Learn How to Weld by Welding

Learn how to weld by welding. An introduction to arc welding. Welding fabrication and repair and metal working are useful and marketable skills that anyone can acquire.

| July/August 1986


A non-functional refrigerator fitted with a 150-watt bulb makes a low -humidity electrode storage bin. These beads demonstrate, from left to right, the results of too-cold through too-hot fusion. The first example indicates low amperage; the last suggests excessive amperage and voltage. The third and best weld penetrated well and puddled rather than stacked up.


In his article "Weld It Yourself . . . and Make a Few Bucks to Boot" contributor Adrian B. DeBee gave readers an admirably thorough explanation of the basic tools and materials required to learn how to weld and perform simple arc welding . . . and also suggested a number of ways to make some money welding and working with metal.

Learn How To Weld by Welding

Those who read the article already know the what and why of welding; now let's get to the heart of the matter and find out how to arc weld. Yep, even though it's true that metal working tradespeople spend years honing their skills to a high degree of technical proficiency, it's just as true that you, as an everyday do-it-yourselfer, can pick up all the fundamental techniques for arc welding you're ever likely to need in just a couple of afternoons!

Let's assume that you've read Adrian's piece and followed his advice pretty much to the letter. You've bought yourself a reputable 230-volt, variable-amperage AC "buzz box" and read, then reread, the operator's manual . . . you've gathered together all the other necessities: a head shield (and goggles to wear underneath, to protect your eyes from sparks and chips even when your faceplate is raised), gauntlet gloves, a heavy, natural-fiber or leather jacket and cap, and rubber-soled boots . . . and you've prepared a clean, well-ventilated, dry work area equipped with 50-amp, 230-volt electrical service and at least a 10-pound, class ABC fire extinguisher.

While we're at it, let's say that you've also bought a supply of E6011 or E6013 all-purpose mild-steel electrodes; probably a few pounds each of 1/8 inch- and 5/32 inch diameter rods, for use with metal 1/8 inch thick or more, will be all you'll need for now. (It's important to prevent the rods from absorbing humidity, so keep them dry in a scrapped refrigerator fitted with a 150-watt bulb.)

Finally, we'll figure that—to round out your materials inventory—you've gone to a local metals supplier and bought a pile of flat steel scrap in varying thicknesses (anything from 1/8 inches to 3/8 inches is good for practice) for about a nickel a pound. (When you're done with the material, you should be able to sell it back to a salvage dealer to recover some of your cost.)

Position a piece of steel plate on your work surface and—since you'll be practicing with metal of around 1/4 inch in thickness—place a 1/8 inch rod in the grooves of the electrode holder, and set your machine's amperage to about 90 or 100. Connect the ground cable to the workpiece, but be sure it's positioned far enough away so that it won't interfere with your weld. Or, if the steel is on a conductive surface such as an angle iron table, simply clamp the wire close to the work. Then, keeping the electrode well away from any metal, turn the machine on.

1/5/2008 6:42:11 PM

i like the way you put it,its helped me weld better.....

7/16/2007 4:54:32 PM

Why is it that most of the way through the article says to draw the electrode TOWARD YOU: "Starting at the edge farthest from you, draw the electrode back toward your body. Don't try any side-to-side movement for now . . . just pull the rod back in a straight line". Whereas later, under T-welding, it says to PUSH the electrode AWAY from you: "Point the tip of the electrode in the direction of travel. . . and use a forward, oscillating, circular motion to bring the weld metal up and into the seam." Which is correct?

3/27/2007 1:20:40 AM

sir, This type of news more usefull for all the workers , thanks

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