Where can I find the best welding resources?
From learning how to weld to perfecting your technique, there are plenty of welding resources available, both online and in-person. Traditional welding classes are offered at many community colleges and technical schools. The wealth of online welding knowledge includes videos, tutorials, write-ups, guides, and much more. It’s possible to find out almost anything you need/want to know about welding—as long as you know where to find the resources.
Whether you chose to enroll in a welding program or are teaching yourself how to weld, there are a number of resources you’ll want to bookmark. Not only will they come in handy throughout your learning process, but they may also lead you to new opportunities and more. What you’ll find below are just a handful of the basic resources available for welders.
Just remember that the best welding knowledge comes from years of experience—so don’t pass up a chance to learn more about the art of welding if you are given the opportunity. And take every teaching opportunity you have to pass on your own knowledge.
The Ultimate List of Resources for Welders
Though by no means exhaustive, the following list of resources should cover most of the concerns you’ll encounter as you weld. We encourage you to immerse yourself in the world of welding if it’s something you truly enjoy. Any of the following links should prove useful in that regard!
Types of Welding
There are many types of welding. To go through each of them individually in even minor detail would take an entire article in and of itself. So rather than talk your ear off—or would it be, read your eyes out?—we’ve included the following list of links.
You’ve probably seen the first link before. It’s our “Welding Positions and Types: A Quick Guide” article. If you haven’t gotten the chance to read through it yet, it’s all about the 4 positions as defined by The American Welding Society. The numbers 1-4 are indicative of the type and an ‘F’ or a ‘G’ denote ‘fillet’ or ‘groove’ welding.
If you’re looking to go deeper into the types of welding, check out Total Materia’s “Welding Process.” Along with visual aids and tables, readers can learn in-depth about each type of welding, from arc and oxyfuel to solid state and many other processes.
Many people start their welding journey with MIG since it’s arguably one of the easier processes to learn. We’ve turned to The Fabricator’s article on MIG welding basics many times before and highly recommend it. You may even find yourself at your local hardware store, standing in line with a MIG welder in your cart.
But if you do enjoy a challenge and want to tackle TIG welding, head over to YouTube. Expert Village’s Mac will guide you along as he explains the TIG welding process. You could say it’s much easier explained than done.
As you embark on your welding journey, you’ll find a variety of terms you’re not familiar with. Reference these websites if you’re not sure what the heck someone is talking about:
- Miller’s Welding Dictionary
- Welding Processes and Equipment Terms from ShopTalk
- Weldall Welding Terminology List
- The Ultimate Welding Terms Glossary via ATI
The American Welding Society (AWS) also offers a bound listing of Standard Welding Terms and Definitions. Members can purchase the book for a discounted price. Keep reading to learn more about the AWS, as we’ll discuss it again below.
You can’t weld from nothing. And the guys at Longevity have done a great job putting together a list of consumables. You’ll want to have these at-hand before you even turn the welder on. Whether it’s shielding gas, filler rods, or protective equipment, there’s more to melting metal than just a jolt of electricity.
If you’re just starting out and aren’t sure what to spend your hard-earned dollars on, check out our recommendations. We’ve put together 14 of the most essential tools you’ll need as a beginner welder. And if you’re not sure what type of welding rod you need, we’ve got you covered there, too. Some welding rods aren’t used that often. Plus, knowing what to use when you first start out can be tricky.
Finally, there is one tool you’ll want to invest in if you plan on welding a lot. It’s a welding table. And though you may think it’s just another sheet of metal hooked to 4 legs, take another look. The difference between a spot-on welding job and some spotty welds could just be the table you’re used for support.
The Science Behind Welding
It’s easy to take for granted the science behind the act of welding. But even if you can’t pull out all the technical terms and just consider it melting metal, you may need to reference the science behind it all sometimes. In those cases, here are your go-to sources.
The first is a stick welding calculator, followed by a TIG and MIG calculator. Straight from Millerwelds.com, these three resources come in quite handy. You can also figure out welding costs and productivity with this calculator from ESAB. You may not think math goes into welding, but (unfortunately for some) it does.
Ever wondered why electrodes are coated? Or maybe why stainless steel is a pain in the butt joint to weld? Our welding experts have tackled those topics for you. We’ve even delved into how the actual welding arc is produced. Hint: it’s not just a matter of power and pushing the go button.
But if you’re really looking to figure out all those welding symbols, we’ve got you covered there, too. WeldingChamps covers the basics while Miller provides a variety of pictures to follow along with. And Weld.com will decorate your walls for free. Simply download their posters and charts and hang them wherever you please.
