If you’re purchasing your first welding torch and rod, you probably have a few questions. In fact, you might not even know exactly what you need. So, we’ve put together some of our own recommendations to help you get started:
What to look for in a welding torch
1) Torch Body – You’ll want to make sure that you purchase a welding torch with a well insulated body in order to protect it from damage and leakage. When searching for your welding torch, be sure to choose one that has high-dielectric silicon rubber insulation. Choosing this type of insulation will assist in lengthening the lifetime of your welding torch.
2) Hose and Cables – When choosing a hose and cables, there are two different materials to choose from:
Vinyl – Vinyl is a great choice for the cost conscious welder and is practical for light-duty welding projects.
Rubber – Rubber lasts longer and provides excellent heat resistance. It’s perfect for cold environment welding projects.
3) Nozzle – There are a few different attributes to look for when choosing a nozzle. If you’re interested in performing medium-amperage repairs, you may want to consider an alumina oxide nozzle. If you’re looking for a nozzle with the highest performance, you’ll need one with 95% or more alumina content. And lastly, lava nozzles provide the best crack resistance. It all depends on what you specifically want for your first torch.
4) Backcap – Nine times out of ten, you’ll want to choose a backcap with compounds that fit your specific amperage requirements. However, you may need a backcap with higher thermal resistance for demanding projects.
5) Gas Lens – For projects that require extra gas shielding, you may want to consider a gas lens. These are designed to reduce gas turbulence and increase the quality of your welding project.
What to think about before purchasing a welding rod
There are many different types of rods to choose from; however, the one you choose will depend heavily on the type of project you’re conducting. Start with these considerations:
1) What type of metal am I using? – Generally speaking, you want your base metal and rod to be similar in electrode composition. Check to see if your base metal is magnetic, consider what it looks like, and the type of sparks it gives off when ground. Each of these qualities can be used to provide better information for your decision.
2) What is my tensile strength? – Once again, you’re going to want to match your base metal to your rod. You can easily determine the tensile strength of different rods by looking at the first two digits of the AWS classification.
3) What are my environmental conditions? – In other words, where will you be performing your welds? This has a great impact on the type of rod you purchase.
4) What position will I need to be in to complete the weld? – Depending on whether you’re laying down, above the weld, or on your knees, you’ll need to consider whether or not the rod will be able to do the necessary work. Make sure it accommodates the position you need.
5) What is my necessary welding current? – Although many are compatible with both AC and DC, there are a few electrodes that will only work with one power source over the other. Be sure to check this requirement beforehand.