flames without covering the whole face. Some welding eyeglasses also have special features that auto-darken the lenses when exposed to excess light.
Goggles or glasses are preferable to helmets when brazing or soldering.
4. Welding Suit
Welding suits are special one-piece overalls that protect the body from heat and flame.
All welding suits are fireproof, waterproof, and abrasion-resistant. The special material of welding suits makes them more suitable for welding than regular clothes.
Welding suits or jackets may be worn on top of regular clothes.
5. Welding Clamps
Welding clamps are tools used to secure two pieces of metal together prior to welding.
Most welders will usually have a variety of clamps in their toolbox, each with different jaw openings. Bigger clamps hold thicker metal pieces while smaller clamps hold smaller metal pieces.
6. Chipping Hammer
After stick welding, it is common for the welding rod or slag to stick out in certain places. A chipping hammer is a tool used to chip away slag or unwanted parts of the welding rod after it has been fused with the metal.
Chipping hammers are essential for stick or MIG welding.
7. Filler Material
Sometimes when welding, brazing or soldering, there will be holes or gaps between the parent metals. Welding filler rods fill in these empty gaps or spaces and create a bond to the parent metal.
Filler materials are rods manufactured from an alloy of metals, the most common metals being tin, lead, silver, gold, aluminum, nickel, and copper.
Metal powders incorporated with flux can also be used as filler material in paste form.
8. Welding Machine
A welding machine is one of the most efficient tools in a welder’s toolbox.
Welding machines generate heat that allows welders to fuse pieces of metal together. It is important to note that not all welding machines are suitable for all jobs. Be sure to research your specific application prior to purchasing a welding machine.
9. Welding Pliers
Sometimes metals become so hot that they are difficult to hold even when wearing gloves. In this scenario, welding pliers may be used to hold or pick up metal.
10. Welding Magnets
Welding magnets are versatile welding tools often used in place of clamps or pliers. They can be used to hold two pieces of metal at a specific angle or to secure metals by mounting the magnets on top while you work.
Note: There are limits to how much weight a welding magnet can carry.
Though magnets can be good for certain metal pieces, they are not suitable for large pieces of metal.
Welding requires precision. Once a job is complete, it is very difficult to go back and correct any mistakes. Markers are a useful tool for planning the areas you intend to apply heat.
Many welders use sharpies as markers rather than purchasing professional tools.
12. Angle Grinder
An angle grinder is an excellent tool to help make welding cleaner and smoother. This tool is usually used for cutting metal. For instance, if you need to completely remove a metal scrap from a machine and attach something new, you can use an angle grinder.
An angle grinder is also useful for smoothing out metal pieces before or after welding.
13. Metal Brush
Welding can be a very messy job. Before you start and after you finish, you will find your workstation full of flakes, rust, dust, etc. Having rust and dust on metal can make it difficult to weld. That’s why welders use metal brushes to clean parent metals before welding, brazing, or soldering.
A welding brush can also be used to clean up after welding is done. Wire welding brushes are essential for removing excess flux after brazing, or for removing spare filler material and slag.
14. Speed Square
A speed square is the most common measuring tool used by a welder. Shaped like a triangle, speed squares stand upright and allow the welder to measure metals at a 90-degree angle. Welding is all about precision. Therefore, it is important to measure materials before they are cut or joined together.
15. Metal File
A metal file is another tool that serves a similar purpose to a chipping hammer or a metal brush. Metal files look like regular nail files. However, they are much larger and have a stronger grip.
Metal files can be used to file down pieces of metal that are too small to cut down directly, or to smooth surfaces post-weld.
Additional Useful Welding Accessories
Aside from the essential tools, there are many other tools that all welders should own. Having these tools can make a huge difference in your safety and ability to do the job.
Welding Ear Protectors
If you are already wearing a helmet, it is not necessary to also wear ear protectors. Helmets cover your entire head and prevent metal scraps or sparks from flying into your ear. However, many welders opt to use glasses instead of helmets for smaller projects.
When you only wear glasses, you risk the danger of heat reaching your ear or the sides of your head. Ear protectors are heat-resistant ear muffs that you place on your ears like headphones. This accessory protects your ears from loud sounds and prevents unwanted material from entering your ear.
Generally speaking, unless you are working on a very large-scale project, your feet are out of harm’s way and regular sneakers or boots are enough to protect your feet from the heat. However, as an extra safety measure, you can also add welding boots to your list of important welding tools.
Welding boots look like regular boots, but are made from heat-resistant material. These specialty boots have additional layers that provide feet with extra protection from heat, sparks, cuts, or other injuries.
Soap stones are another tool used mark metals before welding.
The main appeal of soapstone vs. sharpies is that soapstone wipes off easily. Sharpies can sometimes stain metals, whereas soapstone may be easily removed with a cloth after welding.
Fire extinguishers are essential safety tools. Even if you are extremely careful, there is always a chance of something catching on fire, necessitating the presence of a fire extinguisher whenever working with an open flame or electrical arc.
Fire extinguishers are as important as welding helmets, gloves, or jackets.
First Aid Kit
Just as it is necessary to have tools that prevent accidents, you must also have materials to recover from accidents.
First aid kits are important tools used to treat minor accidents. Obviously, serious injuries will require professional medical attention. However, a well–stocked first aid kit allows for immediate treatment of minor accidents while medical help is on the way.
Welders utilize many tools. Welding carts store these welding tools in one place for easy access.