Whether you’re a professional welder, welding student, or just a handy-around-the-house project kind of person, setting up your own home project welding workshop is a fun and functional way to work on your own projects, improve your skills, in addition to making home and automotive related repairs.
Before you fire up your welding torch and dig into your first project, there are a few important questions you need answer, as well as a bit of strategic planning you should undertake before striking out with your new endeavor.
Your budget, the space available to house your welding project work shop, and your skill level are all important factors to keep in mind as you formulate your plans for your new home welding workshop.
The following is a list of five tips that will guide you in creating a home-based project welding workshop tailored to your particular needs:
If money is no object, well hey, this project just got a whole lot easier – you’ve probably got an extra, un-used garage or large work shed you can dedicate to your new work shop, and you can undoubtedly stock your new welding project headquarters with all the best, top of the line equipment – brand new Miller and Lincoln welding machines all around!
Chances are, however, financial independence is not a reality in your life. In that case you need to sit down and evaluate your finances to determine how much you can realistically afford to spend on your new welding workshop. The amount of money you can spare will ultimately guide most of your decision from this point on.
If your like my grandpa Russell (a farm born raised in Western Michigan now residing on 80 acres with a pole barn larger than his house) and you have the luxury of a pole barn or some other large structure detatched from your home, then you’ve already got the perfect spot for your home welding workshop. If your not as lucky as good ole Russ, you need an alternative space for your project welding workshop.
Though appealing because they are a separate space and detached from your home, small structures such as garden or utility sheds are not a good idea. Hazardous, toxic fumes (a byproduct of the welding process) can accumulate in small spaces very quickly, even with better than average ventilation.
Basements are another bad idea. Your average basement is almost never well ventilated, and just as in a small shed, toxic fumes can build up very quickly, with no where to go. Or even worse, toxic fumes from your basement welding workshop make their way upstairs to your main house, which is obviously a detriment to your roommates, spouse, children, pets or whoever else happens to be present.
Generally speaking, a garage with bay doors (preferably detached from your house, or with at least a breezeway between the garage and main house) is your best bet. Whenever you weld, keep the bay doors open, and invest in some type of fume extractor – you can find a number of low-cost do-it-yourself fume extractor options.
There are three essential tools every home project welding workshop should have, in addition to a basic welder’s tool kit that every home-based welder should have.
- Handheld Grinder
- Cordless Drilling
- MIG Welder
- Combination pliers
- Adjustable locking pliers
- Adjustable wrench (preferably chrome)
- Ball pein hammer (preferably hardwood handled)
- Wire brush
- Cold chisel (preferably alloy steel)
- Center punch (preferable round head)
- Combination square (preferably cast iron)
- Steel ruler and folding steel ruler
- Solid spring nut
- Tape measure
- Swiss Army or multi-purpose utility knife (the more attachments, the better)
- Welding helmet
- Heavy duty tool box with tray (and you may want to consider a padlock)
The section above outlining a home-based welder’s essential tools references welding machines but as your welding machine is your home welding workshops most important and most expensive tool, it commands its own section.
A MIG welder is the best welding machine for a home project welding workshop. You can definitely pick up stick welding and oxy-acetylene welding setups for less money than a MIG welder but the degree of difficulty with both of the afore mentioned options is much greater than MIG welding, and oxy-acetylene welding presents a number of safety issues a home based welder should simply just avoid. The relative ease of use in working with a MIG welding machine far out weights the cost benefits offered by any other alternative welding process.
Welding is serious business and can be extremely dangerous, particularly if you don’t know what you’re doing.
If you’re totally new to welding or only possess limited knowledge or experience, I strongly suggest you at least take a basic welding course at a local continuing education program, community college or trades school.
You can also find tons of invaluable welding related resources online. If want to grow as a welder and improve your technique, I recommend you check some of the resources out!