Choosing A Welder
Endless discussions fill up the forums of the interwebs when it comes to which welder to buy. It’s like asking a stranger what car you should buy. There’s a lot that goes into the decision in most cases. That’s why we’ve put together a listing of reviews and recommendations we hope you’ll find useful.
The American Welding Society offers a Welding Buyers Guide. Chock full of company reviews, product listings, and more, the guide comes with a searchable feature as well. This MIG welder buying guide is dated 2019 but who’s to say you can’t invest in last year’s model to save a few bucks? That’s especially true if you’re looking to use your welder for hobbies, and not necessarily a full-time job.
Many manufacturers offer multi-process welders. These machines are designed with the two-in-one approach in mind. If you’re not sure if a multi-process welder is right for your application, see what the guys at WeldingInsider have to say. Just remember: don’t let the stress of choosing the “right” welder stop you from putting on that welding helmet and melting some metal.
Okay, so you got your welder and you’re back to square 1. Well, there are plenty of established welders out there ready to help you figure out how to use the machine you invested in.
Let’s say you went with a MIG welder. Miller has not only an informative article, but a demonstrative video as well. Their experts guide you from the moment you choose to buy a MIG welder to the second you’re ready to start welding.
Chances are you’ll start out MIG welding aluminum and steel since they’re most common—and affordable. If that’s the case, head over to Rate My Welder for a quick explanation of MIG settings for these two types of metal. If anything else, it’ll give you a place to start when it comes to settings. The rest comes with experience and experimentation.
Amperage is a common component of welding, from stick and MIG to TIG. “Welding Amperage Selection” is a must-read if you’re not even sure where to start with the amperage on your machine. And speaking of TIG, WeldingTipsandTricks.com discusses TIG welder settings with an Everlast TIG welder in this 6-part video series.
Much like the integral consumables that create an optimal environment for the metal you’re working with to melt, welding gases are incredibly important as well. It’s often the right mix of gases that allows superior welds to flourish.
So if you’ve no idea about gas—other than the fact that it makes your car move—we’ve got the list of resources you’ll be thankful exist. The first is an introduction to welding gases, done artfully by Welding-Advisers.com. The list of further gas resources at the end of the article is even more invaluable. We’ve also provided an overview of welding gases and how to obtain them, too.
This entry on Tractor Supply’s website shows that the popular company is invested in your welding success as well. It’s a great read about welding gas in layman’s terms. You can learn more about argon and C02 on the WeldingChamps website. MIG welding gases are the subject of Bernard’s post. Scroll down to find a picture of just how consumables make or break optimal shielding gas coverage.
And speaking of suppliers, Northern Tool offers welding materials at a reasonable price. Welding cylinders and replacement caps are just the tip of the gas bottle here. In all seriousness, there’s nothing saying you have to shop in-person or online for welding gases. It’s just getting those gases to you that makes the difference.
Have an interest in welding but don’t want to commit to a full-time career? There are plenty of resources out there for you. In fact, Modern Welding encourages hobby welding. Whether you’re fixing things around the house, patching up that old car or motorcycle, or even creating simple projects that make you happy, there’s value to be found in welding in your spare time. If you’re not convinced, take a look at what these 39 welders reported to Beginner Welding guide about the pastime and profession. There’s much more to it than just melting metal.
In fact, if you do want to take up welding as a hobby, click on this article about “What to Consider When Setting Up Shop in Your Backyard.” You can find a number of projects to get you started on Rate My Welder’s website. And even though the site is called Make Money Welding, we think you’ll find their quick-start guide useful in teaching you the basics.
Welding Projects For All Skill Levels
Not sure where to start? Lincoln Electric hosts a “Welding Project Gallery,” filled with a variety of projects you can peruse for inspiration. Beginners should navigate to Welding Insider for their “50 Best DIY Welding Project Ideas for Gifting or Selling.” And if selling welding projects is where you’ll get your rainy-day money, WeldingChamps has you covered. From sculptures and benches to patio arbors and wall clocks, there’s just no end to what you can create with the right amount of metal and creativity. We recommend these 10 projects for the advanced welder. And if you’re looking to weld up some utility around the house, garage, and workshop, Kings of Welding has a list of projects for you.
Welding is one of those skills that you have to practice over and over again to get good at. Except for a few talented individuals, most of us have to weld, grind, and repeat in order to really get things down. Here are some tutorials that may help you along the way.
Popular Mechanics offers an incredible step-by-step guide that walks you through the entire process. Pictures and close-ups bring the one-on-one training to you. If it’s how-to’s you’re looking for, Lincoln Electric offers a variety of instructions on a number of topics.
Welding tips and tricks can be found on Lincoln Electric’s website as well. And if you’re just starting out, we recommend Longevity’s “Beginner’s Guide to Welding.” But if you need a break from all the welding mumbo-jumbo, check out this YouTube video from WhistlinDiesel. He’ll show you how to weld an exhaust—or will he?
Once you’ve gotten welding down, it’s all about taking on a challenge with each new project. But if you run into some issues as you go along, check out the next section. It’s all about correcting your mistakes for a better weld the next time.
Troubleshooting Your Welds
At some point in time, you’re going to have a few problems welding. It’s all part of the learning process. But don’t give up! Instead, take a look at the resources below to guide you towards better welding:
- Arc welding and can’t quite figure out what’s going wrong? Head over to the “Troubleshooting Guide for Arc Welding Systems” from Pro-Fusion.
- If your work pieces are suffering from distorted welds, this Practical Welding Letter from Welding-Advisors should give you all the information necessary.
- Even if you haven’t started welding yet, read up on “How To Prevent Weld Failure.”
- Lincoln Electric dedicates an entire page of their website to Welding Solutions. Bookmark this link to save their site as your go-to resource.
- Just have general questions about welding? The folks at Welding-Advisors have come through again with a FAQ, questions, suggestions, and so much more page. It’s worth checking out if your welds aren’t coming out quite how you want them to.
Want to take your welding to the next level? Scroll down to the next section to find out what a career in welding could hold for you.
Careers and Vocations in the Welding Industry
Despite what you may think, there are still many lucrative opportunities for skilled welders. In fact, many of the jobs you may be applying for include traveling as a perk.
One of the first things you’ll need to consider when looking for a welding job is certification. Welding certifications are like those for any other skilled laborer; it separates you from the crowd by demonstrating what you know. It could get you straight into an interview as well. Even with certifications, you made need to still demonstrate your skills in-person.
There are a few ways you can go about obtaining welding training. Welding-Advisors.com offers a variety of links on schools and colleges. The American Welding Society’s website offers a school locater tool. CareersInWelding.com contains a listing of educator resources, including safety standards. But if you’re looking to learn how to weld from the 4 walls of your own home, there’s virtual training available as well. Take a look at each of these resources to determine what the best route for you is.
So next time you think nothing of your welding skills, take a second and think again. There could be more money in your hobby than you first thought.
Join These Welding Associations And Groups
Below you’ll find a list of the welding associations and groups you may find helpful:
- American Welding Society (AWS)
- Welding Research Council, Inc. (WRC)
- American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
- Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International (FMA)
- The Welding Institute (TWI)
- The Guild of Metalsmiths: A Non-Profit Organization Dedicated to the Art of Metalworking
Though membership in these associations might not always be free, you’ll certainly gain access to various resources on each website. Take a moment to peruse a few to see how they can aid in your welding journey.
Welding Blogs and Vlogs to Subscribe to
The American Welding Society (AWS) offers a variety of resources to subscribe to. Sign up for their newsletters, subscribe to their blog, and listen to podcasts on your favorite welding topics. You can even view the July 2019 issue of Welding Marketplace, “a quarterly publication featuring the newest and hottest welding products and services in the welding industry.”
Lincoln Electric provides viewers with real-life footage of their products in action. Their library of videos consists of best practices, real customer testimonials, and instructions on how to use their equipment. You can also find more blog posts, videos, and tutorials at TheWeldingLeader.com and Weld.com.
A Future In Welding
What do you think welding will look like a year from now? Five years even?
If you’re concerned about welding automation, read up on what to expect with “Welding the Future: Will it be by Hand or Machine?” There are plenty of links to read through on Welding-Advisors’ site, specifically in Bulletin #28: Resources on Robotic Welding. Automation is the subject of Bulletin #106.
Of course, only time will tell. But we can let you in on an industry secret. Welding skills are in demand as long as there’s a need for the human element. It’ll take machines replicating the creative spark to oust a skilled welder—and we don’t see that happening anytime soon.
Weld On And Prosper
We hope you’ve found some new welding resources after checking out the list above. Most often, the answers you’re looking for are out there—they just might be hidden away beneath a thousand clicks of the mouse. In any case, hopefully you’ve added some new bookmarks and maybe even joined a few organizations. Did we miss a resource? Please mention it below. After all, your knowledge could be the difference between someone giving up on welding completely and taking up welding for a lifetime.